Letter: Thankful to live in such an amazing community | VailDaily.com

Letter: Thankful to live in such an amazing community

Nearing 70, I was fortunate to purchase the condominium of my dreams in Avon. From the beginning, I have been warmly welcomed by each resident I met. The purpose of this letter, however, is to recognize the outstanding emergency services that I had to unexpectedly call upon, because I need to thank them, albeit in this inadequate way.

A family member was visiting for Thanksgiving. She described for me a sudden pain in the chest, difficulty in breathing and looked deathly pale.  She insisted that she was OK to take an Uber to the hospital. However, while waiting for the Uber to arrive, I realized that we needed an ambulance. So, I called 911.

The call was answered immediately and I explained the situation. I was told that help was on the way and, in the meantime, I was asked to describe the symptoms. I do not know the dispatcher’s name, but her professionalism is to be commended. She calmly told me what to do while waiting for emergency services to arrive and offered to stay on the phone until they arrived.

I took a moment to call the Uber driver, whose name was Jesus. Although driving many minutes to take us to the hospital, he insisted that I let him cancel the call so that I was not charged and wished us the best. Uber, if you are listening, please give him an award.

Moments later, three Avon firefighters were at the door, because they were the closest emergency unit. They clearly were knowledgeable about what to do until the EMTs arrived. I also wish I could thank them by name.

While minutes seem like hours in emergencies, it seemed like seconds before the EMTs arrived. I believe their names are Kayla and Dawn and I apologize if I got their names wrong. From 1965 to 1968, I was a voluntary ambulance attendant in my community. We would get a call, go to the station and when we were all assembled, drive our ambulance to the person in distress and hope that they would be alive when we got there.  We would administer aid at the Red Cross level, put the person in the ambulance and pray they did not die before we got them to the hospital.

Not here, not now. Kayla and Dawn are clearly highly, highly, educated. They quickly took charge and assessed the situation. They administered and read an EKG right then, right there. They did not move their “patient” until they were sure she was stabilized for the transport. Once in the ambulance, they did much more. At all times, they were calm and reassuring.

When we arrived at the Vail Health Hospital, the doctors and nurses had been briefed and waiting. I also apologize to them for not remembering their names. From the moment we arrived, through tests and a diagnosis of acute altitude sickness, they exuded expertise, positivity and warmth.

While all this was going on, I wanted something to do. So, as many people do who feel helpless in a crisis, I emailed the Beaver Creek Ski School, because we had very expensive, non-refundable lessons scheduled for the next day. Almost immediately, Rebecca Davis, a supervisor of the Beaver Creek Ski School, responded that she had canceled the reservations and wanted us to only concentrate on being healthy and well.

I hope that everyone in the Vail Valley knows how fortunate we are to have such incredible professionals and such warm, warm, caring people from Uber drivers to ski school supervisors, to EMTs, to doctors and nurses and staff.  I thank each and every one of them and all of the people who make up this incredible community. I only hope that, in the coming years, I can repay a fraction of what I have received.

Art Schwartzstein

Avon