The last ambulance ride
edited: Sunday, February 24, 2002
By Darlene M Caban
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2002
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For departed friends on dialysis
He'd been on plenty of ambulance rides
Starting with his heart attack
The wailing siren had passed in and out of his consciousness
And after that, to dialysis
His new "part-time job".
No sirens then,
Just a spacious cab
To accomodate his wheelchair
Today was his last ambulance ride...
They'd picked him up from dialysis
If he'd been a younger man,
His last ride might have been followed
By a transplant
But he was too old,
The alarm on his dialysis machine
Had passed in and out of his consciousness
I'm so tired, he thought
Just let me sleep
They gently lifted him
From his dialysis chair
And onto the stretcher
Then into the ambulance
For his final ride.
I wrote this poem after seeing yet another patient taken out of the dialysis unit by ambulance, and who later died en route to the hospital. The death rate for dialysis patients is about 23% per year, so this is a common occurrence... but still disturbing despite its frequency.