I’ve Got You
Written by Charlotte Fishback
By all accounts, it had been a crazy jam-packed weekend! It had been incredibly full, and I had not even had time to sit and think! My Garmin confirmed my theory as it read 31,013 steps for the day before.
I had been looking forward to my day off for a while. With all the morning chores completed, I decided it was time for a little – me time. I said goodbye to the kids and ventured off rollerblading. Unlike most days, it was not supposed to be a workout to see how fast I could get it done. I did not even wear the usual workout gear. I just tied up my rollerblades, chose my playlist, and away I went, telling the kids I would be home in less than an hour.
I changed my route to avoid any challenging spots and just took it easy, enjoying the sunshine and the chance to relax and do whatever came next.
That was until I fell.
What exactly took place, I don’t remember. I remember my front wheel hitting the soft black asphalt, sinking in, and propelling my body forward. I remember my face hitting the concrete first, my glasses breaking into my face, and flying off. In an attempt to save my pride, I tried to get up, only to fall again twice as hard. I never knew that you could taste and smell concrete at the same time. Everything went dark at that point.
By the time I came around, there were people surrounding me, too many to count. One person was trying to get me to drink water. A bystander was asking if I was ok. Someone was asking my name, while another was grabbing my injured wrist and attempting to take my pulse. I begged everyone to let me go home on my own. But it was made abundantly clear that I was not going anywhere.
If I had it my way, I would have crawled into a hole to hide. Then out of nowhere, I heard a male voice say, “It’s Charlotte. Don’t worry, I’ve got you.”
The voice sounded vaguely familiar, but could I trust him? He told everyone he knew me and made sure someone had called 911. He took charge, much to the dismay of the off-duty paramedic, who was poking me and still trying to take my pulse on my injured arm.
In the midst of what felt like chaos, the tall man with the blue baseball hat was calm. He repeated to me, “I’ve got you.”
I seem to recall him checking things out, asking questions, and getting the information for the paramedics. He was gentle, wanting to take off my rollerblades; he warned me when he was going to pull them off. He protected me from the chaos and tried to make me comfortable. My friend Kelly was also there; she ensured I had the space I needed and that I wasn’t going to try and stand up to escape. I seem to recall she was the one who called the ambulance, sealing my fate into the hands of others.
When the ambulance eventually arrived, the familiar stranger, the tall man with the blue baseball hat who I had begun to trust, took charge of the other details of notifying my family.
The recurring question that seemed to be on everyone’s mind was – who can we call? Do you know, I hate that question? As a single mom, it is a question I loath. I see it on forms all the time. The question is on medical releases, forms for work, and various registration forms, including passport applications. Every time I see the question, I get reminded of what my life is missing. I once had the name and phone number of someone to fill in the box. I now understand I took it for granted. When you have one, writing the specific name is automatic. It is easy to name the person obligated to help. When there is no name, you have to question who would be willing to step up and deal with the inconvenience of an emergency. (Or so I thought.)
The question, “Who is your emergency contact,” was asked several times. I ignored it. Through the tears, I finally blurted out, “I don’t have one.” It was true. Anyone I would have called, was either away on vacation, at work, or far enough away that it made no sense to call them. The tears spoke clearly and the tall man with the baseball hat, who I began to trust again, said, “I’ve got you.”
The paramedics worked away, getting me ready to go to the hospital. The pain was excruciating, although I tried not to show it. For some reason, the tears couldn’t be held back. They were flowing like a river. There came another question, “Where are the kids?” I said they were at home. The tall man with the blue baseball hat took my phone, rollerblades, broken glasses, and air pods. He asked for my address and said he would go and check on the kids. He wanted to give me the assurance they were fine. My heart sank as I realized the front hall was a mess, and a stranger would now be seeing it. I apologized, and he laughed, “Are you serious?” At that point, I thought that was the last I would ever see him. I thought if I ever ran into him at the grocery store, this shared experience would not even be one we would speak of again. I thanked him for everything, and he was gone.
There was a long wait at the hospital, even for those in the ambulance bay. Everything in my body hurt. Some areas hurt that I couldn’t even explain. At one point, I think there was more that hurt than didn’t. I couldn’t even process the question, “what hurts the most?” A room finally became available and the paramedics moved me in. I couldn’t see anything, but I heard the familiar voice of the tall man with the baseball hat. “Hey Char, you are doing good. Kids are great. Everything is going to be ok. I checked on the kids and let them know what was going on. You have done a great job with them.” Through the tears, I again said “Thank you,” expecting him to leave. He didn’t. He pulled a chair over beside my bed, cracked a joke, and put his hand on my arm to comfort me. I told him he could leave as there was probably somewhere he needed to be. Again, he said, “No, I’ve got you.”
The waves of pain were unbelievable. One minute, I was ok, and the next, I was embarrassed that I was complaining so much. My face had taken the brunt of the trauma. Along with my arm, wrist, hip, and leg. The road rash made everything feel worse. He held my arm and reassured me, “Everything is going to be ok.” A couple of times he even walked to the nurse’s station and asked for pain medication to make me comfortable and check on the status of the test.
I’m not sure how many times I told him it was ok if he had to leave. But he continued to stay, listening to my stories between the waves of tears. It was funny how I had begun to trust the tall man with the baseball hat who only said, “I’ve got you,” and refused to leave.
At one point, he asked why I was crying after I had received the pain medication. Through sobs, I told him that I had always wanted to be a Firefighter, and if I had injured myself badly, there wouldn’t be enough time to recover before the anticipated hiring in August. Everything I had been working toward for the past eight months was in jeopardy. He reassured me, helped me settle down, and reminded me there isn’t anything I couldn’t do from what he already knew of me.
He stayed all afternoon until he had to go out of town. He assured me that everything was going to be ok. He promised to check on the kids again, and he did.
He left as they came to take me for a slew of x-rays and a CT scan. He said he would stay in touch, but I had no expectations he would. What he had already done for me was beyond what I would have expected or imagined anyone, and certainly no stranger, to do.
In my entire life, I had never felt so seen, valued, and protected. I was broken, embarrassed, in tears, and a mess physically and emotionally. I couldn’t hold my emotions together, yet the tall man wearing the baseball hat saw through my mess and helped put the pieces back together. He protected me and spoke up for me when I couldn’t speak for myself. He sat there, listened, and was present in my pain.
He didn’t go anywhere. He chose to stay. He didn’t stand in the hallway, pacing impatiently, and annoyed. He didn’t stand around chatting with the nurses. He stayed to make sure I was ok. He didn’t care that I cried and never asked me to stop. Even when I said I was going to throw up, he didn’t go anywhere. He genuinely saw me and was kind.
It struck me that his actions were completely unconditional. He wasn’t expecting anything in return. He had nothing to gain, and there was no reward in this. He did what he did because he cared. It wasn’t a role he had been assigned or a position he held. No one would have ever known if he had just driven by the scene. He was there, and he gave what he had to someone who didn’t have an emergency contact.
It reminded me of the relationship my Heavenly Father wants with me. Without the drama of an accident, He is always there. He is right beside us. He whispers in our ear, “I am here”. Through the trials and tribulations of life, He is whispering, “I’m here, I’ve got you, and I am not going anywhere, no matter what.” He chooses to stay because He loved us first. Through everything He knew we would do and more, He chooses us. He waits for us to choose Him. The reality is even if I were the only one on earth, He would still have chosen me.
The verse that flooded my mind was:
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
I have never really understood or experienced what unconditional truly means. The definition of the word “unconditional” points out there are no limits in any way – no restrictions, conditions, or qualifications. My experience has been that there were always various strings attached; there were always conditions.
And then, there is what His unconditional love truly means. Even in the worse version of me – He still loves me regardless of my circumstance. He loves the private and the public parts and even secret hidden shames. As I recounted moments of the day, I had tried to get up and run from the scene because I believed I wasn’t worth helping. In my mind, I figured I could run and hide and not tell anyone I had been hurt or injured as I had done so many times before.
When the tall man in the blue baseball hat chose to stay by me, it taught more in a few hours than in a lifetime. I had believed I wasn’t worth sticking around for. In my mind, he should have been gone in 2 minutes. His care, kindness, and support were things I figured should have been earned, not freely given.
As I lay in the hospital bed before being released, I reflected on what had happened that day. Nothing made sense from a human perspective, but they translated into a bigger picture, explaining my understanding of what my Heavenly Father has done for me.
He has never left me or forsaken me. He is always with me. I am His, and He is mine, forever loved unconditionally with no expectations. He whispers in a soft voice, “I am here, and I have you in the palm of my hand even in the darkest of situations.” We have to trust and accept his unconditional love and presence.
As for the tall man in the blue baseball hat, he texted me the other day to see how I was. I will forever be grateful for the divine lesson he taught me. For the first time, I understood and now forever will understand what it is like to be valued, worth taking care of, and protecting. I will always be grateful.
eKidz Director, GTA