Ambulance

Bishop Washington

It was loud, and too bright. I don’t know why they make the lights in the inside of ambulances so bright. My mom never let us turn on the light in the backseat when she drove at night; she said that the light interfered with her vision. Someone was gripping my left hand tightly. I knew the hand was not my mother’s. It was not the hand of a lady I had loved so dearly, no, this hand was small. The skin on their fingertips, rough; and the sweat on their palms constant.

A man and a woman were in front of me, the man kneeled, the woman sat on a bench within the back cabin of the ambulance. They wore navy shirts, and pants; the letters EMT were stamped on the left side of their chest where their hearts were supposed to be. There was an oxygen mask covering my nose and mouth; it too felt to tight on my bare skin. The woman looked nervous. She yelled the words: “Yes, triage external and internal," into the walkie talkie. I didn’t know what “triage” meant, so I laid there in the back of the bright ambulance; my eyes half open, thinking what the word triage meant.

I had no control over my body. I could not speak. I tried squeezing the hand that had been gripping mine, but I could not find the strength to do so. I looked right. The cabin was spacious. There was a bench that came out the wall, where the EMT woman sat. I moved my eyes towards my toes and saw that tubes leading into my mouth. I rolled my eyes back to my chest, and saw the once-beige bandage that wrapped my forearm was now red.

They did not bother to make the ride on the stretcher enjoyable or comfortable for that matter. It was the opposite; rough and bumpy. Four small, black wheels screamed as they rolled on the pavement leading to the Emergency Room. Once they moved from the gravel path outside to the tile in the building, the wheels no longer screamed. They rushed me; I felt like I was on like an amusement park ride.

I was forced through one set of swinging doors, and then another. I tried to read the signs that were mounted above the doors, but my half open, drowsy eyes couldn’t make out the letters above me. I wondered why there were so many staff members surrounding me.

Never once did it cross my mind that something was seriously wrong. I didn’t know why I had been in the ambulance, just as I didn’t know why six people were urgently pushing me down a well-lit corridor. It was loud again and there were tubes and there were wires and there were medical staff members around me. Still, I wasn’t worried.

I was too weak to keep my eyes open, so I closed them. I remembered when I was a child, how my friends and I would race our bikes to school. I never wanted to lose. Nobody did. We’d ride every day that year, regardless of the clouds and rain constantly above. At first, we’d say that our bikes had powers. My bike was a mountain bike, so it could take shortcuts through the grassy, muddy terrain. The boy who lived down the street, in the green house with the off-white door, owned a road bike. It was actually his mothers, so we often poked fun at him for riding the pink, girly, bike next to our manly bikes. Still, his pink bike was certainly the fastest. He often won our daily races. And the last boy, the one who grew up in the small pale house miles away from me; his bike was, well, his bike was shit. Often the chain would fall off on the way to school. The first time it happened none of us knew how to put in back on, so we were forced to call his dreaded stepfather to help us. To our surprise, he did. He was a raging alcoholic, we all hated him. But from there on out, we all vowed to learn how to fix the chain in case it ever fell off again. And it did.

It was now that I realized being in the hospital with doctors rushing all around me probably meant that something bad had happened. Maybe I was hit by a car, or maybe I was diagnosed with a rare venereal disease. Maybe I had fallen down the stairwell in my shitty apartment complex, or perhaps I had a skydiving accident. But that is unlikely. I am afraid of heights, so I cannot imagine myself willingly jumping out of an airborne plane. In fact, the more I think about it, the more dreadful it seems. I have never liked heights.

Mom took my brother and me to the state fair when we were younger; it took some courage to will myself to go on the Daredevil roller coaster. I gripped the chest harness tightly, the clicking sounds the car made as it pressed along the track did not help my mental state on our journey to the top of the hill. At first, I did not mind the height, but that was only because I was only thirty feet off the ground. Closing my eyes did not help as I now had no visual reference to pair the clicking sound of the track too.

So I opened them once again, only to look right and see my brother, a wide grin across his carefree face. And then I looked to my left, only to see a bunch of small cars that looked like ants sitting in the parking lot. Then I looked straight up towards the sun. I opened my eyes once again only this time I was not on the roller coaster, I was in the ER and the sun had been replaced by the bright lights in my face. The doctors rushed around me. I closed my eyes again and I was back on the roller coaster. I looked down and saw the track drop. The cart slowly went over the hill and then rushed down the track, it was loud. I opened my eyes again, the loudness of the track had been replaced with the shouting of the doctors. They seemed frantic. And so, I closed my eyes and when I did I was back on the coaster. I sat there, tightly gripping the chest harness as the the coaster made its way around the track. We went left, right; up and down and during all of it I was scared.

When we reached the peak at the top of the hill I was more than scared. After the dreadful minute long ride had ended, I didn’t bother looking at the monitor that shows the picture taken of riders on the coaster, I was probably crying, or worse I may have shit myself. It felt like I did.

The ride was over, so I opened my eyes once more. Like before, there were lights in my face and doctors around me. And even though I knew something bad had happened, I wasn’t in pain, nor was I scared. My mind was to busy and preoccupied traveling through memories to be scared. Plus, the only thing I am afraid of is heights.