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SURRATT: Hey, Vicksburg Fire Department: Thanks for the help

Last week, I took a ride in an ambulance.

It was not for a story. I pulled a stupid husband trick at home and wound up in shock and a lot of pain from what was later diagnosed as bruised ribs.

The sequence of events leading to my ride with the paramedics began at home last Wednesday afternoon when I got out of my recliner, took a step back, tripped over a shopping bag next to the chair and fell back, crashing (a correct description) into the corner of a floor cabinet. I knew from the wave of pain that hit me that I had done more than just have a little bump.

At that point, amid the 20 questions from my wife and daughter and my snapping at them (when you’re in shock and pain, you want to be left alone), I made two decisions — I was going to the emergency room and “call an ambulance.”

The emergency room was the big decision. My wife and anyone who knows me well will tell you I do not like hospitals, especially emergency rooms.

There are several reasons. Sick people stay in hospitals and I don’t want to catch anything. Trips to the hospital and the emergency room remind me of shots and blood tests (I’ve had both, also stitches) and as I have written before, I do not like shots. I get jumpy; I panic and occasionally get light-headed if I see a needle. So if I say I need or want to go to the emergency room, you can bet I think I have a serious problem.

But back to the story.

My wife called 911 and the call for help was relayed to the fire department. Ladder 15 responded from Station 5 and the ambulance from Station 8. The firefighters arrived, talked to me and my wife and helped me down the stairs to the ambulance where I was placed on a stretcher and put in the vehicle.

The crew of the ambulance was very professional and took pretty good care of me on the way to the hospital. When we arrived, they stayed with me through the more than two hours I was in the ER and helped me when they could. I have to commend the paramedic on board for his flattery telling me I didn’t look 70.

I’ve been in this business for 42 years and I’ve covered a lot of wrecks, fires and shootings and have always been amazed at the way firefighters and paramedics have worked together to help people in an emergency. I’ve watched these men and women and gotten to know some personally, never thinking that one day I, or a family member, may need their services.

Last week, I did need them and they responded. The men who came to my aid were caring and took steps to make sure I got to where I needed to be.

I may never need their services again, but it’s good to know if did they would be ready to help.

Thanks, fellas.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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