Orphan Survival Stories
There had been two deaths at the hospital that day. I could hardly take all the pain and suffering I saw in the eyes of the families of the deceased persons.
I had not seen that kind of sadness in a person's eyes since seeing some of the little children dropped off at the orphanage. A blank stare remained on their faces, until they realized their mothers and fathers were never coming back.
I walked to my room located in the back of the hospital. I was living and working as an ambulance attendant at night, and working for my meals and paycheck as a hospital orderly during the day. I lied down on the bunk bed and covered my head with the pillow. I just could not seem to get all that sadness and crying out of my head. So many people in such pain and there was nothing I could do to make them better. I felt so helpless. There had never been anything that I could not repair except maybe myself.
The telephone rang and I reached over to pick it up. "Pennington Ambulance Service, may I help you?"
There was a woman yelling so loudly that I could not understand what she was saying. Junior and Wilber, the other paramedics, came walking into the room and I told them there was an emergency. Junior took the telephone and managed to calm the woman down enough to find out that her son was choking on something. Wilber and I quickly dressed and ran out to start the ambulance. We were ready to go as soon as Junior got the correct address and directions, as well as instructed the woman on what to do until we got there.
Within a minute or two, we were on our way, flying down the street with full lights and siren. I picked up the radio and told the police department that this was Ambulance 1.
“Please give us the lights."
That meant they could hit a switch, which would turn all the lights red in every direction, allowing us to drive in the left-hand lanes when coming upon intersections. After leaving the downtown area, we increased our speed to about 80 miles per hour so we could get to the boy as quickly as possible.
All of a sudden, something hit the windshield and blood went everywhere. Junior hit the windshield wipers, but that just smeared the blood and made it even worse. About that time, the ambulance started sliding sideways, still traveling about 60 to 70 miles per hour. As the windshield cleared, we noticed that we had started around a sharp curve and were now sliding into the parking area of a small fire station where five or six older firefighters were sitting in lawn chairs shooting the breeze. They immediately jumped up and started running as fast as they could, while screaming and yelling at the top of their voices.
The ambulance finally came to rest in the center of the parking lot. Several of the old men ran over and started banging on the hood of the ambulance, and cursing at Junior. Junior turned the wheel sharply, floored the gas petal making the tires spin and left big black marks on the concrete lot. One of the old firefighters grabbed his lawn chair and threw it at the ambulance. We squealed our tires and down the road we flew to get to the boy who was choking.
We arrived at the address about 10 minutes later. We ran into the house and immediately started working on the young boy, who was about 8 or 9 years old. The boy's face was blue and Junior tried to resuscitate him for more than half an hour, but to no avail.
That was the third death I saw that day. I could not stand to see one more person, especially a mother, sitting and crying in such pain. Junior called me out onto the front porch and told me to walk up to McDonald’s Country Store located in front of the house. I was to tell the father he needed to come home.
I walked to the small, wooden store and saw a man behind the counter selling bread to a woman. I walked over and told him that his wife needed him, immediately. He told me he was busy and would come as soon as he could close the store, which would be in about half an hour.
"Your wife needs you, RIGHT NOW!” I yelled.
He pointed his finger at me and then pointed toward the door.
"Get out of my store right this minute!"
I walked toward the door, turned around and told him that his son was in a very bad condition, and that he should come right now.
"Out!" he yelled, pointing at the door again.
I left the store and started walking back toward the house. The farther I walked away from the store, the madder I got. I could not believe that a man would not come to see his son when he was choking to death. I turned around, walked back to the store and marched in.
"I told you to leave," he said.
I looked him directly in the eye and screamed, “CLOSE THE DAMN STORE! YOUR SON IS DEAD.”
He just looked at me with a blank stare and his mouth dropped open. I turned around and walked out the door.
That was probably the first time in my life that I realized that many kids who were lucky enough to have parents, might not really be any better off than those of us who were orphans.