Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Yellow (11/12/09)
TITLE: The Yellow Line
By Michael Joshua
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Jerry, the paramedic, looked over at his partner, Tanya, and said, “See if you can locate her ID. Calling her by name might help.”
“Found her purse, here it is, her name is Carrie, Carrie White.”
Jerry looked down and said, “Carrie, Carrie, do you hear me?”
Carrie did not understand why they couldn’t hear her. She responded louder, “Yes, I can hear you, why are you asking?”
Tanya, holding Carrie’s hand, said, “Squeeze my hand if you can hear us, Carrie.”
Carrie squeezed as hard as she could and heard Tanya say to Jerry, “No response.”
It was then that Carrie realized something was wrong, terribly wrong. She heard another car engine pulling up. No, it was much louder than a car. Jerry got up and Carrie noticed him talking to three others. Jerry brought the team up to speed: the victim appears to be alert, without physical or verbal response. Her respiration is fine; but she is pinned between the seat and the dashboard. Hitting the tree, the front of the car wrapped around it and the dashboard was shoved toward her. Both of her legs had simple breaks. It looked like a spinal injury. Extricating her from the car would be the most critical part of their job. Then again, it always is.
As the team began to rip apart the car, Carrie began to get anxious. Jerry noted her increasing heart rate and tried to calm her. “Carrie, we use this machine to get you out safely. It’s the best way, I know it’s loud, I’m going to put my hands over your ears to muffle the noise just a little.” Carrie was grateful. Not only for quieting the noise, but the warmth of his hands felt very nice. For the first time, she realized the chill in the air.
She saw the door removed from her car and realized that she was being moved. Why didn’t she feel anything? What had happened?
She closed her eyes and remembered…”When I left Joe's…I was so tired.”
The one hour drive home did not seem like it would be that hard to handle. After all, she had driven it so many times, she could do it in her sleep, she thought. But, she was wrong.
Once, as she blinked, just a little too long, she reopened her eyes to see the yellow line. Something’s wrong, she thought, this doesn’t feel right. Why was she seeing the yellow line – there? By the time it dawned on her that she was crossing over the center of the road, it was too late. She saw the tree. For a split second, she realized she was in trouble and then she was out cold.
Now it all made sense, the bright light in her eyes, the questions about whether she could hear and the requests to squeeze Tanya’s hand. How injured Carrie was, she did not know, but she was injured. She looked up to see Jerry placing the mask over her face to give her oxygen, saw the straps being placed over her body to secure her to the gurney and heard the blips and beeps of the medical equipment monitoring her vitals.
She closed her eyes and prayed, “Thank you Lord, for the people who are putting my needs first, these paramedics and the team that helped get me out of my car. I am grateful for my life, no matter how this turns out. Life is more than flesh and bones. It is what you have given me.”
She turned back to Jerry and tried to speak. Jerry saw her lips move and lifted the mask. Carrie whispered, “Thank you.” Jerry replied. “You’re welcome.”
Just then they arrived at the hospital emergency doors and she was wheeled out of the ambulance and up the hall to the trauma room. When her body temperature was restored, her broken legs were set; she began responding to cues, both verbally and physically. Jerry knew that it might initially be the shock that kept her from responding when he talked to her.
When Jerry called the emergency room to check on her progress, he and Tanya exchanged high fives to the news that she was going to fully recover.
Jerry said, “That treacherous yellow line. It’s like crossing a mine field.”
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