Dear EMS workers and firefighters and Children's Hospital staff

Anonymous HSAA member

This letter of recognition is for all you. It is hard to express in words the deep gratitude my family feels for the service you provide.

But we cannot miss this opportunity to try to express our feelings on paper because I am sure a lot of the work you do might go unnoticed. Maybe not intentionally but just as a function of our hectic lives and the rapid change of circumstances you deal with. Hopefully our humble words would do some justice to the work that you do. 

A bit of context. Last Thursday, we visited the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary because my daughter had some trouble breathing and this was not the first time it had happened. The staff was caring, kind and very professional. This included Sharon at triage, who greeted us with a warm smile, did her initial assessment and kindly offered my daughter an ice popsicle.

The next day, I decided to stay home from work just to see how she was evolving. She still looked a bit sick but was in a playful mood so we decided to do her favourite things: go the park and the library. When we came back, I put her for a nap and when she woke up, it was like a completely different child. She had fever close to 39, vomited and was grunting to breath. On top of things, she looked very lethargic, almost zoned out.

I started to shake in fear and confusion, what is happening? What can I do? My poor little baby was so vulnerable and I felt there was little I could do. This is a 20 pound 15-month baby, she is so tiny in my eyes and I could not bear to see her like this.

After a few minutes of this and noticing her breathing wasn’t improving, I called 911. I have never dialed those digits and hope I don’t have to ever again. Immediately they sent help. The fire department got there first and started assessing her and providing her with oxygen. Soon after, EMS arrived on the scene and was able to do further testing of her heart and lungs and provided some initial treatment.

In the meantime, the firefighters moved quickly to prepare my daughter’s bag, got me some shoes, got the car seat in the ambulance, and worried about all the logistical things I had no brain for at the moment. When we got in the ambulance, EMS quickly put an IV on her because they quickly recognized that on top of her breathing problems, my daughter was quite dehydrated and this had exacerbated her status. As we drove to the hospital, my baby started to breathe better, she still looked very weak but I could see how she was improving as she became more hydrated and the meds were taking effect. 

I don’t think I’ll ever forget that ride, the paramedic was probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. You could tell that he had a lot of experience, not only on making sure my daughter would feel better but also in ensuring that I wouldn’t panic. He was very detailed in informing me on my daughter’s status and also made sure he connected with us at a personal level. I know he cared and that made a world of difference for us. We thank him and his partner, for what they did for us that day. 

Once we got to the hospital, we were treated with the best care I could have wish for, including the amazing nurses and doctors. Even Sharon came by with her warm smile and said: I saw her name and noticed that she was here again today and just wanted to check on her. How thoughtful and sincere. 

Thankfully we were able to go home later that day with a much happier baby that was breathing better and brightening up our night with shy smiles and snuggles. 

It took me a few days to process of all of this, but I can’t miss this opportunity to reflect on how thankful we are for EMS, the Fire Dept. and the staff at the Children’s. To put it in perspective, I come from a country, where 911 is almost non-existent. A couple of years ago, some man was breaking into my mom’s home at 4 am and when she phoned 911 and there was no response – she was left alone to scream to try to scare the robbers. The resources are not there and you live in the edge of fear hoping you’d never need this.

Yet, as soon as I called, I hear a calm voice that quickly dispatched support. I was so scared when I phoned as I didn’t know what would happened and I must say it exceeded all expectations. 

I went from feeling utterly alone, as my husband was at work, to feeling we had a supportive community around us, a community of workers that deeply cared. I mean, as I was shaking of anxiety, a group of firefighters was promptly looking for my shoes and ensuring my purse had my wallet and keys, they even asked if they needed to do anything with the dog. This was beyond thoughtful and we just want to say thank you. 

To all of you that every day take on very emotionally challenging scenarios and do your best to make our families, communities and cities healthier and safer: THANK YOU. 

You inspire all of us to be better and to care more. You remind all of us that although we are swamped with negative news, there are many good news, many good people and hope for the future. 

 

With much love, 

Our family