When I lived on the peninsula, my next-door neighbor was a vibrant young professional who loved to do two things, surf and to go to church. Ralphie had an indelible smile and had a laugh that would make us giggle so hard that we would snort!
We referred to our little community on 28th Street as “The gang that couldn’t shoot straight.” We took care of each other and we watched out for each other. We considered each other as family.
As the winters slowly turned into summers, Ralphie stopped surfing and was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (a type of cancer that forms in the bone marrow.) We collectively took care of Ralphie and on several occasions we had to call the paramedics.
One sunny Saturday afternoon, I headed out for my walk, when I suddenly received a call from Ralphie. I could hear fear and panic in his voice. He cried, “Peggy hurry back home and take me to the hospital, I think that I have broken my arm.”
I replied, “Ralphie, let me call the paramedics.” He begged, “Please no, I can’t afford it.” I did not understand at the time what he meant.
I was able to transport Ralphie in my car to Hoag, where he underwent surgery to pin together the bones in his arm.
As fall approached, we helped Ralphie return to Texas to be with his family, where he eventually succumbed to the disease.
Ironically, a paramedic moved into Ralphie’s little beach cottage. He informed me about the Fire Medics Program that is offered through the Newport Beach Fire Department. For a base fee of $60.00 per year, a membership will cover you and your family for unlimited paramedic services with no out-of-pocket expenses. There is also a Newport Beach Business Membership available too.
I am appreciative that the Newport Beach Fire Department offers this service to its residents; I just wished I had known about it earlier for Ralphie.
I encourage residents to learn more and to enroll in this program. Information on the Fire Medic Subscription Program can be found on the City’s website:
Peggy V. Palmer / Newport Beach