Friday, January 28, 2011

Fragile, Handle With Care

One of the things that happened right away when Rick got sick was that I took over the finances.  We were climbing our way out of debt but still had a way to go.  My sister in law offered to lend us money to pay down some bills.  With several of Rick’s siblings in the hospital, we made a huddle and decided the best thing to do with the rest was to get a consolidation loan.  This would free up more money to put toward the mortgage.

I had no idea what the future would bring. All of this strategic planning was invaluable to me; I was so anxious about the thought of losing our home.  My brother in-law brought us the paperwork; we signed it and sent it off before leaving the hospital.

I felt like a traitor making these plans about our finances but the reality of the situation was daunting.  It felt selfish to be making contingency plans but I had two young boys that I also needed to take care of.  I didn't have the luxury of pretending that he might not die.  I felt the crushing weight of the anxiety growing inside me.

My father died in a car accident; my mother was widowed with four children at 29.  This made a huge impression on me growing up.  Rick and I bought life insurance two weeks after we were married.    We would be prepared for whatever life threw at us.  When our first son was born, we added to it.  If Rick were to die I would be okay, financially.  This was no consolation; I wanted my husband to live.

When the EMTs arrived on the day we were to go home, they were glum-looking characters.  I explained to them the state of Rick’s bones and the need to be careful with him. They gave me that "We've heard it all before, Ma'am." look, as if to dismiss me.

It was quite a feat to figure out where to put the stretcher and how to transfer him; evidently, this was not the usual patient transport.  They moved him to the stretcher and then began maneuvering it to exit the room.   All of a sudden the stretcher collapsed and Rick went crashing down, still strapped in and on the stretcher but Rick started writhing in pain.


I saw RED!  However, I had to remain calm and mentioned again that he was fragile and that a jolt really could fracture or break his bones.  They were apologetic but you know, I WANTED to  murder one of them.

My husband, Rick was a shy man who did not like bringing a lot of attention to him. There is nothing inconspicuous about being rolled out of a hospital by EMTs.  As a matter of fact, there were many people staring at him.  Rick was dying of cancer but the death-stare he was giving me indicated he might be dying of embarrassment. 

They made their way down to the ambulance which had its flashing lights on.  I could feel the death-stare as they lifted him into the ambulance.  Someone took my car and I rode with Rick to our house.  The Toll Road was a war zone; there was construction everywhere; they were adding a third lane.  It was winter and the road was riddled with potholes.  The ambulance bounced and jostled Rick. He just stared out the back window and groaned all the way.

We arrived in our neighborhood and they put the flashing lights on as they backed the ambulance into our driveway.  My parents were at the door waiting for us.  A few of my neighbors came out to wave and were happy to see Rick back home.  This only served to humiliate Rick even more.

The hospital bed had been delivered and set up.  My mother had bought lovely new linens and made it look inviting.  The EMTs were much more careful in transferring him from the stretcher this time.  I guess they wanted to live to see tomorrow.  We were home, finally, but the future was looking pretty grim.


  1. OMG! I would've wanted to kill them too! I can only imagine what you went through - I have a feeling you were a lot nicer to those guys than I would've been. They would've gotten a talking to like none other! Bless your heart for keeping your composure. But poor Rick.
    Isn't it nice to know he is safe and pain free now? That's the way I think about my Mom - she'll be happy and ready to greet me when it is my time.
    My Dad too. YAY!
    Have a wonderful weekend! Karen

  2. Karen,
    You're right; I do look forward to seeing him again. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. My husband is a paramedic and I cannot imagine him dropping a patient. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your story.

  4. Donna,
    This was just something that happened. I don't think they actually dropped him; the stretcher collapsed on its own. The ambulance was from a medical transport service. We later found out that the majority of them were working this as a second job. They worked for the local fire and rescue service. I will say that this was an isolated incident and they transported Rick often. It was just a very bad introduction to their service.

    Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will continue reading.
    All the best,