Sunday, July 18, 2004

One Tough 14-year-old

BF left on Saturday at a great time of 4am.  I have reached the point in my relationship where I don't have to get up with him anymore to say good-bye.  He is out on another fire.  Most likely away for two weeks.  No cell service, camping out, etc.  No contact with me.  I have come to accept that this time.  Last time I wasn't doing very well with it.  Live and learn.  So with him gone I decided to totally veg out and catch up on sleep from those 3 hours I had between Friday and Saturday.  I drove into town, bought 3 crossiants and two newspapers and came home and climbed back into bed.  9AM. 
The funnies read I was scanning the local paper for a housekeeper.  You think I am joking, however; I am not.  I was raised a privileged child and have never gotten over it.  Anyway, next to my bed sat a telephone, a cell phone, and a pager.  BEEP BEEP BEEP, but it is more of like a BRRREEP so it sounds like a phone.  I have to get my mind into the realm and decide which techological advancement is going off in my house.  And then the dispatcher's voice rings out.  226 contact 224 via radio for a medical at Windows.  Well, the CF was about to begin...
I quickly dressed, threw on a pair of shoes, and a work hat.  Why didn't I grab a radio and call 224?  Because last week 224 dropped his radio in the river and had mine with him.  I opened the door to the world and realized there wasn't a work truck in front of my house as normally.  I raced down the road toward the big Dodge.  We would need the truck for the litter, wheel, and cooler.  I jump into the Dodge, flick on the radio, and key the mike to call 224.  KEY FAIL.  I try again.  KEY FAIL.  I threw the mike across the cab of the truck.  (Something I do quite frequently with my VERIZON cell phone as well).  I got down to the cache.   Loaded the litter, wheel, and filled cooler into the bed of the truck.  I was still trying to reach him on the radio.  I was getting nothing. 
I jumped into the vehicle and headed up the road to make sure traffic was being dealt with for the ambulance arriving.  They have to go through an entrance station and so traffic needs to be stopped so they can use the outbound lane.  It looked like it was taken care of.  I stopped at the first residence, said we have a medical, and need people.  A former employee was visiting with his friend and they said they would help.  I again tried to reach 224.  Nothing.  526 has contacted me and said they were en route.  I keyed the mike to respond and once again KEY FAIL.  I pulled onto the main road and let the lights shine.  Naes would be in charge of hitting the siren when we were near vehicles or in a congested area.  I was still trying to reach people on the radio with no luck.  We had at least 6 people rolling towards the scene to carry the litter. 
Here is what kills me in these times of emergencies.  We were 5 minutes behind an ambulance running lights and sirens.  Do the people not realize that possibly there will be more emergency vehicles coming up.  We were pulling up behind three vehicles.  I noticed the first in the string was slowing down and going to turn left.  I told Naes to hit the siren.  The vehicle in front of us pulled over, the first vehicle had already made the left turn, and the vehicle in the middle of them stops half in the left and right lane.  How I missed them I am not sure.  Pay attention people. 
We pulled up at the Windows and are immediately met by the 14-year-old's mother.  She wants to vent with us.  She says "I TOLD HIM NOT TO DO IT".  Great.  I need to get this litter up the trail is what I wanted to say.  The ambulance crew yells at us that they have a backboard and just need our littler.  Naes and friend with the litter and I start up the trail.  We take a shortcut and meet up with the ambulance crew which has about 900 pounds of gear on the backboard.  I assist them with the backboard. 
We get to the patient.  He is 14-year-old like I said.  He is laying head down on the rock with his right leg obviously deformed and there blood on our rocks.  And all he is saying is please give me an IV.  The ambulance crew prepares to splint his leg, but first have to straighten it out.  I am at John's (not his real name of course) head.  I have his right hand and I tell him he can squeeze as hard as he needs to and he does.  We keep telling him what is going to happen and tell him to take a deep breath.  If he needs to scream, scream.  He says "mother" and bit his tongue.  I said if you need to cuss let loose.  You don't hold things back in situations like this.  He starts screaming.  His mother is up above us with another ranger.  We get it straightened out and into the splint.  And he calmly says "you guys made it seem much worse, that wasn't that bad".  We all laughed.  We love when our patients make us laugh.  Makes it easier for us.  He keeps asking for that IV.  His little brother runs up to where mom stands and says 'guess what they just did', but mom will hear nothing of it. 
Dad tells me that mom told him that he shouldn't let John crawl up there.  And again that mom told John not to crawl up there.  He said he would be hearing about it for quite some time.  This was his first vacation in five years.  This was day one.  Oops.  They ask if there is an orthopedic surgeon in town.  We all kind of laugh.  This is a place where broken bones are a daily occurrence.  This fracture is probably minor compared to others.
We get John onto the backboard and Tattoo J gets the IV going.  John keeps saying that nothing is happening.  We assure him that it is working.  We load him on the litter and head down the trail.  We get him to the ambulance and get him on his way.  John's dad opts to ride in the ambulance with John.  I think primarily to delay the yelling of his wife. 
I returned to the cache after the debriefing, put together the litter gear, and went home and climbed back into bed.  It was 1230pm when I laid down my head.  I awoke at 345pm.  What will tomorrow's day off bring?

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