Monday, June 30, 2008

911

I called 911 yesterday. It was the first time for me.

A man fell on the sidewalk on his way to the park, near our pool. The lifeguard, M and I were the only ones there. I thought the man might be the guard's dad or someone she knew. He was not. No one at the pool saw him fall, we only heard him. We called out to him if he was ok. He said he was.

He got up and sat on the sidewalk wall for awhile. We assumed he was just stunned at the fall. He then headed up the sidewalk up the hill. He had a bad limp and was dragging his leg and his arm. It looked as if he had a disability, but he continued up the walk. And I continued to read my book.

Within minutes, I walked up the hill towards the clubhouse and the rest room. The man was sitting in the grass about half way up the hill. His left knee was bleeding from the fall, but not too bad. I asked if he was ok, and he said he didn't know. I asked if he could get up the hill and back home and he said he didn't know, either. I asked where he lived and he is a neighbor in my development. I asked his name and told him mine. He didn't want a band-aid for the knee because he said it was ok. But he obviously needed help.

I'm in my swimsuit, have to go to the bathroom really bad, and a man needs help. Typical me. I told him we could call a spouse, friend, or neighbor to come get him. He said he had none available. I asked if there was a next of kin near him, he said yes, but didn't know if they could help. He said he needed to get to the hospital. I asked if he needed me to get my Jeep and get him home, he said he didn't think so. I told him that we would help, but didn't know how. And that I would got the restroom and be right back.

When I returned, I asked what he wanted me to do – as he clearly could not go home on his own and he could not just sit there, too. He said he wanted to go to the hospital, as he could not work his right leg or hand very well. This must be why he looked disabled to me as I watched him walk part way up the hill. I asked him if he hurt himself in the fall and he said he was really dizzy and that he could not feel his arm or leg well. I told him we'd call paramedics if he wanted, which is what he wanted. He must have felt scared and hurt to want us to call 911. I tried to call 911 on the guard's cell phone. It rang and rang. Nice to know.

I then used the pool's phone and got through... to put me on hold! Then a person asked if I needed fire, police or ambulance. Then on hold again. Geez! Finally, I spoke with a dispatcher about the fallen man. We relayed his information and they said just to keep him comfortable. By the time I was off the phone, we could hear sirens. They made up lost time quickly from me being on hold.

M stood at the top of the hill to direct the paramedics. They came down the hill and they assisted him quickly. He said he thought he fell because he was dizzy. They asked if he could grab their hands with his, and he could not with his right hand well. They tested his legs for pushing too, and again, his right leg was really weak. He had the signs of a stroke. We all knew it now.

They took him to the hospital and I assured him he'd be ok without his wallet. I also assured him he would have a fast ride to the hospital and that he did the right thing.

I went through it in my head all day yesterday. Did we help him in time? Did we do the right thing? When I called, did I give good information? I hope yes to all and that I don't have to call 911 again. I don't know my neighbor, but I hope he is ok. I wonder if someone would do the same for me?

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