…well, it started out pretty typical. A nice run in the morning, a nice breakfast, playing in the yard with Andrew, naps, and then once Andrew woke up, He and I went to Safeway for some groceries while Traci takes a nap.
We are in Safeway with a pretty full cart of groceries, and we are headed to the checkout when my phone rings.
Neil: “hello?”… Traci “where are you?” … Neil “Safeway” … Traci “ Angie has had an accident in Carseland and Betty doesn’t know how to get there”… Neil “ I’ll be right there, I’ll take her”
So, I scooped up Andrew and his diaper bag, left the full cart in the checkout line (sorry Safeway) and fought traffic back home…
Ok, some background. Angie is Betty’s 16 year old daughter. They as a family are 2 years new to Calgary, and Canada for that matter, and Frank, Angie’s Dad is on a company trip about 20 hours away by boat, helicopter and airplane. Betty had gotten a phone call saying that Angie had passed out and had a seizure, was unconscious, and they have called an ambulance. Of course they are way out in the country and it takes some time get an ambulance there and Betty can’t get any more information.
What my ears heard when Traci originally told me that she had an accident, I heard CAR accident. And the road out to Carseland is notorious for bad wrecks… Also, when Scott, Betty’s son came over to ask us for help, he didn’t really know how to tell us what was wrong, and Betty came out right behind him and was totally gone. She was a mess, and couldn’t get the information relayed to Traci properly. So Traci took over and made some phone calls and was able to figure out that Angie was being taken to Strathmore Hospital, was conscious, but no other information was known.
So when I get home, I hand off Andrew to Traci and grab my keys to the cube (yes we have to go in the cube, because the Buick is low on gas) and Betty and Scott hop in and away we go. Betty is still a mess, but is able to finally get the information to me as to what has happened, so I am relived it is not a car wreck, but still, it’s obviously not good if she has been transported by ambulance. It is normally a 40 minute ride out to Strathmore, we made it in 30. I am sure it was the LONGEST 30 minutes she has ever had to endure, but, we made it. I did speed, quite significantly at times, but figured it would be best that we get there in once piece, than not at all, so I just tried to drive steady. It was a pretty quite drive, as I figured it wasn’t the time or the place for small talk.
We got into Strathmore and we follow the ‘H’ signs to a point where there is an ‘H’ sign without a directional arrow. As I whip right past the sign, Betty almost has a heart attack as she thought we were there, and I kept driving. I told her it wasn’t there, that I have an ‘idea’ where it is, and it wasn’t there. She actually stopped breathing for a minute in anticipation of getting there. Fortunately there WAS another directional ‘H’ sign just up the road, and soon we arrived at the hospital. As we were turning into the parking lot I told her “I will drop you off at the door, then go park, and I will wait as long as you need me to, don’t worry about me”. Off she and Scott go.
I go and park the car, and call Traci to tell her we made it.
side note: I am parched. I was thirsty when I was in Safeway and hour ago, and now am really parched. I look around the cube and oh no. I didn’t bring my wallet and the cube is still so new, it hasn’t had time to build up a change stash. No money, in a strange town, not knowing how long I am staying. Anyway, to shorten this part of the story, Betty came out of the ER about an hour later and I had to ask her for money for a bottle of water. That helped.
Ok, so it was about 4 hours of waiting (on my end). Angie was seen really quickly, as the small towns around Calgary seem to have shorter wait times than the big hospitals here, so that was good. Apparently they ran all sorts of tests on her. She was conscious, responding well and has no real side effects of her seizure except she was tired.
I the mean time, I get squeezed out of the waiting room as it is getting busier, so I go outside and sit on a bench and watch my little private version of the TV show ER. Not nearly as exciting though. A few really old people come in, a kid with a suspected broken arm, and a few hospital residents wheeling out for a smoke. So I have no idea what is happening, I am just sitting around, so I figure I’ll call Traci. Nope. Battery is dying on the my cell, and AGAIN, the cube is so new, I haven’t put my car charger in yet, and I am stuck, no money, no cell phone. geez.
So, Scott comes and sits with me for a while. Nice kid, 13 years old, not much for the small talk though. So we just sit there. Earlier in the wait, as I was sitting inside, I read a car magazine. 4 hours later I go back inside, grab a different magazine from a different area of the ER, and lo and behold, it’s the same issue of the same magazine… oh well, i didn’t feel like going back inside, so I read it again.
Betty comes out and tells us that the Doctor has seen Angie and can’t seem to see anything that would have caused the seizure so she may go home. About a 1/2 hour later Betty comes out in tears again, sits down and just kind of breaks down. When she pulls herself together, she tells me that she is going in the Ambulance with Angie to Children's Hospital for a CT scan, as a precaution. Ok, that’s not so bad, Children’s has the best care in Western Canada. I think the whole situation just caught up to Betty, and she just broke down. Once she got it out of her system, we had to make a plan for Scott. First plan was he was to come to our house, and possibly stay overnight with us. hehe… the look on his face when his Mom suggested that was priceless. We are not particularly close as neighbours, so I look at him and said “Trust me Scott, I KNOW it would be awkward for you, but let’s see what happens tonight and go from there, ok?” He was ok with that plan.
So, Scott and I left. I did tell Betty that if she, or they needed a ride home later, to just call.
Turns out, the high speed trip out to Strathmore burned more fuel than I anticipated and we just barely made it back (remember I don’t have a wallet). So as Scott goes into his house, I tell him, Your mom said NO Friends, and I have my eye on him. He smiles and says, ok. Traci comes out with a plate of supper for him, and inside we go. Traci has a warm supper plate for me and we just sit and decompress for a bit. We had asked Betty to call us with any updates, and we hadn’t heard from her for about 2 hours when the doorbell rings and it’s Scott looking quite worried “have you heard anything from my mom? he asks. Nope, sorry, but we will let you know as soon as we do. Not 5 minutes later we get a call from her. They still haven’t been seen, as there are many more critical emergencies coming in, but are hopeful they are close.
Another hour later, we are set to go to bed and Betty calls again. They are ready to come home. Ok, off I go. I had to stop for gas and it took 42.5 litres. The tank holds 44, yikes. Anyway, all is good now, I got a full tank. So, Driving around on Sunday Night in Calgary is fairly creepy, I don’t know what it is, it’s just different on the roads. anyway I get there and Betty and Angie are waiting. Angie gets in the car and I look at her “If you wanted a ride in the cube, you could have just asked” hehe… was the response. oh well, I am glad she is ok.
She was diagnosed with sleep deprivation.
I got home about 11:30, and had a but of a hard time getting to sleep - how ironic… hehe… I had a pretty good dose of perspective during all this so I didn’t dwell on it and finally fell asleep. We had a pretty normal day today, didn’t hear anything from next door until about 2pm when the doorbell rang, and a much calmer Betty was on the step with an ‘Edible Bouquet”. Have you ever seen these? How cool, and how friggin tasty! Thanks Betty, it wasn’t necessary, we were just glad we were there to help, and would do it again for you and anyone else in need. Like I said, we are glad it wasn’t more serious and you are all ok.