Call for Help in the Woods

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Confession time, I love that y’all are reading this blog, but sometimes I need to write this blog for my own doing.  Fair warning, this is not your normal happy goofy bloggy blog, bit more depressing.

A short drive from my apartment is a park with a combination golf course and disc golf course piled right on top of each other.  Tonight, I stopped off to get some geocaches and a walk in.  It had been raining on and off all day the paved path was noticeably slick.  I was easily less than a quarter mile where I parked when I crossed a little wooden bridge over a creek (there are a lot of those in Anchorage parks) and climbed a rise.

When I got to the top of it, I heard a bit of skid; and turned to see what it could be.  There on the ground was a guy who had noticeably fallen off his bike just over the bridge.  He had seen a bump and hit the brakes a little too hard, the rear tire sliding right out from underneath him.  He had on your typical “serious” bike rider outfit including a nice helmet and he was sitting up just a bit.

At first I thought it wasn’t much but I called back to him “Are you okay?”

His response in very clear and very controlled words; but there was the one word you don’t want to hear out here “I broke my arm, I am going to need help.”  It was a cry for help, it was a plead for help, but out here, the guy was going to need help.

I dialed 911 as I got down to him, and I walked through our location and the extent of his injuries.  He was fairly comfortable, wasn’t cold, and wasn’t in much pain at the time.  I gave the paramedics my best description of our location, and they were on their way.  By this time a runner came up who clearly knew more what to do than I did in this situation (turns out because she broke two wrists in a similar accident).  A friend of hers out on the path as well came along and between the three of us we kept the fella calm and immobile while getting ourselves to the nearest roads (one where I parked, the other just 0.1 mile from the accident) to flag down and eventually get the paramedics to the guy’s side.  The paramedics were well trained in dealing with something away from normal city streets (I have a lot of respect for those guys here with dealing with the city’s problems, but that is a blog for a different time), and once they found us they were in full force.  The guy likely had a severe fracture just above his wrist but no other injuries.  As they were cutting his clothing away he started showing signs of shock, but with 6 paramedics there by then he was in good hands and they released me from the scene.  The whole thing, from the accident to the paramedics arriving to things getting under control to me leaving took less than 30 minutes.

It was a sobering event though, but I am kinda bothered why it was as sobering.  I was in those woods by myself stomping about.  This guy was no different, and luckily I was just up the hill because it was more than a few minutes before someone else clearly with a cell phone came along.  But it hasn’t been out of the question that I would go hiking somewhere where I don’t see anyone … I prefer it even, its just more peaceful.  It’s a risk I take, and I know its a risk and … well … I can accept that risk.

I guess what bothered me was that I hadn’t been the most social guy since I have gotten up here.  Sure I go hiking and have hung out a bar a few times, but I really have done an awful lot of meeting people.  There I was, helping a guy, and if I didn’t overhear his name when he gave it to a medic I wouldn’t know it.  I know he doesn’t know mine.  Maybe that gives things a more of a “unknown good Samaritan” look on things; but that is just something I tell myself to not make this about me.  Truth is, I should have gotten his number so I can check up on him, or gotten the number of the other runners so we all can check up on him.  Worst of all, when the medic asked for numbers from the guy that he would want them to call so they can meet him at the hospital, he rattled off three or four … then I thought to myself, even if something happened to me out there, what number would I give.

Well, it comes down to this, blog world, If I have said it once I have said it a million times: “It’s not what you do wrong, its what you do to fix it.”  Time to stop letting myself clam up or hem & haw or wait for someone to say hi to me.  Time to start being more social and meet people.  Time to make sure that if I needed to call for help, someone would answer.

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