â€œAttention Engine 3 and Rescue 1, respond to 647 Broad Street for an MVA involving an unresponsive ten year old.â€
That will get you going.
We flew out of the station toward the incident. Engine 3 arrived on scene first and radioed their findings.
â€œEngine 3 to Fire Alarm, advise Rescue 1 we have a minor MVA, the ten-year oldâ€™s mother wants the â€œhave her checked.â€ Alert and conscious, proceed Code C.â€
Code C lets us know the â€œemergencyâ€ is not really an emergency, just somebodies idea of an emergency that really isnâ€™t. I was annoyed, and ready for the worst.
An old car had a minor scrape on its side. A middle aged woman sat in the drivers seat, her daughter occupying the seat behind her.
â€œYou guys are all set,â€ I said to the officer of Engine 3. They went back in service, I stayed with the police and talked to the mom.
â€œA guy in a white car sideswiped me and kept on going. I called 911 from my cell phone and asked for the police. I was worried about Monique, she was sleeping in the back seat when the crash happened and didnâ€™t wake up.â€
I looked at Monique. Ten years old, dressed in clean hand-me downs, a little overweight and the weight of the world on her shoulders from the expression on her face. She was afraid of me, afraid of the police and afraid of just about everything. She appeared to be completely lacking in self-confidence.
â€œAre you okay?â€ I asked her. She shook her head, yes, then diverted her eyes to the floor of the car and tried to disappear.
â€œWe could take her to the hospital and have them do an exam if you like,â€ I said to the mom. Monique looked at me as if I had just turned into Frankensteinâ€™s Monster. I checked my neck to see if any plugs had sprouted. Nope.
â€œOr, we could do some vital signs and you guys could go home.â€
Monique liked that idea, so did mom. Adam went to get the equipment, I sat in the back seat next to the little girl and asked a few questions. Did she know where she was. She did. Did she know what day it was. She did. Did she know who the president was. Boy, did she ever. OBAMA! she said, with a smile that could have lit up a coal mine, andÂ turned her face from plain to beautiful.
As Adam assessed her vital signs, I told her mom, loud enough so Monique could hear that her daughter was absolutely adorable, and would surely break a lot of hearts as she got older. Moniqueâ€™s smile somehow grew.
We left them, mom and daughter feeling better about themselves than they did before the accident. At least I like to think so.
Please Allow me some self-indulgence for a minute, but these are the kind of things that let me to do this job over and over, year after year. I honestly believe that in some small way, by showing a lonely, possibly homely ten year old girl that she had her own brand of beauty that glowed when she smiled my actions have the chance of making a difference in her life. Maybe I over think things, perhaps I give myself too much credit; but I envision this girl years from now, looking in her mirror, maybe a little down, but remembering the fireman that said she was adorable and would break some hearts, and just maybe that little positive flow of energy will be enough to keep her from making poor choices that come with low self-esteem and poor body image. Maybe.
Itâ€™s people like this who help me more than I help them. I need to think I actually do make a difference.