It’s sometime after midnight. I hear the siren coming. It’s on the main road and I think to myself, “please don’t turn onto my street”. “Please don’t turn onto my street”. I hold my breath. Damn it, it turned, it’s passing my building now. I jump out of bed, throw my sweats on and go outside to see where the fire truck went.
I have always been afraid of sirens. For as long as I can remember. I was always convinced that someone I knew was in trouble. And for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why. I was in my early twenties talking to my mom about it when she told me a story about something that had happened when I was little. My mom, brother and I were out one afternoon. I’m not sure how old I was, probably somewhere between 4 and 6. We pulled up to the house as a fire truck was pulling up to our house. Apparently my dad had been drinking by the pool and passed out and none of his friends could wake him up so they called 911. He was fine and spent many more afternoons drinking. Anyway, even though I don’t remember this happening, maybe I internalized the sound of the siren. It’s a good theory anyway.
But have I always jumped out of bed when a fire truck goes by my house? No… of course not. But in July of this year, as I was leaving for work, a fire truck and ambulance went tearing down the street. My uncle lives a block and a half away so I just took a quick peak down the street. The fire truck did stop down by his place, but it didn’t look like it was right out front of his place. I knew that if it had been for him that his partner or someone else would have called me. So I took a deep breath, calmed down and went to work.
Four hours later I got a call from my mom. Yes, the fire truck and ambulance HAD been for my uncle, but his partner hadn’t bothered to call anyone for hours. She hadn’t even bothered to go to the hospital with him. And then she called my Aunt up in Idaho. What the hell? I was livid. So, long story short, I got up to the hospital, found out what was going on and took care of things. He is ok now. He had gotten dizzy and had fallen down. They weren’t sure at first what had happened, they thought maybe stroke, but as it turned out he had started taking some new medication and it was reacting badly with a different medication he was taking.
But my uncle is old. And he’s not walking so well. His memory is starting to go a bit and I worry about him. And every time I hear those sirens I think, “please don’t let it be him”. It’s really starting to fray my nerves. So instead of sleeping, I am sitting here writing in my blog, hoping that it will help me to calm down enough to go back to sleep.
It was bad enough when the sound of the sirens made me feel anxious. But now I have a real reason to worry when they turn down my street.
So, people of my small town, please don’t have any more emergencies tonight. I need to sleep.