What would it be like to wake up and find an RCMP officer standing in your bedroom in the middle of the night? Apparently, according to my father, it wasn’t as disconcerting as I would have thought.
Yesterday was my parents’ 62nd wedding anniversary. Early in the evening, I phoned to extend our congratulations. When no one answered, I was delighted. Mom rarely leaves the apartment and I thought that Dad must have convinced her to go out for a celebratory dinner. As the evening wore on, however, and call after call went unanswered, delight turned to concern. When you live a province away, you can’t simply jump in the car and truck on over to make sure that everything’s okay. What can you do in a situation like this? What should you do? I’d never really thought about it before.
I tried calling my sister and brother, who also live in Alberta, to see if either of them had talked to Mom and Dad but neither had. Now I had them worried too! The only place we could think of that Mom might have agreed to go for a full evening was the home that our older brother shares with two other disabled gentlemen so I phoned there. Now I had the caregiver who has known our family for many, many years worrying too! Unable to leave the men in her care to set off across the city and check on Mom and Dad, she urged me to check their local hospital and to phone the police if I had to. Don’t be afraid to create a scene, she told me.
Not wanting to overreact and realizing that their phone might be out of order, I tried to contact Telus to see if there was any way to find that out. Their automated speech recognition system which is annoying at the best of times was even more so as my frustration mounted. No, I didn’t want to check my account balance or make a payment. I wanted to know if my parents were okay! After pushing numerous keys and trying out various verbal responses, I finally got a recording telling me that all offices were closed and that I should try calling back during business hours! I finally found a real person by calling directory assistance but he wasn’t able to help me either. I learned today when I did call the business office that privacy issues prevent the company from releasing any information about another customer’s phone line. It seems to me that they’re carrying privacy a little too far when lives could be at stake.
Directory assistance did give me the phone number for the Burnaby Hospital and the receptionist there was kind, efficient and very helpful. After a very quick check, she was able to assure me that neither parent had been admitted to the hospital or seen in emergency. I supposed that that was good news but it still didn’t tell me why no one was answering their phone.
The hour was getting late. I could have called our oldest son who lives about half an hour away but I realized that the entry intercom is tied into the phone line and without a fob and a key, he wouldn’t be able to get into the building or up to the 25th storey apartment.
That’s when I decided to phone the police. I really didn’t know what to expect but the receptionist assured me that my concern was valid and told me that she’d have an officer swing by the apartment then phone me to let me know what he found. Thus began the long wait. Finally, at 2:00 a.m. the phone rang and a very kind officer gave me the good news that I’d been praying for! Everything was okay! Everything except the phone, that is. It’s supposed to be fixed tomorrow.
Apparently, by the time the officer arrived at the apartment, Mom and Dad were sound asleep and didn’t hear him knocking. He had to get someone from building security to let him in. I’m sure he was as relieved as I was to find that the occupants were okay. As a family, we’re very impressed by the concern shown by the RCMP and their willingness to take our fears seriously.
Needless to say, it was an anniversary to remember! I wonder what they’ll do for their 63rd?