11.26.2007

Faceplant

[[Okay, this post belongs back with the EMT school entry. This took place then, but I forgot to write about it...how, I don't know.]]

SMACK!
I feel the cold from the concrete as I roll myself over. "Oh...shit," I hear my partner say as he looks down at me. The warm liquid running down my face paired with the searing pain across my cheek tells me I've done some serious damage.
"Sam, your face is like...bleeding!"
Rewind.
All day long we've been in class learning about trauma. It's a Saturday, so we spent the day doing practicals, running through scenarios, and learning acronyms. As class ends, my partner and our friends decide to stay after to practice more. My partner shows me the ambulance and how it differs from the ones at my station, and we practice back boarding each other a few times. I hear my cell phone ring across the bay, so I run to pick it up. Enter the partner who makes one wrong move, and next thing I know...
SMACK!
I take a second to breathe, even though I am positive that I have obliterated my cheek, and I decide to take control since I can see my friends staring at me blankly, thinking back to the lecture we just had.
"I need a 4x4, I'm bleeding from the face."
"Uh yeah, okay, got it, Sam."
"I need someone to call my mom."
"Alright, I've got that."
"I need someone to call dispatch; we're going to the hospital."
"Okay, I'm calling."
"And...and I'm going into shock now."
As I feel the heat drain from my body, I hear the things going on around me. Someone mentions something about contusions, abrasions, tenderness, lacerations and swelling, and I feel my blood pressure rise. I hear central dispatch tone out the squad for a ground level fall...at the squad. I hear my partner and his friend murmur something about bleeding and stitches, and my heart sinks. Before I know it, I'm in the back of the rig staring at the ceiling, a position I had hoped I'd never be in.
"Sam. Sam, I need you to calm down."
I look over at the monitor and see a steady "220" flashing across the screen.
"Sam, you're extremely tachycardic and you're breathing 44 times a minute. You need to take some deep breaths for me and calm yourself down." I feel a non-rebreather slide over my face, and I panic. I feel claustrophobic and nauseated.
"It hurts so much," I manage to slur as I feel my partner grab my hand.
"Sam, what are normal respirations for infants?"
"What?"
"Infants. Normal respirations. What are they?"
"Fifteen to thirty. Why?"
"When do you use a traction splint?" I try to remember what I've learned, but the pain is so severe. I push the pain from my mind and concentrate.
"Isolated, closed, femur fracture."
"What are the five methods to stop bleeding?"
Before I know it, I'm being unloaded from the ambulance and sheeted to a hospital bed. I'm by myself as the nurse gets a gown, and I'm shaking relentlessly, crying harder each time I feel a wave of pain. I hear a faint knock on the door, and my partner comes in and helps me with the gown.
"Your mom is on her way, everything is going to be just fine."
"I'm so scared. How deep is it?"
"Just hold my hand."
Eight stitches, and an x-ray later, I'm on my way out the door. As I rest on the couch with a bag of ice strapped to my face, I realize something. I've learned more from being a patient than from the entire EMT class thus far. Sometimes it's not what you do, but what you say. Even if your patient can intellectualize the standard procedures on the ambulance, in a time of crisis all logic goes out the window.
Caring for your patient physically is important, yes, but caring for your patient emotionally can make all the difference in the world.

4 comments:

Kyle J. said...

You have a great point, many of us have never laid on that cot on the way to the hospital, being a patient. It makes you think differently of how you should treat your patient. Patients freak out, but if you harrass them or get rude, it will only make things much much worse.

Anniforscia said...

I remember this story!
Lovely good times...only not so much.
Just one of a long line of Sam is sick/injured stories, hehe.

Love you 'til the end of time,
Anni

Silent Owl Scribe said...

Um.
Girl Scout,

All I can do is throw my hands in the air.

rookie bebe said...

Thanks for reminding us. I'm in medic school now and have been struggling with why I'm doing this.