The EMTs had insisted that Kassandra go to the emergency room to rule out a possible concussion. She was not sure her insurance would cover an ambulance ride, and the ER wasn’t far, so she said she could walk. One EMT shook his head. “No way.”
Kassandra sat in the ambulance, feeling light-headed but otherwise fine. She explained as much to the EMT. “It’s only a few blocks from here. I’ll feel better if I walk. I promise I won’t tip over or anything.” The EMTs looked at each other. “How much does an ambulance ride, even a few blocks, cost?” she blurted. “A few hundred dollars? More?”
The other EMT took the lead. “I don’t really know, ma’am. But we can’t, ma’am. We cannot release you without someone to look out for you. You can’t be on your own with a potential head injury.”
“My head is hard, my mom always says so.” Kassandra giggled, and then realized the giggle made her seem even less stable. “Honestly. I’m fine.”
“I’ll take her.” The bicycle rider poked his head into the ambulance. Kassandra smiled at him. He looked familiar, and kind, and her radar about potentially dangerous men did not go off. Of course, she thought, my radar is in my head, and it might be a bit dented.
“How?” asked the first EMT. “She shouldn’t really walk.”
“In a cab. My friend is a driver. He’s right here, actually, was cruising around and saw the lights and stopped. He’ll take us. I’ll make sure to escort her all the way.”
“See?” Kassandra said. “I have an escort and a driver. And a cab will cost me about ten bucks.”
The second EMT knelt in front of Kassandra. “One more look,” she said, flashing a pen light in Kassandra’s eyes, feeling her pulse, taking her blood pressure. “Follow my finger.” The EMT moved her finger back and forth. “Now tell me how many fingers.”
“Three,” Kassandra said confidently, then instantly worried if she’d been wrong. But before she could ask for another try, the first EMT spoke.
“Okay,” he said, and turned to the bicycle rider. “You take her, in the cab, and stay with her until the nurse takes her back.” He looked at Kassandra, a twinkle in his eye. “You have a good friend there. First he knocks you over, then he takes care of you.”
Yes, Kassandra thought as she smiled in response. A good friend. I’ll have to ask his name.