Sometimes, a crisis reveals good people. That’s true during this COVID 19 pandemic. As a result of a medical emergency, I’ve uncovered some exceptional staff in our midst.
A recent emergency call brought Katie and Emily from Monte Vista Ambulance. Arriving within minutes, the EMTs asked, “What’s going on?” I had difficulty with the first step onto the vehicle. So, Katie and Emily, used their hands to balance my backside as I climbed higher. Gentle and kind, they monitored my vitals and called to the emergency room while in route. Katie exchanged my personal oxygen for the onboard treatment. Emily drove. They followed specific protocols and I called them “Strong women” as they maneuvered me out of the truck at the hospital.
In a short time, I was in a room and before I knew it, my clothing was almost ripped off of me, despite my asking to leave my metal-less bra on. I was met by sullen faces. I couldn’t help but feel that I was a bother. They asked what my pain level was, where was my pain on a scale of one to ten. I said, “Nine and a half.” and I said it is in my back by my left kidney.
When the doctor came in, I relayed the same info. I repeated it was my back; it was like the kidney failure I had ten years earlier. He asked, “Do you ever have pain in your stomach, or nausea, burning urination?”
“Well, I have had some, but nothing unusual for me. I’ve had a twinge of nausea, but nothing to worry about.” I repeated the sharp pain was in my left kidney area. I told them urinating was a problem.
I asked for the restroom, and a collection was set up. I was escorted to the bathroom without my continuous flow of oxygen. Catching my breath ambling back was difficult. With the next bathroom trip. I was taken with my oxygen and in a wheelchair, which helped as breathing was so difficult.
While the nurse was admitting me, I asked her if they would give me Toradol for the pain as Tylenol was not masking the pain. She said, “We will wait to see what the doctor says.”
I felt like they didn’t believe any of my distress because I had first asked for Toradol, and because of my response to being repositioned. I screamed because when I was dropped into the new spot, the slam caused piercing pain. It was so severe that my cry turned into a laugh, perhaps a pseudobulbar affect. At which the attendants seemed aghast at my outburst.
Even in pain, I try to share a happy spirit. I could tell that these medical personnel were over worked and under a lot of stress. I asked the nurse when her shift ended. “Nine,” she said.
I responded, “That’s a long time still. It sounds like it’s been a long day for you.” She seemed relieved that someone noticed. As per this week’s report in the Valley Courier, Covid is on the rise; likewise, reports across the country show medical personnel are being swamped. We see this in our valley agencies, too.
After results were back and the nurse gave me Tylenol, the doctor returned. “I have some good news and not so good news.” Then after explaining what the radiology didn’t reveal, he said to me, “It is not an emergency. Follow up with your primary.” He reached for a handshake. As he was exiting, he asked, “Do you have a way home?”
Within 30 seconds, the nurse was back discharging me. She said, “Your ride is waiting. You’ll have to get dressed.” In one swell swoop, I signed the release, dressed, positioned my oxygen, and followed the security guard. Absolutely, I was grateful I had a ride. Yet, this was unusual that I was dismissed so abruptly. The infection still felt very painful.
Following up with my primary was a blessing. Monte Vista Medical Center’s Jackie Bennett FNP-BC saw me after receptionists Marissa and Heidi checked me in. Heather took my vitals. After a hug, Jackie explained she read the ER’s report and found that they had missed two important facts. The ER had ignored that hydration before UA can miss infection markers. They had also skipped the description indicating infection. I was so relieved. It had been an emergency, after all. She prescribed an appropriate antibiotic and for pain, a Toradol poke in my hip.
Like all of us, I’m mending with help from some awfully good, kind, caring people.