Friday, September 14, 2007
Yesterday I had an experience like nothing I have experienced before. I have anxiously been waiting for it to happen. The multi-vehicle accident with substantial injuries. The panacea for EMT's and Paramedics. All of our primary and back-up crews were called out on this particular call. The medic in charge passed out the yellow traffic vests and he and I sat in the back while the driver and training medic sat in the front.
As we approached I got up to look out the front window, it was a scene that immediately sent my adrenaline rushing and heart pounding. I was prickly with excitement and anticipation. The time to put the real training to the test. They yelled at me to grab certain pieces of equipment and we all began to jump out into the street and in to action. As I made my way to the vehicle I was first taken with all of the damage. There was extensive damage to the car and there were many pieces of it in the roadway along with a ton of oil. I did not realize how much oil a car held, but I did notice exactly how slippery it is as you walk through it. I leaned the backboard against the car and quickly climbed into the backseat to takeover holding C-spine. The holding of the victims head still so a cervical collar may be applied. I got into the backseat of the car so fast that I did not even have time to look for any glass or blood etc. I do know that the drivers seat was bent into the back and I had to squeeze past it to get to the guys head. There was a great deal of blood and I remember, as I was applying the collar, looking at it on the pale tan color of my latex gloves. It was the first time that I have had someone else's blood on my hands.
He was screaming. He had not been wearing a seat belt and instead of being behind the drivers seat he was now in the passenger seat. We had thought he was the passenger at first. You do not learn anything that prepares you for screaming patient while you are trying to talk to them and / or each other. So, we got the collar on him and then we had to get him out of the vehicle and on to the backboard. It can be a very scary experience and even claustrophobic to have a c-collar on your neck and them to have yourself strapped down and have your head tapped to the board securely. It is very hard to get them to listen and calm down.
He was coughing and choking on his own blood from a head and nose wound. We still needed to get oxygen on him and into the back of the squad to cut his shirt off.
During all of this I hardly noticed the victim in the big truck while our other squad worked on him.
Once in the back of the ambulance we all moved very quickly, but after it was all said and done the entire ordeal took a little over 2 hours! It seemed like minutes. I was amazed. I was so excited that I was momentarily paralyzed with the thought that I did not know how to do anything! Then as I began to open tubing and bags of saline I started to get into my groove. It is one of those situations that if you do not do it very often that you do not always have a steady hand.
We got him to the hospital, all the while talking to him to keep breathing and not hold his breath and to try and calm himself down. He was screaming and crying a great deal. Then he would get so quiet that I had to check to see if he was still conscious. He was rushed in to a trauma room with many nurses and doctors waiting for him. Then, our job is finished and it's time to reclaim the used stock and clean the cot and get clean sheets. That quickly. As quick as that it is done. You go so high and then it is just a dead stop. You have to switch gears and move on.
That is hard! I went to the bathroom at the hospital and looked at myself in the mirror and my cheeks were flushed. I was flushed with the rush/. When we got back to the station I was still flushed. I was SO jazzed. I started to call family and friend s as soon a s I got in my car to head home. I had to drink 2 glasses of wine just to start to get myself down. I took the dogs on a really good walk. It took awhile, but I finally was ready to sleep. It was a good learning experience. Built up my confidence for the next one.
I know now that I will be ready to begin paramedic school next year. I have made the right choice. It is the right fit for me. I like the unexpected and the not knowing when things are going to happen.