Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Honour our First Responders

Bless them all
I have long been interested and supportive of our First Responders. I spent a brief moment as a Victim Services volunteer in Muskoka.  I know that most of them are hard-working, despite the Ottawa news about incidents. Muskoka Lakes volunteer firefighters have been fighting for recognition and better equipment. The OPP deal with many horrible situations, while ambulance crews fight for the lives of our citizens. Our 2nd day here in Perth, I watched the crews work in a car rollover.

I watched weary first responders a summer ago: volunteer firefighters, OPP (6 incidents one weekend), paramedics, attempting the rescue of two men, non-swimmers. The crowds watched in awe, as they worked hard to recover the bodies. Concern, as this could be one of their own. I wrote a poem about the event, it moved me so.
the meaning of death  A terrible time that summer. We lost so many.

Bala Falls drownings video

- 33 sec - 5 Aug 2009 - Uploaded by j3nnyj1ll
Two non-swimmers drowned while trying to save a 9-year old relative who was sucked out into the river by the undertow of the rapids.

I have a friend who is paraplegic. In order to go to the dentist she needs to be sent in an ambulance on a gurney. I attended as her advocate. It is an uncomfortable trip for her, as she is in constant pain due to her condition, but the crew were fabulous.  Such TLC. It is a necessary means of transportation for some. The ladies in long-term care (staff and residents) are always happy to see the handsome male paramedics. (If only they knew!)

I recall the day we took Dad to emergency in May, 2006. Our neighbour, one of the volunteer firefighters, helped with my Dad. It was comforting to have the pros there. Dad had both dementia and delirium (the latter undiagnosed due to dementia, caused by an infection). We loaded him into the ambulance. They sent him home saying there was nothing they could do. Now I know better.

Weary volunteers
In my Mom's case - my brother decided to take her to emergency the night before she died. They sent her home at 4:00 a.m. as she was palliative and there was nothing they could do. Another issue I've written about. Too many deaths on the way or at emergency.  In clear cut cases, there should be support for those who choose to become caregivers. No one in the Primary Care team: from the physician, to the Charge Nurse, the CCAC staff, the hospital, the oncologist, told me about Hospice, or offered information on palliative care.

This death was a surprise to only me, and the rest of the community. Her respiration slowed, she hadn't been eating much beyond a few tablespoons of food a few times a day. The PPS and/or the ESAS, are excellent tools to help track and predict palliative performance. Whether they decline slowly, or quickly, levelling off at times like steps on a stair, or gradually decreasing in functions, we know what approaching death looks like. It is shameful that our society cannot speak of it. It is our right to have a good death.

Small communities have different experiences of their crews. The clerk at the local store told me it was her son who was one of the paramedics who ferried Mom to (or from?) the hospital the last time. He came home and cried at the sadness of it all. Mom had a great life. She'd bravely fought cancer and had now succumbed, in peace, with her son and husband by her side. They are good people. Kind, caring, and committed. They have a wealth of knowledge, and a calm demeanor that responds to a crisis, while managing frantic family members.
Triple alarm, Bala, Apr. 22

1 comment:

Lorac said...

It is really good to see your praise for Emergency Workers. As a paramedic in Mississauga for several years, one thing I noticed was the lack of praise for Paramedics. The newspapers always spoke of the Fire men and the Police men saving lives,but never wrote about the medics. I asked some people I knew why they thought this was and they all stated that they felt it was a medics job and so therefore not news worthy. This is true, it is a medics job, but it sure would have been nice to be recognised for the extreme effort it often took to do that job!