I have just had the fortune — well, misfortune, depending on how you look at it — to experience first hand our local emergency services. By chance, one day it was the ambulance folks. The next day, it was the fire department. The luck, for me, came in that I was not the reason for their being dispatched.
My friend, an older woman, called me in distress Thursday morning. After a call to her doctor, it was decided she should call 911. (I must note, just for interest sake, it must be women of a particular era that would rather die than go out of the house without lipstick on. She was not the first friend I’ve witness do this.) They made it across town to her house within maybe five minutes.
She was quickly surrounded by five men and a woman from both the ambulance and fire teams. “They all come out on the same call,” I answered her look of “who-are-all-these-people?” “We are all paramedics or in training,” the head paramedic informed her (Sorry I didn’t get your name!).
I found some notes on her medical history to give them. I was really impressed with the scope of questions and great calm with which they addressed her. “Let me get those pants loosened up to help make you more comfortable — they look a big snug!” “Now, why haven’t you had this particular health-situation taken care of before? Why would they have said that would be the outcome?” etc.
Funny thing, I noticed such an improvement in my friend’s demeanor just upon seeing young, knowledgeable faces surrounding her. She’s not the first friend to tell me that.
Once onto the gurney and out the door, she called to me for her sunglasses, expecting I would bring them along later when I came down to San Luis Obispo to fetch her after she was checked out. But a medic put their sunglasses on her right then for her immediate comfort. She thought that was great.
With her in good hands, I proceeded to get some things together and head down to bring her back home that afternoon.
The very next afternoon, on my way to do a massage at the Cambria Pines Lodge, I was rather distressed to see the parking lot and road into the place blocked by fire trucks and personnel. I knew the old cabins that Sojourn is in are funky, so got darned nervous I may not have a place to work any more (another one?).
Luckily, it was part of the old pool building — which happened to be right next to Sojourn’s old digs! When I’d pulled up, I saw George Kaperonis in uniform talking to volunteer, Dexter Upton, telling him, “It was a real doozy!” How nice to see a young man who’d grown up here giving back to his community.
The building was still hot and smoldering and our firefighters were working together to fully douse the place. Once I’d gone around the property to come in the back way to the spa, I could assess my work situation.
Walking out to a firefighter to ask him what was going to happen, I noticed it was Michael Castellanos, a young man who’d gone to pre-school with my older son! Everything was under control and would be cleared up as quickly as possible with a couple of guys on duty all night to make sure it was safe.
Hometown men and women, medics and firefighters — not only are our emergency service workers expertly trained, they know Cambria, they know who we all are and they know their way around here. It makes me sleep better at night! I’m grateful for you all!
Dianne Brookes column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her web site at www.ladytiedi.com.