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That Very Very Thin Line – Do NOT Be Tom!
My husband and I moved two years ago to Florida where we now live in an “active adult” community*. We love it! We’re very happy here. We’ve met and made many new friends – people we have truly come to care about. I’m following in family footsteps. My parents did the same thing decades ago. They lived in a different city, but they, too, lived in an active adult community for 20+ years. My father, in a somewhat macabre voice, always called it “God’s Waiting Room.” And, as I learned again this past week, it turns out that we now live in God’s Waiting Room, too. One evening last week a neighbor phoned, informing us that our friend who I’ll call Sam, a fellow we’ve gotten to know and enjoy, had suffered a heart attack, and had subsequent surgery after coding in the hospital waiting room. Sam was in a coma, and we wouldn’t know for several days whether he would pull out of it, and whether there was any long-term brain damage. As of today, we still don’t know. Sam is still in a coma. Now – in God’s Waiting Room this is not unexpected. In less than two years, this is our third such experience, having already lost two friends who have passed away. It’s not a question of if or when. It’s a question of WHO. Of course, I could begin an entire riff on why a private advocate could succeed in this community, but that’s not today’s post. No, today’s post is about taking someone’s life into your hands because you don’t know what to do in such an emergency. I’m writing this post because I’m angry, frustrated – and so very sad. Here’s why: The neighbor who phoned us (we’ll call him Tom) lives next door to Sam. It seems Sam, who lives alone, and experiencing frightening symptoms, appeared at Tom’s door that morning and asked Tom to take him to the hospital. So Tom drove Sam the 10 miles to our small community hospital, then sat with Sam in the waiting room for 15…