So the army called – Elie can have his day with his soldiers. Tomorrow he will have a barbecue on the shores of the Yarkon River. They’ll eat hamburgers and frankfurters and whatever else they bring…and tonight, he got a call. He went to synagogue today and saw one of the ambulance drivers with whom he has served over the last few years. The driver lives in our neighborhood and is on call tonight. A short time ago, the driver was informed that he has no assistant to go out with him if there’s an emergency call.
So he called Elie and asked if Elie would agree to be on call tonight. Elie agreed. Tonight, he’ll stand ready to go out and help others if necessary. It’s a sight I have seen many times in the last 5 years. Elie gets a call; begins running to the door as he speaks on the phone. Calls out a quick “bye” to me if I’m around, and runs out to meet the ambulance.
He’s been on many calls in the last 5 years; he’s seen people die; helped many, and saved lives. It amazes me how many things he has done, how much he has seen in his life that I have never done, never seen.
I have never been to war, never wanted to be. My son has. I have heard explosions only in the distance – I heard a bomb go off many years ago – and several kilometers away. I saw the massive artillery vehicles shoot – but only in practice and never under threat of an incoming missile. And even then, I was many, many meters away, in an open area, surrounded by thousands of people.
I have never seen a dead body, seen someone die in front of me. My son has. I have never been trained to handle medical emergencies beyond the simple things that might happen at home. Elie has gotten his medical vest ready and gone to bed – hopefully to have a quiet, peaceful night. Tomorrow, he’ll go have fun. It is these moments I cherish, these moments that help during the other times.
Barbecue on, ambulance squad on – I’m going to sleep with a heart that is full. I’ve often referred to this army business as a roller coaster. The ups are full of fear; the downs a terrifying fall. The flat areas bring peace, a hope each time that maybe there won’t be any more ups and downs before he finishes and a time to gather your strength and be happy for all the gifts God gives.
And as I was about to post this…I heard a strange rumbling sound. I went out to the balcony and saw the ambulance as it pulled up to our house. I turned to see Elie come running down the steps, grabbed his vest…shout out a quick, “bye” and he’s off. I’m a little less calm than I was a moment before, a bit more agitated and shaky. I love that he serves in the ambulance squad and hate when he goes out on calls. I know that makes no sense – it’s a left over trauma from a time when ambulances raced too often to the scenes of terrorist attacks; to a time when ambulances were targets of rocks and firebombs.
Our ambulances are responsible for handling calls from here all the way down to the Dead Sea – and even in some of the neighboring Arab villages. They can’t go in unless they have an army escort, but sometimes they do anyway. It’s probably a local call – it usually is. It’s often an old man or woman at the nursing home, or a child that has fallen. Sometimes the call is even canceled and Elie returns in minutes. Usually it is nothing serious.
I’ll find my peace again. For the next hour or so, Elie likely won’t be home as he races to help someone, somewhere. So the barbecue is on, Elie is out on a call, and I’m calling it a night.