No Easy Trail


Police cordon off the abandoned vehicle with yellow tape. It is an 86 Plymouth – an old man’s car.

“Am I going to need all my gear, or just the monitor?” I ask the officer.

“The monitor.”

I look across the grass toward the tree line at the eastern end of the cemetery. I don’t want to have to get all the way in there and find out he’s workable. “He’s been there awhile?”

“Long enough. There won’t be an issue.”

I walk in alone. The leaves of late fall rest brittle on the ground. I have to watch my step on the uneven terrain. Bare branches pull at my pants and workshirt. There is no easy trail here. Still the air is fresh and it is good to be out of doors. No stale wheelchair lined hall this trek.

Fifteen minutes later, I reemerge with burrs on my clothes and blood on my hand from a thorn scratch. In my pocket I have a six second strip of asystole, a man’s name and date of birth on the back. 74 years old.

As I walk back across the grass, the late afternoon sun in the west makes me squint. I can hear the traffic from the main road that runs along the northern edge of the cemetery.

Indians lived here 300 years ago. When they grew old they too used to walk into the woods to die.


  • John says:

    As a survivor of cardiac arreest, I thank God everyday for the paramedics who revived me! Sporting a fine ICD, BTW, that went off once, and fiddle-lee-dee works great, thank you very much!

    Keep on, keeping on, EMT! I am lovin’ life ’cause of the efforts of one your compatriots!

    I am going to take apple pie down to the firehouse, and on your suggestion, thank ’em again!

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