I'd like to take an opportunity to remind us of some very dedicated professionals in our community who usually go about their services without a lot of public attention. You might not even think about them very often--until you have a crisis. And then, you need them right now.
I'm talking about our EMT's and/or Paramedics, often referred to as Emergency Medical Services (EMS). I know, we tend to think about TV shows where explosions are going off among twisted metal or broken concrete, while breaking through the smoke, the ambulances with these folks comes racing through with lights flashing.
Well, yes, there's no denying should the situation arise, they'd be there. It's what they do--or rather, it's part of what they do.
In our communities, much of their time is a bit less obvious. They may be at numerous homes during the course of a week in response to a need for assistance and possible transportation to the ER. And the only you'd notice was if you happen to be driving by that particular household.
We know that dialing 9-1-1 is a request for emergency assistance, and should the call be of a medical issue EMS hits the road as they are frequently the first responders in these situations. They are also the ones who arrive when someone uses their personal response system--the "I've fallen and can't get up" alert button that many people in our community have and use.
OK, I get that many people here are very independent, and among the elder population it's often the reason they achieve elder status. I've heard people say things like:
Well, I really didn't want to bother anybody.." or
Those ambulance guys have more important things to do..
If you're having a medical emergency, or you have fallen and are unable to get back on your feet, I'd say that's exactly when someone needs to be "bothered". And to the EMS people I've talked with, your situation is the important thing that needs to get done.
Think about it: A fall could result in broken hips, legs, arms, a head injury and so on. And even if nothing actually breaks, laying on the floor or outside for an extended period of time is not a minor event. If no one comes by, hypothermia can easily set in. Yes, even indoors. Think about how many people keep their homes cool due to heating costs and limited income. The floor can be as cold as the sidewalk.
Another hesitancy that sometimes delays a call to EMS is people are pretty sure they don't need to go to the ER. The assumption being that's what they do. Pick you up and take you to the ER. Yes, they do--if the situation merits it. However, if all you happen to need is assistance getting back on your feet or into your chair, they do that too. And, will check you out to make sure everything's OK.
These trained professionals do what they do because they care about our communities and want to help. Sometimes being too "independent" isn't necessarily a good thing. When it's not, they are there.
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