Friday, February 08, 2008
A Call For Help In The Middle Of The Night
Our phone rang at 5:30am a couple of weeks ago. Dave and I both jumped out of bed, but it went to voicemail before we could get to the phone. (Name changed for privacy. )
I played the message back. A very distraught voice said, "Hi Sarah. This is Jeannine. I thought you might like to know, ____'s in jail. He beat the sh-- out of me. I don't even know if you would want to know, or if you care, but that's what's going on. [unintelligible.]"
Well, I was wide awake then. I do know a couple of Jeannines, but both would have given more identifiable info about themselves, so obviously, it was a wrong number. But she called me, and my name is Sarah.
Until I heard the message, I thought I might be getting called in to work--a bit late, actually: I am the swing person for KOOL-108 radio --or "go-to-gal"--which means I do a weekend on-air shift there and fill in for any and all announcers when they're sick or on vacation (as "Salina Jones.") I also fill in on all seven of Clear Channel's Minneapolis-St. Paul radio stations when a traffic reporter is out.
I didn't want to violate her privacy or cause embarrassment. But I said to Dave, "I have to call her back. She thinks she's reached someone who loves her and when they don't call her back it'll be terrible!"
She answered right away. "Hi, Jeannine, my name is Sarah and you just called me, but I don't think we know each other..."
She was a little embarrassed, and told me her nose was broken. I asked her if she was going to the hospital.
She said she had no car, no money, and no insurance and was therefore pretty stuck in her Wisconsin town (about an hour from where I live in Minnesota.) I said I had no money or health insurance either but I did have a car. I could research on the Internet where to get low-or-no-cost hospital care. She said she knew HCMC (Hennepin County Medical Center) in downtown Minneapolis would take domestic assault victims with no money or insurance, but she couldn't get there. I said, "I'll come get you. I'll take you there and bring you back home."
She started to cry again, and very sweetly and sincerely thanked me. Then she said she needed to sleep first.
Dave, in his usual lightning-fast way, had already found a site telling you how to care for your broken nose at home, and I told her that. "Pack your nose with gauze," I read to her "--but I'm sure you could use toilet paper if you don't have enough gauze--" "And keep your head elevated while you sleep. Lots of pillows."
She thanked us both, and said she just had to go to bed. I asked her to call me back when she woke up, and I'd come take her to HCMC. I gave her our phone number because she had only reached us by misdialing before.
She called about 4 hours later. This time, I understood less than half of what she said. I assume her nose was much more swollen now, and she was crying more. I did get that the Sarah she'd tried to reach was the ex-wife of the man who'd assaulted her. I asked for her address. It was in a different town than she'd said earlier--on this side of the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. (Perhaps she'd arranged to stay with someone else for the time being.)
I told her I'd get ready and leave as soon as possible. I thought I'd be there in an hour and 20 minutes, tops, but she broke in and repeated what I hadn't heard before, that she had someone coming to get her. They would take her to the hospital.
I said that was great, and thanked her for letting me know. She profusely thanked both Dave and me for being kind and sweet. I told her that we wanted to live in a world where people help each other. She said she did, too.
I wondered if that would be the end of my contact with Jeannine. One week later, I went to bed early because I was filling in on KOOL-108 the next morning. The phone woke me up at 10, but I let it go to voicemail. I listened to the message the next day, and it was Jeannine calling again to thank us and to say she was doing better. That's so great!
I almost didn't blog about this because there could be some perceived little element of Oh! La-dee-dah! but I did because I truly believe it's important to respond appropriately to other people. If anyone I cared about were in that situation I'd hope kind people would help, however they could.