My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Most Difficult Phone Call

Tuesday’s Blog Prompt: What is the most difficult phone call you’ve ever had to make?

I’ve had to actually make 3 difficult phone calls in my life. The first one was to call my sister and tell her that our mother had passed away.

The other two calls involved the same event and it is a long story so I hope I don’t bore you with the details but it seems like yesterday that it happened instead of about 15 years ago. I had to call a friend’s wife (whom I had never met) to tell her that her husband had a heart attack and then had to call another friend’s wife (whom I also never met) to tell her that her husband got hurt helping the heart attack victim. I was scared to death and didn’t know what to say to either wife.

It was in December and I was on Christmas break from teaching so I went hiking with about 12 other hiking friends (all who were over 60 years old). We went up to Looking Glass Rock in Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. It was a beautiful crisp day with ice along the rocks in places. I was in a conversation with one of my friends, AD, who was proud that he was around 65years old and still hiking. When we reached the top of the mountain and prepared to eat lunch, I remember Jean saying, “AD doesn’t feel well, I think he is having a heart attack.” We got him laying down on the rock and I must have tossed my peanut butter and jelly sandwich over the side of the mountain without realizing it (because it wasn’t anywhere around later). We crowded around him and Ginny, who is a former flight attendant, took his pulse. She looked at us and said it was pretty weak and irregular and she thought we needed to get him help. When asked if he wanted us to get him help, AD said, “Get me help! I think I’m dying.” So Clint and I ran down the mountain to get help because it was the one and only time I had hiked without my cell phone.

As we raced down the mountain, we told people going up about our emergency as we tried to see if anyone was a medical person. Later we found out that one of the men was a preacher and when he arrived, he asked if he could pray. When they gathered around AD and prayed for him, AD said he knew then that he would survive and felt reassured even though he was in pain.

When we got to the bottom of the mountain to get my phone, we realized it wouldn’t get a signal so we got in the car and raced to the ranger station. At that time, there was federal budget cuts so the ranger station was closed. I saw a light on in one of the offices and didn’t realize that a TV station was actually interviewing a ranger when I banged on the window to tell them we needed help. He called 911 for us and told us to meet help at the Fish Hatchery so we left.

When help arrived in the form of firemen, ambulances, police, we told our story and a helicopter was dispatched to find AD. After about 3 trips, they couldn’t find him and kept making us repeat where they were when we left them. I started to think AD just had gas or something and then they all walked down the mountain since they couldn’t find them. But after searching, they found the group. Unfortuantely they had to land the helicopter a mile away and hike to where the group was. When they got AD in the basket and carried him to the helicopter, the group slipped on ice, and my friend Norm ended up breaking his ankle. Since there wasn’t room in the helicopter, he had to hike the 4 miles down the mountain in the dark with the firemen.

While Clint and I waited hours for AD to be rescued, I was told to call his wife on my cell phone. I called and called but couldn’t get any answer. Finally when they told me that he was being helicoptered to the Asheville Hospital, I left a message giving her the details. Around 11pm, when Norm finally walked out of the woods, we drove the hour long ride back home to Greenville. Norm still had another 90 minute drive to Columbia where he lived and asked me to call his wife and tell her to be ready to take him to the emergency room when he got there. I was never about making that call and she was not a happy camper when I told her. When I finally met her (and she is a super nice person), she told me this was like the third December in a row that Norm had gotten hurt. He is pretty unlucky in December I guess.

Well, those were the hardest calls I have had to make and I hope I never have to do anything like that again.

1 comment:

Jeanet said...

It's never fun having to be the one that passes on bad news but I think you're a superstar in this. Helping your friends when they needed it the most.