Preventable Tragedy

Yesterday, I was informed Aaron, my “pool guy,” passed away.

Some of you will remember the post I wrote last September about Aaron’s medical emergency while he was working on my backyard pool.

I am saddened beyond words to inform you Aaron had a seizure while working on a pool in Newport Beach.

The homeowner returned at the end of the day to find Aaron’s body in his pool.

After the incident in my backyard,

Aaron and I had talked at length about his epilepsy medication, his need to find a job away from pools, and many other things.

There is so much I want to say, but it’s probably better I don’t right now.

Aaron, you will be greatly missed.

The following is what I posted on September 18, 2013:

Backyard Medical Emergency

I had a very scary morning yesterday.

Long story short,

I found “my pool guy” unconscious in my backyard.

(For obvious reasons, I’m not going to use his name in a blog post.  Let’s just call him PG for pool guy.)

He’s okay … at least, I’ve been told he is.

It now appears he might have had a seizure, but I didn’t witness a seizure.

I witnessed a body laying in my backyard.

I wasn’t supposed to even be home.

I had run back into the house for a minute.

I heard a crashing sound in the backyard.

I didn’t pay much attention.

I knew PG was working on the pool.

I thought he had just dropped something.

A few minutes later,

As I prepared to run back out to my car,

Something tugged at me.


I glanced toward my backyard and, through a window, I saw PG’s body on the ground.

I grabbed my phone.

I called 911 and simultaneously rushed to him.

I suck in a crisis.

Everything I did seemed to take way too long.

Dialing 911 seemed to take an hour.

Trying to get to PG seemed like it took another hour.

Eons later,

A couple fire trucks, a couple ambulances, and (eventually) the local sheriff showed up.

It probably all happened in a matter of minutes?

When PG came to, he couldn’t communicate.

When the paramedics asked me, I realized I didn’t even know PG’s last name.

(He works for a company I hired.)

PG was very agitated once he regained consciousness.

I rubbed his arm gently – hopefully comforting him.

He became very frustrated trying to communicate.

He knew what he wanted to say, but he couldn’t say it.

The paramedics continued to try to talk with him as they treated him.

I called PG’s boss (who I do know), and he returned the call within minutes.

The boss was able to provide more information to the paramedics.

He also contacted PG’s family members so they could meet the ambulance when it arrived at the hospital.

Of course, the only thing that really matters is that PG is okay.

There are aspects of the morning I can’t shake, though.

•  If he had fallen in the pool, I wouldn’t have found him until I returned at the end of the day.  He would have drown.

•  Re-read the above sentence four bazillion times and you’ll have a feel for what my brain keeps telling me.  Over and over and over again.

•  The first responders …?  Those people are gold.  I don’t know how anyone can do their job.  They’re so CALM.  I’d be saying, “Holy Shit!” every three seconds if I was the first on a scene.

•  Once it was clear PG would be okay, I might have asked if I could ALSO have some oxygen.  The paramedics laughed and informed me I had “done great.”   I (shaking) was not convinced.

•  I am absolutely not cut out for any type of work in the medical field.

•  What if I hadn’t been home?

•  What if PG had been driving to or from our house? (Or anywhere else, for that matter.)

•  What if he’d fallen in the pool ….!  (My brain repeats this particular “what if” over and over and over again.)

I’ve also realized how rusty my basic CPR skills have become.

I took CPR when my kids were young.

I haven’t really thought about it in the last ten years.

What if PG had not been breathing when I got to him?

Would I have known enough to help him?

Why didn’t I do everything better/differently than I did?

Why didn’t I investigate when I first heard the crash of something falling?

Why did my fingers seem to punch 911 so slowly?

Why did I get frustrated with the nonstop (repeating same thing) questions from the 911 dispatcher?

Could I have made the situation better?

7 Responses to “Preventable Tragedy”

  1. Missy Stalcup

    Oh my gosh. What a tragedy. I vividly remember you posting your original story.

    • Suzanne

      It is.
      Why, oh why, did his employer allow him to do this type of work after the first incident?


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