“What’s your emergency?”

“My husband fell from a ladder and can’t get up. I think he broke his hip or leg.

“What’ s your location?.”

My wife has the phone on conference so that I can hear the conversation with the dispatcher. (we both know that otherwise one will have questions they thought the other should have asked and didn’t, and somehow both parties will feel abused.)

“Did he hit his head?”

“No, it’s not life threatening so you won’t have to come with sirens or anything.”.

(This no siren thing is most important to me. I hate the type of attention a siren brings in this community.)

No sooner was the no siren request out of my wife’s mouth than I could hear it in the far distance. Then closer and louder, and closer and louder, then silence at the gate and then finally one last blast of the siren as they came down our street.

From my excellent viewing angle on the concrete floor, I can see the ambulance parked, lights flashing at the end of the drive. And then nothing happens, just the ambulance lights flashing. I suspect the delay is for purely theatrical reasons and to give everyone a chance to get to their windows to see what’s happening.

Finally, they EMTs saunter up each with his bag and the questioning begins.

“Are you Mr. Foos?”


“What happened?”

“Stepped off the ladder too soon.”

“Were you dizzy?”


“Have you fallen in the last three months?”


Ordinarily I might enjoy this stimulating game of twenty questions, but, I have been lying on this cold concrete floor for over a half an hour, and I would like some help.

“How far did you fall?”

“A couple of feet.”

“Did you hit your head?”


“Were you dizzy?”


Next was the medical history which I’ll spare you just in case you’re lying on a cold, hard, concrete floor with an excruciatingly painful broken hip.

“Can you stand?”

I refuse to answer other than giving an “if looks could kill” glare.

“Can you slide onto the stretcher?”

Again, no answer but both wife and I are glaring.

“I guess we will use the pinchers then.”


“We put one side of the stretcher, called a “pincher” on each side of you, attach the two sides and crank them together pinching you onto the stretcher.”

I was then duly pinched, jostled onto a gurney, rolled to the ambulance, bounced in, and locked in. That’s all I can remember of that journey. I suspect I passed out from the pain, or they gave me some kind of medication. I do remember that there were a lot more questions asked on the way to the hospital. Have no idea who answered them.

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