Gravel sprayed behind us in a ‘Dukes of Hazzard‘ cliché as we tore away from our post.
“Medic 9, we have it.” A reported neo-nate with difficulty breathing. We had been enjoying the warm summer night at the city line. If I had to be out of my bunk, this particular post wasn’t a bad spot to be.
Engine 68 was also rolling with us. Their quarters were closer to the scene, but they had been comfortably in bed. It was anyone’s guess who would arrive first.
Empty streets; the roar of the diesel; the WHOOSH of our passing at high speed. There is no need for sirens at this hour. We drive inside a disco-bubble, with the strobes randomly illuminating our world in red and white. You learn to look low, watch the headlight beams, and try not to look directly at passing signs as they flash.
We could see the engine approaching the block from the other direction, and they beat us to the turn by a split second. The captain and backstep firefighter jumped out almost before the rig came to a complete stop and were off at a sprint.
As I rounded the back of our ambulance, my world froze. The captain, who had been in the house less than 15 seconds, was returning at a jog. He held a baby in front of him, with his arms fully extended, and his face bore a look of shock. I uttered something profane to Earnest Partner, who threw the back doors open and climbed inside. I followed him, and we began to set up for resuscitation.
Our beautiful summer night suddenly looked very bleak.
Within a matter of seconds, the captain jumped into our ambulance and placed a three-week old girl on our stretcher. The infant took one look at me and began to cry.
(M505 exhales a long-held breath. Even years later the memory of the moment is intense.)
The world resumed its normal speed. It was soon evident that we were dealing with a common cold and a set of nervous first-time parents. A gentle ride to Local Children’s Hospital took care of everything.
Except our adrenaline. No point going back to bed.