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It’s been such a zoo this week that, what with one thing and another, when I was writing the previous post, I forgot about the Whataburger incident Tuesday evening.  My knitting group meets at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday evenings and it is my habit to stop at the Whataburger at Utica Avenue and 50th Street on the way there and buy a large Coke.  True to form, it’s 6:05 p.m.,  I pull into the Whataburger parking lot, drive around to the order board, vvvvrrrrm down my *power* window (no hand cranking the car window down any more for this baby), and chirp “Hello,” at the microphone to let the order taker know I’m ready to order.

A long moment of silence.

Then this quavering teenaged voice says, “We’re not taking orders right now, we’re having an emergency.”


So, I pull on around to go back out onto 50th Street, and hear a siren start up.  Now,  I know there’s a fire station less than 100 yards up the street and sure enough, out comes a pumper truck, which is kind of good, because I was debating with myself about calling 911 in case the  emergency at the Whataburger was that they were being held up.  So now, I’m wondering if they are on fire — a reasonable supposition, what with all the fried foods on the menu.

As the fire truck is interrupting oncoming traffic to turn off 50th Street onto Utica Avenue, and the firefighters are practically on the scene, I turn out onto 50th Street and put plan B into effect, which is to say, drive the two blocks further down 50th Street to the Taco Bell and get a large Dr. Pepper.   Before I even get there, here comes an ambulance barreling down 50th Street toward the Whataburger.

Allow me to digress.  When you call an ambulance here in my fair city, not only do they dispatch an ambulance, they also dispatch a fire truck.  There’s a method to this madness.  The ambulance services here only staff two emergency medical technicians per ambulance.  If they need to transport a person to a medical facility, the EMTs have got to be able to get them onto the gurney and strap them down for transport.  If the person requiring transport is a large and/or  heavy, and/or tall person, and there are only the two EMTs, this could be problematic.

I speak from experience.  Early last year, my dad went down in their back bedroom, and my mom and I could not get him up off the floor and onto the bed, so we called the ambulance personnel to help us, and to check my dad to see if the reason he went down in the first place was because he needed to be hospitalized.

Out comes the ambulance, — and the fire truck!  The EMTs checked my dad over, and his blood pressure was way down and his pulse was way up, and he was showing signs of delirium.  Obviously, he needed medical attention. Turns out, they could not maneuver the gurney around the turn from the den into the hallway that led to the back bedroom, and they were not allowed to attempt to carry him by themselves.  But, with the help of a blanket used as an impromptu stretcher and four burly firemen, they were able to carry my dad out to the den and put him on the gurney.  (Turned out he did need to be hospitalized.  He was dehydrated and had a bad urinary tract infection.)

In reflecting on the incident later, it occurred to me that had the Whataburger incident involved a grease fire, there would have been a lot of background noise (particularly, loud voices) in the microphone of the employee who responded to my order request.  So, evidently, it was some kind of medical emergency that prompted the fire truck.  Since I don’t watch the local TV news or take the paper, I don’t know the details.