When I was eleven years old, I was playing with my friend Teddy Newcombe when he was hit in the head by a rock thrown by a local hoodlum. It literally split flesh of his forehead open. It was awful; I could see his skull in the wound. I had to carry him up our steep driveway and into our house before calling someone for help. That was my first brush with having to help someone in dire straits.
My next similar experience was when a woman who was walking into a grocery store right ahead of me and my ex, Steve. She collapsed right at the entrance to the store; she was unconscious. The next incident concerned a woman who had a massive epileptic seizure right in front of me in a park by the hospital where I was visiting my father. The fourth was a man who collapsed unconscious right behind me in the lineup for a cashier at our local grocery store. And then there was the woman in the ditch last week.
For each incident, I was closest person to the individual having the medical emergency. And each time, without thinking, I attended to the person, clearing airways, checking for a pulse, checking for dentures and, most importantly, getting someone to call 911. These events are grotesquely intense—at least for me they are—but I have never hesitated to attend at my outmost, constantly telling the ill individual, even if they are unconscious, that all will be okay, and that help is on the way.
I’ve survived three heart attacks. I consider it astounding. Even more incredible, however, is being pulled into five intense medical crises with a stranger. I thought, what are the odds? And then I wondered how first responders can attend crises as a living. Obviously, like a surgeon, they learn professional distancing. Still, I couldn’t do it.
Monday was soft and slow. It was a beauty of a day, so Her Highness and I did a lot of walking to enjoy it. It’s likely to be good weather through Paula’s and Nicky’s visits. I’m glad of that; we can take in the island sites.
Today my plan is to prune. I’ve Lavender, my wildflower garden and the herb garden to trim. And later, the Hydrangeas. And, of course, trail walking with H.H. will be part of every day. I vary the walks amongst the many loops I know of now, and I know how long it takes to walk each loop. I know the names of many of our trails like I used to know the grid of downtown Vancouver streets when I lived there. It makes me feel more ‘of here.’
October 7th is our anniversary. Even though we came at different dates to Pinecone Park, we all came in October, and so we celebrate our anniversaries on the date of my arrival here in 2017.
People tell me how much they love this time of year. For me, this time of year equates to that part of our life in which we live emotionally aware of our impending death. That’s how it is in my genes. I live in the bright and warmth of Summer; I endure the dark and damp. But better here than on concrete and asphalt or over-populated urban park.
Paula called to tell me that she’s bringing fresh salmon for us to barbeque for our dinner when she is here. The party begins tomorrow, and goes until the 17th.