His VFW jacket is deceptive on his small frame, and the corresponding ball cap on his head is similarly boxy. He’s currently occupying a ditch alongside a small pickup truck where a few moments ago he was a passenger. Now he’s meeting my partner and I, so obviously his day has gone downhill. Literally.
They go up this hill every day, he’s telling the passerby who is seated next to him in the tall summer grass, keeping him company before all the sirens went from distant to loud, then finally silent here at the scene. The garish lights are strobing up the countryside but they are held to a dim minimum on this sunny summer day. Him and his buddy go down this hill every day to see another buddy, and then back up the hill to the ridgetop they call home. He never thought this would happen today. They were headed up the hill when the gentleman in the VFW jacket thought the engine sounded funny, “Like it was slipping gears, ya know”. Soon the driver told my patient, “I got some bad news for ya. I think we’re gonna crash.” My patient thought it best then to click on the seatbelt he’d removed to access his smokes in an inner pocket of the VFW jacket, and no sooner did the seatbelt click home than the engine did die. Within short order the steering and brakes left as well and they ended up somehow going back down the hill backwards. As my patient tells it, “after about five minutes, we rolled over. Just once I think but it’s hard to say, ya know.”
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"Standby for Tones" is a blog written by Crystal Wallin, a La Crosse paramedic. Her stories, written from real life events, bring to light the human experience in having an EMS career and work life. >> Click to read more on Crystal's blog page.