Monday, July 18, 2011

Curb Service

 I am always leery when people come to the door asking for a wheelchair.  Hauling people out of cars is not my favorite activity for several reasons;   I am not a young woman, my back is fragile from years of abuse, and mostly women work at my facility.  Except for Brian and possibly the Talker, there aren't any really manly men available to do the heavy lifting. Bobo is just useless, Gil has a heart condition and Cripes has a bad back; the rest are women. Most importantly, I simply do not  possess  the superhuman strength required to prevent someone extraordinarily weak ( or large) from hitting the pavement. My back is not going to pay the ultimate sacrifice; I have many more years to work until I can retire.  Even though it is very often more of a case of high drama than multiple trauma,  I will not risk a patient's well being or mine trying to get them out of a vehicle safely.  If there is an overabundance of drama or a legitimate reason,  I will go the EMS route.  Emergency Medical Services peeps are the extrication experts, and I don't hesitate to call them for assistance when the situation warrants.  However, for the most part, if you hauled your fat ass into the car, you can damn well haul it out.  I will hold the wheelchair and guide you. 

 The wife came in looking for help to get her husband out of the car; it wasn't quite clear what he had done, but Kate and I trudged out to the car with our trusty wheelchair. "He's an amputee, has one leg", the wife informed us.

"AAAAhhhhhhhh, AAAAAARRRRRGHHHHHHHH, OOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRROWWW, ah, FU*#!  Jesus, aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh, gggggaahhhhhhhhh!  This hurts so fu*#ing much!"

I saw three little blond heads and three pairs of  enormous blue eyes staring at me from the back seat.

He fell down some stairs apparently..  His elbow hurt.  So with one leg and one arm he effortlessly transferred himself from the car to the wheelchair, all the while spouting a steady stream of profanity and owwy noises.  I decided to talk to the kids instead.

"Hi guys!  What's up?  This isn't your grandfather, is it?"  He had looked to be about 40 years old, the wife a little younger; she snorted with suppressed laughter but didn't say anything..

The three little blond heads shook in disagreement.  The oldest said, "He's my papa; he says he fell down.  I didn't see him, though", while the littlest, a girl of about 4 stuck her thumb in her mouth.  The wife had a subtle air of "been there, done that, now done with this" about her.   Interesting. 

"It's OK, Kate and I are just going to take him inside and put a bandaid on him, alright?"  Three little blond heads nodded silently.  They didn't smile.

Once inside, Ralphie continued to make a whole bunch of owwy noises as we did our triage.  He lost his leg in a motorcycle accident.  Couldn't remember any of his meds; pain was 30 out of 10. 

Through the magic of electronic medical records we discovered that Ralphie was on a shitload of meds.  Pain meds. Can't remember my ass. 

He got an Xray (negative) which appeared to have been therapeutic since he was using both of his arms to transfer himself without any difficulty from the wheelchair to the gurney.  Still making with the owwy noises and profanity though.  He got a shot of Toradol for his trouble.  By that time he was hopping around on his one leg and opening the cabinet doors in the treatment rooms. 

The wife wisely stayed in the car with the kids.  If I was the wife, I would have just driven off with those cute, blond,  silent little kids and never looked back.