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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Last Run

As I've probably alluded to, my wife Carol has been away at college for a couple weeks. Last summer, she did two intense weeks of intensive study, and she had to read a half dozen books and write a half dozen papers before she even got there. Then this past school year, she had a 600-hour internship. Now she's back at college for another two-week stint, after the preparatory reading and writing.

This has meant that I have been calling her every morning between 6:30 and 6:45, her only free time, just before breakfast. I was about to call her one day last week when I see an e-mail from her, titled: "Sleeping late Wed 7/29"

"I am turning off my alarm clock to sleep in in the morning because I am just getting back to my room now. If you get this message, don't call me in the morning. I'll call you later to catch up during the day at work and then again in the evening so I can talk to Lydia."

My wife is an early riser, so this was quite curious.

"There was a bus accident tonight when MCLA was returning from Tanglewood. I was not on the bus that ran off the road and am OK, but tired. I was on the bus that was following the one that ran off the road headlong into a ditch so we were right there. It looks as though the driver of that bus had a seizure and lost control of his bus. Two coaches got off our bus, opened the back emergency door, and tried to give the unconscious driver CPR and then the AED but got no response, and the driver was pronounced dead. I helped the rest of the adults climb out of the back of the bus. Five were taken to the hospital for minor (as far as we know now) injuries.

"MCLA classes are canceled for Wed. morning and will probably resume after lunch. They are getting counselors to talk to us if needed."

It turned out that the bus driver had a heart attack. The 70-year-old man had just come back to work after bypass surgery. Carol could hear her bus driver talk to this guy, and he indicated that this particular drive would be his "last run" for the night. Ironically accurate.

Carol and I agreed that it would probably be better not to mention the bus accident to Lydia, since it might make her worry about her mother and/or worry about taking the bus on the field trip that very day.

I never did talk to Carol on Wednesday, but I did on Thursday and subsequently; she is fine.

One curiosity about the media coverage is that the Times Union, the local paper, had a reported a school bus accidents in Pittsfield involving five students. Since it didn't mention the school, it gave the impression that the students were of the K-12 variety, rather than graduate students.

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