Saturday, November 28, 2009

Well Equipped

Brandon, my power ranger son, got so excited when I told him I was going to take him ice skating. He's going to be playing organized hockey games this year with his team, the Mini-Mites. It took about almost two hours to buy all of the equipment- helmet, skates, mouth guard, elbow pads, knee pads, the works.

I was pretty surprised at how many different types of each piece of equipment there were from which to choose. I could have bought any one of several mouth guards ranging from $2.00 to $28.00, some of which even came with a policy of dental insurance! I opted for a rubbery one that had to be soaked in boiling water and then molded to my power ranger's bite for fit- a cool $6.25. More of a process was buying the helmet. Brandon wanted the flashy black helmet with lightning bolt logos on it. He didn't like the white one that I got him with all of the legal stickers on it that professed compliance with a blur of mnemonics that made me feel safer about it all.

We took all of the equipment to the ice rink. Brandon donned what he called his full 'costume' and whipped around the rink. After a few lessons, his confidence level had peaked. Unfortunately, he didn't get to the lesson on how to stop. As he attempted to exit the rink, his skates hit the door saddle that separated the ice from the walkway. He began to fall. I never felt so close to him and so far at the same time.

My eyes closed tightly as I winced in anticipation of a big thud. But the thud never sounded, thanks to Lenny. As fate would have it, I had responded to Lenny's house, right around the block from my own, on two separate occasions when he called for an ambulance. On both alarms, I responded directly to his house, which is to say that only seconds passed from the time he had called for help until I arrived. This time, however, it was he who helped me. He caught my son right in his arms, evidently while Brandon was mid-air while my eyes were shut.

Intently, I skated to the scene. Lenny recognized me right away, as I did him. 'Seems we both have a habit of being at the right place at the right time' he said with a sigh of relief. And during the few moments that followed, I realized that his sigh was more one of thankfulness for being able to return a favor his inner self needed to repay to my family for that which he perceived to be my favor to his family and himself. Before that minute, I had never before realized that one of the inate benefits of being an EMS provider not only is the life purpose gained from giving unto others. It also enables others to give back- to their communities, to their own families, and even to individuals. Luckily, I was one of those individuals on that day. And giving back is exactly what Lenny needed to do, at that particular moment. Not only to catch my son. But also to assure himself that there was a reason he needed to keep living. One of the two calls for which I went to Lenny's house involved his son. His son still has not come out of the hospital, which consequently led to Lenny's deep depression, self-mutilation, and ultimately the second ambulance call at his house. 'Enjoy your son' he commanded me at the end of our exchange of pleasantries.

Brandon was more angry than anything about the event. He blamed the whole thing on the fact that his equipment didn't fit right. So he ran a hot bath, and threw his hockey helmet, skates, shin guards, ALL of it.... in to the hot water. "Brandon! What are you doing?!?!" I shouted in disbelief. "But dad, I'm just fitting all this stuff better for myelf just like I saw you fit the mouth guard for me! I don't want to fall anymore!".

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