, Salem, MA

June 17, 2013

Letter: Grateful for Salem's police, fire and medical emergency service members

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to give my heartfelt thanks to Salem’s red, white and blue!

On May 6, I officially became one of those statistics of the elderly who fall in their homes each year. It was one of those silly accidents that should have never happened, but did. Tripping and falling forward, I picked up momentum as I traveled downward until I slammed headlong into the door jam and bookcase, like a ram doing battle on the rocky slopes of a mountain side, splitting my head open on both sides.

The left side of my scalp peeled back like an orange peel, while the right side, although being smaller in size, proved to be the worst. I had severed an artery and the blood spurted out of my head like a water fountain with every heartbeat. I knew that I was in trouble right away as I picked myself up and headed for the bathroom, drenching everything in sight as I went.

By the time I reached the bathroom mirror to see the damage, my T-shirt was soaked and I could barely see through the blood. As fast as I grabbed towels and applied them to my head, they became soaked.

My wife was up now, being awakened by the noise, and I could see the shock on her face. As she dialed 911, I continued to apply towels to the fountain of blood erupting from my head. The operator on the phone told her to get me to sit down but, somewhat in a daze, I kept walking around and then finally headed for the front porch to await the ambulance. By the time they arrived, I had quite literally managed to spray blood everywhere. My front porch looked like the scene of a massacre.

And that’s when Salem’s red (fire department), white (ambulance paramedics) and blue (police) departments went into action. Like a finely tuned instrument, they calmed my wife, assessed my condition and took control of the situation. My poor wife was in such shock that when asked what my name was, she could not remember. But they understood and managed to calm her down with soothing words and understanding.

The medics talked with me and calmly assessed my injuries and applied the necessary steps to get my bleeding under control and save my life.

After the ambulance took me to the hospital, the fire department stayed behind and cleaned up the blood from our porch and floors. My wife told me later that they had to hose the porch and sides of the house down and then cleaned up as much as possible the blood-soaked floors.

My sincere thanks to the Salem police officers who calmed my wife’s fears and helped her get her emotions under control when she was so frightened and scared. They quite probably saved her from having an attack and going to the hospital herself.

And my sincere thanks to the paramedics for their quick response, and for their kind words to my wife and myself, and for their expertise in keeping me from bleeding out. I owe you my life. And my apology to the young woman who rode with me in the ambulance for drenching her.

I would also like to give my sincere thanks to the firemen who stayed behind and cleaned up our front porch and floors for my wife. It meant so much to her for you to do that. It was way beyond the call of duty.

And last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank the Salem Hospital doctors and nurses for their kind words and personal attention. I was never treated like an assembly-line patient to be treated and moved along, but rather like I was the most important person there. The doctor talked and even joked with me as he took care of my injuries and afterward calmly leaned against the counter as he gave me my going-home instructions, making certain that I completely understood before resuming his duties and allowing the nurse to finish up. And one would think that I had my own private nurse from the way that she took the time to make sure I was cleaned up and presentable again.

I have no idea how much these people make but what I do know is that whatever it is, it is not enough! You will forever be in our prayers. God bless.

Thank God for Salem’s Red, White and Blue!

Ty Friley