Saturday, April 18, 2009

Adventures in Little Old Lady Land

She was 100 years old.
Arriving by ambulance from an assisted living facility complaining of hip pain. She smiled beatifically as she was wheeled in by the EMS crew who had gone to fetch her, her pale little face peeking out from beneath a halo of white blankets.

The crew had gotten to know her pretty well on their brief ride from her facility and let us know she had fallen the night before, but was up and around; there was no overt sign of hip fracture, sometimes a death sentence for the aged. She lived in her own room and was able to get herself to the dining room for her meals; she managed her own medication, contingencies for her assisted living arrangement where there was no professional staff. Up until a couple of years ago she drove a car, but gave up her license following a motor vehicle crash. "Not my fault!" she piped in, bright and alert and spry......although very, very hard of hearing

Sherry and I and the paramedics oh so gently transferred her from the ambulance gurney to the bed as if she were made of porcelain. I can't recall seeing these big guys move someone with so much care. They carefully tucked n her blankets and bid her farewell.

We undressed her with utmost care, and I inspected her soft white skin, so transparent; this skin is 100 years old, I marveled to myself. "It burns", said Alice, our centenarian, rubbing her hip; there were no bruises or swelling as she pointed to the area righ above her hip bone.

"Shingles", Sherry and I mouthed simultaneously to each other.

"Did you fall down ?", Sherry asked. "Yes, I live in town", replied Alice.

I just grinned.

We xrayed Alice's hip and found nothing. We got her up to be sure she could walk; we found a walker so she we could more accurately assess her ability to ambulate. Alice did just fine, and asked to sit in a chair. We covered her with blankets, got her a little snack.

"We're going to send you home! Do you want anything for pain?", Sherry yelled.

"No, I don't like to take pills, not even Tylenol. I'm fine", Alice said in her little bird-like voice. "I want to go home with my daughter".

The local ambulance service is usually one way, and they weren't able to get her home.

We called the daughter. She said she wasn't able to accomodate her mother, and couldn't give her a ride home. That was just as well since I found out she was 80 and probably shouldn't be driving Miss Daisy.

Alice, now that she was upright, called out "Nurse!?" every few minutes. Sherry asked if she would like to sit in our tiny waiting area to watch TV, and she thought that was a good idea while she waited for her ride. We got her completely dressed, again carefully putting on her clothes including her 20 year old Reeboks. Seriously. We wheeled her to the waiting room which is literally 10 feet from our nurses station.

While in the waiting room, instead of calling "Nurse!?" when she had to go, she stood herself up out of the wheelchair and peed on the waiting room chair; and got back in the wheelchair.

I felt bad but that didn't prevent me from laughing. Her person from the assisted living facility brought a change of clothes.

"G'night, Alice!"


SimplySweeter said...

Thanks Sand, I had a really crappy day today and that gave me a good laugh. Love ya!

Kate Travers said...

Dear EDNurseasauras,

My name is Kate Travers and I am the Marketing and Publicity Director for Folio Literary Management.
We represent Dr. Lara Zibners, emergency room pediatrician and author of IF YOUR KID EATS THIS BOOK, EVERYTHING WILL STILL BE OKAY: How to Know if Your Child’s Injury or Illness is Really an Emergency (Grand Central Publishers; June 17, 2009). I'm writing you to see if you might be interested in reviewing IF YOUR KID EATS THIS BOOK on your blog. I think the book would really appeal to your constituency.
Dr. Zibners has seen it all. She's cared for a portion of the 25 million children in the US who are taken to the ER each year; up to 75% of these visits, she says, are unnecessary. Her book shows parents when it’s necessary to take action – and when they can go back to bed and call their doctor in the morning. No more frantic late-night searches through the other childcare books to find out if a child needs to go to the ER. IF YOUR KIDS EATS THIS BOOK offers sound advice on every part of the body from diaper to noggin in a funny, fresh way, and the early reviewers are clamoring to get their hands on a copy.
Here's Dr. Zibners’ website to read more about the book: The site features some of Dr. Zibners’ articles and videos with advice on baby bumps and bruises, fevers, crayon eating, fussiness, belly pain, and more.
Let me know if you would like a copy. If you would like to interview Dr. Zibners, I would be happy to arrange it.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Kate Travers
Marketing and Publicity Director, Folio Literary Management

ecrunner said...

Comparing this story with the previous post about the nurse's death makes it a hard realization for a person like myself to comprehend. There is such a roller coaster of emotion and moods that make it that much more difficult to be a nurse, but make us that much more respectful for all that you do.