Love Stories

Rob Harrison (photo by Muriel Hastings)

My pager goes off, I hear, “CPR in progress,” and my adrenaline hits high gear because a life will soon literally be in my hands. Forty-five minutes later, the patient is in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, and all I am left with is a lot of adrenaline and a question. How did things turn out?

That question is rarely answered. Occasionally, a thankful family sends a card, but it normally goes to the head office, where it gets posted, and because that’s not the station I serve out of, I may never see it.

I’m on call most of the year and live with wondering what kind of impact I’ve had. This page exists so emergency responders like me can get “the rest of the story.” Please tell yours.

Rob Harrison is a volunteer EMT/firefighter with South Whidbey Fire/EMS and
Whidbey CareNet director of first responder services


4 Replies to “Love Stories”

  1. Three times, now, my son has called 911 when he felt scared and alone, and could not find his mama. (Twice, I was on the property and was surprised to find Island County Sheriff vehicles in the driveway on my return to the house. And once, I was in The Clyde waiting for him.) But the men who responded to my son’s calls were compassionate and caring. They never made him feel stupid for dialing 911 and assured him each time that he’d done the right thing.

    Then last August, my son and I got in the worst car accident I’ve ever been in on Highway 525. This time, someone else called 911, and the first responders were, again, supportive and compassionate as I sat shaken beside the highway. They did everything they possibly could have, and we even got to ride in the back of the police car down to Simmons Towing.

    Thank you first responders for being there when we need you (and for understanding when it turns out that we actually don’t)!

  2. About 3 years ago I was going through an extremely stressful time. I woke up one morn from a nightmare @ 6AM and thought I was having a heart attack. I called 911 and three EMT’s were at my door IN FIVE MINUTES! Come to find out, two of them lived in my neighborhood (lucky me!). They took amazingly good care of me. About a year later, one of them stopped by a garage sale I was having and I recognized him immediately. “Hi neighbor!” I said, and walked up to give him a great big hug. I thanked him for being there for me. He thanked me and said he loves his job – had been doing it for 20 years – but the one bummer about it is they really don’t know what happens to most of the people they respond to (because of privacy laws). I know several people who have called 911 on Whidbey and offer nothing but praise for our EMT’s calm and professional care. That’s the thing – they truly care. That’s priceless. Thanks to all of you. We rest easier at night knowing you’re there for us.

  3. I have taken a few ambulance rides to Whidbey General and have always been astonished at how fast the EMTs shows up when the call goes in to 911 – and how many volunteers respond! I’ve had several allergic reactions that required the full dose of every drug they could throw at me in the ambulance and I’ve had seizures/hypoglycemia, yet the responders are always respectful and never guilt me into making that ride, as I am really reluctant to incur even more medical debt. They help me weigh the options (when I’m conscious) and talk to me like I’m a neighbor and not just their next report. When you are feeling vulnerable and physically fragile, it helps to know that the Whidbey EMTs have your back and act fast.

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