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THE IDLE AMERICAN
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 • Posted December 15, 2010

A Story of 9-1-1…

As Christians bask in the glow of Christmas, their thoughts of wreaths wrapped in thankfulness are centered on lives whose duty knows no hours, whose courage knows no bounds and whose commitment knows no holidays.

I refer, of course, to legions of heroes—peacekeepers on the home front and foreign shores, emergency personnel in vehicles with flashing lights and piercing sirens, medical professionals who deal daily with lives in the balance, and care center employees who tend to folks in fragile states.

Let’s also light candles for volunteers who quietly "give back" in various ways. Without any doubt, they’ll be counted on even more in foreseeable years as funding fades for many services heretofore provided by paid personnel….

* * * * *

It is a given that the challenge of emergency responders calls for straight faces, clear minds and meticulous focus.

I wondered recently if such personnel sometimes face situations that, at certain points, result in absolute belly laughs. I mean the kind that call for sitting down, maybe even rolling on the floor, as tears roll and laughter comes out in sputters, interspersed with groans.

I asked an emergency responder who responded, "Quite often!"…

* * * * *

He cited a recent specific experience. Let’s call him "Joe," and refer to his sidekick as "Moe."

They are seasoned emergency medical technicians, accustomed to answering 9-1-1 calls, hopping into ambulances and reaching emergency scenes ASAP.

Joe and Moe got a call from a care center, where an elderly patient, his age closer to 100 than to 95, "experienced a problem at breakfast."…

* * * * *

The rattled caller explained that the man "must have blacked out, then drooped forward, his face making a direct hit in the oatmeal." Luckily, the attendant discovered the incident within minutes, but frantic attempts to revive the man seemed fruitless.

"Come quickly, we’re not sure if he’s breathing." That’s the last thing Joe and Moe heard before "floor-boarding" the ambulance as precious seconds ticked away.

Upon arrival, Moe cleared away the oatmeal, and Joe administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Within seconds, the patient’s breathing was restored, and a few minutes later, he was breathing normally. When fully conscious, he alternated dagger-like stares toward Joe and Moe, suggesting that he was anything but happy….

* * * * *

"Can’t you guys read?" he questioned, pointing to a small sign affixed to the wall.

Thereon appeared these words in boldface: "Do NOT Resuscitate."

When it was apparent that the "survivor" had stabilized, Joe and Moe excused themselves, walking double-time toward the ambulance before bursting into laughter. Sleigh-riding celebrants, with bells on bobtail ringing, never laughed any harder than these guys, who somehow managed to straighten their faces before the next call….

* * * * *

As I heard the account, I thought immediately of my Uncle Mort. After all, he’s 98 now, and with a cantankerous streak inordinately wide, he might one day react the same way upon such an encounter with oatmeal.

My conscience told me to give him a call, even though I knew a conversation with Mort would cost a half-hour of time.

So, I gutted up and made the call…

* * * * *

"I was just about to call you, nephew," he chortled. "I’ve been reading about Texas Christian University the last few days, and I want to know what’s going on."

He was concerned about TCU’s athletic teams joining the "Big Easy."

"I never dreamed they’d impose membership fees to visit New Orleans," he rattled. "That’s a big rule change for Bourbon Street."…

* * * * *

Conversing with Uncle Mort is akin to flying a kite. More time is spent untangling string than actual kite-flying.

Speaking slowly and with amped up volume, I explained that TCU is joining the Big East Athletic Conference. He accepted the correction, but then picked up on news of the venerable 80-year-old football stadium." He wanted to know details of the "explosion" that took down the west side of the stadium. Again, I corrected him, explaining that the blast was an intentional implosion to make room for a $105 million renovation.

"It’s hard for me to believe they’re spending that kind of money on the stadium," Mort replied. "Why, $105 million would pay a coach’s salary for 10 or 15 years, or maybe fund "Meals on Wheels" in all 50 states for a century or so."…

* * * * *

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Send inquiries/comments to newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Website: www.speakerdoc.com.

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