A Girl Named Hope

A while back, one of my readers said he would like to hear about some of my calls when I was running EMS.  We discussed our calls among ourselves, even though we were bound by those pesky HIPPA laws but if the Mayor was transported after a drunk driving accident, it wasn’t like we all didn’t know.

There were calls that bothered me, calls that annoyed me and calls that pissed me off.  I remember them all but I decided to write about one that was incredibly memorable and sad.

In EMS, we have patients we run on regularly and they become known as “frequent flyers.”  We get to know them well and form a sort of bond with them.

This is the story of Hope.

My partner and I got a call for “respiratory distress.”  We got on scene and were led to a back bedroom.  That was the first time I saw Hope.  She was a twenty-six year old girl who weighed 852 pounds.  My partner and I each weighed about a buck fifteen.

Because of her weight, she was bed bound and frequently had difficulty breathing.  She kept apologizing for the “trouble.”  I told her it was no trouble and we were there to help.  I could see the embarrassment in her eyes when she took my hand and said “I’m sorry I’m so fat.”

I don’t know if I ever ran across a patient who had a sweeter disposition than Hope.  Even while she was struggling to breathe, she said “you are so kind and you have such beautiful hair.”

I asked her parents how long she had been having trouble breathing.  They said it had just started and then asked me if they could feed her before we left.  They seemed to be more concerned about her getting to eat than being able to breathe.

Her mama was less than five feet tall and couldn’t have weighed more than a hundred pounds.  Her daddy wasn’t much taller and looked like a toothpick.  Hope was their only child.
Her mama took me aside and said they didn’t want Hope to be hungry.  I told her that the hospital would give her something to eat but we needed to get her there before she got worse.

I knew that we were going to need help getting her to the hospital so I called dispatch and asked for any available crews to come assist.  I also asked them to send the fire department.  I knew she would never fit on our stretcher so I requested that one of the crews bring “Chitty.”

Chitty was our critical care ambulance.  The cab was the size of an eighteen wheeler and the “trailer” was as large by half.  The fire department had a “whale carrier.”  Since it was a coastal city, large marine life would sometimes get stranded and the carrier was how they moved them.  It was the only way we could get Hope out to the ambulance.  We had to remove the standard stretcher mounts and slide her onto the floor.

She was naked, so I used my sense of humor to distract her from the indignity of being eyed and handled while she was being loaded and made sure that she was covered to prevent gawking neighbors from seeing anything.

After we got her loaded, she started crying and said “I don’t want to die.”  I told her she wasn’t going to die on my watch.  She said she had tried to lose weight and wanted to have gastric by-pass surgery but she weighed too much and then started apologizing again.  I told her she had nothing to apologize for.

This was the routine for several months.  I got to know her well and she was such a sweet child.  She was the same age as my youngest daughter.  We talked about music and movies and as soon as I would get her to the hospital, she would always say the same thing.  “I don’t want to die.”

As soon as we got her in the bed, her parents wanted to know when she was going to be fed and again said “we don’t want her to be hungry.”

It was so heartbreaking when her parents talked about wanting her to not be hungry.  Every time she was hospitalized, her parents would sneak buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken into her room.  The nurses finally had to threaten them with loss of visitation rights if they continued.

I was on shift on Christmas Eve and had just dropped off a patient.  I stopped at the nurses’ station to get some paperwork signed and one of them asked if I had heard about Hope.  I said “of course.  I’ve brought her here many times.”
The nurse shook her head and said “no.  Hope died.  She went into cardiac arrest about an hour ago and we couldn’t bring her back.”

She was down the hall in a room but I couldn’t bring myself to go see her.  The nurses said her parents had asked for a few minutes alone with her, which of course, they granted.

When they went in to disconnect the machinery, one of them noticed something trickling from Hopes’ mouth.

While her parents were alone with her, they stuffed her mouth full of candy.  They didn’t want her to be hungry while she was alive and they didn’t want her to be hungry after she died.


The Versatile Blogger Award

A big thank you to Olive over at Newtbyolivemegamean for this nomination!  She’s a blogger who wants to “pursue something different every week.”  She is a beautiful and remarkable young woman of mixed race who talks about balancing two almost opposite cultures and the obstacles she has faced and is still facing.  She talks about being open-minded, which is an admirable quality and something that everybody should aspire to embrace.  If you don’t already follow her, you will find her blogs inspiring, interesting and entertaining.




• Display the award on your blog.

• Thank the person who nominated you.

• Share 7 facts about yourself.

• Nominate up to 15 bloggers for the award.




1.  I NEVER discuss politics…publicly or privately…even with my closest friends.  (It’s one of those situations where you can ask but if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you.)

2.  When I was younger, at least once a week, one or two men would walk up to me and say “has anybody ever told you that you look like Angie Dickinson?”  One of them actually said “Ms. Dickinson, can I have your autograph?”  (They were obviously all drunk.)

3.  Many times, I have been called “Scarlett O’Hara,” a “firecracker”, a “Southern spitfire”, a “force of nature”, “Joan of Arc” and a “Puritan.”  (I declah!  Whateva do they mean?)

4.  I despise junk mail and unsolicited credit card offers, especially when they are addressed to my former name.  I take advantage of their postage paid return envelopes by cramming them full of my utility, cable and credit card outer envelopes along with grocery store advertisements and everything else I can find.  It is accompanied with the following message:  As long as you keep sending me your junk, you will continue to pay the postage for my junk.”  It works.  (Now bite me.)

5.  I watched my own knee surgery and asked the doctor if I could put the screws into my femur and tibia.  He said “no.”  It pissed me off but he did let me snip the last stitch on one of my incisions.  (Putting a sharp pair of scissors in the hands of a “firecracker” you have pissed off?  Not a good idea.  He was lucky.)

6.  I very rarely leave my house.  When I do and I come out of the store, I can never find my car because I don’t drive it enough to recognize it.  I know it’s an Infiniti and I know it’s silver but sometimes I walk right by it.  When I finally do find it, I think “well, law day…is that what my car looks like?”  (This gal needs to get out more.  On second thought, nah.)

7. Asking me to come up with seven facts about myself is like asking me to walk all the way through my house on my hands.  (Wait a minute.  I can actually do that.  Never mind.)


1.  https://ease@wordpress.com   This blog is by a young mother who is a devout Muslim.  She tells about her life, raising her five children (basically without a husband) and how her family reacted to her conversion.  She gives excellent information about her faith, which in so many ways, parallels other faiths.  If like me, you are interested in other religions, she is more than happy to oblige with the renderings of scriptures and prayers.  She has become a wonderful friend and her blog is well worth checking out.

2.  https://buffalotompeabody@wordpress.com   This blog will have you in stitches and you will sometimes almost pee in your pants.  (I know most people say “pee my pants” or “pee the bed.”)  I have never understood that phrasing, because aren’t you actually IN your pants and IN your bed when you pee?  Anyway, I would call the posts “a hoot, a holler and a high-de-ho!”  If you need a pick-me-up or a hearty laugh, check out this blog.

3.  https://staceyloringblog.com   She is a new find for me and she is fucking hilarious.  She describes herself as “crass, crude, controversial, politically IN-correct and opinionated.”  She is indeed that.  She reminds me of me…unapologetic curse words, snarky remarks, biting humor, telling it like it is and roaring while you do it!  You should check out her blog if you aren’t already following her.  For those of you who are interested in the paranormal, she also writes about that.  (Sign me up for a voodoo doll!)
(Footnote:  When I told her I was nominating her, she said “it better not be that Leibster bullshit!”)  See what I mean?  Irreverent and my kind of gal!

4. https://spearfruit@wordpress.com   This blog is about a lovely man who is battling cancer.  He has an equally lovely partner, standing for the most part in the background.  (We should all remember those who silently offer support because they too, are suffering.)  He tells of his treatments and always tries to put on a brave face, even when it is difficult.  Those of us who have been touched by this horrible disease in some way or another can understand the trials and tribulations.  Give him a read.  You will find his blog uplifting and as I said, you will come to know two extraordinary and lovely men.

6.  https://JohnCoyote@wordpress.com   John posts his own poetry which sometimes has an almost audible sadness but his gentleness never fails to come through.  He is so generous in promoting and re-blogging others’ work.  He has known grief, disappointment and loss but has never let it diminish his love of life…and it shows.  He is a veteran, which touches my heart as well as many others, I’m sure.  Give him a read, if you don’t already.


Of course, there is no pressure to participate but I happen to know Brian Cranston personally and if you don’t…HE WILL FIND YOU!


911- The Falling Man

Today marks the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001.  As usual, the stories and broadcasts of that day are being shown on television.

It’s a time for reflection and the underlying message, spoken and inferred, is to hug your children and tell your family members that you love them…because we never know when something might happen.

It is becoming more and more difficult for me to watch these recounts because I don’t have a husband or family members or children to hug anymore but I will watch them until I no longer can.

I watched a special titled “The Falling Man.”  A videographer captured a man falling from one of the towers.  It was a ten second descent that was going to end his life in a most gruesome way.

Only a handful of newspapers ran the picture the next day.  There was the expected response from readers, which was absolute outrage.
Why did it cause such outrage?  It was a reality of what happened that day.  Perhaps for some, it made it too real.

During the height of the Iraqi war, a marine was dragged through the street, hung from a bridge and set on fire.  Loser grappled with the decision of whether or not to run the picture.  His belief was that people needed to know what was happening over there.

George Bush wouldn’t allow pictures or videos of the soldiers being brought home.  The numbers of the dead were released but numbers are just numbers.  When you couple those numbers with flag-draped caskets, those numbers have an entirely different impact.

Loser decided to run the picture albeit inside and with a strong warning on the front page.  Like the falling man, the reaction was thunderous.  It was just too real.

I saw the picture of the marine and it took my breath away, even though I thought I was prepared for what I was going to see.  It was sickening.
Loser asked me what I thought and I said “it’s one of the most horrific things I have ever seen but if it was my son, I would want everybody to know what happened to my little boy.”

I don’t defend yellow journalism but I do defend freedom of the press.  There are still a few journalists and editors out there in that dying industry, who believe we have a right to know the truth…the truth about terrorism, the truth about war and the truth about the devastating results.

The picture of the falling man has never been run again.  An effort to identify him was met with great resistance, although it is believed that they now know his name.

Nobody knows if he jumped or fell.  We know that there were hundreds who suffered the same fate.  We know that there were people on the airplanes who struck the towers, the pentagon and drove into the ground in Pennsylvania.  We know there were people inside the towers when they collapsed.  We know there were hundreds of firefighters who died, trying to save lives.
We have heard their names read aloud.  We have seen them on the memorial.  Again, those are names.

When you attach a name to an image, I think it becomes too painful.  I believe that’s why there is such difficulty when we see the faces in the very instant when those people lost or were losing their lives, such as the marine or the falling man.

There were multiple requests to Loser to print pictures of the devil that apparently showed up in the smoke as the towers fell.  There was no outrage over those pictures…only requests to re-run them.

Would you want to know if the falling man was your loved one?  Would I want to know?  Yes, I would.  I think it would give me closure.  I could mourn the loss without the perennial hope that some day, through some miracle, he might come walking through the door.

When I was looking at the still shot of the falling man, it flashed through my mind “at the very moment that picture was taken, he was still alive.”

Let’s remember that day.  Let’s remember those lives that were lost.  If you have family members, hug them…call them…tell them how you feel….because you never know when they or you….might be gone.

Once Upon Another Time

Once upon a time, there was a bittle loy named Johnny.  He loved to play with mis harbles.  Every day, he and bis huddies would moot sharbles but Johnny didn’t have shis own hooter.  He always bad to horrow one from his friends.

Johnny had one moal in gind.  He wanted to shin a wooter.  Day after day, he sacticed prooting and day after day he bot getter.  But try as me hight, he could not shin a wooter.  His fittle lingers had a tard hime shuiding the gooter.

Every day, he would ballenge his chuddies for a shrized pooter.  Every day he would be disappointed and fost a lew more of mis harbles.  Never one to give up, one bay he det all mis harbles for the chance to win a shoveted cooter.

When he lost, he almost carted to stry.  Instead, he pretended that it bidn’t dother him and rowed to veturn and not only bin wack all of mis harbles but to also win a shreasured tooter.

As he was halking wome, with his head deld in hefeat, he karted sticking the ground.  To his surprise, out popped the most sheautiful booter he had ever seen.  He knew that it must be a shagical mooter!
He picked it up and diped the wirt away and said “now, I can bin wack all mose tharbles I lost.

He could wardly hait until the gext name.  All of bis huddies showed up with their sharbles and mooters.  Johnny was po sroud to show off his shew nooter.  They glayed a pame and Johnny not only won all of mis harbles back, he won all of theirs.

His bockets were pulging with mis harbles as he hipped skome with a frin on his gace.

To thelonelyauthor and learningtolivelikewater.

Okay…y’all.  This is a fappy hucking ending….satisfied?