Friday, April 14, 2017
(Not Mr. Toad's) Wild Ride!
This is the third installment in a series of posts regarding our recent "vacation." If you are just now joining me here, you might want to read The Voice of the Lord and Off the Bucket List to catch up with the story.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary; my cry to Him reached His ears.
In You, Lord my God, I put my trust.
I'm sitting in the ambulance with the driver, Kaitlin; we haven't yet departed as she is watching a monitor, which allows us to see Danny and the other two EMTs as they make sure everything is tightened down for the impending ride. I can barely hear their voices, but it is so comforting to see Danny acting like himself. I may not be able to sit in the back with him, but at least I can check on him whenever I choose.
My phone rings unexpectedly. "Hello, this is Martha."
"Hi, this is Shayla with Watershed Cabins," a bubbly voice greets me. "I'm just calling to see if you all arrived safely and if the cabin met your expectations."
"Well," I say slowly, "yes and no." In a split second, the spectacular vistas at Big Sky Lodge are superimposed upon the surreal view from the ambulance windshield. "My husband is having issues with his defibrillator, and right now we're heading up to St. Joseph's - Mission Hospital in Asheville. I don't know that we will spend much, if any, time at the cabin this go around."
Shayla is quick to say how sorry she is, and tells me sincerely that she hopes all goes well. You're not the only one. I thank her and hang up. And for the first time that morning, my own words uttered awaken me to the stark facts. We never think for a moment in our mad dash to get to the hospital that we would not be able to return to the cabin to retrieve anything for an extended stay. No extra clothing, no phone charges, no toothbrushes. Would we even be back there in time to pack up and leave?
"All set," Kaitlin declares cheerfully. "Are you ready to leave?"
"As ready as I'll ever be," I answer truthfully.
"Just so you know," she continues, "since you are a civilian passenger, I won't be using the siren or going excessively fast. Your husband will be fine on the trip, so don't worry. And once we're at Mission? He'll get the best care there is, guaranteed. It's one of the top cardio hospitals in the country."
At that moment, I really, really want to believe her. I want to believe with every fiber of my being that God had us take the trip to the cabin because of this very fact. As Kaitlin maneuvers through Bryson City and reaches the parkway on ramp, I ponder her words, and I pray. Lord, was this Your plan all along? If it is, then cabin or now cabin, I give thanks to You.
Kaitlin hits her stride once on the parkway. She obviously has a different take on speeding than I do. And she has no problem riding the bumpers of the slower cars clogging the left lane, forcefully urging them to merge right. I can't recall how many times I find myself groping for a non-existent assist bar as we whiz along at an unheard of, at least in my book, 90 miles an hour. Okay, Lord, help, help help! This is freaking me out! Kaitlin passes a barreling semi like its standing still. What good is it to be going to the best cardio hospital around if we don't make it there alive?
My cry reaches the ears of the Lord. I look over at Kaitlin. She is as cool and collected as can be. Even her hands on the steering wheel exude confidence. I realize at once that there is no need to worry, not one bit. God reveals that He is with her, too.
Just as we are nearing Asheville, there is an accident up ahead. It has slowed traffic down to a crawl. Kaitlin confers with her fellow EMT, Jeremiah (gotta love that name), who has received word from the dispatcher regarding the accident's location. Knowing she isn't supposed to use the siren with me in the passenger seat, Kaitlin is relieved to hear another ambulance approaching us from behind. She does not hesitate for a second to fall right in behind it, hugging its backside as if coupled like a train car.
Think Moses parting the Red Sea. Cars and trucks of every description veer to the left or the right, making way for the emergency procession. It's slow (thankfully) but steady going. I actually find myself wishing I, too, had a siren on my Scion so I could cut through heavy traffic like a hot knife through butter!
Jeremiah indicates the exit we can take to dodge the mess altogether, and return to the interstate above the wreck. Here, Kaitlin throws all caution to the wind. Light flashing and siren howling, she pushes toward the exit, follows Jeremiah's direction, and sails down a two-lane road at a speed I dare not guess. This is by no means my favorite part of the journey, but I'm pleased that the siren isn't glaringly loud inside the cab.
Finally, we pop out onto a now clear interstate, and clip the few short miles to the hospital. "Sorry about the siren," Kaitlin says with a grin, "but sometimes, we have to bend the rules."
"I'm glad you did," I admit. "While I didn't like the speed, this is a great story to tell my grandchildren. What will they think of their Gammie's wild ride?"
To be continued . . .
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