By Jeff Todd
DENVER (CBS4) – Ellen Maroney says she owes her health and happiness to 911 dispatchers.
On five separate occasions, friends, family members, or even complete strangers have had to call them after Maroney had a seizure. Maroney works at the State Capitol Building.
“I had no warning it just started happening, I said, ‘Mom, I’m having a seizure.’ And then I feel the pain,” Maroney said about her last seizure in March.
“I lost consciousness pretty quick, so I don’t remember very much. I just remember it was so painful and these seizures hurt so bad. The best way I can describe it is it’s electrocuting,” she said. “I feel like my muscles are tightening but trying to move. I lose all my functions and they stiffen and they’re shaking. It’s so painful.”
Doctors discovered Maroney had brain cancer when she was just 23 years old. She has an inoperable brain tumor than will likely trigger more tumors.
“A person I didn’t know found me unconscious on The Capitol steps and told the troopers here and the troopers came to my rescue,” she said about a seizure in 2016.
One of the best sites she sees after a seizure is paramedics standing over her helping her, and she knows the first person to get them there was a dispatcher.
“I’m so thankful they’re well-trained because I’ve had to, not me but my family and friends have had to utilize them,” she said about 911 dispatchers. “They are hearing some pretty gruesome things, about people who are really sick and they keep their cool, they’re so calm. They are just so well-trained,” she said.
Maroney got a chance to go behind the scenes through a Citizens Police Academy and her appreciation for dispatchers grew even more.
She’s fearful of the next time someone will need to call 911 to get help for her.
“I have to just remember that somebody will help me, and it’s scary. It’s so scary,” she said.
Public Safety Telecommunicators are being celebrated this week.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.