“This news report was brought to you by… “
“Nothing but bad news.”
“What are you mumbling about, Frank?”
“Well, when you’ve finished mumbling about nothing, you take out the trash.”
Frank stood with a groan and reached for his cane. It was a routine he had found himself in since the accident. Wake, bathroom, dress, breakfast, sit, watch the news, then empty the trash. “Oh, joy,” he muttered as he opened the back door. “It’s Wednesday… Nancy’s ladies’ meeting.”
He grumbled and groaned the short walk to where the trash can was located by the side gate and dropped the bag in. A car door slammed, followed by another. Frank glanced over the fence. “Well, well,” he muttered. “Looks like the new neighbors have moved in over there. Noisy kids too, I suspect, or annoying cats.”
He turned to go back indoors. His thigh ached from the cold. “Twenty seven-years old, Lord, and I feel eighty. I’m useless. Why did you let me survive? I’m finished. With this hopeless leg, my life is over. I…”
A high-pitched scream interrupted his pity party with God.
Another scream and a door banged shut. Frank startled and returned to the gate as fast as his useless leg would carry him. The woman opposite was running toward the street.
Frank opened the gate and hobbled up his path. “What’s wrong?” he yelled.
The woman was trembling. “Please, help my son.”
“What’s happened?” Frank asked when he reached the other side of the road.
“I think he’s dead.”
“Where is he?” Frank asked calmly, hoping he could calm the woman’s panic.
The woman practically dragged Frank up the path and through her front door. On the floor lay a man about his own age. He was very still and appeared to have stopped breathing. Frank knelt on his good knee beside the man and felt his pulse. “What’s your name?” he asked the woman gently.
“Michelle. Michelle Warrick,” she answered, her distress easing. “This is my son, Colin. He’s a diabetic.”
“OK, Michelle, this is what I want you to do. Go over to my house and ask my wife to call 911. Then, ask her to make you a cup of tea and stay there until the paramedics arrive.”
The woman turned and ran without questioning.
Frank moved Colin carefully so he could clear his airway. He checked head to toe for any injuries that may have been caused when he collapsed, then rechecked his vital signs. Suddenly, Frank’s upper leg cramped, causing him to sit hard on his backside. He gripped his thigh and sat rubbing it frantically until it subsided.
Frank was checking Colin’s vital signs again when Colin began to move. He opened his eyes and looked around, obviously confused, when his eyes settled on Frank. There was a sound of a distant siren.
“It’s OK, Colin. The paramedics will be here soon. Stay still. Do you hurt anywhere?”
“Hello, Frank! Who do you have here?”
“Tony, good to see you.” Frank introduced Colin. “This is a buddy of mine; Tony.”
Frank pushed himself out of the way and Tony busied himself with the patient.
Another paramedic rushed in. “Frank, are you OK?”
“Hi, Sarah. So, they’ve teamed you up with Tony.”
At that moment, Michelle returned with Nancy. “Colin, are you OK?”
“I think so,” he replied groggily.
Tony turned to Colin. “We’ll rescue you from Frank and get you checked out at the hospital.”
“You know him?” Colin asked, obviously still confused.
Nancy stepped forward and helped Frank to his feet. “Frank the hero can’t help himself.” She smiled.
Sarah inserted an IV into Colin’s arm. “Frank was Tonys’ paramedic partner and driver until a drunk ran a red light and hit the driver’s door of the ambulance. He lost his lower leg,” she added sympathetically.
“It’s not the only thing he lost,” Nancy added sadly.
Tony looked up at Frank. “You still feeling sorry for yourself? You still have the gift, Frank. It’s in your blood, no matter how long you sit in that overstuffed chair and feel sorry for yourself.”
Frank watched as Tony and Sarah eased Colin onto a portable gurney. He then looked into Michelle’s relieved eyes. He put his arm around Nancy. “Tony’s right, it’s time to move on. Maybe they can use my help down at the first-aid station. I can manage that and we’ll see where it takes me.”
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