I looked out the window, and saw, again, the ambulance lights outside our front window. I couldn’t believe we had had to call them again. We had called them so often; I was getting to know all of the paramedics by their first name. I watched as they came up the walk with their stretcher, sure enough, I knew them both,
“Hi Joe, Hi Sam.”
“Hello Mr. Johnson. Peter is having a hard time again?”
“Yes. I’m sorry to have to call you out again. I called his Oncologist, and he said to call you all. He is really too weak to take in the car, especially for that long of a drive.”
“Just weakness then?”
“No, I’m afraid he has been spitting up some blood. He may end up needing a transfusion.”
We walked together into the room where my 12 year old son lay on his bed, pale but cheerful.
“Mr. Creed, Mr. Thompson.” He said, greeting the paramedics. They had stopped trying to get him to call them by their first name.
‘Hello Peter, Sam said, ready for a ride?”
“Always. Who’s on in the ER?”
“I think it is George… I mean Mr. Dvorak and Miss Jones.”
Peter smiled. He liked all the ER staff, but I think he felt more comfortable with George Dvorak than any of the others.
It didn’t take long for them to transfer him to the stretcher.
“Peter’s mother will meet you at the ER. I have to take care of the other children, and she was in town already. Dr. Langston has faxed his report to the doctor on call.”
The doctor was the hardest part of an ER visit. Our small hospital only had one doctor that came regularly, all the rest came from one staffing agency or the other, and their quality and bedside manner varied greatly. Having the faxed report from Peters Oncologist really helped ensure that the proper things were done, without submitting Peter to a great battery of tests each time.
Peter rolled out the front door with the paramedics, all covered in blankets, and talking non-stop… his only breaks being the all too frequent pauses to ‘catch his breath’. I watched them go, first to the ambulance, and then up and in the back. Both men climbed in back. I had seen it several times. They would get his blood pressure, pulse and all, and start an IV. And Peter would talk. Joe and Sam were quiet men, but that didn’t bother Peter.
Sam climbed out after a couple of minutes and went to the front. So Joe would be in the back with Peter. I wonder what story he would tell him. Peter almost always managed to wangle a ‘blood and guts’ war story out of Joe. With Sam he got him to talk about his kids.
The lights of the ambulance flashed brightly in our window as Sam put the truck in gear and pulled away. With the ambulance out of the way I could see our neighbor across the street, struggling with long strings of bulbs and extension cords. I could remember the times Peter and I spent hours in the yard untangling and hanging. But for right now, our Christmas lights came on a box with two paramedics in it.
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