I never saw myself as an ambulance chaser, one of those poor souls whose livelihood relies on catching an injured individual in the hospital loading dock, but yet, there I was, running a red light behind a shiny emergency vehicle as it barreled down Barannca Parkway, as though my life depended on it. Despite the radio on and the traffic outside, the only thing I could hear was my baby, crying as the EMTs had shut the steel doors in the parking lot at urgent care, B2 on the inside, me on the out. In my mind, he was louder than the sirins. There was no red light in Orange County that was going to stop me from getting back to him.
He had woken at two that morning, coughing as he tried to breathe. I gave him his inhailer, then we'd gone back to sleep, only to repeat the program at six, ten and two again. By then, he just wasn't himself, fussy and quiet instead of rampuncous, refusing to walk even the few steps from our car to the play structre when we arrived at the park. I decided to take him in for some help.
At urgent care, the flawlessly beautiful N.P. on call, with lock after lock of curly black hair, had told me that his vitals were bad, that he needed to go to the hospital, that she was calling 911. Within moments, the tiny room was full of giant men carrying giant bags, all arrived to whisk away my tiny, wheezing baby.
Once he was strapped and masked, short of breath and yet still screaming, the EMTs drove away, and I followed, terrified I would lose sight of the ambulance, assured I would lose myself in the suburban maze that is central Irvine. In slow motion, time passed, as did trees, a lake, and many cars, and somehow, magically, we saftely arrived at the emergency room entrance bay.
(To be continued.)