“Rescue Me”, Guest Blog: Jamie Parker

“Rescue Me”, Guest Blog: Jamie Parker

Through the What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear? blog I discovered a great new voice in the blogging world, Mrs. Jamie Parker.  Her posts are chipper and upbeat, without fail.  She writes about clothes in ways that fill me with nostalgia and joy.  She touches on the aspects of clothes that bring out emotion and self-expression.  She also tells sweet, lovely stories, like the one that she is sharing with us here today.  This is a story that is part of a collection that she’s putting together into a book.  Get more of her cheerful attitude at http://ilookgoodtoday-jamie.blogspot.com/


“Rescue Me!”

As I was signing in for a doctor’s appointment, suddenly half of the building went black. It was raining outside and, in typical Florida fashion, power outages were normal with summer afternoon storms. I found it strange that in a building that housed many doctors’ offices, the back-up generator wasn’t kicking in.
“We’ve been hit by lightning. Everyone shut down your computers now,” exclaimed a nurse in an obvious panic.
This was not the typical power outage, and I began to wonder if the exam I was about to have would even take place. Would I have to reschedule? Maybe the power would be back on soon and I could still be seen that day. After a few minutes, with half of the doctor’s offices still black, I was called to go back to the exam room.
“Jamie Parker,” the nurse explained, “you’re going to be in room three. If you haven’t heard, we’ve been hit by lightning. Our exam rooms have power, but I’m going to have to grab a flashlight to get your chart from our medical records office. I’ll be right back.”
The doctor soon came into the room, and in a matter of minutes the exam was over and I was given a clean bill of health. As I was being helped back into my wheelchair the nurse informed me that the power to most of the building was still out and the elevator was not working. It hadn’t hit me at first but then I remembered, “We’re on the third floor. How am I going to get back downstairs?”
“Well, the fire department is here because when the lightning hit, a man got stuck in the elevator,” one of the nurses said. “If they’re gone, I’m sure some of us can help carry you down.”
“My power wheelchair without me in it is 400 pounds,” I told her. “There’s no way you’re going to carry it and me down six flights of stairs!”
Since I don’t drive, my friend Jorge was with me. Jokingly I said, “Well, it looks like you may be carrying me downstairs.”
With a not so thrilled look on his face he said, “Just as long as someone can open doors for me when we get to the bottom floor. I’ll get you downstairs. Jamie, don’t worry.” He paused and then laughed as he thought about carrying me for such a long distance, saying, “Dang woman, you’re tryin’ to break my back!”
Suddenly a nurse came running into the exam room. “The firemen are still here and are on their way up to help you,” she gasped, having run up the stairs from the first floor. “I told the cute one that he has to carry you down the stairs. At least you’ll have eye candy to look at for your inconvenience,”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw two very muscular firemen coming through the door out of the darkened hallway into the doctor’s office. It was almost as if they were walking in slow motion like you see in the movies—the heroes coming to save the day.
“We hear you need assistance getting downstairs,” the younger and more muscular of the two commented.
“Yes, I do. I’ve made arrangements to leave my wheelchair in the office overnight in case they can’t get the elevator to work tonight. You don’t want to carry it down anyway. It weighs over 400 pounds and costs more than some cars. I, on the other hand, am only 97 pounds.”
“You certainly won’t be a problem to carry down,” the salt and pepper-haired fireman replied with a chuckle.
I wanted to respond back with something witty like, “Well, you two have certainly eaten your spinach, so I should be no problem at all.” Instead I opted for the less googly-eyed answer to his statement to save myself any embarrassment. “No, I shouldn’t be a problem.”
With that we devised the game plan. Jorge would go and get my manual wheelchair out of the car to be ready for the firemen to put me in downstairs. My power chair would stay in the doctor’s office overnight and I would pick it up on the way to work the next day, hoping the elevator situation would be rectified by then. The way the plan was delivered I felt like we should all be huddled in a circle with our hands on top of each other. The urge to say “break” at the end of our discussion was overwhelming.
“OK, how am I going to do this?” the fireman questioned himself as he looked me up and down trying to figure out the best way to lift me. I prayed that he wouldn’t opt for the hoisting-over-the-shoulder hold. Not only would that not be a very comfortable position to be carried down six flights of stairs, but I also didn’t want my butt to be exposed for all to see.
As he bent over to pick me up, one arm under my legs and one behind my back, the other fireman chimed in, “Don’t mind him. He’s all sweaty and smelly from our last job.”
“It’s fine,” I said, trying not to laugh.
I felt like my body was being held against a brick wall of muscle. He quickly made his way down one flight of stairs and then the next and the next.
As we reached the bottom floor the other fireman who had been spotting us ran in front to open the door leading to the first floor. We emerged from the stairwell as if from a burning building.
“Looks like we made it down before your friend,” my transporter said.
He sat me down in one of the chairs lining the front entry hallway while we waited. I was amazed at how he wasn’t out of breath or didn’t even brake a sweat. Anyone I knew would have been keeled over from the strain of carrying me down six flights of stairs.
Not long after we made it down I saw my manual wheelchair being pushed through the building’s front doors. However, Jorge wasn’t pushing the wheelchair; it was my husband, John. I had been in contact with him giving updates the entire time, but kept reassuring him that everything was under control and there was no need for him to leave work.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
“After we got off the phone I kept thinking, what am I doing sitting here? So here I am.”
The office manager, Chris, had joined us and informed us that the firemen were playing hero and were carrying my 400 pound power chair down the stairs. John and I both looked at each other in a sort of panic. If something happened to my chair I’d be lost. John immediately ran to the stairwell to see if he could help, but the chair made it unscathed.
Being reunited with my wheelchair we said our thank you’s and headed for the car. I couldn’t help but laugh at the ordeal I had just gone through. There were, of course, moments of frustration, but in my positive, bounce-back attitude the only thing I could think to say was, “Did you see those firemen that carried me downstairs? Sometimes I just love being in a wheelchair!”

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