Today I called 911 for the first time in my life. At least, I think it was the first time. I called because I came across a woman who had fallen and couldn’t get up. Yes, just like the ads for emergency pendants.
Actually, this is all down to Ark, a reader of this blog. He had asked about the wall of bricks with names on them in my previous post and I admitted I didn’t know what they were there for. So, today I went for a walk with the intent of finding out if there was an explanatory plaque somewhere. What I found, instead, was that there were more walls of bricks than I previously knew about and so I took several pictures.
For those who are curious, it seems as though some of the bricks are in memory of departed loved ones, and similar bricks bear the names of local businesses and individuals that funded the project. There is nothing to indicate which is which, but I’m guessing that Save On Gas and MacMillan Bloedel Ltd are still with us.
After I had taken those pictures and taken a walk around the park, I headed back along the waterfront pathway. At one point, I heard the sound of someone wailing. Really, moaning loudly. I stopped to listen at the same point as a man headed in the opposite direction did the same. I said, “Do you think someone needs help?” and we both ventured behind the nearby memorial wall.
There we saw, halfway up an embankment, amid a cluster of bramble bushes, two feet sticking up in the air. No body. No head. Just feet, sticking up. A woman’s voice was crying out for help, but the embankment was too steep and the bushes too dense for either of us to be of assistance. The man walked up a little way and asked if he could help but did not get a coherent response, so he came back down.
I decided this was a good time to call 911. When asked which service I required I said I thought we needed an ambulance, and I went on to explain the situation. Subsequently, I was put on hold. Ambulances are in short supply these days.
Then I noticed that there was a person either asleep, passed out, or dead on the concrete steps several metres away. The man who was by now my co-conspirator went over to check and declared that the person was breathing. He then left. I think he explained why but I didn’t hear him because I was listening to a recorded message on my phone telling me not to hang up.
Ultimately, the person who answered my call suggested that what I needed was the police and/or a fire truck to help the woman get on her feet and down from the embankment. He could hear her calling out which suggested to him that she was conscious and breathing. I agreed. I also told the woman that we were getting help for her, and she told me to get the f*** out of her life and leave her alone.
Then I waited for help to arrive, but away from the woman who was not at all happy that I had sent for help. After a few minutes she stood up and tried to climb back up the hillside, but without success.
At roughly the same time, another pedestrian checked with the man on the steps and asked him, loudly, if he was ok. The man responded and seemed to wake a little as he tried to sit up.
About five minutes later two police officers arrived on bicycles via the footpath. I am a little embarrassed to say that I could only think of the line in a song by Roger Miller that refers to “bobbies on bicycles two by two” as they rode up to me.
As soon as the police officers had got off their bikes, one of them called out to the woman, “Yolande, do you need some help?” Clearly, this was a situation that was not new to him. The other police officer said that he didn’t think this was Yolande. In any case, they seemed ready and able to deal with the woman’s problem. I thanked them for coming to help, and then I left.
I am glad that the police were there to help and that no-one was seriously injured. I am also glad to know that 911 will answer my call even if they put me on hold and don’t have any ambulances to spare. In the end, it worked out as well as could be expected. I hope Yolande (or whoever she is) and her friend are ok.