The story I’m about to tell happened almost five years ago. I find today to be fitting to finally put it in writing.
I was on my way to see my Rheumatologist for a follow-up appointment. She had ran a battery of tests that she called the “million dollar work-up.” I was nervous about the results, so it consumed my mind the entire drive. I was trying to remain positive and began thinking about lucky I was to not have developed diabetes. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with my first pregnancy in ’95 and was told that I had a 50/50 chance of developing type II diabetes within 10 years. Although I continued to have glucose intolerance problems with subsequent pregnancies, still no diabetes and I was well out of the 10-year mark.
I got to my appointment and sat down with the doctor, and to my surprise she brought up my fasting glucose level. It was above normal, but barely. I had some Mountain Dew that morning so it wasn’t exactly fasting or completely accurate. My family doctor agreed with me. Thank God!
On my way out I had to schedule another follow-up appointment for, I believe, three months out. That date happened to be September 17th. I quickly agreed paying no mind to the date. I then realized that would have been the one-year anniversary of my father-in-law’s death. I had to change the date. I just couldn’t go on that day.
I was on my way home when traffic began to slow and the two lane highway was merged into one. As I got closer I could see only one Sheriff had arrived thus far and was busy setting up flares. About ten yards ahead was a scene I’ll never forget. It was a gray car crashed into the cement median with a lifeless looking woman slumped over the steering wheel. I absolutely lost it at this point. I understand that the Sheriff had to control traffic, but all I could think about was this woman. I was outraged that nobody was tending to her apparent need. Everything in me wanted to stop and help, but I wasn’t sure of nursing protocol in that scenario, so I kept moving.
I was almost home when I was drawing near my local fire department. At the last second I decided to pull in to get answers regarding this crash that had obviously consumed me. I wanted to know why this woman wasn’t top priority, although, logically, I already knew the answer.
I spoke to a paramedic and was overtaken and a bit outraged by the differences in our jobs. He began to tell me a story that was comparable to what I just witnessed to help me better understand. He didn’t get too far into the story before I realized he was talking about my father-in-law, Hank. Hank had been hit head on by two cars that were drag racing. There were five kids total in two cars and Hank was alone driving home from work. All the kids survived with minor injuries. Hank, on the other hand, did not. The paramedic was first to arrive on the scene. He said he went to Hank’s car and could tell by the color of his skin that he had suffered major internal damage and would not survive. He didn’t even attempt to revive him. I still to this day cannot fathom not trying to help even when you think all hope is gone.
The irony of that day is still overwhelming to think about. Today marks 5-years that Hank’s been gone. I’m still very saddened by his loss, but so grateful for the memories that remain.