Beatrice B. Smith: Gratitude among trauma
This is an expression of gratitude to the competent and compassionate people in the Frisco community who assisted me and my family in a time of profound trauma.
One year ago, on August 1, 2009, my husband and I were vacationing in Frisco with our children and grandchildren. It was a glorious day for the Copper Triangle Alpine Classic bicycle ride. We arose at dawn to see our adult children leave on their tandem bike. Stephen and I went to the farmers market with the grandchildren, walked the reservoir path, and then enjoyed the serene view from the windows of our rented condominium. Life was perfect. Then, without warning, his heart stopped.
I called 911. The operator calmly gathered information, dispatched help, and stayed on the phone to guide me as I administered CPR. The first responders – ambulance crew, firemen and a police officer – arrived very quickly and took over the resuscitation efforts. A kind condo neighbor, Bruce Mitchell, cared for the grandchildren, aged 4 to 11, while I rode in the fire truck to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. The medical team went into immediate action while the chaplain gave solicitous attention to me. Frisco police officer Matt Murray was a bulwark of helpfulness and strength who stayed by my side, helping me to connect with the bike riders in the mountains and then escorting them to the medical center. My husband was airlifted to St. Anthony’s Central Hospital Trauma Center in Denver. Amidst this unfathomable turmoil, I felt embraced and sustained by the caring attention of St. Anthony’s emergency room physicians and staff and Officer Murray. We watched the helicopter depart and then I and my adult children, who were still in their biking attire, left by car on what seemed like an endless, winding journey to Denver in weekend mountain traffic.
Stephen died before we reached Denver, devastating news that was given to us with the gentlest compassion by the trauma center physician. Later, Summit County Coroner Joanne Richardson, went out of her way to facilitate documentation, postponing her departure for an out-of-town meeting so that we could drive home to Missouri with a completed record. I hope that I thanked all of these good people at the time, but I want them to know that my family and I are enduringly appreciative of each person who touched our lives that day. My husband, Stephen B. Smith, was a brilliant, vibrant professional who died in the prime of his career, age 62, leaving a huge void not only in our lives, but also in the life of our community. The pain of loss is lessened by the knowledge that he – and we – could not have received better care in our hours of crisis. Frisco area citizens can be very proud of all of these good people.
To all who helped us, thank you.
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