first responders
Grief & Loss,  Health

The Value of Quick Emergency Response

Call the aid car, babe

When Dan Potts says call the aid car, you call the aid car. I called 911 right away.

At that point we were six months from me calling 911 for the second time, an ambulance ride from which he was not to return home. But we didn’t know that. All I knew that day, as his wife, was that he was lying there in enough pain to ask for help. Dan Potts was the proudest and strongest person I’ve ever known, and he never needed—or asked—for help. But today he did.

We’d been to the ER at Swedish Edmonds two nights before, I had driven him myself at 12:30am. But now, he now had too much pain to even get in the car. He was in too much pain to even leave our bed.

I was so scared, as the operator could tell, because she had to tell me to calm down. My voice was shaking and I was on the verge of tears. She assured me help would be there soon. And it was, in what was literally just a few minutes.

I’ve never been so glad to see anyone in my life, and these were total strangers. I just knew they were there to help us, and that was enough for me. They were calm and professional as they entered our bedroom. I was blown away as they talked to Dan, as if he weren’t lying there completely helpless. They assessed the situation, and knew pretty quick he needed to get to the ER right away.

They literally carried him out of the bedroom, as our house is too tiny to bring in a stretcher. Talking to him the whole time was if they were all sitting down having a beer! Treating him with so much dignity and respect I can’t describe it. Nor can I begin to describe how reassuring they were. I was so relieved and grateful! Dan was safely transported to the Swedish Edmonds ER—the whole incident was probably less than 30 minutes.

Several weeks later, the same responders found the time to stop by and check on Dan. We were so touched by the care shown to us, and to this day I’m so glad we got a great photo of these awesome guys with Dan.

I understand the competing revenue demands in a thriving city such as Edmonds. And it seems like every time I turn around I’m being asked to pay more in property or sales tax. But does it always have to be about money?

When it is you waiting for help to arrive you don’t care if it’s a battalion chief, paramedic or whatever. When it comes to physical pain, compromised health, fear for your very life or the life of a loved one, you don’t care. You need them to arrive NOW! And I have never one time wondered about how much money they make or what they do when they are not responding to a call or what kind of benefits they have. I just have an expectation for myself and everyone else that if we need them one day, they will be close by, just a 911 call and a few minutes away. I couldn’t imagine a worse scenario to be the person who needs them when there are several other emergencies occurring simultaneously, having to wait. It’s awful to contemplate!

One day about three months after Dan died I was sitting there all alone in my house, thoroughly miserable. A random knock on the door unexpectedly turned out to be those same firefighters. Turns out they had responded to a (thankfully) minor incident with a neighbor of mine, and when they realized she lived in our neighborhood they asked about Dan. She had to tell them what had happened. So they appeared at my house to deliver a sympathy card, signed by the entire fire station!

I will keep that card forever.

Now, who do you want responding to your emergency one day? More or less of these people?

Me too.

Previously published on My Edmonds News

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