Angels in Santa Barbara

Young angels abound in Santa Barbara. I have seen them and am forever grateful for their presence.

On Monday, March 1, my husband and I were returning to La Canada from San Francisco. We had been sharing the drive, so my husband was at the wheel when we pulled off the 101 to get a bite to eat at the FisHouse on Cabrillo before making the final two-hour drive home. We found parking behind the restaurant. I proceeded ahead to get a table while my husband locked the car. When he did not appear, I looked out the back door of the restaurant and saw him having difficulty locking our car. I went to check on what was delaying him. When he turned to me, he stumbled and then I saw the crooked smile. I know the signs; I had seen it before in others; he was having a stroke.

I turned to my right and about 15 feet away was the first angel who appeared, just strolling along behind the restaurant. I yelled for help and for her to call 9-1-1. Without hesitation, she came to help me and placed the call. I was trying to hold up my 190-pound husband, answer the questions posed by 9-1-1, and failing at both.

That is when two more angels appeared. A young man and another young woman suddenly were there helping me hold him up. For whatever reason, only professionals know, my husband was not compliant. He could not speak, respond to a direction, perform any action requested by 9-1-1 and was fighting our help. It was extremely difficult for the four of us to hold him up.

One young woman ran for a chair. He would not sit. I was so afraid he would fall and get a concussion on top of the stroke or land on his face. The four of us were finally able to force him to sit in the car just as I heard the sirens. More help. The paramedics took charge; we stepped back. As I was giving personal information on my husband and getting ready to follow the paramedics to Cottage hospital, the young man waved at me as they were leaving.

I do not know who they were, where they came from or where they went. That is why I call them angels. I do not know what I would have done without them.

Because of the help of the young people, the immediate care by the paramedics, and the expert care by the doctors and staff of Cottage hospital, my husband is in excellent condition.

Santa Barbara has some exceptionally fine young people living there, willing to step forward in a crisis. If you print this, I hope they read it. I want them to know I will never forget their help and kindness. I hope I will be able to pay it forward someday.

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