I’ve been excited about Emily’s emergency work for years. She has so many intriguing stories like this one from 2013 But I’ve basically never seen her in action. So I put that on my #3o list hoping that eventually the stars would align and I could gain some priceless experience. We tried once last spring during a baking day at our house. We ran out the back door and jumped in Emily’s truck to respond to a drug overdose. Only to discover that running a call was apparently on our canine’s bucketlist too- they were loaded on the truck and hanging for dear life and we were part way out the lane before we noticed them with the wind in their face, grinning from ear to ear. The patient refused treatment and we returned home, unable to cross that one off the list. But we tried.11:00am We are eating one of Eber Wenger’s delicious pork BBQ sandwiches and chatting with old school friends at the Spring Creek barn sale and have no way of knowing that way up in the mountain a little lady is going for her first four-wheeler ride… Takes the corner to fast, rolls and is suddenly in need of help
11:30 We are about a half mile past Clover Hill Fire and Rescue when the call comes in “trauma injuries… ATV accident…” Em says ” I’m going to run that” and I say “can I go with you?” And then like usual, I chicken out and my family insists… So we whip into the station. B is already there preparing to be our fearless driver. The introductions are brief. “Kendra, this is B, he’s our driver. B this is my sister Kendra, she’s here to observe.” Em rides shotgun and runs the sirens and radios. I jump in the back of the ambulance and we are off.
I can’t believe how people hit the ditch for us. We sail through the 33 intersection without a backwards glance. (Except for me, my seat faces backward.) We head for the mountain. Em takes turns thinking about the task in front of her “I’m mentally preparing to stand down Air Care, I don’t think we are going to need them” (apparently it’s common procedure to have the medical helicopter ready to launch in case the patient needs to be flown) “how can they know the name of some boondocks camp ground and not know whether she is conscious or breathing?” And sending KJ a shopping list “can you get cream cheese?” B the driver proceeds to explain that he hates cream cheese.
11:52 We drive and drive and drive and finally come to the intersection where a black Dodge Ram is going to meet us and lead us on. Not there. Squad truck 173 continues on up the mountain and finds the pilot car. We follow suit. I wonder how far they had to go to find cell service to call for help.
12:00 We turn off the main road and start bouncing back a path that goes behind a dam…and over hill and dale and with 2 river crossings… Big discussion over whether the Ford or Dodge ambulance would be more preferable here… Regardless-the Ford is performing just fine
12:20 We turn at a paper mache monkey holding a balloon. A man on a four-wheeler waves us on. We drive past a tent city and back into where the patient is as relaxed as you can be laying on gravel with a back injury for an hour. (Em “stands down air care”)
I jump out and follow Em. There’s no grass growing under her feet as she hurries to the scene “Hello, I’m Emily, did you have a little accident here?” Immediately, she’s on the ground beside the patient, talking, assessing, and preparing for transport. P arrived on 173 and he’s quick to grab any supplies Em needs. A neck brace, and a back board make up a few of the essentials.
12:35 Two massive Great Danes lumber over to where we are and look me straight in the eye. (This may be a little exaggeration, but not much) I discover that I have the ability to not say a single word for over 20 minutes. But I’m taking it all in-the leaves on the mountain are just starting to change. The forest around us has been recently logged. The patient’s boyfriend has refused to drop her hand for a second. Somebody with some medical knowledge is obviously present-the bandage on her arm wasn’t wrapped by a rookie…
12:40 We are loaded and start the long trek back to civilization. The boyfriend follows about 2 feet behind the ambulance. I watch Em and P interact with the patient. P has a story about a scooter that fell on him one time. Em has visited the Big City where the patient is from. P remembers with fondness the hamburger he left on the grill when the call came in. Meanwhile B is doing the best job possible to get us over this logging trail with the least amount of jolting
13:00 We hit black top again. We all breathe a sigh of relief. Em starts doing a more thorough evaluation of the patient’s injuries. Again I watch silently. She moves around the ambulance ignoring the fact that we are hastening down the mountain, curve after curve. She holds onto the bar above the patient, bracing herself. I thank the Great Physician that her shoulder allows her to do this type of thing again.
13:06 We enter cell phone service. The boyfriend stays 2 feet behind the ambulance, texting frantically. I hope we don’t make any sudden stops.
13:08 Em asks if it’s ok if she starts an IV. “Sure.” I admire how brave and agreeable the patient is. Em jokes that if I faint, everybody is supposed to ignore me. The patient comments “Good luck finding a vein, I’ve been told I have small veins.” I’m still watching everything like a hawk. I can’t help be feel a little proud when Em hits the vein so effortlessly. And a little proud that her squeamish older sis didn’t even flinch. I wonder what I would’ve done if this had been a major trauma case.13:11 Em calls into the hospital “Hello M, this is Emily with Clover Hill Rescue 178, we are about 10 minutes out with a patient involved in an ATV accident. She is….” She goes over her evaluation. “Ok, Room 8? Got it. We will see you soon.”
13:21 We arrive at the hospital with the texting boyfriend still on our bumper. The stretcher is so cool- they push a button and it automatically lowers the legs. And we are unloaded. The doors of the hospital swing open to meet us. Four nurses immediately follow us into room 8. Em briefs them on the case, there are a few signatures required and this part of our job is complete.
13:31 We exchange the IV box in the EMS Room at the hospital for a new one. The quote “Whenever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference” stenciled across the wall inspires us as we open the door. Em gathers the supplies she needs, and we return to the ambulance.
13:35 Em and I ride in the back, Em finishes up the report the entire way out of town. And I continue surveying the inside of the ambulance, lost in my silent thoughts. One small vehicle that has, and will continue, to impact so many people. Because of Em and comrades who are spending their lives making a difference…
This was up on the board in the EMS room.
So I speak to Emily, but this is for all of you who bless our community so selflessly :
Thank you for the continual sacrifice this lifestyle demands. For getting up in the middle of the night, going out in the worst weather conditions, skipping meals and sacrificing over and over and over, knowing that you are simply giving your time and energy, not expecting anything in return.
Thank you for understanding-that I don’t understand-when I get grouchy that our supper was delayed or you didn’t show at all, because “I’m on a call”. Supper can and will wait. There are people who need you desperately, NOW.
Really, you are the backbone of the community, because all of us know that if something happens “call 911”. So thank you for giving us peace of mind, that there will be help should we need it. Because you are using the gifts God has given you.
Thank you for being my hero.
Matt 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’