Healthcare workers do so much and we are amazed all the time at how they put themselves into dangerous situations. I was on my way to a doctor's appointment downtown today, saw a man lying on the pavement, possibly dead, and an ambulance had just arrived, with the EMS folks jumping into action. They had no idea what they were getting into--but that is just what they do. Emergency room doctors and nurses--whatever comes in--no matter how bloody and dangerous it is--they handle it, without hesitation. It is incredible. We have been at the hospital and doctors' offices a lot recently, and I am struck by the kindness and capability, and frankly, bravery of these workers. But these are not even the folks I am talking about today. I am talking about the wonderful people who take the emergency calls that get you to the emergency folks in the first place.
On 98.1 KVET we talk a lot about how much we are constantly in awe of the people who run toward the danger as we are running from it. When the call goes out that there is something or someone who needs help, you reach a dispatcher. That voice at the end of the phone that has the answers you need in the time of emergency--that gets the people you need to save your life. They are incredible! Many years ago, the day after Thanksgiving, when my children were still young, I thought I would run up to the radio station at the regular time for the morning show (about 4:30 am). That was back when Ruta Maya was still in our building complex. (Things have improved there since then--for the most part.)
I was accosted by a homeless man as I tried to get out of my car. Thankfully I had not turned my car off yet. He jumped onto the hood of my car and was threatening me. It was so scary. I called 911. That voice at the other end of the line helped me so much. I was screaming at the guy to get off my car--that I had called the police. I had pulled into a parking spot when he threw his body onto my hood. I started to back up with him still on the car--I was going slowly--I didn't want to hurt him--I did not know what would happen to me. While I am yelling at him--this very calm woman is telling me that the police are on the way. Finally, the crazy, scary guy got off my car and ran away. The kind woman asked me where I was at that point--because the police were arriving--and I told here I was heading for I-35, I could not get away from there fast enough.
My whole point here is--she was a lifeline for me as I was going through all of this, keeping me kind of calm, keeping me from freaking out completely. I think about all those 911 calls we hear on the news where a dispatcher is calmly talking to a frightened child who has had some traumatic thing happen to them or a parent--staying 'with' them on the phone until help can arrive. Thousands of those calls happen each and every day. We praise the doctors, nurses, firefighters, EMS, teachers, grocery store workers--all essential employees--but I think we might have overlooked the folks who answer ALL of those calls all the time. So, THANK YOU!!