Fabulous, essential services and lessons learned | Letter

Guardian angels were working overtime April 6 when I decided to climb a ladder to scrape moss off our roof. I did not heed the same advice I have given my children: have a spotter when climbing a ladder, never climb alone. As I reached for a piece of moss down came the ladder sliding along the edge of the roof in seemingly slow-motion and bounced on the deck with my fingers pinned under the ladder. It all seemed surreal, rolling off the ladder and seeing my legs swelling right in front of my eyes, my one leg looking like it was hit by a bullet with tissue and blood everywhere. Did I really fall from a ladder? I was in shock.

An EMT visiting at the Westsound Marina was first on the scene and helped inform/direct the team as it appeared I had a compound fracture and numerous other injuries. The medics at Orcas Island Fire & Rescue stopped the bleeding and immobilized my injured legs. Airlift was called and the team prepared me for the flight.

A long night in the Emergency Department, procedures and many stitches later, the ED docs at Harborview wrapped me up and sent me home to Orcas to recover and heal. Thanks to all the angels that my injuries are not worse.

I am immensely grateful to the entire professional and amazing Orcas Island Fire & Rescue team, Sheriff, good Samaritans, the Airlift flight crew, the Harborview emergency department staff, and friends who rallied to help. I am reminded of a few important life lessons. One, never go up a ladder alone. Two, if you live on an island, enroll in air rescue. And three, community and friendship and caring for and about each other is priceless.

Neris Palunas