Thank you, Orcas | Letter

What a few weeks I have had. On the morning of March 13, I was hit by a pericardial effusion: blood and fluid on the heart. It was massive and unexplained. All I know is I was in incredible pain across my chest and couldn’t breathe, let alone stand. Thankfully I called 911. I’m not sure how long it took but I have been told 90 seconds.

People, lots of people, descended upon me! One seemingly in charge, the rest doing, doing, doing. People you see in the store or post office. People from the streets and my customers I fed two days ago. People who volunteer to save your life. I was scared not for myself but for my wife and kids and extended family. I was afraid that my wife would be left to raise our handful alone with an out-of-control restaurant and farm to boot. This gaggle of people who rushed around me, cutting my shirt, shaving my chest, poking and prodding, asking questions of a person who could not speak; somehow it was understood through my fears and tears. My wife was called, my mother in law called, the kids at school were thankfully unaware, were taken care of. I spied a picture my little Nora had drawn; I reached for it and it was in my hand.

On my return I encountered people who I know by sight but not by name telling me to rest and take it easy, asking if we needed help or anything. Wow, what a place! You expect that family and friends will be there – but strangers with no investment other than kindness.

As I recover I have been thinking about the last few weeks and I honestly cannot thank the island as a whole enough. The paramedics and EMTs from Orcas Fire and Rescue I am in awe at the service you provide, professional and caring. I can never thank you all enough for ensuring I lived to see my family again.

Chris Hogle

Orcas Island