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Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Hug

The tones got us up just before 3 a.m. Someone in our district needed our help.....or at least they think they do. After donning my bunker pants I slipped into the firefighters seat and put on my headset. With little more than a grunt I let my engineer know that I was on board and ready to go. I was still trying to shake loose the cobwebs in my mind.

Dispatch let us know that we were just going out for a lift assist. Usually not a big deal and this one proved to be routine.

We got to the house and an elderly woman met us at the door. She walked us into her beautifully kept home back to the bathroom where her husband had fallen. His health had been deteriorating over the last couple of months to the point where he really wasn't able to walk. Once he fell he didn't have the strength to get back up.

We helped the gentleman up and into the bathroom. While he did his business we stayed and talked with the wife. We learned about the 40 years that they had been in the home. All about their successful kids that were now all around the country. A couple of times they tried to get us to leave insisting that we didn't need to waste our time waiting. We gently encouraged both of them to let us stay and make sure the husband could get back to his bed. Finally they acquiesced.

We were glad we stayed. The old man was able to use his walker and get about halfway down the hallway before his legs gave out. We caught him and carefully carried him to his bed. After assuring that everything was as good as it could be we bid our farewell.

13 hours later we were just clearing a call on the far side of our district when dispatch asked if we were able to take another call. It was at the same house we had been to for the lift assist. Thankfully Engine 110 from the next district over was close to where our call was. They said they'd take it for us.

Then dispatch updated Engine 110 saying that the patient was unconscious. Knowing who it was and their medical problems we were concerned that the old guy wasn't just unconscious but dead. We decided to head over and see if Engine 110 needed assistance.

Upon arriving we found the ambulance had already made it there too. I walked in just in time to hear my patient asking the crew from 110 where we were. I popped my head around the corner and said we were right there. I explained that we had been out of position for the call so this crew stepped in for us. Both the husband and wife were happy we stopped by.

Turns out the husband had had his BP drop significantly. He was even weaker now. His wife looked as if she was barely keeping it together. Clearly she was worried about where this downturn in health was headed. After making sure the patient was in good hands I quietly approached the grandmother of 7. I told her she looked like someone that needed a hug. She simply nodded her head and gave me a big hug.

While there isn't much we can do long term for her husband I hope that a simple hug and some kind words let her know she isn't alone in all this.

I'm sure we'll be back again.
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