Memories

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An elderly gentleman.

He sits in his bent car, with no recollection of where he came from or where he was going. Or at least he won’t tell us. The collision was minor, but he has no idea why he suddenly made a left turn into a parked car. He can’t or won’t answer most of our questions.

The collision was too minor to account for this. We can rule out hypoglycemia, but we have no way of knowing if his symptoms are from a stroke, pharmacology, senility, or sheer cussed stubbornness.

A pretty young woman.

She stands outside her bent car, watching with concern as we treat the other driver. She is uninjured and doesn’t want to go to the hospital. It’s a simple matter of paperwork.

Her birthdate triggers my own memory: she was born the week I graduated from high school.

An elderly cancer patient.

He sits on the bed in his rooming house. The room is tiny, not much bigger than the interior of my ambulance. A twin bed takes up one corner, with two dressers, an old television, and a hot plate on the other walls. It’s all clean and neatly arranged.

And next week it could all be someone else’s.

We carry him down three flights to the ambulance and embark on what may be his last ride. Who will remember him?

A middle-aged paramedic.

He sits in a folding chair outside the garage, enjoying the warm night air and wondering where the last eleven years have gone. Over his right shoulder the Medic 9 ticks softly, cooling after a busy evening.

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