5.23.2008

The "bird" (Pt.1)


I can barely make it through the door before the tones drop.
"Station 1, Station 2, motor vehicle collision with injuries."
I note the address, and realize that it's right in front of the station. We get in the medic and drive a few feet down the road. I pause and look around. Pick-up truck, silver car, white car. Okay.

My partner parks the medic, and as I open the door to get out, I'm met with frantic yelling.
"STOP, STOP!"
I brace myself on the door, keeping myself from stepping off. I nearly lose my balance as I look down--there are unshielded power lines around the scene and running under the medic.
"Are they on," I shout to the anonymous voice.
"Yes. The black one is cable, but the silver one is power."
My partner is already out of the medic, and I wonder if we should move the medic or not. While I'm wondering this, I see a man sprawled across the bench seat of his pick-up. He is face-down, and not moving. As far away as I am, I can see blood dripping off the passenger's seat.

I carefully hop the downed power lines and make my way over to him. He's speaking--patent airway and a pulse. The passenger's side door is jammed, but the driver's door opens easily.

The fire department arrives, and I think to myself that this is the first time they've showed up after us. We extricate him as quickly as we can; the only problem is someone to take c-spine. The only way to get in there is to kneel in glass and prop yourself up with the steering wheel. Before I know it, I'm being hoisted up.
"You're the smallest, Sam. It's all you."
I look down at the seat. There is so much blood; I've never seen anything like it.
"You doing okay, Steve?"
"Yes. My arm really hurts."
"What else hurts?"
"My ribs, my leg and my head."
"Okay, Steve, we'll check you out when we get you out. Just try to stay as still as you can, okay? Let us do all the work."
"Uh-huh."

As we log roll him from one backboard to another so he is situated correctly, I hear a firefighter start yelling.
"Launch the bird, launch the bird!"
I look at my partner and wonder if he asked for the helicopter. By this time, there are two other medic units on scene--maybe they saved us the trouble. Whatever the case, I hear that the helicopter is about 12 minutes away.
We get our patient packaged and exposed, and I take mental note of his injuries. Two lacerations to the head that are bleeding profusely, an injured arm, tender ribs, and something at his ankle. I feel like I can see his pulse pounding in his foot. I make my way down to his feet and check it out. There's a big bruise forming around his ankle, and a bounding pulse I can literally see.
"Alright, guys, let's go."
We get him into a different medic than the one we came in so that we don't have to cross the power lines again.

In the back, my partner starts a line. It's beautiful--textbook. He puts a bio-occlusive over it and goes to get some tape. As he turns around, it catches on his hand and rips from his arm. I slam my finger over his vein, clamping it down to stop the bleeding. The catheter sprays saline around before someone shuts it down. Another paramedic starts a line in the other arms quickly and I sigh.
"What are we missing?" My partner taps his foot impatiently, and I reach for a penlight.
"Pupils are reactive but slow," I announce to no one in particular.

The helicopter lands and the flight medics join us. We tell them what we have, and before I know it, they're gone. The helicopter takes off, and I glance back at our medic. Blood, saline, clothes and trash litter the ambulance, and I lean my head back in frustration.

5 comments:

AnniforsciA said...

Rawr cliffhanger! Even though I know the ending of this one I'm still anxious for more detail! Also, I'm sorry it was so needlessly frustrating.

<3Anni

Scott said...

Sam, I am so happy you didn't electrocute yourself! This is an interesting story.

Ugh... North Colorado and south Wyoming and west Nebraska have been plagued by tornadoes and their thunderstorms yesterday and today. I'm sick of lying around in the basement, cowering in fear. Stupid weather!

Gertrude said...

Glad you didn't electrocute yourself. Next time move the medic. Don't get out. Won't do your patient any good if you're dead on the ground.

danny said...

Sounds scary. I can see all sorts of places where that could've gone terribly wrong. What you do is so amazing, Sam.

Sam's mom said...

Your mom nearly had to call 911 after reading this post! Please stay safe. Use your theater training - always observe and be aware of the minute details of your surroundings. Stay aware...stay safe. You and your life are so precious.

Sam's mom