True Tales from the Ambulance: The One with the Puppies

Emergency! was my favorite show as a kid. (Yeah, weird.)

Over the last year, I’ve been inside or near quite a few ambulances. This story is, by far, the most unusual experience that Mom and I have encountered with one to date. I shared it with friends privately last March, but it seems to be a story that deserves a wider audience.

Last Monday, after an appointment with my mom’s new surgeon, Mom and I were waiting down near the River Walk to pick up another patient bound for Fredericksburg. (Yes, we were in an actual “van down by the river” like the old Saturday Night Live skit.)

Of course, it wasn’t exactly fun stuff for us as Mom’s pain meds were wearing off, so we admittedly and briefly considered stealing the van. (To be fair, the driver HAD left the keys in it.)

Anyway, the other lady finally showed up and was loaded into the rear of the van, behind Mom.

The lady waved and nodded at me and I said “Hello” and, at long last, we take off.

We’d gone only a few blocks when, while we were at a red light, Mom called my name and gestured toward a couple about to head into the crosswalk. They had a big dog with them, too–a beautiful fellow.

“That’s a Great Dane,” said the other passenger. “I used to raise those.”

“Oh?” Mom said, trying to be pleasant even though she’s feeling awful.

“Yes,” came the reply. “We had two bitches give birth once at the same time. I was nursing myself at the time, so I put one of the puppies on my breast.”

Slowly it dawned on me what the woman has just said.

To my left, the driver stifled a snicker.

And then suddenly I really wanted to understand the logistics of that.

I turned to look at the rear of the van–only to meet the same glare that my son must see when I admonish him to steer clear of the Cheetos at the grocery store.

“Turn around and don’t say another word,” said Mom.

Like a good girl, of course, I did just as I was told.

(I still call Mom my “story source block.” She laughs.)

Image source #1



  1. Oh. My.

    How I wish you would have been a bad daughter and gotten more stories from your van-mate! I just cannot imagine….

    • The way she said it, so effortlessly, like she’d told it a 1000 times really makes me think she was an interesting lady.

      In the rest of the 40 minute trip, she talked complete sense about trees and seasons. Not a speck of random. And she was traveling alone to a nursing home almost an hour away–which would be atypical of a patient with dementia (unless it was very early in the stages).

      I think she was sane, at least in the clinical sense.

  2. I read this when you published it privately and even then thought to myself – can’t remember if I responded online – but I probably would have ignored my mother’s admonishment and asked more questions. The first one would have been “Are you serious??” 🙂

Comments are closed.