Lt. Aaron Gregg: [00:00:00] Knock,
Will: hi! Knock, knock, hi!
Hello and welcome to Knock, Knock, Hi! with the Glockenfleckens. I just said, like, hello and hi. Do I do that every week? You didn’t. You said
Kristin: hello and welcome.
Will: Hello and welcome and then I say knock, knock, hi. I’m giving two
Lt. Aaron Gregg: greetings. I think you’re overthinking this. I
Will: probably am. I am your host, Will Flannery, also known as Dr.
Kristin: And I’m also your host, Christian Flannery, also known as Lady Glockenflecken. We have a
Will: very, very special episode today. It’s a little bit different. Yes. This is a little off the beaten path for us, um, and it’s somebody we’ve been wanting to To get on this podcast for quite a while, we finally got it done.
We are, uh, talking to Lieutenant Aaron Gregg. Now, uh, Lieutenant Gregg, who [00:01:00] we, he wants us to call him Aaron. So we’ll call him Aaron, uh, is, um, a very special person in
Lt. Aaron Gregg: our lives. Yep. Very
Will: meaningful. Because in May of 2020, when I had. A cardiac arrest in my sleep. He was one of the paramedics first responders who came to my house that night.
Uh, and, uh, worked with Kristen on saving my life. And we have him on the podcast. We do. And so, uh, this
Lt. Aaron Gregg: is very excited about it.
Will: Yes. It’s, it’s, uh, so we, we, we talk. Mostly a lot of just about that night and he gives us amazing insight into the mind of a paramedic first responder and what went into saving a life in May of 2020 with COVID raging and so much uncertainty and, um, it’s.
It’s a harrowing discussion and story. Many of you have heard it, but no one’s heard it from his perspective. [00:02:00] And including us, including us. And so this is all just a new perspective for us as well. Uh, and this does touch on some difficult. themes and challenges. And so, uh, just keep that in mind as you’re listening.
Um, and, uh, there’s talk of death and, uh, and also some challenging situations he has experienced as a paramedic and as, as himself, as, as someone experiencing healthcare, uh, with him, his family. Um, and so, you know, it’s, it’s, uh, it can be tough to listen to at times, but ultimately I think.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: It’s important
Kristin: and meaningful and very insightful, and he’s a firefighter paramedic, and I see a lot of parallels between what that line of work has gone through over the last few years and what the workers within the health care system have gone through over the past few years.
So, you know, typically we have on [00:03:00] a physician or somebody that studies, you know, what would be the correct word like physician types of issues. This is still medical, but, but it’s a lot more related than you might think when you start looking into how the pandemic has affected the first responders lives and, um, careers and how it has affected that of healthcare workers.
So there’s, there’s that level of interest in this episode as
Will: well. So let’s get to it. All right, here is Lieutenant Aaron Gregg.
Well, we are here with, uh, I, I call you Lieutenant Gregg, but I understand now you’re retired. Is that right? From, from being a firefighter?
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Yes. My days of firefighter paramedic are, are over. So I’ll just call you Aaron now or do that’s my preferred my preferred handle. Yes, the lieutenant stuff You know, I [00:04:00] would tell my crew only when there’s chiefs around other than that.
Just Aaron is fine
Will: Now how many how many years did you serve as a paramedic
Lt. Aaron Gregg: firefighter? It was 25 and a half on the dot 25
Will: and a half. Yeah, and was it Was, was, was I the one that forced you into retirement? Was it me?
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Well, we’ll get into that, but you, you played a role. You certainly played a role in that, but
Are you, are you enjoying life now as a, as a retired?
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Uh, well, I’m, I’m grateful, um, you know, I’m, I’m grateful for the opportunity and I know a lot of people are like, wait, you’re only 50 years old, you know, how could you retire? And it’s like, well, I, you do 25 years in the fire service and it takes a toll and y’all don’t want a bunch of broken old people coming to your emergencies, broken in the body, broken in the mind.
Uh, so there’s a reason they get us out of there when they do. Um, so yeah, I’m [00:05:00] super grateful for it. It was an amazing career, but I’m really happy to be done.
Will: Well, um, we could certainly get into the toll that your job plays on all of this, all, every aspect of, of your life as a paramedic firefighter, but I suppose we should just start at the beginning here.
Um. I’ll kind of set the, set the scene for our listeners and, you know, we’ve given you, uh, you know, we talked a little bit about you here at the, at the beginning before we started recording, but, um, uh, I want to, uh, just put everyone in Mother’s Day 2020. And that was. When obviously the height of the pandemic, like things were like starting to happen and we’re, you know, uh, everybody was trying to figure out what was going on there and, and what kind of safety precautions we needed and all this stuff, the vaccines weren’t available at that point.
And, um, It was Wild
Lt. Aaron Gregg: West. It really was. It was crazy. We had [00:06:00] no idea really.
Will: Yeah. Um, and, um, uh, and so we, on Mother’s Day, you know, we spent some time with, with Kristen’s parents and then, uh, I always get the timeline wrong with this. Um, and so Kristen, can you take it from here? Yeah,
Lt. Aaron Gregg: well. You have an excuse though, right?
Will: Still dealing with the memory issues here.
Kristin: Uh, yeah, so we were at my parents house. We kept it all outside and kept everybody kind of far away from each other and all of that, but we at least got to be able to, to hang out and, and uh, you know, kids had a water balloon fight in their yard and just kind of tried to make the best of it in a, in a pandemic on a holiday.
Um, and then on… The night of Mother’s Day, we went to bed, and then, at 4. 45 in the morning, I woke up, uh, because Will was making a lot of [00:07:00] really unusual sounds. Um, at first I thought he was just snoring, cause I was really groggy, I was coming out of a deep sleep. Um, and so I kind of like pushed him, you know, like people do, and just tried to get him to roll over and stop snoring.
Um, And that usually works and he’s usually pretty responsive to that and he’ll just kind of like roll, uh, but he didn’t do that that time and, and then, you know, he started making the sounds started taking on a more like urgent kind of quality. I don’t know how else to explain that. Um, and. You know, our, most of our listeners will know that that was agonal respiration is what he was doing, but I didn’t know that, um, and especially it being May 2020, I thought, oh, he’s making these weird respiratory sounds.
Maybe this is related to COVID, you know, um, and he wasn’t responding to me at all. And so I called, um, 911 and the dispatcher, Lisa, uh, is the one who, who recognized that he needed [00:08:00] CPR. Um, yeah. And so she started walking me through CPR instructions, and so, um, I did that for ten minutes, um, I couldn’t get him off the bed for various reasons, um, and so I had to do it just on our bed, and, um, you know, ten minutes later or so, Lieutenant Greg and his team came in and took over.
Will: But I want to, I want to, um, start. Uh, Aron with, you know, when, when are you roped into this situation? Because…
Kristin: Yeah, I’d love to hear this story from your perspective. Yeah,
Will: because a lot of people have heard it from our perspective, but, um, you know, as soon as, as… Kristen, call 9 1 1, and we got on with the dispatcher, then what happened?
We, he says we. Then
Lt. Aaron Gregg: we, I was part of this too. You were a major player in this, we don’t want to, we don’t want to downplay that. Uh, well, uh, [00:09:00] St. Lisa, uh, I think we could say, um, as soon as she hears what the information that you have with the unresponsive. I mean, as soon as that, she’s making magic happen.
So, while you are saying, these are all the things, we’re already, the computer’s already working, bells are going off, I’m levitating out of my little bed at the fire station, uh, from all the ruckus, uh, and… That, so that’s, that’s how we, that’s how we
Will: get roped in. What, what kind of an alarm are you talking about here?
Lt. Aaron Gregg: they supposedly toned it down, so it’s like this computer y doo doo doo doo kind of thing. And honestly, I can’t remember it now, but if I heard it, I’d probably start sweating and freaking out. Uh, but yeah, but it’s still, I mean, you, When you’re, and I think that night, I was trying to remember, but I think we were at a fire with the truck company earlier that night, so we had gotten to bed late, so it’s like, uh, you know, where we were, it wasn’t uncommon to be up two, three times a [00:10:00] night, or just not sleep at all, so once you finally get there.
You’re in it. And
Will: how big was your team here? How many people were at the
Lt. Aaron Gregg: firehouse that night? So at our firehouse, we had the fire engine and the rescue slash ambulance. So there was six of us there. Um, and that’s one thing I, you know, I continually people are amazed. They’re like, well, I just wanted the ambulance.
And they’re like, why is there a fire engine here? Because it takes more than two people to do good work on tough calls. That’s, that’s, I mean, that’s the main thing. And also, generally speaking, there’s more, more fire stations around than there are ambulances. And where it’s private companies, it’s just cheaper to have fewer ambulances on the road.
Um, but in this case, our ambulance was run by the fire department and it was there in the station with us. So we had six of us coming, but once they recognized it’s a cardiac arrest, then they add another company. And so that was a truck company from the other nearby fire station that they [00:11:00] headed that way too.
So we had 10 people coming. from the fire department, uh, which is a mix of paramedics and, uh, EMT, uh, intermediate, well, I’m sorry, advanced now. EMT advanced and EMT basics, um, all heading towards you. Plus they send the cops because they’ve all got AEDs in the trunk. Um, and so often the cops are the first ones there, and I don’t think on that one they were, because again, COVID made things totally weird, and the cops, rightfully so, weren’t just gonna go runnin into medical calls, so.
Well, tell us, tell
Will: us how, cause, so, so you guys, you got all your gear. Did you get to slide
Kristin: down the pole?
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Not at that fire station. We do, we do have a few that do, uh, but not at, uh, Can you make it so
Kristin: I can slide down the pole?
Lt. Aaron Gregg: I still have some ends, uh, there at the fire department. I haven’t burnt all my bridges, so, uh, We could arrange for that.
We could definitely arrange for that. [00:12:00]
Will: Why do we do this if not to be able to slide down a fireman pole, um, every
Lt. Aaron Gregg: so often? Okay, I just gotta stop you right there, Will. It’s firefighter, man. You gotta get it. Oh,
Will: sorry. Yes. Yes, you’re right. No, that’s a good point. My mistake. Sorry. I
Lt. Aaron Gregg: mean, I know all doctors are men, but there are women firefighters.
Kristin: You’re right. Oh boy, we’re getting into dicey territory. Oh
Will: man, you know what? We could edit that out, but uh, let’s leave it because it’s a good reminder to everybody. My mistake. Um, so, so the call came in, and you’re getting all of your gear, and then, I wanna, you touched on On COVID making things much more difficult.
Does that, does it start immediately with the changes that were made? Like peak COVID, like, is like more gear you’re having to get? Uh, when are you putting it on? Do you wait until you get to the house? Like, how does that work?
Lt. Aaron Gregg: So, yeah, as, as we noted, this was probably pretty early in the pandemic. And so [00:13:00] we, I mean, we didn’t know what.
COVID would do. You know, there was, there was reports of all sorts of different things. You know, there’s reports of cardiac arrest involvement in COVID. There were reports of, you know, it was just like chaos as far as information. Uh, fortunately we were one of the organizations that had PPE. We had all the PPE we needed and just forever grateful for that and the work that the, that the department did, logistics and, uh, and the chiefs to, to make that happen.
But at that point we were wearing, um, We were wearing what were, we carried around in our backpacks for hazmat incidents. So we had these things which were often referred to lovingly as chip bags. They were full, uh, plastic suits that crinkled and, um, were, I mean, It’d be kind of compared to making a suit out of a blue tarp, but they were crinklier than a blue tarp.
Uh, so full, full sleeves, um, uh, cuffs, uh, [00:14:00] hood, et cetera. Uh, so yeah, we were, as soon as we heard cardiac arrest, For cardiac arrest calls, that was absolutely what we were wearing because it was aerosolized stuff we’re dealing with. Um, so that was one of the reasons we were slowed down getting to you, because I know some people are like, you had to do CPR for 10 minutes?
What kind of podunk fire department takes 10 minutes to get there? There was some extension, extenuating circumstances we’ll get to, but um, but one is everybody putting on all this stuff. And then once, uh, you know, once we arrive, then we’re putting on our masks, but they were not. Good old surgical masks.
We were wearing our SCBA masks, like what we wore into fires, literally the same masks we wore into fires. We were putting on, and then we had a P100 cartridge, which is like this big around and like that deep, this giant canister that we had an adapter that. So, and then our hoods are up, and so every crinkle, we just got noise, we’re yelling at each other through [00:15:00] these muffled masks, and then we’re running in to save you.
But, but on the way, I do remember, um, That we heard 30 because you were 33 at the time 34 34. We heard 34 cardiac 34 year old cardiac arrest We’re like this isn’t a cardiac arrest This is a seizure and not uncommon to go on seizures or alcohol overdoses or you know where you get there and there’s somebody doing compressions and the patient’s trying to punch them and So for a moment, you know as we’re getting ready and then we get in the cab and I start reading the notes I’m like, no, this is legit.
This is for real because of what Kristen was describing to Lisa and what she was, you know, letting us know. And then Lisa continued to give us updates along the way. So we got plenty of time to get really worked up as we’re waking up on the short drive to your home. But then that’s when we had a little more.
Uh, adversity [00:16:00] in that your home was in a line of homes, and I knew it was, I remember, it was the fourth one, um, we pull up to the address and we’re like, our directions, because Kristen was so dialed in, was like, here’s the code to the garage, you can walk right in. And we’re all thinking the garage is right in the front, by the front door, and we get there and we’re like, no it’s not.
So, then, we all, six of us, cause we had arrived first, the truck hadn’t arrived yet, we go grab all of our gear, so we’ve got, you know, whatever it was, five kits, you know, suction, um, monitor, a couple different bags, and we go running down the block to come back around the backside. to find your garage. Um, which, you know, I, that was like my main focus is don’t screw this up, Aaron, because as the guy who rides up in the front right seat, that’s one of my, my biggest jobs is getting us to the right spot.
Um, the driver’s job is to get us there safely. And my job is to make sure we’re knocking [00:17:00] on the correct door. So we get there, punch in the code, the garage door opens just like it’s supposed to, and then my crew gets up to the back, the door into the house, and they’re like, it’s locked. And I’m thinking, oh no, did I count wrong?
Is this the wrong address? And because I’m still waking up, and I’m like, yeah, exactly. I’m like, no, the garage door opened with the code. This is the right place. And luckily as I’m processing this. The guy who’s in front just kicked your door off the hinges. And, um, we all went barreling in. Um, never,
Will: never been so happy to, I always joke, we’ve never been so happy to have structural damage to our home, so.
Kristin: Yep, that’s right. If
Will: there was a reason Yeah, I was, I was gonna ask if you were the one that got to kick it in .
Lt. Aaron Gregg: No, that’s why I have my crew to do all the hard work. . I, uh, I’d carry the clipboard or the iPad in that case. Talk on the radio. Do some pointing.
Will: Yeah. Yeah. So you finally got in the
Lisa had asked me if the door was on [00:18:00] the front door. She specified, is the front door unlocked? I said, no, it’s not unlocked. But the sometimes we left that door that goes from the garage into the house in the back. Sometimes we left that. Unlocked and sometimes we locked it and it was just kind of random I just couldn’t remember if we had locked that door that night or not But I thought well, I know every other entrance into the house is locked.
So that’s the best bet But yeah, I I remember at some point when you guys were outside the house I could hear, so we, we had our windows open in our bedroom that night, and so I could hear people talking outside my windows, sort of, because our, our bedroom was on the same side of the house as the garage, so I could hear that you guys were out there, but I couldn’t make out what you were saying at all.
And so there’s this period on the 911 tape where I keep asking [00:19:00] her, are they here? And she keeps saying, yeah, they’re here. And then I’m like, are you sure they’re here? Cause I could hear you. But, but. You know, I just couldn’t figure out what was happening. Well, they were all in those, exactly, and so I was shouting out the window.
I mean, I was, you know, leaning my head toward in the direction of the window and shouting, trying to say like, we’re up here, we’re up here. So, I don’t know if you guys could hear me, probably not with all that stuff on. But yeah, I remember that of just like… There’s people out there and it seemed like you guys were having trouble being able to get in.
So yeah, I think it was that I should I wish I would have thought to say I don’t know if that door is unlocked or not because then maybe you would have been, you know, better informed to be able to know how to get that door open. I think
Will: you did better than 99. 9% of people and giving instructions on how to get to our
Lt. Aaron Gregg: house.
I yeah, I don’t think there’s anything you really could have done better in the situation [00:20:00] Yeah, I think if you ask any dispatcher That would have been a great call for a kid who stubbed their toe. I mean you have been somebody who Yeah. Didn’t have to worry about the fact that they were exhausted from doing C P R.
Will: yeah. So, so you got in the house and, and then what
Lt. Aaron Gregg: happened? Yeah. And the, and the, and the door didn’t delay us. Those are easy, as you know. They just turned to splinters. Um, yeah. Got in the house.
Will: Well, well-made, well-made, well-made door, well-made house. It’s good. ,
Lt. Aaron Gregg: uh, got in the house and, um, Two, two of the, the, the super go getters on the crew, um, great paramedics, both of them.
One was who ran the call and the other one was in the back of the engine with me, um. He was the first one up the stairs, and, uh, and he was the one who, who actually opened up the door to the kids room, because he was just bolting. He was, often we’ll send somebody just as soon as we can get somebody in the door to go start CPR, [00:21:00] somebody’s running, and so that’s what he was doing, and he was hollering, you know, and I don’t remember if you remember us.
Y’all in fire department or again with the mask who knows but yeah, he was the one who opened the door to to your kids room and he told me he’s like they just like bolted upright in bed and stared at me and I was just like Close the door behind him stepped out and then that’s when made contact in the back bedroom where you were and the rest of us were closely behind those two And, um, and yeah, and that’s where, you know, that’s one of, one of the little movies I have in my head is seeing you over Will doing compressions, like gangbusters.
And, um, yeah, and Will, you, you were not present. I was not
Will: around. You,
Lt. Aaron Gregg: yeah.
Kristin: By that point, I think you were, you were pretty, I can’t remember if you were still purple or if you were already kind of going pale. [00:22:00] But yeah, you were not the right color.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: And so
Will: several of you Carried me downstairs, which
Kristin: hold on before we do that I remember I wonder if it’s the same person because it wasn’t a man the first one that came into our bedroom I remember him coming in and and Lisa had been saying a few times, you know when they come in Let them take over let them take over And he came in and it still took me a little while.
I was just in this, like, feral mode, right? And it, so it still took me a little while for, you know, he was very calm and quiet and he just came up and, you know, I don’t remember exactly what he said, but something to the effect of, would you get out of my way? You know, but much nicer. Yeah. And, uh, I remember it took me a little while.
You know, a few tries of him doing that before it registered to me that I could stop because I was just in that like panicked mode, I guess, but, um, and then when we met [00:23:00] up with you guys later, I don’t know if it was you or him, but someone mentioned that, that when you guys came in, that I was Giving him compression so hard that my feet were coming off the floor.
So it’s essentially just jumping on you, trying to, and that that was
Lt. Aaron Gregg: the, to do it hard enough that was the same individual that, that you, uh, remember. And when you, I mean, that’s, that’s him just calm, cool, collected. Yeah. And just really good at its job. And, uh,
Kristin: yeah. Yeah. I have a, a flashbulb memory of that, of how.
Just calming, he was.
Will: You were jumping on me and you, and somehow you didn’t break any of my ribs.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Yeah. Well, you’re a burly, burly fella. But yes, he did, he did say when we were kind of debriefing afterwards, he was like, she was doing it in there. Her feet were coming up off the ground doing those compressions and yeah, it was, that was a very notable.
Part of it and I just saw you from the [00:24:00] doorway because I just try and stay out of the action area because I’ll just get run over um, but uh, but yeah, so that was that was the CPR part and then um, Yeah, and then I think it was that point that the woman who’s the the paramedic in charge She was the one who was like i’m running this call.
We all knew And I can’t stress enough that If there was an individual that I know that needed to command a chaotic situation with all the adversity that we were dealing with and make sure a call got done well and right, it was her. Um, you know, I just, I, as I just think about the call, you know, over these years, I just think about all the things that just happened to work to make it to, you know, to put us here where we’re talking about it.
It couldn’t have been
Will: easy to, to Extricate me from that bedroom. I’m a big guy, right? I’m six foot four. You’re rather lanky. I’m lanky. I got, I got arms and legs everywhere. So, um, so how was it? [00:25:00] I mean, you’re probably sure you do that. You have a lot of experience moving unconscious patients around. I’m sure.
But, uh, um, to get me from up there in that bedroom downs down a winding kind of
Lt. Aaron Gregg: staircase.
Kristin: Yeah, you had that. It’s like a sheet with a bunch of handles
Lt. Aaron Gregg: on it or something. Exactly. Yes. And, um, it’s not a very nice name, but it’s called a Mega Mover. And, um… And, you know, in your own right, you’re a little mega, so we, uh, yeah, so we have a lot of experience moving people from upper stories and small spaces, um, we don’t just grab you by the ankles and drag, um, you know, the head clunking down the stairs, uh, so yeah, it was, and again, why you throw so many people at a call.
So you can put six people on that blanket with those handles and basically kind of wrap you up and then everybody just squeezes down that little stairwell and you’re tight enough in there that [00:26:00] we can, we can straighten you out. We can lift you down. Of course. You being dead and all made it, you know, much more difficult to manage, uh, you know, a body that is non compliant.
Um. Yeah, I
Kristin: remember I saw, I was following you guys and I saw, so we have a tight stairwell that, that turns. It’s not like a spiral staircase, but it has one turn in it. And I remember as they were bringing you down that, through that turn, you’re just so tall, right? That it just, the way that you. Your body moved, you know, or they moved your body, I guess.
It just was one of those moments in the whole thing. There were a few of these where it’s just like that. That’s not human. A human isn’t supposed to look like that. A human isn’t supposed to move that way, you know, and it was just one of these things that indicates, I mean, essentially, what it indicated is you were dead, right?
Your body was not moving because you couldn’t move it. [00:27:00] So it was, you know, it was just this weird contortion that That just seemed unnatural and and and weird. That’s another one of my flashbulb moments. The colors that you turned is one and then the way that your body moved around the stairs like that was another one.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Yeah,
Will: and then once you got me down there onto the hard floor, Talk to me about the resuscitation itself and how difficult that was. At night, it was still dark at that point, right? I think so. And you’re wearing like all the PPE in the world. Um, and I, I’m still, it’s hard for me to even wrap my head around how you were able to do all the things that you guys were able to do.
Kristin: They moved furniture. I mean, and it was all just under the circumstances. So
Will: can you, can you talk a little bit about that?
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Uh, certainly. Um, And that’s one of the reasons, generally, we, we, what we’ve come to know is time on the chest is the [00:28:00] most important thing, um, as Kristen, you know, proved, uh, but, uh, the PIC made the call up in your bedroom that we don’t have the light, we don’t have the room, this is not the best place to do this, um, 10 people surrounding you, and the way, uh, And our department is always, um, you know, I, I, some departments around the country are different.
Some are just like, they are fire departments, but we, you know, we’re an EMS department that also fights fires, uh, practicing, um, cardiac arrests and, and RSIs, uh, rapid sequence intubations, you know, for people who can’t control their own airway for the non doctory types. Practicing those things regularly is something that we did and, and what they had kind of developed was this pit crew approach and high performance CPR and so everybody knows this is my spot, this is where I’m going to go with my kit, the PIC is like, you got [00:29:00] airway, you’re on the chest, you’re on the monitor, I need an IV or an IO, you know, and, and instantly, you know, Everybody’s got a job.
So that was the call. We need to get them down to where there’s space. Furniture starts getting yarded out. We’ve got a nice hard surface in the middle of the foyer there where everybody can fit and do their job. Um, And granted, it’s a, I’m not, spoiler, they don’t live in a mansion, so this foyer is not a giant space by any means, but it’s enough to fit people around you.
And, um, and that again, I think was, It’s practicing that stuff regularly, having a PIC who, who is very confident in what they’re doing, and has no problem directing people and redirecting people as needed. Those were the key components there to, to that resuscitation. I’ll give you a second if you had any question on [00:30:00] that before I keep digging in.
No, keep going. Oh, PIC,
Kristin: that is person in charge?
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Yeah, the paramedic in charge or person in charge, whichever.
Kristin: Okay, yeah. And then, so you, well, yeah, keep going. I’m curious to hear, because I didn’t stick around for most of that, um, so I’m curious to hear what all… was happening with him. So, so for, I follow you down the stairs and I see them, like, put you on the floor and, um, I, I remember I heard flatlines and that occurred to me.
That was like, Oh, those are flatlines and they should be beeps. And that just was like an observation that went through my mind. And then by then, and then I have a flashbulb of you and, um, I couldn’t see all of you cause they were around you, but I could see like your arms and some, some parts of you. And those had turned fully gray by that point.
And you know, I remember that, that registered. And then [00:31:00] they, Pulled out the paddles or the whatever the real word is for them. You know, they started to get the defibrillator ready and then I had a moment where I was like I Have been able to hold it together pretty well until now, but now I don’t have a job right what doing CPR I had a job that I could keep my mind on and what information would you guys need to be able to get here as quickly And effectively as possible and just you know, that’s what was what I was doing then And then as soon as I didn’t have a job anymore Then I felt like, oh, no, I might fall apart here.
Right? And if I fall apart, then that’s just one more thing they have to do that’s taking the effort away from helping Will. So I don’t want to have the memory in my mind. I don’t want to see what’s about to happen. And I don’t want to be a distraction and be one more thing they have to deal with. And so I’m just going to go back upstairs.
I’m going to try to make sure the kids are still in their room and just, you know, be up there. And so I turn and go back up the [00:32:00] stairs, and as I’m going up the first few stairs, I heard the first shock delivered, and I heard your body just slam so hard against our hardwood floor. And that was another one of those, like, that’s not a human sound.
That’s not how a human body… would normally, you know, fall down or interact with the floor in some way. So, um, that was another, another really weird flashbulb moment. So I’ll stop my part there and come back to Lieutenant Greg and what was going on.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: So, unfortunately, I won’t be able to, to break down all of the, all of the medical aspects of, of what happened.
Um, yeah, and, and pro I, and honestly, I can’t remember, but if they were shocking him that, that quickly, it was probably in V Fib. And um, so it was real clear, uh, and I, and I know that he got shocked a [00:33:00] bunch. Um, and. I don’t remember specifically, I did, did you get an IO or an IV or? I got an IV and that
Will: was, that was something that I, I’m still kind of like amazed because you’re wearing all this stuff, you know, I, I, I mean, I don’t know.
It seems like if you’re, you’re doing that much physical activity, like you’re going to be sweating, you’re wearing all this stuff, the, the face shields, the masks I’m sure are like starting to fog up on you. And, and given all of that, able to find an IV in someone who hasn’t, is, my heart, other than the compressions, my blood has not been flowing for the last 10 years on its own.
Oh, 10 years. 10 years. 10, 10 minutes on its own.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Seemed like
Will: years, though. Yeah. Seemed like years to Kristen, I’m sure. And yet you were still able to do, get the, your team was able to get the IV in, uh, [00:34:00] and, and intubate me and shock me and eventually after, I think it was five, five shocks and a bunch of medication, get a rhythm back, which was amazing.
Kristin: Yeah. And how long, how long would you say that took to get the rhythm back? I can’t remember. I remember it being a little
Lt. Aaron Gregg: while. It definitely was. And it is, as, um, I, I, I want to say based on the amount of meds and the amount of shocks, um, that were given it, I mean, it had to have been at least 20 minutes, maybe, maybe longer.
Um, and, uh, And with that, um, you know, I think, well, I know that I was back and forth a bunch with you, Kristen, because once, once they had gotten Will set, part of my job is I, I’m going to try and find history and, um, and find out what’s going on. And so that’s when I ran back upstairs to find you and be like, what, [00:35:00] what can you tell me?
And you kind of gave me the real brief, you know, well, this, I just woke up. He was breathing like this don’t know and I think one of the first things I asked like does he have kovat? And I remember you saying well, he’s a doctor and but he’s had ppe for all of his work stuff There’s no, you know, he I now i’m thinking for some reason you said he was recently tested even I don’t know but um but so we kind of ruled that out and I I honestly don’t remember if But something I would have potentially asked is, is there any recreational drug use or?
Kristin: asked about that and I had remembered, well, long story short on that, there wasn’t any, but, but what I did know was he had woken up maybe an hour and a half or something prior to going into cardiac arrest and he had gone into the bathroom and I I kind of, sort of registered that he was, was doing that and, you know, I heard him at the sink, uh, [00:36:00] after a few minutes, just kind of like muttering something.
And I kind of wrote it off as like, you know, when you’re up in the middle of the night cause you had to pee and you’re like mad that you woke up and you know, you got to get up in the morning. I remember what
Will: I said. I can’t believe I’m about to have a cardiac arrest. Yeah.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: That was probably it. I don’t think I’m ready for this.
This is gonna be rough.
Kristin: Yeah, but I couldn’t remember. Um, you know, I couldn’t, I couldn’t make out what he had said, so I didn’t have any, any memory of that. But I do know he, he got up and he did. And of course, so in retrospect, I’m thinking like, oh man, was he feeling bad? Was something, you know, happening that, that had woken him up and, and was the muttering about like, oof, I really don’t feel good or something.
I don’t know. I’ll never know. But, um, I remember. When you asked about the recreational drugs, and I was like, well, you know, to my knowledge, he’s never done any. I mean, I, he’s [00:37:00] also never gone into cardiac arrest, so I guess never say never, but I don’t know about anything if, if he did. Uh, and so I showed you around in the bathroom, and I, I do remember this.
I said, I looked around, and I don’t see anything out. And I’m 100% certain that if he had gotten something out, it would still be out.
Will: I say, no, he doesn’t clean up after himself, so. Looks like you’re welcome
Kristin: to take a look, but there’s, there’s nothing in here as far as I can see, so. Well,
Will: let’s, let’s take a short break, alright?
And, uh, then we’ll come right back.
Hey, Kristen, can I interest you in a Demodex mite? No, you may not. You know what these little guys do? What? They cause Demodex Blepharitis, which makes your eyelids, like, red, irritated, itchy. That’s gross. Well, you can get checked out, you know, your eye doctor can look and see if you have them.
Kristin: My eye doctor is currently covered in them.
And I can find
Will: out for you. Oh, good. . To find out more about [00:38:00] dedex, go to eyelid check.com. Again, that’s E Y E L I D. check.com to get more information about dedex blepharitis. Don’t get freaked out. Get checked out. Today’s episode is brought to you by the Nuance Dragon Ambient Experience, or DAX for short.
This is AI powered, ambient technology that really helps to improve the patient physician relationship, which is something I’m sure that you would probably want, right? Oh yes, definitely. To learn more about how DAX can help reduce burnout and restore the joy of practicing medicine, stick around after the episode or visit Nuance.
DAX. That’s N U A N C E.
Alright, we are back with, uh, Aaron Gregg, who we know as Lieutenant Gregg. Uh, we’re going through, um, you know, the story of my cardiac arrest. And so, um, [00:39:00] Let’s talk a little bit, go in that vein we just finished on of, of, or actually just getting into, uh, of kind of your role while I was being resuscitated, uh, because you did mention, you know, you know, going up and talking to Kristen and so let’s kind of pick it up there.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: So, uh, I, I basically, once I got the information from Kristen, I’m then running back downstairs to tell the crew, okay, this is what I know. Um, so. So the PIC can make some decisions or question that, you know, think about other causes. Um, cause that’s what we’re doing. We’re running through our list of, you know, what’s, what’s going on cause this is not normal.
Um, I would get some more information from them, find out where they are. I can’t remember if I was also trying to document. Um, everything that was happening, um, but I do remember being down there, you know, watching him pulling up meds and, you know, and I remember one guy’s like, I can’t read, I can’t read the [00:40:00] syringe and he’s holding it up for somebody else to try through their mask to, you know, make sure the dosages are right.
I remember watching the guy intubating you and, um, you know, and I’m like, he’s going to club him in the head with this big, this big filter, you know, uh, but, uh, Then I basically I think I just I just went back upstairs and was checking on Christian and being like okay, so and my Kind of where I would start is just like right now.
We’re breathing for him we’re continuing to to do compressions to keep his heart going and And this is you know, this is grave
Will: I don’t know how, how much you realize, like how, how big of a deal that was, you know, you make it sound like, you know, it’s just kind of a routine, you know, just going to update the family, but, uh, I know that that’s something I’ll let Kristen speak about, you know, how she, she sees that, that kind of, you know, the events
Kristin: around that.
Yeah, it’s [00:41:00] just. It was so different from what I had experienced before, because, you know, by this point he had already, um, had cancer two separate times, and I had been along for those as well, and, you know, no one ever really addressed me, I was in the room with him, I went to all the appointments, I was, you know, every step of the way I was there too, but they didn’t really, you know, look to me that all the attention was focused on the patient.
And there should be attention focused on the patient, of course. Um, it’s just, you know, the, the person that comes in with the patient is usually kind of overlooked or ignored or just seen as a source of information for the doctor to deal with the patient, right? It’s, it’s like a utilitarian, like, what use is this person to me?
Um, and, and we certainly do have those functions and, and I fully support. you know, that their family members and healthcare teams should be collaborating. [00:42:00] Also, though, the family member or whoever it is that’s in there with that patient, they’re there on that patient’s worst day of their life because it affects them too, right?
Because they are so close to this person. Absolutely. Or they wouldn’t be there, right? And so, um, you know, that recognition that something is affecting more than just the patient. You know, and that there’s another patient in that room. There’s a co patient, a co survivor of something, um, who also needs attention and assistance.
Um, and so I had never experienced that during, during our cancer experiences. And then also, you know, later on, jumping forward a little bit when I, um. was able to go to the hospital for a little bit. Um, I, I didn’t experience it there either, and we can get into that in a little bit, but, but that it was just such a stark difference that stands out from all of my other experiences as a co patient or a co survivor in the healthcare system.
Um, that there [00:43:00] was somebody that was dedicated to talking to me and updating me and checking on me. It’s just not. The norm, unfortunately, and I hope it’s the norm in the pre hospital space. Maybe it is, maybe that’s why it happened. Um, and it, but I don’t know, uh, but it’s certainly not the norm in the, in the hospital system.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Well, unfortunately, it’s, it’s, I don’t think it’s the norm. Um, I, you know, there, I could go off on all sorts of different things, but I’ll try and, I’ll try and keep it centered. Um, one of the things I do remember in talking to you and that I was like, This is a medical professional I’m dealing with, right here, because you are asking all the questions, and that’s like, uh, because I think I…
Because honestly, I had no idea, I mean, just to put this out there, I had no idea that, that I had any part in your story after that day. And so when I got this [00:44:00] invitation to be like, hey, we’d like to talk to you about this, and I did a little reading and some, some Googling. And, um, I’m like, Oh my gosh. Uh, but in there, I’d read that, you know, that I had told you about like specific drugs, like, well, I got an epinephrine and amiodarone.
I was like, what was I doing that for? And then I remembered, I was like, Oh, because I probably asked. Yeah. Cause, cause you were like a, you were like a doctor and having gone through, you know, and finding out, you know, that you went through, y’all were together through all of Will’s. Doctor in school. Um, so you, you are practically a doctor, but, um, So that, you know, that was part of why I was, I was given that, that in depth of information just cause you wanted it.
But, but after that, I mean, really that was. Something that I had developed in my career was just like, I think it’s in a position like that where we had the people. There was nothing I was going to do for [00:45:00] Will down there except get in the way. Um, so the best thing that I could do was try and, and take care of the co patient.
As you said, and, and I’m checking in regularly to make sure they don’t need anything. I’m seeing if they haven’t come up with any other questions. Um, and I do just remember doing hot laps up and down the stairs in my plastic suit and sweating like crazy, um, just to keep checking in with you and seeing how you were doing.
And then as stuff really starts happening and we’ve got pulses back and, um, and then Then for me, it comes into that place. Okay. So how do I address this? I mean, obviously I’m not going to withhold information, but some people cause they watch TV all the time are like, Oh, pulses are back. Let’s, you know, let’s bust out a cake and everything’s going to be okay.
Where’s the refusal form, you know? Um, And so
Will: you got a pulse on me, which is, which is unbelievable after all that work. And then, [00:46:00] um, And then you had to whisk me off to the hospital. Uh, now you didn’t know it, but uh, you know, you guys were taking me to an in network hospital. Thank you, by the way. Uh, appreciate that.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: I’m glad it all worked out.
Will: Yeah, well, it took a while, but we got it, we got it figured out. Turned out it was
Kristin: an out of network doctor, though, in the in network
Lt. Aaron Gregg: hospital. I love that when that happens. I know. I should have checked.
Will: I didn’t check beforehand. I think that’s probably what I was trying to do when I got up in the middle of the night.
I was like, man, maybe I shouldn’t make a quick call. It didn’t work out that way. But, um, you know, a few weeks after the cardiac arrest, we did have a meeting, you know, with, with all the first responders, the paramedics, um, all of us, a nice little socially distanced meeting.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: In the firehouse parking lot.
Yeah, in a parking
Will: lot in July. in July, yeah, it was a little hot. But one thing that, that really resonated with me was the conversation about how. Whenever you take patients like me off to the hospital, you [00:47:00] drop them off often, you just, that’s kind of the end for you. You don’t often, you don’t get to hear what happened after that often to hear what happens after that.
Yeah, and that just, that kinda stuck with me because that seems like an in incredibly challenging part of your job. Because as a physician, I always know, like, what happens with my patients, right? I can always find out if, you know, if I have to send patients somewhere else and, um, and so What was your mindset, I guess, dropping me off at the hospital?
Well, tell me a little bit
Lt. Aaron Gregg: about that. For me, uh, Again, the guy who wasn’t, wasn’t doing anything for you, um, I, I, I hung out at the house and um, basically what happened is, um, is my entire, well, the three other people on my engine company jumped in the back of the ambulance with the other, with the PIC. So there was four people riding in the back with you, um, into the hospital
Kristin: and you were fighting [00:48:00] the tubes.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Oh. Oh, okay. See that? They told me that. Yeah. I didn’t recall. And so yeah, so then they’re pulling up more meds to, you know, to, to, while they’re bouncing down the road in the ambulance in their suits, um, and the truck company was still there. They helped me kind of clean up all the, cause it’s like a, the grossest yard sale you’ve ever seen after we’ve run a code.
Um, there’s just, just stuff everywhere. Um. So the truck helped clean all that stuff up because I think at that point I was still, I was still talking with Kristen and, um, the truck’s like, you need anything else? I’m like, no, you guys are good. You can clear. So I’m the guy who now gets to drive the fire engine to go pick them up.
But, um, but when that was just to, to touch on that, that was, I think, One of, for me, it was the most profound moments of, of that whole experience was, um, and I remember very little of it, but I [00:49:00] remember going upstairs and talking to Kristen and being like, okay, he’s got pulses, he’s on his way to the hospital, um, everything is looking as good as it possibly can at this point.
And she’s just staring at me through my, my mask. I got my glasses insert that goes in my mask. I mean, I, I mean, and she’s like, what do I tell my kids? And I’ve been around a lot of people who have asked, you know, questions and grief and, you know, uh, they don’t want an answer from me. They’re just, they’re just hollering, you know, they’re, they’re grieving, they’re afraid, they’re scared.
But this was, the way I interpreted it is Kristen wanted help. She wanted an answer and I’m just like, my brain is spinning. I’m like, I don’t know what to tell this woman. Because, I mean, their dad is, was dead ten minutes ago. They’re little kids. Uh, [00:50:00] I, I had the, you know, at this point, um, I think it’s safe to say that Kristen was able to be a little more, uh, in the moment of the gravity of the situation, but I mean, don’t get me wrong.
I mean, it’s still wildly composed and, um, but I, I, I think, and I don’t, I don’t know, Chris, if you remember anything that I said, but I, I think I just, I remember saying that, um, I guess let them know that their dad’s really sick, but the paramedics are taking really good care of him, and he’s on his way to the hospital where the doctors will…
I mean, keep working to make him better. I mean, I, but I remember just being like, I don’t know if that was the right thing, the wrong thing. Uh, not something that I had, I mean, in, you know, and at that point had been 23 years, nobody ever asked me something like that.
Kristin: Yeah, I, I was gonna ask you if you remembered, you asked me if I had any questions after you’d given me all the medical [00:51:00] information and you had, um, given me a little piece of paper that was supposed to allow me to go into the hospital, um, you asked if I had any other questions and, and that was all I could think of is like, well, now my job is mom.
Like, now Will is with other people who can take care of him, but these kids are about to get out of bed. Because by this point, it was like almost 7 a. m. So I was just thinking, what on earth am I going to tell these kids about why their dad just suddenly isn’t here? You know, and I am not a fan of lying to children to protect them or, or like hiding the truth to protect them.
I believe in, in being honest, but age appropriate. And so I was just puzzling over, like, what is the age appropriate way to talk about this, and so I just remember thinking, well, this is my first time doing it, and presumably it’s not your first time doing it, so maybe you’ve encountered a situation where there were children before, and so [00:52:00] that’s why I asked you that question, because I was like, of the two of us, you have more experience here, so what, what do I do now, you know?
Um, you And you, yeah, you did. And you know what? It set the tone. What you told me set the tone for how we interacted with our kids about it for the next, you know, several days and weeks. And, um, yeah, you said that he got sick. We didn’t have the, the equipment here that he needed to be able to take care of him.
So they took him to the hospital where they do have that equipment. And, um, you know, the doctors are going to take care of him and we’ll probably know more. A little later, you know, and that is exactly what I went in and told them and then they were like, oh, okay, what’s for breakfast? So, that just like really, you know, it was exactly the right thing to say and, um, I’ll share it with you afterward, but my, um, my older daughter, she was, so they were eight and five at the time, um, now she’s 11, she, the eight year old is now [00:53:00] 11, and she wrote, um, a blog post that, that will be going out on our blog eventually, um, talking about her experience with being a co survivor of her dad’s cardiac arrest.
That, she doesn’t know it came from you, but that is what she talked about, that we didn’t withhold the information from her, that we told her what was, and she recounts what I told her, which is what you told me, and you know, just what that meant for her and how that helped her process things and how that helped, you know, not be scared, but still be aware.
And so it was just, it’s, that’s like a, I have chills right now because it’s just like such a beautiful, like full circle. moment of, you know, you guys, you throw a rock in the pond and you don’t see all the ripples, but there’s, there’s all these ripples of how your, your actions end up, you know, affecting people’s lives.
So that was a really powerful and positive example, you know, of just compassionate, human [00:54:00] based healthcare.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: I’m, yeah, I’m, it’s powerful that I’m speechless, uh, Nice job.
Kristin: Thanks. Yeah, what is the firefighter EMS world? What is the phrase?
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Um, just, yeah, that’s, I, like I said, I mean, I, I was like, I have no idea if that was a good thing to say or not.
And so that’s, I, I mean, I’m beyond appreciative for you sharing that. Um.
Kristin: Yeah. And they are both totally, I mean, they know what happened. They know, you know, but they’re totally fine. Um, you know, they, they, I think of all of us, they have fared the best. They didn’t have to see any of it. And then, you know, your, your guidance and what to tell them really set a positive tone for them to be able to process it and, and move on.
And they’re doing
Lt. Aaron Gregg: great. Well, kudos to you, super mom, because there, uh, yeah, I, I can’t even, you know, I can’t even imagine trying to have that conversation with my kids and, [00:55:00] um, it’s intense. Yeah, and in the midst of all that. So
Will: what kind of effect does the this whole experience have on on you and on Paramedics who are you know,
Lt. Aaron Gregg: do we start the 50 minute hour session now?
Kristin: Parallels between health care and and your experience right with the the pandemic in particular
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Yeah, um, you know, it’s well I going back real quick to to what you had asked Will is is well, I guess you had said it Kristen, but Unfortunately, I think that that we’ve received zero training and dealing with grieving people and dealing with Situations like that.
What do you tell people? I mean the one thing I remembered in my training when I was in the Academy back in 96 was don’t ever say you’re sorry because then they’ll want to sue us. [00:56:00] Um, so for years I was like, well, I can’t say I’m sorry for their loss because then they’ll blame us and then I’ll get in trouble.
And either that was the extent of my training for dealing with grieving people. And, um, and that’s, I mean, it’s certainly this, it’s something that, um, It’s kind of in the vein of your question, Will, but it kind of, it kind of spins off. So, um, with this coming up, I’m like, what, how did I end up being this person for Kristen Flannery?
You know what? Well, because I didn’t, I didn’t have any training. I didn’t, I, you know, I was at a loss, um, but whatever. I, I was, I was able to pull something together, but how, how did I become that? And I thought back to, I mean, I’ve seen some people who have done okay with that stuff and, um, but oftentimes what we had done is we had, we had turfed it to a chaplain or, or the police maybe were dealing with it and we just [00:57:00] kind of hide and run.
Um, I saw some people handle it really terribly. And I knew that that was not okay, um, and then, um, I, I was thinking back to my wife’s first pregnancy, um, was, uh, was way back in the day, but, um, uh, in 2002, uh, she was pregnant with twins. She was 20 weeks along. We went to her ultrasound and they said her bag of water’s coming through her cervix.
Um, and so you need to go to the hospital and get admitted. And we’ll see if we can, you know, maintain these babies. And, but they didn’t really tell us that they’re like, well, you’ll go to the hospital and you’ll spend some time and having no idea how grave the situation was. Um, and she was in the hospital, I think five days, her water broke on the second day.
Uh, and then she began to get an infection and was probably, we didn’t have sepsis [00:58:00] alerts and all that stuff back in the day. No QSOFA or SIRS or whatever the kids are calling it these days, but uh, she was getting septic and they’re like, we can’t, we can’t do this anymore. And of course, our OBGYN, who we loved, who had been with us through all this was, you know, not available.
So we got, uh, a resident. Uh, I’m guessing it was a resident because he was wildly uncomfortable with the situation. And he came in and he began to talk to us like we were six and that we had no idea that our babies were going to die and it was You know, I wonder now if he’s in therapy thinking about how he screwed that up like I am thinking about the stuff that I’ve screwed up, but it was just, I was like, this is terrible.
This is making this horrible situation worse because this, this man just doesn’t know what to do. And, um, so, in the end, I’m, you know, our little perfect babies were delivered, [00:59:00] but at 20 weeks, so they couldn’t survive, uh, so that was one experience, uh, and then unfortunately, several months later, I went on a, a SIDS cardiac arrest, and, um, there was nothing we could do for the child, so we called it there on scene, and I got to tell the mom and the dad and the grandma that their little baby was dead.
And the dad began grieving and he was grieving by punching cabinets and, uh, being, you know, yelling, being very upset as would be a hundred percent acceptable. But because it was a cardiac arrest, the police had also come and the police saw this violence as something they needed to check. So they then began to wrestle and tackle this grieving dad to the ground and restrain him.
Um, and, Meanwhile, I’m trying to talk to the grandma and basically we just end up embracing and sobbing into each other’s [01:00:00] arms for 10 minutes. And while my crew’s out in the fire engine wondering what’s taking me so long. Um, so those were two pretty profound experiences I had close together that made, that really made me think about how people are impacted, the other people around.
It’s not just about solving this medical issue. It’s about how we approach the people who are dealing with these medical issues. And the fact that this may be, uh, as our old fire chief used to say, you know, it may be the fifth. sixth fall patient you’ve been on that day, but it may be the only time they ever call 9 1 1 in their life.
Um, so you need to treat it like that. And so that I think was a real reframe for me back in the day where I started to pay much more attention to, and basically I guess just started inserting myself into uncomfortable situations and trying not to make them worse. And I can assure you, [01:01:00] I made a couple worse for sure.
Um, but you know, and then. We learn from it, right? Yeah, we do. And, and going back to kind of your, your follow up question is we have no idea if we did okay or not. And so to, to the, I mean, it’s just such a gift to know that in the instance of the, the Flannery family, that, that what I was able to do was, was helpful.
Uh, you know, I, I’d always take it as a W if I didn’t make it worse, but yeah, but that, you know, so I, I just, I’m grateful for, for obviously the opportunity to, to talk about this more with you all, but, um, but unfortunately it’s, it’s something that, that we don’t get training in and, um, and one of my. When I retired, I had sent out a letter to everybody I worked with, and it was one of the things that I talked about, that this is something that we need to be better at, is [01:02:00] remembering, especially at that point in our careers, we were just Everybody new and old were just burnt out because COVID was so hard and the divisiveness in the firehouse was different than we had ever seen.
Our family was, would be, our families were being fractured in the firehouse as well as, you know, at home and in the, in the nation. And, um, and it was one of those things where I’m just like, we need to be better at taking care of. the people, not just the patients, because we’re really good at doing the medical stuff, but we need to be better at taking care of the, the, all the other parts that come with having us show up and barge into people’s homes and, and do what we do.
Yeah, I think it’s
Kristin: the, the human side of medicine and, and, and emergency response, right? That’s what I talk about a lot, is it, it’s not. It’s not very complicated or expensive or anything. Like what made all the difference in how you treated me compared to how I’ve been treated other places [01:03:00] is you treated me like I was an actual human and you were an actual human.
And that was different than all the other places, you know, where we put these barriers up. right, of doctor, patient, barrier, and then the family. And we put people in these little silos and roles and it kind of strips away the fact that really we’re all just humans, being humans together. Um, and so being treated like that with that dignity and that compassion is, that’s really all it takes.
That really makes all the difference. You know, that is, that is probably 90% of it right there.
Will: And hearing, hearing you talk about your experience and, and the things that you’ve gone through in your career, I’m not sure how you made it 25 and a half years doing this, but I’m, I’m certainly glad you did.
I’m glad you got that Extra year there at the end, because I mean, personally, it benefited me quite a bit, but, um, uh, yeah, I mean, this, the number of people you’ve helped, and I hope you’re, you know, certainly proud of what you’ve [01:04:00] accomplished in your career. Um, it’s, uh, helped
Lt. Aaron Gregg: a lot of people. Yeah, for sure.
Well, it’s, I appreciate that. And that’s, yeah, that’s certainly something to been working on in therapy is, is being, being able to, uh, acknowledge that, um. that I did do a good job. And, you know, and that’s not easy. I think, especially for the people in our business, um, we’re so often just like, we’re doing our job.
This is what we do. You know, thanks for, thanks for, you know, running into that burning house, or thanks for doing this, or you guys are amazing. And it’s like, it’s what we do. It’s our job. And, and we will downplay it at every every opportunity. Uh, of course, we’ll talk each other up big time, but to accept for yourself that, you know, I, I was able to make a difference and that’s, you know, that’s something that I’m not, uh, I’m not, uh, readily good at.
I think that that’s real common with, with my friends that I’ve talked to about that kind of stuff. And [01:05:00] so I, you know, unfortunately I That, uh, that interior critic has a hard time fighting the blog posts and the, the, the, uh, keynote speeches that are name dropping me, you know? It’s hard to argue with that, uh, because some…
Yeah, we definitely
Will: talk you up quite a bit, so… You, you
Kristin: made a huge lasting impact in our family on, you know, multiple levels. You and, and the rest of your team that were there that night and, um, one, one… thing I want to make sure we get to before we have to go is, is just, I thought it was really interesting.
Uh, one of the things that I have talked about in my keynote speeches is because you guys were all in the hazmat suits and the, you know, shields and hoods and just all the things, all I could see were your eyes. That’s the only thing that I had any indicator of who this person is that I’m talking to, what they look like, but they also just communicated such compassion and, and that, that bit of humanity that I’m talking about, [01:06:00] right?
That, that, that, just that was, was enough to be able to see like what kind of person this is. Right. This is a kind person who wants to help and who understands the gravity of the situation I’m in and how it’s affecting me and has compassion for me. And that allowed me to feel. safe, you know, as safe as possible in a, in a situation like that, that allowed me to feel like at least someone here is, is caring for me, you know, and that really helped.
Um, and so your eyes made a big impact. And then, you know, when we did have that meetup in a couple of months later, um, we were all wearing masks, um, because it was still COVID, but, but, um, I, again, could see your eyes. So I was like, I know who you are. I recognize your eyes. Because you were the only one that I ever saw, so, you know, uh, so I knew you right away just from your eyes.
So that in and of itself was striking to me. But then you said something, I don’t know [01:07:00] if you remember, when I, when I contacted you to see if you’d be interested in coming on and we corresponded over email a bit and you said, unprompted, without me saying anything about your eyes. You said that my eyes were one of your flashbulb memories of the whole thing, too.
That was one of the things that stuck with, with you as well. Yeah. So I was hoping maybe you would talk a little bit about what it was, what you saw in my eyes.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Wow. Um, that as, uh, and I like the term flashbulb memory, that what it is, is when, when you were asking me that question about what do I tell my kids and I, it feels like it’s negative to say, but it was, it was like fear and desperation and, and that, that was what I was feeling.
That was the, that empathetic side of me was just, you were channeling that in, you know, via your eyes. And, um, and just the helplessness [01:08:00] of the situation. And I think that that, that was what I was, that’s what I was seeing. And it was, um, because it was, it was your, it was your eyes that I, that’s what the picture is.
Um, and I think that was, Potentially what, why I felt the extra pressure to don’t screw this one up.
Will: Well, you definitely did not screw it up.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: No,
Kristin: yeah. Yeah.
Will: And, um, Aaron, we just thank you so much for joining us and talking about this stuff. And I, for the record, I also think you have wonderful eyes. Um, as an ophthalmologist, I can appreciate a good set of eyeballs.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Excellent. Well, we’ll set up a curbside once we’re after it. I got some questions.
Will: Um, yeah, it’s just, uh, it really was a pleasure to get to talk with you and, um, talk about some of this stuff. So we appreciate
Lt. Aaron Gregg: you coming on. Well, I’m truly honored to be here, to be, uh, to be a part of, of the [01:09:00] story is, um, it’s, it’s overwhelming.
Um, And, um, and yeah, I’m just, I’m honored and humbled by it all, but just and grateful that, that the crew and I were able to be there and all play our roles. And uh, because y’all had, y’all had a lot riding on that. So yeah,
Kristin: we sure did. And I’m glad we ended up in, in all of your hands. You guys did a fabulous job.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: Well thank you. Take care. We’ll talk again soon. All right. Bye bye. Wow.
Will: It was so great talking. Thank With Lieutenant Greg. Yeah, it really was. Did he, was, did you know, did you learn something new? Like from, from that night, just talking to him? Um, some of the details,
Kristin: did you, yeah, some of the, some of the smaller details I
Will: did learn for the whole thing, but I wasn’t, but, um, yeah, no, I
Kristin: was curious to hear what was going on, you know, in the other parts of the [01:10:00] house or outside or, you know, those kinds of things.
So, um, it was interesting to hear, you know, this story that I’m so familiar with, but from the other perspective,
Will: I, I came away. From that conversation, thinking that it was even more surprising that I survived. Yeah! Just the hearing, it just was like the worst possible time for me to have that cardiac arrest.
Right. And all the, everything they had to do to keep themselves safe.
Kristin: Yeah, it was, um, it was really scary and everybody kept saying, you know, words like miracle and, you know. Against all the odds and just, um, everybody was pretty amazed that you survived at all, let alone that you survived, you know, neurologically intact also.
Will: It’s like, it’s a one in 10 chance just right off the bat.
Kristin: Yeah. Out of hospital cardiac arrest survival rates.
Will: Yep. And then, and then you, [01:11:00] but adding all the extraneous COVID things, I feel like that probably. But the chance is a little bit less.
Kristin: Right. Everyone was working under more difficult circumstances and limited resources and all sorts of things.
But, um, you know, that’s why it’s so important for everyone to learn CPR and to, you know, know the signs of cardiac arrest and to have an AED close by. Um, I know there’s a lot of work that some advocates do for, you know, public access defibrillators to put them in neighborhoods and things. Um, you can buy them.
They’re too expensive right now, and I know other people are working on, on that problem as well. But, um, yeah, it’s just good to, good to know what to look for and what to do about
Will: it. Is this about the time I thank you again for?
Kristin: Oh, I mean, you should be doing that every day, maybe four or five times a day.
Will: Thank you. If you have any ideas of how I can thank my wife for saving my life, uh, please. No, no,
Kristin: no. Just being alive is thanks enough. [01:12:00]
Will: Let us know what you guys thought of this episode. This is a little bit different. Uh, you know, a different flavor of what we typically do, but, uh, I think also hopefully pretty informative and, and helpful for, uh, for people, anybody really, healthcare or not in healthcare.
Kristin: Yeah. And shout out to all the paramedics out there. Yes. Oh my gosh. You guys do incredible work in perilous
Lt. Aaron Gregg: circumstances. Paramedics,
Will: firefighters, everybody who, um, You know, first responders, it really is, uh, it’s such a challenging, difficult job. It’s oftentimes a thankless job, uh, and so, uh, thank you. And there’s lots of ways to reach out to us.
You can email us, knockknockhigh at human content. com, we’re on all the social media. Uh, websites, apps X Run X. It’s X now. For now. We’re
Kristin: there for now. I, we’ll see.
Will: It’ll change, but I bet I can’t, I can’t call it that. It’s, it’s Twitter. I know. Uh, you can also hang out with us and our Human Content Podcast family on Instagram and TikTok [01:13:00] at Human Content Pods.
Uh, shout out to all the wonderful listeners leaving feedback, great feedback, awesome feedback, really good feedback, and reviews. We love those. If you subscribe and comment on your favorite podcasting app or on YouTube, we can give you a shout out. Like today, South Florida Fan, South FL Fan on Apple says, so entertaining, really enjoy your show.
Thank you, South Florida
Kristin: Fan. Yeah, thank you. Short and sweet. I like it. I love
Will: it. It’s good. Uh, and also full episodes of this podcast are up on my YouTube channel every week at TheGlockenFlecken. We also have a Patreon, lots of cool, fun perks, bonus episodes, where we react to medical shows and movies. You can hang out with other members of the NutNutKai community.
We’re there. It’s a, it’s a nice, big, growing community. We love it. Early, ad free episode access, interactive Q& A livestream events, and much more, patreon. com slash glockenflecken, or go to glockenflecken. com. Speaking of Patreon community perks. New member shout out to Marcus K. and [01:14:00] Tariqa. Hello! Welcome!
We’re happy to have you here. Uh, you could be, uh, we have several positions on our city council. Uh, you could run for office if you’d like. It’s a very low key endeavor, but just, you know, we got some openings. Uh, shout out to all the Jonathans, as always. We got Patrick, Lucia C., Sharon S. Omer, Edward K, Steven G, Ross Box, Jonathan F, Marion W, Mr.
Grandaddy, Caitlin C, Brianna L, Dr. J, Chaberd W, Jonathan A, Leah D, K L, Rachel L, and Ann P, a virtual head nod to you all. Also, Patreon Roulette, a random shout out to somebody on the, uh, Emergency Medicine tier. I always get that wrong, I always want to say Jonathan, I always finish with Jonathan. Emergency Medicine tier.
Shout out to Baseball Rob for being a Patreon.
Kristin: Hey Baseball Rob, I like your name.
Will: And thank you all for listening. We are your hosts, Will and Kristen Flannery, Glockenfleckens, a special thanks to our guest, Lt. Aaron Gregg. Our [01:15:00] executive producers are Will Flannery, Kristen Flannery, Aaron Korney, Rob Goldman, and Shahnti Brooke.
Editor and engineer is Jason Portizzo. Our music is by Omer Ben Zvi. To learn about our Knock Knock Highs, program disclaimer, and ethics policy, submission, verification, licensing terms, and hyper release terms, go to Glockenflecken. com, or reach out to us at knockknockhighofhuman content. com with any questions, concerns, or jokes.
Kristin: Ooh, limericks. I haven’t had any limericks. No one’s sent us a limerick.
Lt. Aaron Gregg: A
Will: haiku? I’d rather hear a limerick. You love a haiku. Haikus are fine. I don’t know. Please, limericks. Knock Knock High is a human content production.
Hey, Kristen, let me tell you about DAX. Who’s DAX? Yeah. DAX is the Nuance Dragon Ambient [01:16:00] Experience. They call it DAX. Like, kind of like the name. It’s AI powered ambient technology. It sits in the exam room with you and does so much. Most importantly, I think it helps. The patient physician relationship. How so?
Well, it’s, have you ever been in the room with your doctor and felt like they were more focused on the, the medical record system
Kristin: versus you? Yeah, like if I’m talking and they’re looking at the screen and typing instead of looking at me. Yeah, we
Will: just have so much to do, so much documentation. Right. It just makes our, Attention’s pulled in different ways, but DAX, it captures all the relevant information and helps with your administrative burden and, and just allows us to talk with each other.
I like that. Yeah. To learn more about the Nuance Dragon Ambient Experience or DAX, visit nuance. com slash discover DAX. That’s N U A N C E dot com slash discover D A X.[01:17:00]