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Death by telephone pole.

September 24, 2015

September 24, 2015
Photo on 6-29-15 at 9.23 AM #2
As I drove back from a church choir potluck tonight I passed Lake Elmo Road in Billings Heights. This brought back a terrible memory from about 1985 or ’86. Sometime about then, in the winter. I worked the night shift at Billings Deaconess Hospital in the pharmacy. In those days, pharmacists responded to every resuscitation attempt and they occurred about once or twice a week, on average.
One Monday, two of us pharmacists, Jean Carter and I, responded. Or maybe it was just me. Anyhow, I went down to the emergency department for the code blue, maybe 1 or 2 a.m., when this guy in coveralls brought in a body on a gurney. The patient was a man, maybe 25 years old, or so. He had been in a police chase that ended up when he crashed into a telephone pole. According to the guy in coveralls who wheeled him in, the patient had tried to get out of his car soon after the crash, but collapsed. The force of the collision was fatal. Although the nurses and doctor tried to resuscitate him, he died. I won’t forget how he looked. I remember my resentment against the know-it-all in coveralls who said the victim had no chance.
I still feel sad when I think about him. Jean and I sort of went crazy, laughing inappropriately, to think how someone would have to tell this man’s parents. I guess the police were chasing the guy on Lake Elmo Drive when he lost control of his car. The memory is painful.
The next morning when the day shift came to the pharmacy, one of our young, pretty, blonde technicians, a woman named Barbara, was in tears. She came to say that she couldn’t work that day because her brother had died in a crash that night on Lake Elmo Drive. I remember that her face was blotchy, red, with tears. Barbara. I don’t remember her late brother’s name, but I remember how he looked on that cold night. I’ve often thought how his car smashed into the unyielding phone pole.

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