Fast and Rosier

This time, I’m going to make a difference.

Everything is working; the family called 911 five minutes after the symptoms began, Engine Company 11 arrived three minutes after that, oxygen was administered immediately, vital signs and neurological function assessed and a report transmitted to me.

This time, everything is going my way. The family has her medications ready, the stair chair is assembled, the patient lays in bed, unable to speak, eyes fixed to the right, facial droop, nothing on the left side. I’m not waiting; I don’t care about my back. I’m closest, I reach into her bed and pick her up and place her in the chair.

She’s 55, a year younger than my mother was on her last day as a functioning person.

This time, this patient will get to the hospital quickly, and this time the medications that will restore her functions will be effective, and she will regain her mobility and ability to communicate. This time, she won’t spend the last nine years of her life in a nursing home, half alive, her mind sharp but body unable – days and years of steady decline as family members watch her waste away until eventually the feeding tube goes in, the light in her eyes goes out, and she dies slowly, a week before Christmas.

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