“Hey, will you give Emily a ride over to Stout Street on your way back to the office?” Mark asks. “Her boyfriend is over there.”
“Yeah, sure thing. Hey, I’m Haley, nice to meet you,” I say as I shake Emily’s hand. She nods.
“My car’s over here, just down the block,” I point.
As I put my car in drive, Emily asks, “Hey, so do you mind taking my boyfriend to St. Luke’s? He’s really sick.”
“Yeah sure,” I respond. “Where is that? Do you know where to go?”
“Yeah, it’s over on High Street.”
“You can turn right here,” Emily notes.
“Cool, thanks. I’m new around here, so I definitely still get confused sometimes. I’m just gonna pull over right here and put my blinkers on, then we can get him in the car.”
Her boyfriend is lying on the sidewalk, clothes and other belongings scattered near his head and his feet. Another woman is lying on the sidewalk a few feet away from him.
Emily leans over, telling Logan, “This is Haley from Dry Bones. She’s gonna take us to St. Luke’s.”
“Hey, I’m Haley, nice to meet you. I’m sorry you’re not feeling well,” I say as we help him up off the concrete.
“Emily, hold my arm please,” Logan says in pained breath.
“Wait, let me move the seat back so we can get him in easier.” I run to my car and create as much space in the front for him as I can, hoping we can somehow get him in without causing him pain, even though he is wincing at a mere touch to the arm.
As we walk him to the car, holding him up, I make eye contact with the woman lying on the sidewalk. She has an umbrella next to her and some belongings strewn about.
I can’t quite tell what’s wrong with him. Any movement appears to cause him great pain. Then again, so does stillness. As he sits in my front seat, he grimaces, letting out occasional moans.
“Yeah, just pull around to this side. The emergency room entrance is right over here,” Emily gestures. “Thanks so much for bringing us. We went to St. Jo’s, but they just sent him home. And clearly he’s not okay.”
I park in front of the emergency room entrance and put my blinkers on. It’s about 7:45 pm on a Thursday evening. Emily goes in the entrance and grabs a wheelchair. I walk around my car to the passenger side and unbuckle Logan’s seatbelt. “Thank you,” he mutters through heavy effort.
We check in at the kiosk; Emily enters Logan’s information for him. The kiosk asks Emily if the patient is experiencing any of a variety of symptoms. Emily presses yes, the relevant symptom being chest pain. The kiosk instructs her to skip the rest of the questions and go straight into the emergency waiting area. She wheels Logan around and pushes him through the sliding doors, facing him towards and positioning him a few feet in front of the door separating the waiting room from the action. No one else is in the waiting room.
“Can I help you with anything else?”
“No, I think we’re good. Thanks so much,” Emily responds.
“Well, man, I hope they figure out what’s going on and that you feel better soon,” I say as I gently lay my hand on Logan’s shoulder.
“Thank you,” he struggles to say.
A few days pass, during which I periodically text Emily for updates. Robbie and I decide to go visit Logan at St. Luke’s. We text Emily and let her know we are coming. She responds saying that he will be glad to have visitors.
At the hospital, Robbie and I learn that Logan’s pain was caused by a bacteria infection that had made its way to a valve in his heart. To say his condition had been serious is an understatement.
As I walk through the door, Logan points at me. “You,” he says. “Come here.”
I walk around to the right side of his bed. He holds his hands out. “Grab my hands.” Tears begin to well up in the corners of his eyes. “You saved my life.” A tear rolls down his cheek as he blinks. “They said I could have died if I hadn’t gotten here when I did. Thank you.”
I’m stunned. I place my right hand on top of his head. “I’m so glad you’re here. I’m so glad that Emily asked me to take you here.”
“Hand me that phone,” he says as he points to a landline laying on his bed. “I want my mom to speak to the person who saved my life.” He calls his mom, tells her the person who brought him to the hospital and saved his life is right here. He hands me the phone.
“What’s your mom’s name?” I whisper.
“Who am I speaking with?”
“This is Haley.”
“So how did they get connected with you?”
I explain all the relational connections between myself and Logan.
She mentions, several times, how glad she is that she didn’t give Logan many antibiotics as a kid because that enabled him to react quickly to the medicine the doctors gave him this time around, a reaction they didn’t expect. She tells me someone from the hospital had called her around 10:30 on Thursday night and told her she needed to get there as quickly as possible. “I’ve never heard anyone say that before,” she told me. She and Logan’s dad immediately got in the car and made the 20-hour drive from Louisiana, arriving around 10 pm on Friday.
After my phone call with Robin, Robbie and I sit with Emily and Logan for a while, talking about his health among other things. A nurse comes in to let him know about a procedure that will take place on Friday.
“We’ll come check in on you after that,” Robbie reassures Logan.
“That’d be great,” he responds.
As we get ready to leave the hospital room, Robbie grabs Logan’s hand, saying, “I don’t know if you’re a praying man, but I’ll be praying for you.”
“I’m a wicked man,” Logan says, “but I’m a faith man,” he finishes.
“Thanks for saving my life,” he says as we turn to walk out the door.
“You deserve it man. We’ll see you soon.”
On that Thursday evening, it wasn’t a single person who saved Logan’s life: not me, not the ER nurse, not the presiding doctor, not Mark, not Emily. Community saved him; relationship saved him. Dry Bones has known Emily for years, well before I became part of the community. Mark knows Emily because of Dry Bones. I know Emily because of Mark. I now know Logan because of Emily. A supportive community turned into a request for a ride. A request for a ride turned into a new relationship. That new relationship turned into another new relationship. That new relationship turned into life. It is relationship that gives us life and relationship that sustains our lives. And it is relationship that will save us.