Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – Giving Back

Name: Samantha Heindel
From: Ephrata, Pennsylvania
Grade: 12
School: Ephrata Senior High School
Votes: 0

Giving Back

Out of the corner of my eye, an elderly man came wobbling in with his
wife- little did I know that this man would make such an impact on my
life. For a little over ten months I spent every Saturday night
volunteering at the hospital from 4 until 8 pm. Before I started
volunteering, I was pretty content with the idea of becoming an
emergency physician when I was older. Once I started volunteering, I
had no commitment for anything else besides the sole purpose of
wanting to help people and save lives, like I did that night.

I looked up from the paperwork that I was putting together to see an
elderly man sitting in the chair with his wife talking to the
registration specialist. The wife said how her husband had a pain in
his abdomen (assuming it was a kidney stone.) From the sounds he was
making, it sounded as if there was a blue whale in the middle of the
emergency room entrance. It was very busy in the emergency room: red
call lights flashing, IV poles beeping, children crying and adults
wincing in pain. Although the ER itself was full of
hustle-and-bustle, I had nothing to do at that time except put
stickers of patient’s information on papers when they came in. The
night drew on like a candy maker creating a concoction of taffy- long
and stretchy. When I glanced at the elderly man, I noticed that one
side of his face was drooping down. When he spoke, his speech was not
completely slurred, like a record that is about to break, but enough
for me to notice something was out of the ordinary. I asked the
elderly man to put out his arms and squeeze my hands as hard as he
could, and his left squeeze was not nearly as hard of a squeeze as
his right arm. Some symptoms of a stroke include weak muscles,
blurred vision, poor balance, and facial weakness. Almost all of
those symptoms I saw in that man. I immediately took the patient back
to the room with the nurse and waited outside the room in case the
wife or any of the staff needed anything. A few minutes later I
realized what I had done. I stared into the examination room the
elderly man was in, the look of someone who was daydreaming; except I
was not daydreaming, I was looking with absolute awe. My jaw dropped,
tears of joy rolled down my face, and I was astonished. It was
already past 8pm, the end of my volunteering hours, yet I stayed
until 10 that night.

Doing something as small as that is like saving a life, noticing a
miniscule thing wrong with a family member can make a great
difference in them. I will never forget the couple and that day, an
experience of a lifetime for a 16 year old.

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