A Grievous California Summons ……#216 (the 90’s)

Never forgotten

Never forgotten

.  The Friday of May 22 1992 was adherent as most,  Gary returning home from his quotidian pursuit at the Anthony Hospital,  initiating a new home project,  having received a mail order garden-supply catalog,  subsequently ordering 300,  12 inch  bare root hedge plants to designate a separation from his neighbor’s yard on the north, and the city access alley on the west.  The early evening having arrived, Gary about to resume his outdoor project,  the family having seen Robert off for a weekend with a friend, a journey for an extramural adventure at a campground and lake in western Kansas.  The sound of the phone interrupting his return to the yard work, the call was from California,  his mother on the line,  Gary detecting a somber inflection in her voice, then the disclosure, his 73 year old father having passed away that morning at the cabin at Pioneer.

.  The call was brief,  the initial shock silencing,  the reality and affliction of  what had transpired was starting to emerge,  but a acumen of rationale emanated,  first things first.  Robert needed to be notified and return from his travels,  Jan placing a call to the Highway Patrol,  relating the campers travel and destination,  requesting the Authorities intercept and inform them of the situation.   A short time later,  a telephone call, the travelers having been notified of the circumstances,  Jan proceeding west to retrieve Robert.  Saturday morning Gary placing a call to the new Interim Hospital Administrator,  informing him of the circumstances and that he and Jan would be absent from their duties,  Jan having been established as Director of Nurses the previous fall,  the two hospital employees yet unable to give the Administrator any definitive time frame for their return.

.  Gary disclosing his family would arrive as soon as round-trip flight reservations could be obtained,  but his Mother was forthright,  insisting that he make one-way reservations,  wanting him to take possession of his Fathers Chevrolet Blazer for his return to Kansas.   This was troubling,  it was not an easy to say no to his Mother,  especially at this junction in time,  after several attempts to persuade her otherwise, he agreed.   Gary proceeded to communicate with his children in Oklahoma City,  securing they were appraised of the circumstances in California, discovering all were mindful,  his daughter Marlo, husband Chris and Grandson Garrett,  as well as his oldest son Scott,  deciding they would foster the road trip and drive to California.

.  The sequential calling of airlines began,  presenting some difficulty,  never at any time in his flight experience had Gary ever attempted to make reservations on such a short notice and was totally a gasp at the pricing for one-way tickets.   To his dismay,  another setback,  every airline having cancelled its bereavement fare policy because of the airline industry’s economic difficulties.   The airline reservations finally accomplished at a premium cost,  Gary’s father-in-law,  Bud Murrow, agreeing to provide the families transportation to Mid Continent Airport in Wichita.   The grievous California journey having commence.

.  The airline flight concluding,   the family’s being meant by Gary’s sister Kay for transportation to Columbia, his sister’s Nancy’s residence. With his  Fathers previous heart problems, Gary’s mom and dad spent the winter months in his sister Nancy’s Modesto rental house,  returning to their secluded mountain Pioneer home in the spring.  Gary was desiring knowledge of the circumstances,  his Mother discerning the saga of the tragic event.    Rising in the morning, returning discovering his dad not breathing and unresponsive.  Immediately calling 911,  the responder questioning her,  dispatching an ambulance,  and a verbal attempt to explain the CPR procedure to the very distraught 71 year old.  A futile effort was undertaken but to no avail, Gary’s mother alone in the silence of her surroundings, the torturous waiting, the ambulance having to traverse a time consuming 16 miles of highway from Jackson,  and locate the Pioneer Township secluded residence.   The concluding EMS ambulance written report addressed some vital signs during the run to the hospital,  stating the patient expiring after arrival.

.  Gary having spent years with the Kiowa Ambulance Service,  summon two annotations,  the first being the Unwritten Golden Rule of EMS,   “No one dies in the ambulance”,   EMS personnel proceed with CPR until they reach their hospital destination.   The second,  but little known annotation,  most ambulance protocol dictates that  EMS personnel when finding the response person deceased, are to remain until the coroner, or an authoritative person arrives.   Gary surmised that his father had passed long before the ambulance arrived. The logical explanation,  the Jackson EMS may not have been subject to the protocol,  so they initiated a transport,  administering CPR, and documenting their induced vitals.

.  Gary acknowledged the summary of his Mother’s experience,  but it was no vindication for the inner pain he experienced with the loss,  performing an endogenous audit of himself,  concluding a consequential fact,  thru the years, a failure to find time to know his Father,  the son abiding in a self-interest world for the past thirty-three years.  Gary accepting the mounting anguish within,  enduring  the self-accusation,  of what could have been,  should have been and now,  will never be.

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