About four years ago I had to call for an ambulance to take Joe to the hospital.
I don’t remember where we picked up trucks or where they were being delivered. I DO remember this stretch of I-30 near Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
Joe called me on our little radios to say he had to pee. He pulled off on the shoulder and got out of his truck. I waited in my trucks, keeping an eye on oncoming traffic to make sure he could get back in his truck safely. I waited…..
It was taking him too long to water the weeds. I went to go check on him. I found him.
Behind the cab of his truck, hanging over the frame, he was throwing up. His body was shaking and he was unsteady on his feet, as if he were drunk.
Raising his head slightly to tell me he was sick sent him into another gut wrenching bout of nausea. Raising his head caused him to be violently dizzy and made matters worse for him. I told Joe to hang on to the truck, keep his head down, and I would call for help.
With my iPhone and Google Maps I was able to get a location of where we were to give a mile marker to the 911 dispatcher. Problem was – I am directionally challenged. I kept telling the dispatcher we were south on I-30 and was told that isn’t possible.
Even numbered highways are East and West. Odd numbered highways are North and South.
The 911 dispatcher was really great at calming me down as we both heard the loud retching and groans coming from Joe. I was asked if we had passed the South Fork Truck Stop? I didn’t think we had. I was asked what was around me. Clenching down on my run away tongue I will myself to not scream out “Nothing but F’ing trees!
I told the 911 dispatcher the mile marker location from my phone’s map and said we were on our way to Texas. “Please, you can’t miss us on the shoulder! Two sets of decked trucks. Four white Freightliners in a row. “. That only confused matters further. Now the dispatcher thinks there are four people sick.
Joe is asking if help is coming, I’m not making myself understood where we are, and I’m on the razor edge of streaming out a string of curse words that would curl anyone’s hair within 50 feet.
An ambulance passes me as I’m about ready to fly off the handle. “Tell them to come back!” I screamed into the phone. “Who?” the dispatcher asks. “The ambulance! It just passed me going south” I screeched. Once again I was told that was not possible.
Thank God somehow my world righted itself. The ambulance made a U-Turn right in the middle of the highway and came head on to Joe’s truck on the shoulder. Three big burly angels piled out of the ambulance and went directly to Joe. They manhandled him onto a gurney on the grassy slope of the shoulder. Cinched him in and struggled mightily to get the gurney off the grass and onto pavement.
The three men tended to Joe as they loaded him in the ambulance. One shouted over his shoulder the Highway Patrol would be showing up in a moment. Then they were gone. The 911 dispatcher had hung up.
Stillness surrounded me. Quiet. Except for my thumping heart and quick breathing. Adrenaline coursing through my body had left me shakey and I had an overwhelming desire to cry. I was saved from that embarrassment by the arrival of a Highway Patrol officer.
After telling my tale and being assured Joe was being taken care of at a nearby hospital I began to formulate a plan.
I asked the Officer where the South Fork Truck Stop was – two miles down the road I’m told – would he follow me to the truck stop so I could leave Joe’s trucks there. Then would he take me back to get my trucks so I could get them off the road. He agreed to help me.
Now that I had an action plan I could get my wits together and not fall apart. So off I went, in search of the truck stop and get Joe’s trucks parked.
I got to have an auspicious ride in the back of the police car. The space back there is literally NONE. I had to turn sideways to keep from having my knees in my throat. The Officer apologized for the bad accommodations. It seems in Arkansas female passengers have to go in the back. I didn’t care. I was well on my way to having my problem solved and to get to the hospital where Joe was.
Don’t you hate book and movie endings that leave you questioning what happened next? I won’t do that to you.
When the police car arrived back at my trucks I had a terrible time getting out of the blasted thing. I had to twist my upper body and lay out of the vehicle. Once my hands were on the ground, a lot of popping and snapping of my spine and shoulders, I was able to get the rest of me out by crawling on the ground. Quite a dignified and ladylike exit.
The Officer wrote out the hospital name and phone number for me. I got in my trucks and drove to the South Fork truck stop and parked next to Joe’s trucks.
I don’t make Joe’s trailer work. He always does it while I watch. Now was just as good a time as any to see if I had been paying attention or off in LaLa land. It would be easier to get Joe’s front truck off than going through the process with my set of trucks.
To spare you the details….after a few minutes of pushing the wrong buttons I was able to get the trailer in position to uncouple his truck from the trailer and leave for the hospital.
Seeing Joe in a bed with an IV machine, cords and wires for a heart monitor and I don’t know what else was a final moment to come down from the stress. I did cry then.
The doctor came by to tell me Joe had experienced Vertigo. He had an inflammation of his inner ear that was the cause of so much distress to my poor husband. A while longer in the hospital for monitoring, a prescription to reduce the inflammation and vomiting then we could leave.
I don’t care what anybody says. Coming from the northern parts of the U.S. and going south to Texas I will still be going south on I-30 and not West.