911: Hello God, it’s me, LaLinda

“911, what’s your emergency?” the operator’s robotic voice still reverberates in my head and intermittently in my dreams.

The life and near-death experience occurred that fateful Friday in February— eight months ago—that feels like yesterday. No, the emergency call wasn’t for me, but my friend who was having a stroke. Through this heartbreaking and startling experience, our lives have forever changed such as being just plain thankful for the things/people/situations/second chances we take for granted.

Emergencies happen. And yet, I always questioned my abilities to handle life-and-death crisis. Adamantly, I always stressed to family and friends, “Don’t call me if there’s an emergency. I’m really not the one,” I said making million of excuses.

Even today, I still ponder, “So, how does one ever prepare for an emergency?” And naturally, the answer always is the same: “Who’s ever prepared?”

Unbeknownst to me, God would test this fallacious notion when faced with calamity.  My mind reels back to that fateful night.

Actually, that Friday, My friend and I were in a great celebratory mood–and rightfully so!!! We were both jovial and excited by new changes/opportunities in our lives.  My friend, who is a Real Estate agent, had two closing and several other offers pending.   As for myself, I was over the moon because my prayers manifested:  I finally found an editor, who just happened to be my son’s girlfriend’s Mom.

We agreed that evening we would go to our favorite Mexican spot to rejoice.

“Click, clang,” our glasses echoed our exuberance. “To our dreams,” we said in unison.

Then, I turned my head towards the singer who was belting out 70s/80s songs. I couldn’t help but sing along while I reminisced about my younger days. “I know you remember this song, remember? I said laughing.

Only Debbie wasn’t laughing. She placed her hands to her mouth, I guess to stop the projectile vomiting that came fast and profusely.

Momentarily, I froze. “Could it be food poisoning or the wine?” I thought but quickly dismissed either possibility.  The situation was getting progressively worse by the minute.

“Where’smycreditcardit’shereIjustsawitwhat’shappeningtomeLauriandthe,” she slurred, totally discombobulated.

I remember vividly, the place was in total commotion. By God’s Grace, three men interceded to help Debbie because her legs were numb, yet wobbly.

How we got home is still a blur. But I can still hear her voice telling me “You can leave me now, I’ll be alright.” I didn’t leave her side. A perceptive neighbor to help.  Yet, it was his wife who made the “insightful, medical call.”  I’ll never forget these words “She’s having a stroke,” and then called for help.

“911, what’s your emergency?” the operator asked again.

       Fast forward to today. My friend’s recovery has been long and arduous for her and those of us who have been her caretakers. She’s had to undergo extensive therapy to regain her cognitive skills, physical therapy, and today has to see many doctors/specialist. Her vision is seriously impaired and she also dealing with neuropathy symptoms in her hands and feet. To combat this condition, her doctors advised she walk as much as possible and that is what we do.

We call our special time “walk and talk sessions.” The other day, she jarred my memory about my “misusing my words.”

“Remember, you said that you weren’t good in emergencies?” she asked.

“Well you are,” she said. “God prepared to put you in place to help other people in dire emergencies. Remember, you played an integral role in helping your mother, your son and then me. He knew you could do it, LaLinda.”

Tears welled up in  my eyes. There were a lot of mixed emotions: sadness, joy and yet, I felt relief knowing that these medical emergencies changed the trajectory of my life—and the words I  now use. I no longer doubt my abilities to step up and step in if needed.

These days, I can confidently say: “If there’s a medical situation, call me. I can handle it.”

Then, I pray for strength and confidence and  then watch how God intercedes.










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