ALMOND — My newspaper boss, City Editor Neal Simon, almost a decade ago asked me to update Spectator readers with progress, or lack thereof, in my battle with Parkinson’s, an incurable progressive disease that can sneak up on anyone with that unfortunate diagnosis.
This is the latest chapter in the story and it involves genuine life-saving heroes.
By the way, the life they saved was mine.
For those who may be in Almond during a cold drizzly night in the future, you picked the right spot to tumble and crawl to your rescue. As a tip for anyone facing that circumstance, here‘s what happened to this scribbler:
The monthly Alfred-Almond School Board meeting went into executive session before 8 p.m., a signal for the Spectator schools reporter, aka this writer, to exit for home to write an article about the gathering.
I stumbled over one of many bad weather perils within five minutes of leaving the school building: The net result of my on-going clumsiness was a stagger, fall and then seeming crawl toward my car. I missed the old vehicle by about 100 yards,
But shouted pleas for help were heard by Alfred-Almond staff Rob Gardner and Kate Wall, who could probably moonlight as a vehicle lift, and Kate who, with school board president Earl, coordinated to alert my wife to the predicament and the location of our 15-year-old car.
Board President Earl with his characteristically wry humor for a chilly drizzly muddy night commented that crawling over soggy lawns and wet road left my clothes embarrassingly deshevled and disgusting for a school board meeting. He was as right as the chilly drizzle that kept falling and one of my first-string suits got disheveleder and disgustinger.
Gardner and Wall heard my anxious pleas for help and performed a perfect rescuers rush. Rob ran carrying the shivering writer almost 100 yards to a warm school, while Kate called and coordinated with my wife. Almond EMTs loaded me into the back of their ambulance for the astonishingly speedy and warm trip to St. James’ Hospital. If you thought the Alfred-Almond Alfred Emergency Medical Technicians were speedy, you would have been startled at how trained hospital staff could dart through crowded hospital hallways.
The only hiccup: Charge nurse Patti and reporter barely endured how water coming from a warm-water spigot could be so cold. Patti found a more suitably temperate faucet to remove pounds of dirt and the final shakes generated outdoors.
How bad a night was it? Familiar EMT staff waved and greeted the warming reporter as they wheeled newly additional patients into hospital more comfortable corners.
The reporter’s wife arrived and stuffed two plastic bags full of gritty sweater and suit pants and jacket. Reporter was given a change of clothes: baggy hospital blue trousers and shirt.
Dumb-Lecky (the opposite of smart-aleckey) writer thought he would add humor to the almost chaotic scene with a rambling story that included a definition that Wuhan is Mandarin for Hornell and that the word “coronavirus” means pandemic in Mandarin.
Fortunately the reporter realized speeding EMTs and hospital staff needed no humor when they are rushing to save lives, even if one of that species is a news media reporter.
Note to Shift Supervisor Wininger and RN Patti: the reporter hopes that you’ll remember the well-meaning writer the next time he attempts something equally stupid like describing the Chinese pandemic humorously.
Editor’s note: From time to time, Spectator education reporter Al Bruce writes about living with Parkinson’s disease.