Friday, November 6, 2009

My Hero...

The biggest reason, I chose to do this job, was my dad. He was in the first 100 EMT's ever in Utah. He worked for American Fork Ambulance, for 11 years. Growing up, I was (and still am) a daddy's girl. There wasn't anything he could do wrong in my eyes, he is my hero. I remembered hearing the stories, of car accidents, and plane crashes by Utah Lake, that he would respond to. He had the funniest stories and fondest memories he'd share, and he did it all volunteer. I would listen and not realize all that he did in this job, but think that he was the biggest hero I had ever known. He quit eventually, after a lot of them thought it was wrong to be paid. It was also stressful on my siblings. I have no doubt, he'd have done it much longer. Now the biggest fear I always have had, is responding to family. I would have nightmares that I would go to an accident scene, and a parent was trapped in the car and I had no extrication equipment to get them out. In June of 2002, my nightmare became reality.
I was working the ambulance one sunny day. A call came out, for a motorcycle vs. a car. I drove to the station, and took my place as driver of the ambulance. I flipped on the lights and siren, to which the police told us not to come in "code 3" meaning, no lights and siren. My mind went to, an obvious fatality, or the motorcyclist is ok. I drove to the scene, and as I was pulling around the police cars, and accident wreckage, I noticed that one policeman and one firefighter, looked me straight in the eye and had deep, sorrowful, looks in their eyes. Never, has that happened. I pulled around, and saw my worst nightmare. My dads bike. I remember, throwing the ambulance into park so fast, I don't know how I didn't break something. I screamed, and immediately began shaking and sobbing. Through the windshield, I saw him. He was looking at me, smiling and waving, to let me know he was ok. As he was waving, I noticed a large chunk missing from his hand. I flew out of the ambulance, and ran to his side. I hugged him, for what seemed like 5 seconds, but was probably mintutes. I kept asking where he was hurt, and in my panic, was going in and out of the ambulance to get supplies. I remember my legs feeling like jello going up and down the stairs. I never could get any supplies, because I couldn't remember where anything was. That ambulance was the back of my hand, yet at this moment, it was foreign to me. Finally, my partner grabbed me and told me to sit down. He said he'd take care of supplies, to just stay with my dad. The big burly fireman, and policeman came and hugged me. I knew now, what their eyes were trying to tell me. As I sat there crying and shaking, I noticed a few things.
 First, a stripe of paint on the corner of the curb, the color of my dads helmet. Next, a large scrape and chunk out of my dads helmet. Third, a piece of my dads bike, across the street on the lawn of a business. And finally, a large dent and bend in the ramming bars on the front of the truck that hit him. Of course, I cried and shook even more. My dad was hit, thrown, and tumbled a few times before hitting the curb with his head. He remembers his helmet spun around, and he kept himself from going unconscious.
The week prior, I had responded to a similar looking accident. The motorcyclist had no helmet. He hit the curb the same way. We fought for him in the ambulance long and hard, and passed him over to a helicopter waiting at the hospital. He passed away. He had no chance after suffering severe head trauma.
My dad didn't regularly wear his helmet. Today, he did. I am thankful everytime I see him, that he chose too.
My partner cleaned his wounds, and I took him to the hospital after the nightmare was over. His arm was three times its normal size, from hitting the ramming bars.  He also had major road rash. We went to the emergency room, get his arm x-rayed, and his wounds cleaned out. To this day, he still has limited feeling in his fingers, on the arm that was hit. I can honestly say, that was the worst day of my life. I will never forget it. My mind has twisted the ending into so many "what if's" that I drove myself into major anxiety. To this day, when I am called to a motorcycle accident, my stomach drops, and I instantly have to calm myself into not vomitting on the spot. I understand however, it is what he loves, and it makes him happy. He now wears his helmet everytime. After the hard work he has and still does everyday for my family, he deserves every happiness, and he will always be my hero...


  1. Grandpa has been a major blessing in my life too. He is the only true father I have ever known and I am proud to say that I am a grand daddys girl too. I am so grateful that you were there to be with him, even though it was hard for you. It was probably nice to have you there with him. Mindi, YOU are my hero. I love you so much.

  2. PS when Gpa Gets home im gonna squeeze him so hard and tell him we are so happy he wears a "damn" helmit!