10.16.2008

Face Down

I always expect "ground level falls" to be nothing more than the life alert commercials we all know and love. The first call of this nature I went on, the woman on the floor actually called out to us as we knocked on the door, "help, I've fallen and I can't get up." I guess I've just gotten used to helping a little old lady up, getting a signature, and going about my day.

But when I walk in the room, I can tell this one's going to be a headache. She's lying face down with her head in the bedroom and her body in the bathroom. Christ, I think to myself as I see her pantyhose still bunched around her ankles. The bathroom is, of course, tiny. It's a wonder she managed to fit in there with a shower, sink, and toilet.

Her husband, obviously deep in the throes of dementia, sits on a portable bed pan/toilet contraption next to the door, with the cordless phone in his lap.

"Hi, my name is Sam, I'm with the rescue squad. Can you tell me what happened?"
"I fell," she replies with a mouth full of floor.
"Right," I sigh, "but what happened?"
"I stood up from the toilet, bent over, tripped over something, fell over the toilet, and here I am."

At this point, I have c-spine control. She denies hitting her head, but at this point, I'm not taking any risks.

Now we have a problem, I'm starting to realize. She's face down in a tiny room, and we have to backboard her. There's no possible way to log roll her or even fit the backboard in the same room independent of her.

"So...we'll get the board under her, bring her out, log roll her off of it, and then log roll her back onto it?" Drew scratches his head a bit as he makes his way into the bathroom without stepping on our patient.
"Yeah," I pause, "I uh...guess so."

My favorite police officer has shown up, and is offering to help. This is why he's my favorite. We start the tedious process of sliding the board under her, from head to toe, while maintaining c-spine control, and while trying to keep from hurting her.

Finally, we manage to finagle the board all the way under her, and start lifting the board out of the bathroom, over the portable bed pan thing, and onto a flat surface. This is not an easy task due to her weight and the obstacles, but it happens.

Tired and sweaty, I look at Drew and the officer from my position at her head. We're each wiping sweat off in some form or fashion--it's gross.

"Okay, let's roll her," Drew says. On my count, we roll her off the backboard, do a quick assessment of any injuries, and then roll her back onto the backboard. It's a bit cockamamie, but if it works, I'm happy.

Carefully, we carry the backboard out of the room and onto the waiting stretcher. Every move we make warrants another agonized yelp from our patient, but I can't tell why. She's got nothing more than a little swelling where her glasses hit her face, but nothing is apparently wrong.

"Ma'am, what hurts," I ask her.
"Nothing, really, but I get scared when you move me," she says.
"Oh okay," I reply, "we're going to buckle you into this stretcher, roll it out to the ambulance, and put it in the back. You'll feel some bumps, but don't worry, I haven't lost a patient off of one of these yet," I say with a wink.
"Okay," she says with a little smile.

"Which hospital," I hear Drew asking family.
"I want to go to St. Mary's," she says quietly.
"Ma'am, we can either go to Clearwater Regional or Sacred Heart."
"But...that's not where my doctors are!"
"I understand that, but if we took you to St. Mary's, we'd end up driving you for an hour, which means another hour back for us after getting you situated there. That's a good two and a half more hours from now that we'd be out of service, and we need to be able to go back to our station quickly in order to help other people."
"Oh. I really want to go to St. Mary's," she sighs.

I leave her side to go check with the family. I explain to them the choices they have. They decide to send her to Lakeview, a small ER only facility associated with St. Mary's. I doubt they'll take her since she's a trauma, but I'm eager to go. The winds are howling and the rain is coming down.

"Lakeview ER, this is Clearview Medic 1 contacting you on the HEAR, do you copy?" I hear static coming back at me, and I wait for a few seconds before repeating my traffic. I call again, and still I get no response. Frustrated, I check the medic's cell phone. Every ER's number is listed, save Lakeview. I call again on the HEAR, and get nothing. I call two more times, and no one answers. We're roughly five minutes away, and I have never shown up to an ER without calling report.

I call Eric, back at the station, and have him look up the landline number. I have no service on my phone, so I creep up to the driver's seat and take Drew's. I finish my report as we are pulling into the parking lot.

"Standby," the nurse says on the other end, "we may want to divert you to St. Mary's."
"That's a negative," I respond, "we are in your parking lot now."
She sighs before coming back with a simple, "10-4."

We can't figure out the doors. We've never been here before, and I'm not sure if it's a keycard, or a number I have to punch in. Frustrated and banging on the door, I try to control myself.

Finally, the one and only tech comes to let us in. He reminds me of someone who's taken speed; he simply cannot stop talking, moving, or twitching. He leads us to the bed and helps us move her over. There's one other patient here in this 10-bed facility, and I can spot possibly two nurses. I snag one to give report and find myself the EMS room.

The tech follows me in there and stands awkwardly beside me, as I begin to write my narrative.
"Um, so you look really familiar," he begins.
"Oh? Um...I...I don't know."
"Or maybe you just remind me of someone I know who's as pretty as you." I'm in no mood. I sigh as I push the hair out of my face.
"Maybe you've seen me around Waverly," I nod.
"Oh really? Do you work out there too?"
"No, but my boyfriend is a career firefighter medic out in Waverly."
"Oh," he says, "that's cool. I'm going to go get a drink."

As he slinks out, I mark myself a point on my imaginary scoreboard. Sam-928,327, Cliché members of the opposite sex-0.

I finish up my narrative, find Drew, and basically drag him out the door.
"Let's go, let's go, let's goooo!"
"Eager much?"
"I'm tired, sweaty, cranky, and just got hit on by Speedy McRaceRace back there. Let's get out of here!"
"Okay, okay," he says as he forces his door open against the wind.

A few minutes pass on our way home. We listen to the radio and sing "Nights in White Satin," really loudly and out of tune.

"'Cause I love youuuuu, ohhhhhhh how I love youuuuu!!!!" Drew's voice wavers, and mine follows suit. I can't stop laughing. This is why I love being Drew's partner.

After a boring song comes on, Drew sighs.
"If you had to explain that call in one word, what would it be?"
I think for a second, and reply with, "obnoxious."
"Oh."
"Why, what were you thinking?"
"Clusterfuck."

4 comments:

Jedi Master Daryl said...

Hehehe! Silly hitter-onner-man!

I was getting a little scared as I was reading about that ER. You wrote it kind of hellish, like how Poe's settings were. Thankfully nothing really bad happend!

I hope the patient was okay.

Anonymous said...

haha, speedy mcracerace...... you're a trip baby. over 900,000? well aren't you popular?

ben.

Chapati said...

welcome back sam!

loving the gentle way in which you cut speedy mcracerace down :o)

hope you're well.
Xx

Alaina said...

lolz i love it!