Living on the edge of the wilderness is a joy and a privilege. But the solitude and remoteness can also pose serious challenges in a medical crisis. Last October, I fell 26 feet off the top deck of our Burntside home and landed near the rocky shore. Thankfully, an hour later, my neighbor, Matt Markovich, stopped in for coffee. He quickly called 9-1-1 and within minutes help was on the way. First Responders arrived on the scene in l5 minutes followed shortly by the Ely Ambulance. The team of seven loaded me on to a stretcher and with great difficulty managed to negotiate the steep rocky terrain to load me into the ambulance parked a quarter of a mile away. Meanwhile, the sheriff’s department contacted the construction crews working on the Echo Trail to clear the way for the ambulance. In short order, I arrived at the Ely Bloomenson emergency room where doctors and nurses scrambled to assess the injuries. When they discovered internal bleeding, the medical team called for a helicopter and I was on my way to St. Mary’s in Duluth. By 2 p.m. I was being examined by a trauma surgeon who scheduled immediate surgery to staunch the internal bleeding, which would have been fatal. He credited the swift and efficient teamwork of the Ely emergency crew in saving my life.
As I sit on the deck this morning, fully recovered and enjoying the lake, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for those who rushed to my rescue. I wouldn’t be here without the super human efforts of neighbors, first responders and the Ely medical team. Not all heroes wear capes.