Thursday, February 18, 2010

In Praise of EMTs

Uncle P had himself quite a scare tonight. My mom has had her share of ups and downs with her health over the years, but over the last few days she hadn't been feeling well, suffering from dizziness, extreme weakness and a low-grade fever. Because she didn't feel well, she hadn't been eating much, no matter how many times I told her it was important for her to do so.

She called me at work today to tell me had fallen and had lain on the floor for over an hour before she could get up (she later admitted she may have blacked out). I wanted to call an ambulance then and there, but she told me "Don't you dare!" in her typical German/Scotch pig-headed way. She told me she was going to take a Vicodin for pain (a less-than successful knee replacement about 6 years ago has left her in chronic pain, which was exacerbated today by her efforts to get off the floor) and then lie down for a while.

When I checked in on her after work, I found her in bed, moaning and writhing, her pupils as big as saucers and not responding when I tried to talk to her. I immediately called 911 and asked for an ambulance, thinking she was either having a stroke or some kind of seizure. The 911 operator was a wonderful woman who stayed on the phone with me until the ambulance arrived, doing her best to keep me calm while advising me on what to do.

The EMTs arrived quickly (though it seemed to take forever, it was probably less than five minutes), took one look at her and asked "Is she a diabetic?" When I said "Yes," they did a quick blood test and found her blood sugar at a frighteningly low 26! They administered a massive amount of glucose and she quickly rallied, responding (finally) to the questions they asked her. They asked her her name, my name and the year, all of which she got right, though she stumbled a bit on her date of birth and my father's name. Then they asked what she eaten today. She said "A banana and some chocolate." Not eating + oral diabetes meds = damn scary low blood sugar. They told me I had gotten there just in time.

Of course, upon being told she was going to the hospital, she balked, but they told her she had no choice. She was still weak, and wasn't always making sense as they wheeled her into the ambulance. After a quick call to my sister, I raced to the hospital and filled out the forms, still rather flustered. When I did get in to see her, she was still suffering from some tremors and couldn't remember my answers to questions she had to ask more than once. She was admitted at least overnight, until they got her stabilized and I finally went home, exhausted and wound-up, though relieved that she was going to be okay.

She called me about an hour ago to tell what room she was in, and actually sounded like herself for the first time in several days. She's scheduled to have a consultation with an endocrinologist in the morning, and it looks like she's going to be fine. But I have to be honest and tell you that finding her like that was one of the scariest moments of my life.

While I rarely get this personal on Caliban's Revenge, I never got the chance to thank the EMTs who did such an excellent job and probably saved her life, so I thought the best way to thank them would be to do so publicly. The two members of the Levittown-Fairless Hills Rescue Squad were professional, expedient, polite and responsive while Uncle P was panicked and just a little more than upset.

Support your local Rescue and Fire squads, folks. They do wonderful and important work. You never know when you might need them (and I truly hope you never do) and they deserve your thanks and support. Mom is going to be alright, thanks to those two terrific EMTs. And even though I may have a hard time getting to sleep tonight (adrenaline will do that you), I will sleep a little bit better knowing there are folks out there ready to help when its needed.

And I want to thank you, dear readers, for putting up with this most personal ramble. Writing is always therapeutic for me, and putting this rather surreal experience into written words has helped me process the events and get them out of my system.

Back to more movies and nonsense (hopefully), anon.


rosalie said...

buddy! i'm so so so glad you got there in time and were able to help out your momma. she's a lucky lady to have you there and i bet she knows it now, more than ever. stay strong and calm and i'll be thinking good thoughts for both of you!!

lots of love,

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad your mom is fine now and that you were there to help her. I'm sure you could use a shoulder to relax on.

ps - the personal stuff, I like it.