Remember When: Marshall Lipscomb: An appreciation

Published 8:00 am Friday, July 20, 2018

Unfortunately, I never met Markell Lipscomb — the Polk County High School rising senior who died in a car accident July 6 — but I have known and admired his uncle, Marshall, for a long time.

I met a very young Marshall at his mother’s house back in 2003.

I was paying Emma Jean Lipscomb a visit as one of our Columbus Lions VIPs (Visually Impaired Persons). She read me a poem she had written about the Lions, and, when I expressed interest, she tore it out of the spiral-bound notebook and gave it to me!

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I published it in our Lions Club newsletter and sent it to the Bulletin; the paper also published it. When I went back to see her, I found people gathering at her house.

When I learned that Emma Jean had just died, I expressed my condolences and left.

Marshall overcame a number of serious medical problems to get where he is today; I have watched his development over the years. I believe he received a scholarship from the Second Wind Hall of Fame. He is now a paramedic with Polk County EMS.

When Fran most recently called 911 because I was having difficulty getting enough air into my lungs, Marshall brought in the electrocardiogram machine and hooked me up to it. He said I was not having a heart attack, but Fran asked them to take me to the emergency room anyway.

Marshall rode in the back with me as the driver tried to get me to the hospital in one of the biggest traffic jams in recent Polk County history. It was sometime after dark on May 18, and Interstate 26 was blocked between Columbus and Saluda. Traffic could not be sent up U.S. 176 because of all the destruction and blockage along that road out in the valley.

I have no idea how we ever got there, but I was welcomed into the ER and they went right to work on me to see why I was there. They discovered lots of fluid in my lungs and around my heart, which was racing big time.

They transferred me to ICU, where I stayed until they could get the fluid out and my heart slowed down. I came home Sunday afternoon.

I had asked why I had a yellow band around my wrist, and the nurse said that I was a “fall risk.” That meant that I had to call a nurse to get up or down and to go with me on the walks that I insisted on doing.

So off we went, me using a walker (mandatory) and her holding my gown closed in back so that I didn’t moon my neighbors.

Fran flew an airplane solo, but never got a driver license, so she called neighbor Helen Clement to come and get her Saturday afternoon. Son Thomas brought Fran and a change of clothes for me Sunday afternoon.

I went to bed early and slept about 10 hours. It is not possible to rest or sleep in an intensive care unit. The machine that takes your blood pressure every two hours first wakes you with its own special announcement noisemaker, then brings you to full consciousness by squeezing the life out of your arm.

The nurse turned off the other measurement announcements Saturday night, so it was then relatively quiet in my room with the door closed. Between the arm-squeezings, that is.

I am thankful for the large number of folks in our county who have dedicated their lives to keeping the rest of us alive and well. I have become personally acquainted with some of the firemen as well as those who work in law enforcement and the many health care fields.

It is great to be on a first-name basis with so many of them!