I didn’t realise that sirens made me hold my breath.
It was the fact that I realised on Monday morning that I no longer subconsciously paid attention to them as they sped up the road that made me realise they had that affect on me. That they made me hold my breath and wait for the phone call from my granny’s care home to say “we have had to call an ambulance, please can you come”.
Of course that never happened. The numerous times we had to call an ambulance for GG, they always arrived without sirens. Even if the ambulance had been called by the monitoring service who reacted when GG pressed the emergency buzzer she wore around her neck, there were never sirens. Yet still I listened. The time I missed a call from the care home one Sunday afternoon when I was five minutes away from arriving to see her for our regular Sunday afternoon visit and saw an ambulance outside, there were still no sirens.
When she had fallen, bumped her head, couldn’t stand up, it had always been a paramedic car first, and then if an ambulance had been called by the paramedic, or by one of us arriving when the monitoring service had called us, they still always came without the “blues and twos”.
But in my head a siren would put me on alert. On notice. Would make the adrenaline start pumping, ready to grab my keys and go. Or to call my mum and discuss what would happen next.
Last week when the paramedic was called to examine GG, the ambulance that was called to take her to the local hospital for a scan had arrived without sirens. The care home called me to advise what has happening, it was pre-cautionary. There was no drama. Just for a check to see what might be going on. They couldn’t get through on my mum’s mobile so had called me as they didn’t have my dad’s number, so it was just a courtesy call so I could update them both.
I arrived one Sunday for our regular weekly catch up to find an ambulance outside the care home, and realised the call I had rejected three minutes before as I was driving there had been the care home, advising they had rung the paramedics. As we climbed inside the ambulance and headed off for what would be another week in hospital for GG we didn’t go with sirens.
There was no phone call as a result of sirens. Yet still I always thought there would be. And it hadn’t registered until that weekend.
What there was a knock on the door on Friday morning. The dog woke me up and I came to to hear Jonnie saying, “She’s asleep” and being told “I do really need to speak to her”. As I threw on a dressing gown and headed down the stairs Julia, the care home manager’s face said it all. It was still so early in the morning that none of us had seen the missed calls on our silent phones. We were all unaware of what had happened after the scan in the early hours of the morning and had gone to bed silently preparing the visiting rota that we always organised amongst ourselves to make sure somebody would go visit GG everyday.
We had no idea that at the same time Julia was on my doorstep, my mum was calling the ward and being told the devastating news over the phone.
There were no sirens. For me there was no phone call.
And now when I hear sirens I know they aren’t for her. That they never will be now.