Thomas Fletcher (fletch31526) wrote,
Thomas Fletcher

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Please help me, I'm falling...

Yesterday morning, my engine company was out at one of the elementary schools teaching a safety class to fourth-graders. We were scheduled to teach the lesson to three different classes... and were almost through with the first installment when we got a call. I'll admit that I enjoy making a grand exit while on the job. And there are few exits as grand as getting paged out while in a room full of kids... and then learning that you are responding to a cardiac arrest.

As the engineer, I drive the pumper pretty much the same on every call. They're all important to somebody. And if we aren't going to be speedy (but safe), then we shouldn't be going. However, I'd by lying if I said I didn't step it up for codes and fires. And before we can respond in the pumper, we have to get to it. Yesterday, we had some 50 yards sitting between the classroom and the door... There was another 50 through the school yard to the engine. So, we did what our teachers always told us we couldn't do -- we ran in the halls.

Dispatch gave us additional information that the arrest was in the dining room of an assisted-living facility. This excited me even more. Instead of the staff finding the patient dead during morning checks, the patient had just arrested and the odds of a save were greater. Even better, we were only a few blocks away from the facility.

When we arrived on scene, our captain went ahead into the building while I parked the engine and our hoseman gathered the medical gear. The two of us then began our run across the parking lot towards the front door. About halfway there, I felt my torso get ahead of my feet. I tried to take bigger strides to improve my form... but it was too late. Even before it happened, I knew it was coming. I was going to fall.

And I fell.

I guess seeing it coming helped me handle it when it happened. The whole fall and roll didn't last long at all. I hit on my left upper arm and my left thigh, made some sort of roll and got back up. The hoseman and I had been running side by side when we left the engine. We were running side by side again when we entered the building. I hated that I'd made a damn fool of myself -- the manager of the facility was at the front door waiting for us and saw it all -- but things turned out as good as they could have.

As we made our way through the front door, the manager firmly told us, "she doesn't have a pulse!" We entered the dining room and no more than 20 yards away from where the manager had been, the patient sat in a chair... talking to our captain... asking if she really had to go to the hosptial. It seems that the lady had passed out for some reason, but she definitely had a pulse and as evidenced by her speaking, was breathing okay.

In the end, I think I was injured more than the patient. I've got a small patch of road rash on my upper left arm where it scraped the parking lot. And when I hit my left hip, the ground put a few scratches in my new cell phone through my pants. (I mean, dang. The thing is less than a week old. Can I not keep a cell phone?) I rode in with the ambulance to the hospital not so much because the patient needed extra care, but because I needed the chance to come down off the adrenaline high that results in responding to a code and then falling down in front of God and the world.
Tags: fire

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