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September 22, 2005



Both of my parents, at separate times, left the house I grew up in mortally stricken in the back of an ambulance. Consequently, each time I see an ambulance screaming down the road, sirens blaring, I think about that moment in their lives. Even years later.

On the other hand, when I'm driving and a fire truck or ambulance on a call goes by, I invariably get angry when I see people who don't do the right thing by getting out of the way. It seems to happen more often. Driving an emergency vehicle in the Chicago area has got to be a nerve wracking job.


I'll never forget (although I often wish I could) my ambulance ride with Stephanie when we first found out she had colitis. She was being taken from one hospital to another for a transfusion. The whole experience took on such a surreal experience that I actually felt as though I were witnessing the scene instead of experiencing it. I can recall looking down on Stephanie and me as if I were above and behind us. I guess that was the only way I could deal with my terror. I heard myself chattering mindlessly with her, saying, "Gee, Steph, won't Pete be jealous to hear we got to ride in an ambulance!"

I don't often (if ever?) see people who don't pull over for emergency vehicles. My God, those people ought to have their licenses revoked. That's just about the pinnacle of arrogance.

If you want to see nerve-wracking (and somewhat depressing), rent "Bringing Out the Dead," which stars Nicolas Cage as a burned-out EMT in Hell's Kitchen. It was really good.

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