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Help! Emergency!! Someone call 911!!
(But please, don't call Jayne)

By Jayne Nagy (nagymom)

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I have a dear long time friend who is a nurse. There was a time that she

wanted me to go to nursing school too, thinking that I would make a good

nurse. Poor dear, she was the victim of misguided thinking of the worst

kind. Had she known these little family secrets, she would never have

suggested it.


Few outside my family know this, but in emergencies you can count on me to

react one of two ways; I'll either panic on a major scale or I'll laugh at

you. Neither is very helpful when you're in the middle of a crisis.

I'll never forget the day I was standing at my kitchen sink when I heard my

neighbor start yelling. I looked out and saw Ernie running across the street

so I took off too. When we got across the street, we found Tom pinned by his

massive motor home! He had been working on it when something slipped and his

leg was being pinched but good. This thing was so long it filled their

driveway. Ernie started trying to figure out a way to get him out while I

ran back home to place a hysterical call to 911.


As I recall, it went something like: "911, what's your emergency?"

HELLLLLLLLP!!! Myneighboriscaughtunder hismotorhome!!!!!!!!"


"Calm down please and repeat what you said."


I managed to convey the urgency of the situation, threw the

phone down and ran back across the street to "assist". There I was, trying to

PUSH this block long motor home forward..all by myself.

A woman driving by stopped and asked if I needed help. I don't recall what I said but she

drove off with a slightly frightened look on her face. Fortunately we lived

just a few blocks from the fire department so they were there in minutes.

They extracted our neighbor with little fanfare and were still there when

his wife drove up. She got out of the car and calmly asked what was

happening. (She's my hero). It seems this wasn't the first or even second

time she had come home to find the street filled with flashing red and blue

lights. I am in awe of her composure and even humor in this emergency. As

for myself, I hadn't run in years so the next day I could barely stand much

less walk. Tom spent a few days on crutches while I felt like I needed some



I suppose the motor home incident was some sort of payback for my sending

him running to our house a couple of years before this. It was the Monday

after Thanksgiving and I had dropped a pop tart into the toaster while I sat

at the computer to work on a letter. I lost track of time and some time

later heard a crackling noise. When I turned around I saw flames shooting

from the toaster. I started screaming and running around in circles yelling

"FIRE!" I called 911 and shrieked something about a fire. Mistie grabbed

Alexis who was 4 months old at the time, and hit the front door running. I

ran out too, saw Tom and screamed something incoherant (I was hysterical and

don't remember for sure what I said) and he came running. I continued to run

in circles while he tried to put it out. Finally he yanked the cord from the

wall and threw a bowl of water on the toaster. By the time the fire truck

got there it was all over except for the smoke and my embarrassment. We did

have some fairly heavy damage to the cabinets and counter tops. Our toaster,

electric can opener and coffee maker were total losses as well. Losing that

coffee maker hurt the worst.


I still cringe in embarrassment when I think about the day that I locked the

kids and myself in our apartment in Germany. We had just arrived and were

living in temporary quarters on the 4th floor of one of the stairwells on a

housing kasern. I got into the habit of leaving the key to the laundry room

which was located in the basement, hanging on the hinge of the only door in

and out of the apartment. I shut the door a little too hard one day and the

key swung over wedging itself between the door and the jam. When I tried to

open the door it was jammed tight. I know, I tried pulling and tugging it

open with all my strength. Ernie wasn't due home for hours and we didn't

have a phone since we were only there for a month while we waited on our

economy apartment to be completed. I panicked big time. I was suddenly

convinced the building was going to burst into flames and that we would

perish. The windows were tiny, not to mention 4 floors up. I started beating

on the metal door and screaming for help. It wasn't long before I heard a

neighbor's timid voice asking "Is everything ok in there?" I responded that

NO the door was jammed and we were stuck inside. While I pulled she shoved

and we got it to open. Much to my horror and seemingly never ending

embarrassment there stood ALL of my neighbors and most of the kids in the

stairwell! Have you ever wished a floor would just open up and swallow you?

When Irene was 7 weeks old she got very sick and almost died of Whooping

Cough. Brooke had to stay around the clock with her in the hospital. I would

go relieve her during the day so she could go home and take a shower. I knew

the procedure if the alarms went off but lived in terror of the alarms

anyway. It was so frightening to know that tiny child's life depended on

quick and CALM reaction. One time the alarms started squealing and I wasn't

able to get her to breathe so I tore out into the hallway frantically

looking for a nurse. There were none in sight so I just opened up and

started yelling at the top of my lungs. I had lots of nurses then! They

quickly got her breathing and reviewed the procedures with me again while I

apologized. Was I embarrassed? Not this time. This was a baby who was going

to die if I didn't get help fast. Today this child is a healthy and

incredibly bright and funny 6-year-old.


When Stacie had her accident on the scooter and broke (mangled) her wrist, I

took off with her in the Jimmy. It's a miracle we arrived at the emergency

room as intact as we were. I took off with flashers going, horn honking and

eyes bugging. There is a driver out there who to this day is in peril of his

life. He refused to get out of my way in spite of all this and who even

slowed down on purpose. His face (I saw it in his side mirror) and his

vehicle are burned into my brain forever. I took the final turn into the ER

parking lot on 2 wheels. This is one time the Army hospital ER staff didn't

take their time though the radiology tech almost got taken down for making a

personal phone call before he did her x-rays. Everyone else kept a healthy

respect for this wild-eyed mother bear with the injured baby cub.

Then there are the times that all I can do is laugh. Alexis was 4 and Irene

would have been about 2 1/2 years old. They were both at our house and I had

left them with their Bapa while I ran some errands. When I came in I heard

both little girls crying and obviously in pain. I found all three of them in

the laundry room. The little girls were white faced and Bapa had a very

contrite look on his face. Apparently he had lost track of them long enough

for them to get into and play in my bucket of powdered laundry detergent.

They somehow got it all over their faces and in their eyes. Bapa was trying

to clean them with a wet cloth and all I could do was stand and laugh

helplessly. It's a memory that still makes me laugh. What a sight!

We went to visit my family the summer after we returned from Germany. We

were stationed in Maryland and my folks live in Arkansas so spent one entire

day traveling before stopping in Tennessee for the night. We unloaded the

van then swam for about an hour before going to dinner at Bonanza. I tried

to warn the kids not to eat too much. Mistie and Brooke had a very real

problem with carsickness when kids. They didn't listen and ate dessert after

stuffing themselves full of dinner. We stopped for gas on the way back to

the hotel when Mistie announced that she was going to be sick. I ordered her

out to the grassy area "just in case". After a few minutes I asked Brooke,

who still harbors bitter memories of this night, to go check on her while I

remained with Stacie. By the time she got over there Mistie was on her knees

throwing up. Brooke took one look and started throwing up too! I could do

nothing but sit and laugh so hard I couldn't speak and could barely breathe.

Ernie was pumping the gas when he heard all the commotion and walked around

the side of the van to ask what the heck was going on. I could only point

and laugh so hard I thought I was going to join the girls!! I still howl

with laughter when I think about it. The girls have never forgiven me and

would nominate me for the Worst Mother of all Times Hall of Fame if one

existed. This just makes me laugh harder.


There are those who know of my problems handling an emergency and no doubt

think I'm a nut case. I prefer to think I'm easily excitable. Still to be

safe, if you ever find yourself in an emergency and your choices are to call

me or call a taxicab for a ride to the hospital, call the taxi. Trust me on

this one.


Jayne Nagy

July 24, 2003