Archive for August 19th, 2011

The Ride

Aug. 19th 2011

I made it through the social event.

Conversation here. Cunning words there. Wit. Stories.  Shrimp with cocktail sauce? It was on the table, next to the window, beside the mini puff pastry spinach cheese wraps. 

What’s this?

Tears were running down my face from my right eye.

This was a result of being at the beach earlier in the day. Take Deep Woods bug spray with 25% DEET, combined with SPF 100 sunblock, and you have a chemistry experiment in the making. These compounds created to ward off evil to one’s skin reeked havoc with my body. The two compounds made their way into my right eye.

Everyone was far too polite tell me, “Your right eye looks like it’s on fire!” Or, “Your right eye is gushing like Niagara Falls and looks red like a fire truck!” Better yet, “What is wrong with your eye?” Mums was the word. People were too polite at this social event to confront my discomfort.

Meanwhile, my eye felt as if it had a dagger piercing it. Strike that. Voodoo pins. I left the gathering and drove (yes, drove) to the fire department/EMT station.

I drove my car with one eye open. The other was shut. Looking back (no pun intended) this was foolish. I should have called someone to take me for medical assistance. Yet, being the fierce, rugged individual I am, I sought my own help. I knocked on the megga large mechanical doors at the fire station; the kind that open with a “clicker.”  I was greeted by a group of firefighters standing in a circle chatting—waiting for a fire.

My eye was the fire.

I interupted the gathering. One look at me and they knew something was wrong.

Within seconds, the firefighters summoned 2 EMTs and they went into “medical mode.”

“This looks REAL bad,” noted one EMT. ” I think we ought to take him for a ride to Hyannis.”

 Decoded, a “ride to Hyannis” means a trip to Cape Cod Hospital’s Emergency Room——–in an ambulance.

Wunderbar. My first ambulance ride. It sounds pathalogical, yet this was “a first” for me. An adventure in a twisted sort of way. I was taught 2 things. One. When an ambulance approaches move guickly, move your car  to the side of the road. Yield the right of way. Second. Wisdom from my maternal grandmother. “Honey, if an ambulance passes, always say a little prayer for the person riding in the back.”

To this day, I do both.

Now I was on the receiving end of the prayers–hopefully.

In literatue, one often discovers the theme–home-adventure–home. It was my time to take a journey. This was my adventure. An adventure to a hospital in an ambulance?  I  wish I could have seen out the back window of the ambulance as it raced down the highway. Due to my stinging eye, I could not witness the sight. I was  positioned in such a way, I was undable to look out the back window. I missed Cape Cod’s brilliant scenery while the ambulance was driving way above the speed limit. And rightfully so.

Second, secretly, I wanted to peek out the window just to watch the mediphorical parting of the sea (Cape Cod traffic) as I’m being wisked to the hospital in a “big box” amulance. Move people. Comin’ through!

Oh, the siren. It would wail every so often. Funny how the sound of the siren is muffled inside an ambulance. I could only visualize where we were. Sight was increasing becoming difficult. Light was turning to darkness.

Another blast of the siren. This must be some pokey-Joe failing to move on the divided highway.  In a off-beat way, I felt important with each wail of the siren. This was not a blow the horn, “get-me-to-the-church-on-time” moment. It is a “save-Brendan-Ben’s-eyesight” moment.

The EMTs did an outstanding job transporting me to the hosptial before the toxic combination of chemicals in the bug spray and sun block formed an acidic compound that kept sinking deeper and deeper into the membrane of my eye. Time was at an essence–and these well-trained EMT’s knew it.

I have nothing but praise for the EMT crew that attended to my medical needs. One EMT sat beside me running an IV solution drip into my damaged eye during the entire trip to Cape Cod hospital. He radioed  ahead to the hospital noting we have an “incoming” with a severe eye injury.

I felt like a SCUD missle moment he used the word “incoming.”

  All is well that ends well.

The EMT’s triaged and stabilized my condition. The attending physicians at Cape Cod Hospital then took over and made things better.

Some essays end with a moral lesson. Some make your laugh. Others make you think. I guess I wanted to say thank you to all firefighters, EMTs, ambulance drivers, and optomoligists for helping saving the sight in my right eye.

And if an ambulance is behind you with lights flashing  or its siren wailing, what do you do?

Brendan Ben Feeney

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