A week or so ago, at our invitation, the fire department showed up to explore our situation. There were four of them, big guys who looked even bigger in their massive uniforms, but coming with one mission: to see how to make things as safe for Brooke as possible, whether in a fire or in any other emergency.
They like to keep track of the folks on vents in their area, they said, or with other health problems—after all, they’re the paramedics and rescue squad. So they looked at the way our house is arranged so that Brooke can live entirely on the ground floor, and checked out the various routes of egress. That makes it easy, they said, though they also said that if there were a real fire, they’d not just check the downstairs but the entire upstairs, including every closet—that’s where children try to hide in a fire. They admired our new backup generator, fully automatic. They noticed the fire extinguishers. And of course they talked with Brooke, noted the various sorts of respiratory equipment on hand from the oxygen tanks to the backup ventilator, and carefully examined his diaphragmatic pacer, making sure they knew how to change the control box and where the extra batteries are stored. We need to put together a “Go Bag” of stuff you don’t want to have to wait to assemble, if he were to need to be transported to the hospital in an emergency: a copy of his physician orders, his medications list, his Living Will (full code, it says), and of course copies of his insurance cards.
The firemen made it clear that they were impressed by the job our staff has been doing: you’ve got it together, they said, lots of other people don’t. This is praise we didn’t take lightly. But as they finished their visit, they turned and said, we recognize you. Two of them had been on the crew that had rescued Brooke at the time of the accident, two years and two months ago. You’ve lost so much weight, one of them said, but they knew him just the same and remembered answering that call.
What’s the moral here? It’s not just about how many people were involved in rescuing one man, those like the flight nurse in the first moments after the accident and now the fire crew, who were called by someone—we still don’t know who—who ran down City Creek canyon to the bottom, where you could get cellphone reception, and were there within only a few more minutes—but that they still remember. Part of our continuing desire to piece together the fragments of what happened at this accident, so long ago, is to give some real thought to what rescue means—not just for us, but also for them.
Practical note: Peggy started to post this from the Paris airport en route to a conference in London, but somehow it didn’t quite work. She’s back home already--quick trip! (This has some elements of getting back to "normal.") But Brooke’s sister Lisa and niece Isabelle was here for a much-anticipated and excellent visit while she was gone.