Senior Warriors: How Many Stories Like This Every Day?

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After evaluating senior patients, a wise old former Arlington Heights orthopedic surgeon, David M. Hora, M.D often used to say, “Old age is rough, but it’s better than the alternative.” The Cardinal reports on a lot of crashes and fires and crimes, but for privacy reasons, another type of story that happens everyday is usually passed over — struggling to live as a senior. The Cardinal doesn’t publish the dozens of paramedic trips from private homes or nursing homes to the hospital. But the stories often involve bravery as much as any dramatic crash on the streets. Yesterday was no exception.

A senior Arlington Heights resident recently had major surgery. Yesterday was the first day for her physician office visit follow-up, but she doesn’t have the OK to drive. Proud of her independence, she and her friend decided they would make a go of it, and her friend would pick her up and drive her to the doctor. The time arrived for the obedient patient to head for the doctor’s office, but the friend’s car wouldn’t start. The friend lives two blocks away, so the friends decided they would use the post-op patient’s car in the garage — and the friend would drive the patient’s car. The friend walked over and made it three-fourths of the walk to her friend’s house, but fell face first on the sidewalk. Bleeding, hurting, facedown, alone …

Eventually, another neighbor — going for an exercise walk — saw the woman facedown on the sidewalk. As she pulled out her cell phone, a senior knight in shining armor just passing by, pulled his sedan over to the curb like one of Arlington’s finest police officers would do. He thinks he’s got no time to drag his personal oxygen tank while he comes to the aid of the two women. He jumped out of his car — leaving his driver’s door open. He grabbed the woman’s cell phone, looked for an address on the street, and called 9-1-1.

Firefighter/paramedics from Arlington Heights Fire Department Engine 2 and Ambulance 1 responded to the scene. The call would have been Ambulance 2’s call, but 30 seconds prior, Ambulance 2’s crew got a call to the Lutheran Home nursing care facility for another medical call. Paramedics at the scene of the fall took over for patient evaluation, treatment and transportation.

The senior man with the tan sedan — a little out of breath — returned to his car. “Are you OK?” I asked. “I’ll be OK,” he replied with clear plastic oxygen tubing still attached to his face and neck. “I just have to get hooked up back to my oxygen tank,” he said. He hooked up to the green tank on the passenger seat, smiled as he knew he did well, and drove off into the sunset.

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