My second wife stopped breathing shortly after they placed her in the emergency vehicle en route to a hospital some eight years ago. The day was six-months to date of her first bout with an emergency wagon when she fell in our Conshohocken, PA, home suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
She remained in a coma for more than five days then. This time, however, they were more certain that she would not recover from her latest, unplanned date with Miss Fate. A nurse or a social worker at the Hospital suggested I contact a priest to say the last rites for Wendy.
I thought about it, but disregarded the advice, believing that my wife of more than 25 years would never forgive me should she revive and learn I got a Catholic priest to pray over her Episcopalian body!
She did survive. But it was touch and go for several long hours, hours that reminded me of a time in Vietnam when I rushed to the aid of a fellow officer who had been shot by a sniper. I force-marched my platoon with two of my men needing to be medevac’d from heat exhaustion when arriving at the site First Lieutenant Victor Lee Ellinger was shot.
We were too late. He died from the assassination. Yes, some sniper picked him out from all the grunts in his third platoon, and caused a little chaos when taking out the leader.
Chaos was overcome when Wendy awoke.
She had nothing to forgive me for except, maybe some sore ribs I caused when trying to get the steak she had choked on dislodged from her throat as I injured her while butchering the Heimlich maneuver.
I’ll be a little better prepared for the next emergency the Universe sends me. I’ll get our favorite son — Nicholas — who learned the Heimlich maneuver — to deal with it.