Tonight was the perfect example of how one call can be a complete polar opposite of the very next.
I went to a call involving two tourist who just happened to crash into each other. This woman drove two hours to watch her granddaughter compete in a cheerleading competition today. She was on her way home when her vehicle was disabled in the collision.
She was now stranded far from home with no transportation. Taking a taxi was not an option. If she wanted a rental car she would have to go to the Orange County Airport because everything else was closed. That wasn’t going to work either.
She now needed a hotel room for the night. I told the woman I wasn’t going to leave her alone and I would drive her to whatever hotel she wanted to go to.
We were in front of the Double Tree Hotel, so she checked there first. They were having trouble finding her a room and it looked like I was going to drive her somewhere else.
While we waited, she showed me a competition photo of her granddaughter and she asked about my family.
The hotel finally found her a room and it was time for me to leave. The woman thanked me again for staying and not leaving her alone. She then asked, “Can I give you a hug?” I told her she could and we both smiled. She then gave me a giant hug and I left.
I was feeling pretty good after that because it’s not every day in this job that you have an interaction like that.
The very next call didn’t have the same happy ending.
I heard the call go out over the radio about a woman who was not breathing and a family member was performing CPR at that moment. I was close by and off I went with lights and siren.
I was hired in 1994 and graduated from the academy in February of 1995. Up until last summer I had never performed CPR on anyone except for the dummy at training.
Now I was en route to CPR attempt number three since August. The first two times didn’t work out for me or the victims. Now I was feeling apprehension and dread as I raced toward the house because I knew I was going to be the first one there.
When I pulled up to the house I was mentally prepared for what I was about to do. This was different than when I performed CPR the first two times.
I went into the upstairs bedroom and there was a woman in her mid-sixties lying in a hospital bed. A man was bent over doing chest compressions on his wife of forty-five years.
I then took over for him as he watched with hope. This didn’t look good, but I still had to try. She had a lifeless look on her face and some type of fluid was coming out of her mouth.
I was in an awkward position, but I kept pumping away as I waited for the paramedics. Two minutes seemed to take forever until they arrived. When they did, they hooked up a monitor and checked for a heartbeat.
She was flat lined and they pronounced her right there. They then pulled the sheet over her face and told the family they were sorry for their loss.
She was about the same age as the woman who just hugged me on the last call.
There was nothing else I could have done. I stood in the hallway as her husband called someone and said, “Mom’s dead.”
I felt kind of weird being there to hear him make that call since this was such a private moment. It took me back to when I told my kids that my father had passed away.
Now it was time for them to grieve for their wife, mother and grandma. It was also time for me to go to another call.
Tonight was the perfect example of the roller coaster ride we call police work.
This job is also just like Forest Gump and his box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get……