We’re grateful for the help of strangers | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

To all the riders on the 3 p.m. boat from Seattle on Oct. 23 we are sorry to have delayed the crossing by at least 20 minutes. To the all the medical professionals who came to our aid we are eternally grateful. We can’t thank you enough.

We were returning home from chemotherapy. Both my wife and I have cancer. She has stage IV breast cancer which has spread to her liver and brain. I have a Lymphfoma. My prognosis is pretty good. Hers is not.

There we were on the car deck only two cars from the front as we just missed the 2:05. We were sitting in the car waiting for the boat to load when without warning my wife had a seizure. I grabbed her arm to stabilize her so she didn’t fall and hurt herself. I didn’t want to leave her but I knew I had to get to one of the crew before the boat sailed. All the crew were at the back of the boat loading the remaining cars. I don’t move too fast these days but on a half run I made it to the crew. I told them where we were and he told me there was no way to get our car off the boat. Then he asked me what I wanted to do. Call an ambulance and get her off this boat! I don’t know what I would have done if she was on Bainbridge and had another seizure.

When I got back to the car her seizure had waned. She look at me with great big eyes so full of fear. I tried to explain to her that she had a seizure and needed to go to the hospital. She was confused and didn’t understand what happened.

In the meantime the ferry paged for medical help. Six or seven people showed up. At least two or three doctors were among them.

One particular doctor took charge. They took her vitals and calmed her down. The doctor asked my wife her name. She could come up with Karen but not her last name.

Then one of the crew said that Karen needed to ride with me to Bainbridge then back on the same boat. The doctor who told me he was a Swedish First Hill doctor very emphatically told the crew that they weren’t sailing until the ambulance was there and Karen was off the boat. We are so grateful to the medical people. I’m just sorry that I didn’t get any of their names. There was a second doctor who was older and had curly gray hair. He was especially helpful particularly to me. He could see how shook up I was. He was concerned how shaky I was and he was worried that I might not be able to drive. I told him I was OK and that I didn’t have far to drive.

Eventually I made it to the ER. Karen was stable and alert. She could remember everything except for the seizure itself.

Later that evening we found ourselves on the boat heading home. That was the fourth time I was on the Wenatchee that day. Thirteen hours and four boats later our day was done.

Again we are so grateful for all the help we received that day. Who says there is no humanity left in the world.

KAREN AND ALLAN FENNER

Bainbridge Island

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