MORE Confessions of a Trauma Junkie — Book Excerpt
We all have different reasons for loving or hating what we do and those reasons may change from day to day. It all comes down to perspective and attitude, and you will find a lot of attitude in ER, EMS, public safety, and public service personnel. I think the variety of experience, unpredictability of situations, and general fascination with how people think, feel, and act keeps us on our toes. We certainly do not tolerate boredom very well, and if you do not fill our time we will, from both sides of the gurney.
Some of My Favorite Things
Jumping back and forth across both sides of the gurney can be confusing but sometimes we ES folks are so geeked by the unusual that we hardly mind, or notice for that matter, that we continually flop around between family, caregiver, rescuer, and patient roles. The most recent example of such confusion happened about a month ago as I prepared for bed. It was 2100 (9 p.m.), and I had just taken a bedtime dose of Benadryl seconds before the phone rang.
Missy: “Mom, my water broke.”
Me: “Fix it. Put it back. I just took Benadryl; you cannot go into labor right now.”
Missy showered, and I threw some street clothes on while Gary popped a super-strong mega-caffeine brain-jolting K-cup into the Keurig. Coffee in hand, I headed out the door driving the 0.38 miles to Missy’s house. Missy’s husband Scott was on duty, as Missy was not due to for inducement until Tuesday; this was Friday night. Missy called the station, found out that Scott was on a rescue call working a cardiac arrest (of course!). The Battalion Chief radioed Scott, and immediately sent another medic to relieve him.
Our ride progressed smoothly until we saw the sky light up with flashing lights, sirens whined, and expressway traffic hastily slowed to a crawl. Apparently we would not escape a bit of drama in the form of a car on the side of the road, fully engulfed in flames. Missy grabbed her cell phone and snapped a picture of the inferno that had no regard for a woman in labor (we needed proof: who would believe us?). Escaping a road soon blocked by emergency vehicles and rubber-necking gawkers who crashed into one another behind us, we drove on.
As I started to turn into the hospital, I saw a car in my rear view mirror traveling at a high rate of speed, so I waited to see if the driver might like to get past us: he did. Swerving, the car cut me off and screeched to a halt in front of us at the ER entrance. Passengers jumped out of all four doors screaming, and ER staff ran toward the car with a stretcher. Scott was waiting at the ER door, and we saw him heading to assist with removing a stabbing victim from the car.
Perfect example of how we keep jumping across that proverbial gurney.
I hollered, Scott saw us, switched from paramedic mode to husband/father mode, and headed back for a wheelchair. I parked the car and prepared for a very long night waiting for the birth, reminding myself that I was not a Paramedic RN that night, I was Missy’s Mumma. Andrew Rhys made his grand entrance the next morning, and he could not be more perfect. He has his mother’s eyes.
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