Drama in real life

Saturday, July 16th, 2005
Given the remote location of where we live we don't see helicopters often. When we do, it causes a lot of excitement and anxiety. Tonight was no different. I heard the whoosh of the blades first, then I saw the flashing lights as the helicopter cleared the mountaintop opposite my home and began its descent towards the quiet community below. The chopping noise in the air alerted everyone to its arrival. Everyone knows what it means.

When a helicopter descends into our mountain-top community, it's usually for one of three reasons: search and rescue, to pick up water for a forest fire or to pick up a patient for a 20-30 minute flight to the emergency room in Bakersfield or Valencia. (Actually, there's one other reason, and it's a fun one: the Lilac Festival)

Since it was already dark and I did not smell smoke, I knew that a water pick-up was unlikely; I got in my car and headed down the hill toward the fire department. When I arrived a block away from the emergency helipad, I pulled over to the side of the road and parked my car. I pulled out my binoculars to see what was happening. I saw the Hall air ambulance; the paramedics and the medics from the medical flight-team were tending to a patient in the ambulance.

I stopped for a while to pray. I prayed for the patient, the medical personnel in attendance, and the family and concerned friends outside the ambulance. I have no idea who it is, but in a community as small as ours, it's possible I know them. It really does not matter whether I know them or not, and it has no bearing on the impact of my prayer for divine intervention. A person is hurting, in need of care and compassion. That's all that matters.

After about 10 minutes, the medics removed the patient from the ambulance and wheeled the gurney to the waiting helicopter. Moments later, the air ambulance lifted off from the helipad. It's probably on it's way to Bakersfield Heart Hospital as I write this.

Twice, I've been taken off the hill by the Hall Ambulance paramedics. Fortunately, my condition did not require an air evacuation, but I remember how frightening it was, nonetheless. I'm sure it was even more so for my family.

I'm thankful for the men and women who care for us up here, whether they provide us with fire or paramedic services, or security and a number of other services that allow us to enjoy life in the mountains.

I'm thankful that their training and technology are available to us, even in this remote mountaintop community.

I hope that this person - anonymous to me - will rest peacefully in flight tonight and that they will be well cared for when they arrive.

Discussion/Comments (2):

Drama in real life

I hope there was a happy ending to this story although it is likely we will never know. I appreciate the benefits one enjoys living in a remote area as you do Eric but it is medical emergencies such as this that scares me.

When I had emergency open heart surgery 4 years ago had I been out in the sticks I likely would not have made it. I chronicled that experience on my blog if you're interested.

{ Link }

Posted at 07/17/2005 7:48:58 by James Kendrick

Drama in real life

Like you, Eric, I pray for those who are giving support and those receiving it. I was a police chaplain for years and was often actively involved in the incident - it was always good to know people were praying for us.



Posted at 07/17/2005 9:22:03 by Dean

Discussion for this entry is now closed.