Sunday, May 06, 2007

Or It Could Just Be the Sleeping Pill

I want to thank everybody who left supportive, empathetic comments on my last post. The medical mystery turns out to have a simple solution.

My mother called me this morning and said, "I figured out what happened! I'd taken a sleeping pill right before I called you, and I didn't realize it would hit me so hard!" I had no idea she even had sleeping pills, so that explanation never occurred to me. Mom completely understood why I interpreted everything the way I did. She said that my sister was pretty wiggy this morning from having gotten up twice to answer the door, and they had the following conversation:

Sister: I feel like I was up all night answering the doorbell!

Mom: Please don't be mad at me.

Sister: I'm not mad at you.

Mom: Don't be mad at Susan, either.

Sister: I have to be mad at somebody!

But my sister and I have now talked and laughed about the whole thing. Last night she had no idea what was happening or that I'd called the emergency folks: all she knew was that she'd answered the doorbell in her nightgown to find three uniformed firemen and a blinking hook-and-ladder rig outside. ("That didn't look like an ambulance to me. It was a firetruck!") At first, she thought they'd come to the wrong house by mistake. When they asked about Mom, she raced upstairs to make sure Mom was okay. Nobody knew the phone was off the hook.

On my end, of course, the continuing busy signal seemed to signal bad news. Hence my call to the police. An hour or so later, when they showed up, my sister was even grouchier. "I wasn't very nice to that policewoman, I'm afraid!"

So at this point, everybody in the family is speaking, and we all agree that this isn't likely to happen again in the future, because we'll all be more careful. My mother won't call for a quick chat right after taking a sleeping pill; I'll know that any slurred speech might be from a sleeping pill; my sister will try to remember to keep her cell phone on.

What I'm left with from all this is a continuing sense of how difficult it was to get connected to emergency services in another city. A friend of mine at church tells me there's a service called 211 that's supposed to be able to connect people with resources wherever they're needed -- so next time, I'll try that. Of course, 211 wouldn't have solved the problem of the Philly police having no idea what the Fire Rescue squad was doing. But it still might have saved me some time last night.

1 comment:

  1. 211, at least where I'm from, is a line that basically connects to the local United Way. It's a 24 hour number you can call if you need a food pantry or a suicide hotline number. I'm not sure you can use it to get ahold of emergency personnel in other areas. Maybe it's different in other communities though.


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