“Fear Written All Over My Face” by Reva Lachica Moore

My son Adam and I were on our way home the other day when a passing ambulance reminded me of a funny incident from many years ago.

“Oh, I hated driving an ambulance,” I muttered.
“What? You drove an ambulance?” Adam asked with a chuckle.
“Yes, I did – twenty years ago. But not anymore.”
“I don’t believe it.” Adam laughed even more.
“Well, let me tell you the story,” I said.

During my first year of work at the chemical plant, one of my jobs as a lab tech was to drive the ambulance. Of the many things I had to do, I hated this particular job the most. I tried telling my superiors of my fear to drive a vehicle, and even more, an ambulance. But they didn’t listen. Instead, my supervisor reiterated:
“Since you work here, then driving the ambulance is part of your job!”

Every day I prayed that there wouldn’t be an accident in the plant. For many months, everything seemed quiet. But one day, a loud siren was heard all over the place. News came on the red phone about an explosion, and ‘first responders’ were called to the scene. At that moment, I realized that finally, I will be driving the ‘stupid’ ambulance. I was so sickened that I called it ‘stupid’ under my breath. My co-workers knew of my fear, for I had told them a few months earlier. So, when the phone call came for the ambulance, they stood in their tracks and watched me scurry.

A few months back, I was told to always unplug the ambulance’s electrical cord that was plugged into an outlet on the side of our building. I could feel myself shaking as I drove the ambulance away, electrical cord still connected. Oh well–I forgot, but it disconnected anyway. Though new at my workplace, I had an idea where the Chlorine Unit was, so I headed toward it. Strewn on the ground were scraps of metal and other debris. Two male ‘first responders’ were helping someone lying on the ground. The victim looked wet all over. When someone gets sprayed with a chemical, that person is taken into an open shower and washed for at least 20 minutes. The man’s arm started to show reddish blisters. His neck was red, too, and there were blotches on his face. Third degree burns–I was told later. I sat there until the responder opened the back of the ambulance and loaded the burned victim. After the ambulance door was closed, everything seemed quiet, but not for long.

When the victim (a male) saw me at the wheel, he panicked! Fear and worry must have been written all over my face. Looking at the male “first responder,” the victim asked.

“Is she driving?”
“Yes, I am.” I said in a meek voice.
“On no! Please don’t let her drive! Please!”

The victim begged the first responder to exchange places with me. I got more scared. This burned victim wasn’t worried about his burned body; he was worried about my driving! I couldn’t help but laugh nervously. I assured him I never had a wreck in my life and that I’d take him to the hospital–intact. Turning on the siren, I pushed the pedal to the metal. I was moving!

“Please don’t go too fast,” the man begged me.
Well, 45 minutes later, we reached Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. He had a slight, funny smile when they wheeled him out. I realized at that moment that my being a Filipino, and a female driver at that, plus probably fear all over my face must have added to his worries. I learned later that the man had to stay in the hospital’s burned unit for a few weeks.

This happened 30+ years ago. Luckily, I only had to drive the ambulance once. I bribed a co-worker by doing his work if he’d drive the ambulance for me. It worked. As I told this story, my son Adam laughed even more. Like me, my son is also a medical technologist and I added to his laughter when I told him about the first time I had to stick my first blood donor.

“The gigantic needle scared me so much that I shook so badly. When I stuck the donor with it, fear must have showed all over my face.”
“And so what happened, Mama?”
“I passed out. And so did the donor!” My son burst into laughter even more.

Fear is one emotion that’s tough to hide. Even the most powerful people on earth experience fear. In times of adversities, it is so nice to see someone you look up to stay calm and confident. When I was young, I couldn’t camouflage my fears. But today, since I’ve learned to trust everything to GOD, fear and worry do not show on my face anymore. Instead, I stay calm and not afraid. I even surprised myself during those tragic times of my late husband Edwin’s illness and death. My young sons used to look at my face and when they saw calmness and not fear or worry, they, too, felt better. (I borrowed the ambulance pic from the internet).

“God will keep him in perfect PEACE, whose mind is stayed on Him.” Isaiah 26:3