Some minutes later we arrived at the recreational area where our patient was alleged to be. What greeted our eyes was only saw the peaceful relaxation of a summer evening: some reading, some playing their guitars, eating supper, or something similar. Now what? Dispatch has no better information for us. Huh... Nothing else to do but to search for the patient.
Joshua headed out on foot and I followed in the car. He went to every party in the campground and asked something like this: "Excuse me Ma'am, did someone in your party call 911?" They would respond characteristically: startled eyes, and a worried denial. On to the next group. "Excuse me Sir, did someone in your party call 911?" It went on for a while...
(Unfortunately, this is not an unusual occurrence. Someone calls
911 frantic and frightened, and gives adrenaline-filled, ambiguous
directions. Out here in our little, frontier community, we don't have a way to track the location of 911 calls. As a result, despite dispatch's best efforts, it is not overly rare to have difficulty finding our patients.)
Finally we receive updated information on our patient's location: a group camping spot, where a family reunion is going on. We drive there. One glance says this is indeed the spot. We find the typical tense atmosphere, the nervous faces. The crowd points us to a RV. I step in with Joshua close behind me with the jump bag.
"Hi there!" I smiled down into frightened eyes on the couch. "What's your name?" They replied. "____, I'm Natasha. Would you mind if I take your pulse?" I dropped to my knees while reaching for their wrist with a blue-gloved hand. The assessment went on with the additional help of the ambulance crew who soon joined us.
The patient really was fine and in the end refused transport. Half an hour later, assessment over and necessary documentation complete, we stepped back out of the RV. My heart warmed as I watched the worry and fear melt out of the family members faces under our reassurances.
By the time we were ready to leave, 50 or so of them were in the full swings of their evening meal, worry gone and joy of a family reunion returned. As we drove by their pavilion on our way out, they all stopped their proceedings and discussion. 50 hands started waving. 50 faces burst into beautiful smiles. 50 voices chorused out, "Thaaank yoooou!!!"
And two voices replied with smiles, "You're welcome!" So very welcome, indeed.
It made my day. Why? Because I had done something so heroic? Certainly not. The patient would have been just fine without our help that evening. Because they were thankful. Leaving home right when I had been anticipating sitting down for family time; being interrupted right in the middle of cooking the next day's breakfast; incorrect dispatch information and searching a recreational area over for the patient; any inconvenience at all, was paid back by two heartfelt words. The glow it left in my heart made me think...
God has gone on a massive rescue mission to save us from death. He has done something so heroic. If He hadn't come, we wouldn't be fine; if fact, we would have no chance at survival. And now, God "watches for some return of gratitude from us, as the mother watches for the smile of recognition from her beloved child."* He deserves it so much, after all. Why don't we make God's day when it is so within our power to do so, by letting our voices chorus in praise to Him for His rescue mission on our behalf?
Thankfulness, my friends, is a beautiful thing. It makes a gift so much more worth giving...
Let's thank the Rescuer.
*Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 84