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Letters to the editor

editor@vaildaily.com

Timely, precise and willing

Last week I was privileged to accept an invitation to visit and spend time at a fire/rescue station in the metropolitan area of Denver.

The lack of any activity at the prescribed location was a bit of a surprise. (I didn’t exactly expect a welcoming committee or a brass band). The only motion on the spacious corner lot was a light breeze trying to excite some activity from Old Glory hanging from the top of the flagpole. I knocked on a red metal door obviously in place as an exit and entrance to the building and was greeted almost instantly by a young fireman. Then a round of introductions to the other five men who made up the crew for that shift. Several of the men took part in a tour of the station and all of the equipment. There is no need to look for a speck of dust or anything else that might appear to be less than shining or out of place. The tour ended as I sat in a designated seat in the crew cab of the engine; seat belted, head settled and briefed as to the procedures when the engine would be called out; not if.

Lunch was a hearty affair eaten at a table big enough for ten. Huge sandwiches made by the individual to his taste were washed down by whatever you wanted to drink. The coffee was excellent. Nobody said anything but in a few minutes as if a command had been issued, the kitchen and lunch room had returned to their previous spotless condition. Not a moment too soon, because as we wandered back to the bay, the alarm sounded. In far less time than the telling takes, we were gone. The sirens wailed, the lights flashed and the speed increased only to come to an abrupt halt at a street corner sort of leisurely guarded by two police cars and their occupants. Everyone seemed to be acquainted as if this were an every day afternoon exercise. “Hey Joe, hi Jim, Charlie.” The object of this call was a derelict lying in the dirt and grime of the street corner with a half full bottle of an alcoholic beverage in a paper sack. The paramedics didn’t talk to anybody. The victims vital signs were taken and recorded; he was placed on the litter which was secured in the ambulance; doors slammed, lights flashed and they were gone.

At 7 p.m., 1900 hours, we were at the Arvada Civic Center, a marvelous building, for the ceremony to honor and confirm the latest class of paramedics from St. Anthony’s Central Hospital. Chiefs of fire departments, wives, mothers and fathers, sweethearts and friends were on hand to photograph, shake hands, hugs and kisses for the recipients. Lots of smiles and good wishes. The ceremony was just like everything else that made up the day. Short and sweet, to the point, mission accomplished.

The gentleman taking responsibility for the classes from day one through the finish is Kevin Waters.

He oversees and carries out everything from organization to graduation. When he presented the program to the hospital and chiefs of fire departments, they told him it couldn’t be done. Too many books, too many hours, too many subjects for six months and on and on. His reply was, “it can be done, it will be done.” Why? How? “These people are paramedics. You can expect nothing else.”

Dr. Gerald Estep is well known in the area of emergency medical techniques and treatments. He, and others he selects, teach the medical portions of the program. The students, past and present, have the utmost regard for his professional knowledge. He is also their friend. At the conclusion of his remarks Dr. Estep paid tribute: “If I was involved in a terrible automobile collision, lying beneath my car, in my own blood and in terrible pain, expecting to die, all of my hurts would be better when I heard the sirens, because I knew the paramedics were coming.”

You really can’t grasp the significance of this experience unless you’ve been a witness. These are the highest standards of performance to be seen in your behalf. Visit your local fire department and shake hands with the firemen/paramedics.

Frank Doll

Avon

Silver Award

Cadette Troop 293 would like to say a BIG thank you to all of the community members who helped them achieve their Silver Award.

Our project was recording and broadcasting public service announcements for Domestic Violence Month.

We would like to thank the following: Deena Ezzell, Victim Services, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, for giving us this opportunity; Pat Sheehy, EVHS, for taking his time to help us to record our PSAs; Diana Honey, for working with us to get the PSAs broadcast; and to radio stations KKCH, KTUN and KSKE for broadcasting our PSA’s for the month of October.

Again, thank you for all of your assistance in helping us to obtain our goal.

Emma Aho, Katie Russ, Jessica Nevin, Jill Shainholtz, Alaina Sheehy,

Talea Sutherland, Jessie White, Cathi Sutherland, Anne Shainholtz

Bravo! By Starlight

The Bravo! Guild would like to thank all the sponsors, volunteers, and participants in the 11th annual Bravo! By Starlight Snowshoe and Cross-Country Event, which was held on Saturday, February 21st at the Vail Nordic Center. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Bravo! Music Education Fund.

Special thanks go to Tom Gaylord at the Vail Recreation District for setting up the course and to Vail Resorts for their contribution of illuminating glowsticks. Thanks to Patty Gray at the Seasons at the Green for donating the Kreuger Room for registration and awards, along with a welcome supply of hot chocolate. Thanks to Fiesta’s and the Tap Room for donating chili and to Meet The Wilderness for use of their snowshoes. A special thanks to the following local merchants who contributed to the prize drawing: Alpenrose, Golden Eagle, 4 Eagle Ranch, Cordillera, Ti Amo, Bob’s, Paddy’s, Masato’s, Hair Dudes, 1stBank, Fiesta’s, Pazzo’s, and Bogart’s.

We appreciate everyone’s efforts in making this event successful, and hope to see you this summer at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival concerts.

Marcia McCalden

The Bravo! Guild

What does it take?

Recently, a friend of mine was in a serious car accident. He was intoxicated at the time, again. For the past six years I have watched him go in and out of sobriety. He has completed several rehabs, some voluntarily and others upon the serious encouragement of loving family members. He has been in the proverbial revolving door of the twelve-step system, never being able to accumulate more than six months at a time being clean and sober. Prescription medications have also been part of his struggle with addiction, which has usually reopened the door to him drinking excessively.

This has not been his first car accident as the result of his alcohol abuse. Last year, he ended up putting his car into a ditch, and several years ago he ran off the road during a “black out” drinking episode. Fortunately, his children were not in the car and there were no other injuries involved.

Having studied psychology in college and in graduate school, I am perplexed by my friend’s continual history of alcoholic wreckage and find myself asking, “What is it going to take for my friend to recognize and decide that his life and drinking are not a compatible match?”

I understand that alcoholism is a disease, a disease that kills, and that denial is one of the biggest symptoms of that disease. I have heard that when an alcoholic takes that first drink, the disease kicks in and he is no longer consciously in charge of controlling his ability to only take that one drink. But is there a degree of consequence that needs to happen in order for an alcoholic to take that first step in changing his behavior?

I started thinking about what it takes for me to change a behavior that doesn’t seem to serve me particularly well. Usually, I have to repeat it so many times until I feel so fed up or in so much pain that I will do anything to avoid that same outcome. I don’t think that it is human nature to wake up one morning and smiling, say, “I don’t think I will do that again.” I understand that the harsher the consequence, the greater my attention will be to the given situation.

Daphne Webbe

CADS can help

There has been interesting discussion in the Daily on ACL sprains. That injury is epidemic in skiing, with one grade-three rupture per two thousand skier days. Surgical remedy is costly. Rehab is protracted. Reconstructed ligaments do not exceed 40% of the strength of natural ligaments. Likelihood of subsequent rupture is double for the reconstructed knee. Long term outcomes often include degenerative joint disease.

Women are twice as likely as men to experience an anterior cruciate tear in skiing, but incidence is otherwise democratic: we harvest a ton of early stage and de-conditioned skier ACL’s up here, but the vast majority of World Cup skiers lose theirs, too.

The Daily carried descriptions of the classic mode of injury both in the Veronica Whitney piece and the Otto Wiest letter. Namely, it’s the backwards fall. With hips below the knees, the ski tail acts as an irresistible level.

What, one might ask, would be the effect of a dynamic brace placed between the boot shell and the pelvis? Suppose a progressive spring force ever more powerfully unloaded the knee as the pelvis lowered toward the boot. What then?

That is what CADS do, and we have been asking that question since the early development years in the late eighties. Today CADS skiers collectively should be losing about fifteen ACL’s per year. To our knowledge, there has never been a backwards fall ACL in the history of ACL.

So the mechanical means of protection is pretty straightforward and obvious. The track record is sort of compelling. Doctors who use and/or prescribe CADS find the picture persuasive. Since this injury is significant to this valley medically and economically, I thought I should explain this, however superficially. And, oh yes, it is my job to sell “em.

Walter Dandy

walterdandy@post.harvard.edu


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