Letter: A life-saving bunch
A life-saving bunch
I would like to take a moment to share with you a far-too-close encounter with my own mortality recently that awakened me. Two weeks ago I was lying on the floor of my bedroom in a state of such physical agony, it made childbirth pale in comparison. My phone rang on the other side of the room, momentarily snapping me out of my almost-unconscious state. I pulled myself toward the phone, managing to hit the answer button. All I could do was scream, “911, 911.” Within minutes, my home was surrounded with Aspen police, Aspen Ambulance, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters. I don’t even know how many came. They gained entry into a locked house and found me within seconds. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to the medics — Eric Hansen, who slipped an 18-gauge water hose into my right arm effortlessly, and when I managed to squeak out, “Thanks, Eric,” he smiled and said, “You got it, kid.” He connected to me; he brought me back. Hell, thank you to all the men who had their hands all over me — really, what more could a girl ask for? My God, even the city of Aspen sent me flowers. How can I thank an entire city? I will do my best each and every day I am gifted the opportunity to help another.
Seriously, all of you saved my life. I owe you a debt I can never repay, which brings me to what I would like to say to my team. More likely than not, this would have happened in the backcountry. It is where I find the most peace; it is my spiritual connection to the universe. I can’t get enough — ever! So had the most likely happened, it would have been you — Mountain Rescue Aspen — that would have saved my life. Or, worst-case scenario, given the complexity and emergent nature of a twisted intestine, 2 feet of necrotic tissue, an appendix and an ascending colon, all of which had to be removed by the amazing Dr. Bill Rodman, you would have brought me home to my children and loved ones with all the care, grace and dignity that one could hope for. I know this because I have seen you. I have been with you when we brought someone’s child back even though their life in this world was over. I have stood over someone’s son, trying to clean him up after a week under the snow. Going out day after day until the weather gave us a window and our beloved Doug Sheffer could long-line him in to be transported to Aspen Valley Hospital. I cleaned his face, as I knew his parents would be waiting at the hospital, and wished him a safe journey. Then I cried. I cry now when I realize fully what it means to be a part of this team. Never in my life have I felt so supported, so encouraged, so helpful, so a part of something bigger than myself, than with Mountain Rescue Aspen. Thank all of you, Emergency Medical Service, Fire Department, Police Department, Sheriff’s Office, city of Aspen, my family and friends, the incredible action of the emergency room and the nurses of Aspen Valley Hospital. Most especially, thank you to the men and women of Mountain Rescue Aspen. You will always be there, you will never stop looking, and you will never give up on anyone you see — you never, ever have!
Much love and thanks.
Olwen S. Thomson
Mountain Rescue Aspen
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