Monday, August 9, 2010

How to shave years off your life...answer the phone...

  Have you ever got that phone call.  You know the one you get when the other person starts out by saying “First off, I want you to know you don't have to worry everything is going to be okay, but....” 
   MAYDAY....MAYDAY... Emergency ahead.  You don't worry ... you go straight into panic mode.  Your brain immediately starts flashing every picture of every possible accident you have ever seen or heard about. 
   All you want is information... how bad is it...where are you... how fast can I get there.
   The person on the other end is trying not to panic you so they are talking very slowly.
   Ahhh, you just want to reach through the phone and strangle them.
  
   This has happened to all of us at one time or the other.  I have been on both sides of that call, as I am sure everyone has been.  Here are just two of the calls my mother has gotten.

  My mother got a call early in the morning once like this:
   'Hello'
   ' Ah, Mrs. H.  I want you to know everything is going to be all right.  The emergency room clerk just needs to get your health insurance information for A.'
   ' WHAT....What happened?'
    'He is going to be fine the Doctor said he could stitch the muscles and tendons back together.    And there shouldn't be any permanent damage to his hand.'
   'WHAT HAPPENED?  WHERE are you?'
   ' We are at the hospital.  But I'm sure they will let him go home as soon as he comes out of surgery. We just needed to get his medical information for the forms.'
   'WHAT hospital?  YOU STAY RIGHT THERE.  We are leaving now and will be there in 3 hours.'

   Turns out a glass broke and cut the back of my brother's hand.  The surgery was to clean and stitch the wound and make sure their was no damage to the nerves.  By trying not to panic us it sent our imaginations and heart rates into overdrive.
 
   Then there was the time my sister,  her 1year old son and 2 ½ year old daughter and myself where on the way home from a family funeral late at night.  We both had to work the next day so we didn't spend the night.
   Halfway home my transmission suddenly goes out.  I coast to the side of a very dark highway, get out and lift the hood to signal trouble.  This was before cell phones. Yes, back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and George Washington was president.
   Any way while I was opening the hood, I see  headlights come over the hill, slow down and pull behind the car.



   When I the door of the car opened I saw it was a Highway Patrol car and the officer had stopped to check on us.  He asked is there was anything he could do to help.
   I started to breath again, caught my racing heart and put it back in my chest where it belonged, and told him yes.  He told us the nearest town was 40 miles up the road and called a tow truck for us.
   He wanted to know if there was anyone we would like him to get a hold of to pick us up.
   I gave him my Grandmother's phone number, so he could get a hold of our parents to come get us.  He called it in on his radio.  Then he waited with us until the tow truck got there. 
   We where sitting in a truck stop restaurant  when our Mom and Dad stormed in and said 'Don't you ever do that to us again.'
   What did we do?  I didn't mean for the car to break down.  Why were they mad at us?
   After they calmed down I learned why they were so upset with us.  It seems that when the Highway Patrol called they spoke to my Grandmother and my mom and dad only heard one side of the conversation.

  What they heard was something like this:
   “Hello ... Yes this is Alice ...  Who did you say you where? ... Texas Highway Patrol....Yes, I have a granddaughter named Pamela .... Yes she is on her way back to Houston now... What happened? ... Where are they? .... Yes their parents are here with me now.... Okay, I'll get them for you.... Hold on.”

   I have since been on the receiving end of those calls a few times now and know the sheer panic you feel.  I can now appreciate exactly what my bothers, my sister and I put my parent through.  Calls like these will defiantly shave years off your life.
  Then again you still don't want to panic the person on the other end....
'Ah, There's no need to panic, but...'


6 comments:

Parsley said...

AGH, I got nervous just reading this. Wait until my daughter starts driving...then I'll go NUTS!

Everton Terrace said...

Ha, the worst for me are when I hear "Mom, don't freak out but..." the worst. I am completely freaking out before she gets the next word out.

Laura Eno said...

Yeah, those 2 am calls suck. I'm almost happy when it's a drunk dialing the wrong number...almost.

Theres just life said...

Hi Parsley, It's the mom's curse in action. You know the one...Just wait till you have kids of your own. If we could only harness that power for good.

Hi ET, That is the worst. That and the 'Don't tell Dad, but...' You just know you don't want to hear the rest of that sentence.

Hi Laura, First congrats on the new book. Yeah, I with you on that one. Of course, you already had the heart attach with the first ring.

Just call me Katrinka said...

On the other hand, I've been on the receiving end of bad news without any kind of preparation -- and that's not good either. "Hi, this is Dad. Your mom's got terminal cancer, three months to a year to live. Can you handle it?"
Uh, I guess I'll have to.
But as soon as I hang up the phone, I fall to my knees. He could at least have said "Sit down, I've got something to tell you."
Well, no one is thinking that clearly in these situations, maybe.

Theres just life said...

Wow Katrinka that would be a bad call to get. Sorry to hear about your mother. I lost mine in 2001.
At least my parent's pastor said "I have some bad news. Your Mom just died of a heart attack."
I guess there is no way to say it. At least tell me to sit down.
When I had to notify my sister and brother the first thing I did was find out if someone was there with them, told them to sit down and then told them.
It still doesn't make it easy to hear, but at least you have someone there to hold you.