“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Winston S. Churchill
Christmas Eve, 2006, which I now refer to as my “alive day,” a day that ended up changing my life dramatically.
I had just enjoyed a family dinner with all four of my siblings, their husbands, wives and children, as well as my mother and father. I had also enjoyed a party with friends I hadn’t seen in years. I was tired. The next thing I knew it wasn’t Christmas; my body was broken; I was in desperate pain; and my life was in the hands of therapists and caregivers. What I did not know was how far I had already traveled, and how much aid I had been granted.
It was early morning when I fell asleep at the wheel and drove off the road crashing into a sycamore tree. I remained there long enough for my body temperature to nosedive, and to lose a great deal of blood. Soon thereafter, I lost consciousness. The first responding paramedic climbed into the passenger side of my car to await more help, talk to me and try to raise or at least support my body temperature. More help followed quickly, as the paramedics used the Jaws of Life to peel the roof off so I could be removed. I was stabilized sufficiently to leave the scene. A helicopter was summoned, and I was off to Shock Trauma where I underwent numerous operations, spent a month in a coma, several months in physical rehabilitation, and then months at home for additional therapy sessions learning basic motor skills again. In all, it was a two-year recovery process that could not have taken place had Talbot County’s remarkable team of paramedics not been quick to respond and quick to assess my physical state.
I am working now, restored in mind and body. But I’m indebted to those individuals who left their beds that Christmas Eve to attend to my needs and to save my life. It is a thank you of sorts, as I reach out to my friends who might help me raise funds for the Lifepak 15s, a portable heart monitor/defibrillator with such features as an audible CPR Metronome, a dual-mode color LCD with a high-contrast mode for use in bright sunlight, up to six hours of operating time, and energy dosing for difficult-to-defibrillate patients.
While I know and can swear to the importance of these state-of-the-art life monitors, or defibrillators, allow me to provide you with a short description of the product and its importance. The new defibrillators, known as the Lifepak 15, allow paramedics to relay critical information on the patient’s heart to a number of patient care teams in the area, including the hospital, which enables better preparation and onsite care for the patient. With regards to a heart attack victim, having an up-to-date Lifepak is essential, and can be the difference between life and death.
I have personally met the paramedics who use these products and they agree that this piece of equipment is pivotal in many cases they run into. The current Lifepaks being used are, on average, five years old. Many advances have been made in that half-decade One of the most revealing cases occurs almost daily when paramedics are charged with monitoring the health of firefighters and the decisions made on their behalf. A Lifepak is capable of reading the amount of oxygen in the blood, thereby being able to determine the amount of smoke inhaled as well. However, on occasion, the outdated Lifepaks are inaccurate and the firefighters are allowed to re-enter a burning building unaware of the amount of smoke already inhaled.
While each Lifepak 15 costs approximately $30,000, every dollar you can spare would help achieve our goal of buying a new model for every ambulance. I hope you will join me in donating funds for this extremely important cause, and I look forward to seeing you in person.
Chris will be one of five contestants in the first Talbot Character Bowl, a party being held September 18th, celebrating Talbot paramedic’s 25th anniversary. Each contestant will raise money to become “Talbot Character of the Year.” Totals will be announced at the event and the one with the most money will win.
When five young men volunteered to provide Talbot County with the Upper Shore’s first paramedic service in 1985, Talbot Paramedic Foundation was formed to support them. Their goal then was to help purchase a vehicle and keep the paramedics supplied as well as to urge the County Council to fully fund the them.
Now 25 years later it is the County’s largest department with 5 paramedic units strategically placed in service 24 hours a day. The Foundation plans to celebrate their remarkable anniversary with a fundraiser on September 18th.
“I think this is a great way to celebrate our 25th anniversary,” said Will Howard, president of Talbot Paramedic Foundation for 25 years, “those original 5 guys are heroes for what they started so many years ago. We want to salute them as well as the rest of paramedics who went through all the training to have undoubtedly saved hundreds of lives in this county.”
The September 18th event will be held in East Coast Flight Services hanger, with music by “A Classic Case.” It will be catering by Oxford Greens. Tickets for the event may be purchased at Miranda’s Shoes, Aqua Pool, LaCaze Mereith Real Estate, Easton and LaCaze Meredith in St. Michaels.
The event is being co-sponsored by The Star Democrat, WCEI Radio, The Gannon Family, Provident State Bank, Shore Health System, VFW Post 5118, Pascals Restaurant & Tavern and East Coast Flight Service.