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It was December fourth, 2018, and my father was set to have a surgery at Memorial Hospital that morning. It started out as a beautiful day, fresh morning breeze, and the air had a scent that was relaxing. As we drove to the hospital we enjoyed the older father son conversation, how's the wife and kid, hows life and how's work. To many this may seem like a small section of whats to come in this story, however to myself, this was all I could think about. My father and my families life would soon be on the line. We arrive to the desired destination and the surgical room was already prepped. I stay with my father until they come to take him. I hug him goodbye as I head home to await the call to come back.
As I gather my family, my wife and one year old daughter, we soon take off towards the hospital. Once again, the morning is lovely, their is still a chill in the air that sends shivers down your bones with water droplets on every blade of grass. Arriving at the hospital we began to head towards the third floor by way of elevator. We enter the designated room where my father is waiting for us to take him home. The surgery that took place was one where a dye would be sent into the blood stream to look for any imperfections and abnormalities within the body, lucky for us, he is clear and healthy with a strong heart, at least for the moment.
A pair of nurses come into the room with papers to sign, also addressing that my father will be set to leave around three in the afternoon, pacific standard time and for now, is to continue laying on the hospitals bed with IV's inserted while we converse about whats for dinner. We're laughing at horrible dad jokes, taking in the view by the window on the third floor, everything went according to plan.
Thirty minutes before were set to exit the hospital and be on our way, the loud speaker calls out a simply said, two word phrase that shook me to the very depth of my being: "code black."
I had barely heard the phrase as all of us were having a good time telling stories, until a nurse came and shut our door, stating we shouldn't come out for a bit. She had nearly had us fooled, as this particular nurse was very professional. However, I had heard it, I knew for a fact what I heard was my worst nightmare. My family and I are always chatting about these sort of topics: active shooters, what would we do, and how our best option is to obtain our California Concealed Weapon Permit.
We look outside, straining to hear any screams, gun shots, footsteps. Soon enough, SWAT and police with rifles are surrounding the building, this was fast, we maybe have a chance to survive. Throughout this entire ordeal, my wife is trying to entertain my one- year-old over excited, hyper active, hungry daughter, who has now started to squeal and laugh. After a few minutes of almost panicking we start talking, and it hits, Im not letting my family die today.
Have you ever watched those videos on Youtube about self defense, about anything can be turned into a weapon and deadly in the right hands? Well I have. Not only that, but I'm also a six foot muscular twenty three year old man who has had his fair share of scars, who is now a proud family man with nothing but lessons from his past. I am now ready to be shot while I take down this guy, in my mind and in my heart, it's about them surviving. I begin to search for weapons, anything, come up with ideas, one of them being trying to break a reinforced window on the third floor. Finally I grab the chairs, I reinforce the door entrance to the outside hallway and break a board out of the empty wooden closet next to the restroom, I'm ready.
Its been maybe thirty minutes, maybe an hour, it's beginning to feel like forever, and we're getting restless. Soon enough we hear footsteps closing in, and surely, the handle begins to turn and the door begins to creek. It's a nurse, an almost unconscious nurse by my swinging of the board, but luckily I was able to hold back against my stress, fear, anxiety, and the only goal I had in mind, take out the shooter. She reassures us that the SWAT Team is now making their way door by door, floor by floor, but to still sit tight just incase. The minutes have now gone by, faster and faster, with no sound of gun shots we begin to think maybe, theirs now hostages, or maybe a false alarm.
There is steps, lots of them, and now we're hearing a bunch of whispers, all around us. One by one we hear the slamming of a door. Every few minutes the slamming gets closer and closer, until they arrive. The instant the door opened, time slowed down. I'm standing with my back against the wall, my father in his hospital bed, and my wife and daughter are laying down. I go for it, I slowly turn around with board in hand hoping its the cops, and sure enough, we're saved. We stay put still until we hear an 'all clear' over the loud speaker. It's been a long stressful day. The moment we exit those front doors, is the moment my eyes finally remembered how to cry, tho only a few tears. Still in a state of shock, I drive my family home, and after a dinner, we begin to unwind.
This was the day time stood still.
Bakersfield, CA, Dec, 4, 2018