Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ride Along

I've been trying to get some ambulance time in.
Think I've mentioned before that I've only been on like FOUR transports in my life. Responding with the rescue here, we just go package them up and stabilize them for the Big City Ambulance to transport.

But I found "Middle City" Ambulance. AWESOME people. Not too busy.
Been hangin out there lately.

One twelve hour shift. Nuttin'
Second twelve hour shift. Got three calls in the afternoon.
number one was a fifty-ish lady with chest pain. Biker mama. Very self conscious.
So we hooked her up to the monitor. The Paramedic can't rule OUT any heart problems. EKG looks a little suspicious. Hubby wants to drive her in.
Paramedic starts giving her the schpiel. "This should be a wake up call, take your medicine, eat healthier, lose some weight...".
I look over and she is twisting a kleenex in her lap. Eyes big and watery. So I swoop in and hug her. Right there in front of God and everybody. "I know. I know." Pat the shoulder. Rock her some as she sobs on my uniform.

Second patient. Chronic cancer. Tired of fighting.
In incredible pain. I smooth his hair. Talk to him.
Tell him I understand how he could get frustrated. But he's got a great wife.
Lots to live for...lots to fight for.
Every once in awhile, we hit a bump. He grimaces in pain.
Soon tears begin to well in his eyes again. Because he's on his back but leaning kind of to the right, the tear pools over his eye. So I wipe it off gently with my finger. And try to steady him on the cot with my knees so the jarring isn't so bad.

Third patient. Elderly man. Fall. Hurting. Nursing home...
Heading in to the hospital. He's trying to be brave and not take pain meds.
The poor man probably has a broken hip, for pete's sake.
I told him...we are getting to the hospital soon. they are going to be moving you around. TAKE SOME PAIN MEDS. He smiles at me and says..."OK, maybe it does hurt some."
Then he goes back to staring at the ceiling.
And I notice ... food. something pink. Maybe medicine. dribbled down out of both corners of his mouth on to his neck. caked on his chin.
So I ask the paramedic for a baby wipe. They don't carry any. But he helps me find some gauze and lets me open a small sterile water.
I wash his 95 year old skin. And after we get to the hospital, they cut off his shirts. So I dress him in a gown. And make a joke about him showing his chest off to everyone.
Then I smooth his hair down, tell him I have to go but I'll be thinking of him.

End of my shift, riding home in the back of the ambulance with the paramedic, Bob.
"I like your style, you know. Not many people have that empathy you do. You take good care of your people."

Almost made me cry.
Definitely made me grin!

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