I Am A Princess

"I am a princess, and princesses don't get sick." I look up to the TV and see a little blonde girl smiling.
I write an addendum in a post to my blog and think about how glad I am that I haven't taken a little girl like that to the hospital in a long time.
I try to fall asleep in the dark room, but my body just won't relax. A group of muscles tense right as the tones drop.
"Station 1, 418 Springbrook, 8 year old female seizing."
There's nothing quite like seeing the crew at a rescue squad when a pediatric call is toned out. Everybody is up walking around, eyes wide and nervous. Nobody says much of anything; they just head out to the medic.
Drew, Eric and I congregate in the day room with the paid provider as I answer the radio.
"Station 1 received, a medic will be en route shortly."
We all look at one another, helpless, until I hear the paid guy say, "oh, hell, we'll all go." Drew and I head towards a medic as Eric and he respond in the Zone truck.
The ride over is relatively silent. I hear Drew running through the scenario in his mind, talking it out quietly.
"Suction the airway," he says softly, "it's gonna be ALS with an IV and probably some Valium."
I nod to myself. I'm so proud, and I beam at him in the dark.
For some reason, I'm the first in. The police officer on scene points me up the stairs, and as I enter a sweetly decorated room, I see a tiny girl seizing on her bed. She grunts now and then, her sweat-soaked hair matted to her face.
She's the girl from the commercial. In my mind, I know she isn't, but my heart is screaming out.
On the headboard in pink paint, it says "Princess," with a gold crown above it. I freeze, and all I can do is kneel down and push the hair out of her face.
"What's her name," I ask of her parents who are standing helplessly in the doorway.
"Allyson," her mother replies frightfully.
Eric makes it up the stairs with some more equipment, and I feel safer. Next comes Drew followed by the paid guy.
I can see each one of them react differently, and I realize none of them knows quite how to deal with a young girl in the same maternal way that I can.
"Allyson, my name is Sam, we're going to take you to the hospital, okay?"
"She probably can't hear you," Eric says.
"Shh, do what you're going to do, and I'll do what I'm going to do." I'm pretty sure I shoot him a look that could kill, but I see the relief in her mother's eyes, so I don't care.
I put her on a non-rebreather and marvel at just how small it truly is. She's absolutely tiny, and I just want to scoop her up into my arms.
Eric beats me to it and I'm left carrying the oxygen bottle.
He fumbles with her awkwardly in his arms, and can't seem to get her situated quite right.
"Give her to me," I say, getting frustrated.
"I've got it."
"Eric, let me do it." Drew nods resigned to the fact that Eric shouldn't be the one to carry her. Noting my stress, he puts a hand on my shoulder, squeezing it softly.
"Let me help," he says to Eric as he takes her out of his arms, readjusts her, and hands her back.
"Allyson, we're going to go to the ambulance now."
Her mother thanks me and assures me that they'll meet us there.
In the medic, I stay by her side as Drew and Eric go back in the zone. Matt, the paramedic on shift tonight tries to start an IV.
"I hate doing these on kids," he says as he stretches out her arm. Her eyes flutter open and she looks right at me, trying to speak over the non-rebreather.
"Hi, Allyson," I say with a smile. She looks over at Matt and looks back at me with some panic as she realizes where she is.
"We're taking you to the hospital right now, okay?" She nods as Matt sticks her, and I feel her reach out for my hand. Grabbing it right away, I use my other hand to push some stray strands out of her eyes. She squeezes it as tight as she can, and relaxes once he's done.
"Alright, we're good Sam."
"10-4 big guy, want me to run lights?"
"Yeah, that'd be good."
"Hey, Allyson, I'm going to go drive us to the hospital, okay?" She nods at me sleepily as I step out towards the driver's seat.

The night is foggy, and my lights echo back at me visually. I'm trapped in a psychedelic cloud of red and white that pulsates violently; I slow to a crawl, and Matt sticks his head up to see what's going on.
"Sorry, I just don't want to wreck."
"I'd rather get there late and alive than not at all." He smiles at me through the rear view mirror, and I silently thank him for being such a great partner.
When we arrive at the hospital, I help unload her from the back and she smiles at me. Sheeting her over to the bed in the trauma bay, I return the smile.
"Feel better, princess," I say as I squeeze her hand again. I wait with her until I see her parents arrive, and I let my hand be replaced by her mother's.

"Peds calls are always the worst, huh?"
"Yeah," I say wearily, "I wish that commercial were true."
He gives me a puzzled look, and I wave him off lazily.
"Don't worry about it."


Evil Lunch Lady said...

Wow, hope the little girl is ok! You guys rock!

Bernice said...

Sometimes, medicine from the heart is better than medicine from a book. It is AWESOME that you know the difference.

Scott said...

You went with lights? I didn't thing seizures were emergencies unless the patient smacks their head or status epilepticus. Are all pediatric seizures considred emergencies? What is that commercial for?

Epijunky said...

I finally saw that commercial and instantly thought of you.

And now I'll be thinking of your patient.

I'm glad you were all there for her.

Now I'm off to hug my own little princess.

Tony said...

Sounds like you did exactly what your patient needed at that moment. Keep it up!

tracy said...

You, my dear, were wonderful...i want to be just like you, if i e v e r grow up. Thank you for a heart wrenching post.

AnniforsciA said...

You make my life. This post made me want to hug you badly.


P.S. I get to see you in T - 4.5 hours and I caaaaaan't wait!

P.P.S. Is it just me, or is the word verification getting longer? I fail at least once every time I attempt to post a comment.

danny said...

Happy endings are great! :D
Did the girl end up being okay?

P.S: Do your partners read your blog? Just wondering.

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