The Bridge

Part Two: A continuation from the previous post “Ice Road Paramedics”

So there I was (ala Commander McBragg) thirty feet about the frigid raging waters, having traversed an icy treacherous roadway on foot. My MediC Stat pack on my back, my hands out holding the sides of the narrow wooden foot bridge for balance, trying not to look down at certain death below (should the rickety boards below me give out). And ahead of me, the house on that rock island, the house surrounded by deep snow drifts, the house whose front door was being pummeled by an axe-swinging (again I exaggerate — crow bar banging) police officer, and somewhere inside slumped in a chair is what I believe to be a dead or dying man.

I think — if he is departed and beyond resucitation, let him be cold and stiff by a warm fire. Let there be no grey in the decision to work or not to work his body. And while I am praying, please don’t let me slip and fall — I am already halfway across — please I do not wish to plummet to my icy death or to land on the jagged rocks at the river’s edge. If the bridge is to give out, let it break first at the far side and go one board at a time like in the cartoons and let me run fast, one board ahead of disaster. Please no Wyle Coyote falls for me.

One by one we — my crew — make it across, and then step through the deep snow to the doorway, where the door, deadbolted has still not given way, despite the Paul Bunyonesque slams of the officer’s mighty crow bar (He was actually prying, banging in the appropriate manner). I ask the quiet and worried brother standing with us when he last saw his older brother, who he tells me is in his 80’s. He last saw him at sunrise, many hours ago now. He is dead, I am convinced of it, but I say nothing, just nodd.

The officer runs at the door now with his shoulder, and light from inside now shines through. Another ram and a kick and the door is open and we dash in. Through the foyer, and through the kitchen, down a hall, and through a dining room we go. Ahead I see the living room and hear the TV, now in sight — Let’s Make a Deal is on. I see the man now — his back is to me — slumped in his chair. I simultaneously see a grey pale face and a large hearing aide behind his left ear. The officer shouts as I reach for the man expecting another icy surface.

The dead man raises his head. “Oh, good day,” he says with a smile.

***

Not the first time that has happened.

***

A hour later after much time in the snow and ice helping free trapped vehicles and get them up the hill, and then making that long ice road journey back to our ambulance parked on the road, we are again in our warm quarters. I — in the recliner — hold the TV remote. Click, click, click and we are back to Die Hard which seems to always be on one channel or another.

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