Monday, July 9, 2018

HOW ARE YOU IN AN EMERGENCY?

Rerun, reworked from 2009.

Are you good in an emergency?? Most parents are out of necessity. Children love to test a parents readiness as first responders. That seems to be their major job as a mini adult.

The sad thing about our stability in emergencies is that it is unknown till tested. We may think we will be wonderful at the car accident, leaping in to give CPR and putting pressure on a bleed, but actuality may be far different. Some people are worthless and require emergency attention themselves during panic times. Such as, some husbands in the birthing room.

Now that may be unfair to those Dads who end up viewing birth from a prone position. I mean face it ladies, you really aren't seeing what is going on and are in too much pain and anger at that inconsiderate dolt that got you pregnant, to care about a little gore.

Others are brilliant in emergency, remaining calm and helpful as though that is totally natural. I do envy them. Then there are people, like myself, who have time limits on their ability to function as body parts are hanging by a thread. It wasn't until adult years that I could recognize a pattern in my responses to disaster. Prior to that, each puddle of blood brought on a slightly different reaction.

As a young child, pricking my own blood blister could make me instantly hit the dirt, totally unconscious. A friend could split open his scalp on a swing and I would just be curious, pushing in to get a closer look before I kissed the earth.

Eventually, I developed a consistent reaction. That was, that I could be calm and helpful to a point but as soon as someone in authority took over, the world would spin and if I didn't get down quickly, I was going to crash to the ground in a heap. I was tested often enough to prove this point.

One time, coming upon a motorcycle accident and another time helping a man who had suffered a heart attack while traveling the turnpike, I was really tested. Both times, I could give first aid and comfort to 
the victim or in the case of the heart attack, start  CPR. However the minute the EMT arrived, I was useless and almost in need of care myself. Now you fellows that I maligned about the birthing room can enjoy a resounding, "AH HA!! Not so easy is it?"

This became more evident when I ran the animal shelter. The shelter was my equivalent to raising a bunch of uncoordinated kids. There were the inevitable dog fights, rescuing dogs from horrific conditions 
 and the roadside car attack rescues. I learned to pinch flesh together, put pressure on bleeding wounds and push intestines back into the stomach cavity, all while driving a stick shift on the way to the veterinary.

My consistent response to emergency today is that I will hold it together as long as there is no one else to do it. As soon as a EMT puts his hand on a person or a vet puts his hand on an animal, it is now his responsibility. My task is done and I am no longer required to remain conscious. All those things previously keeping me upright, buckle and leave me looking for a soft spot to crash. Now that I know my routine, I seldom hit the floor hard.

My veterinary Jim use to laugh at my usual response.  As soon as he  lifted the dog onto the examination table, I would just say "Excuse me," then  quickly lay flat on the floor, looking up at him and the bottom of the table. 

He couldn't help smiling as he continued a normal conversation with me on the floor as he explained the progress he was making with the animal. So I guess you could say I am a functional first responder, just not good for the long run. We all can only do what we can with what we have been given.

And how are you in an emergency??


44 comments :

  1. I have no idea how I'd be, I've never been tested. Unless it counts that I spent several hours once talking my ex into giving me the knife he was threatening to kill himself with. Once I had the knife and he'd fallen asleep I immediately took it and all other knives in the house and hid them where I knew he wouldn't look.

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    Replies
    1. River,
      Oh I think that counts. Wow, you did amazingly. Hope he never tried it again.

      Delete
  2. It really depends on the emergency, if it involves blood or vomit probably not that good. Although I did surprise myself after finding mum on the floor in all her bodily functions by not passing out and phoning the emergency services and cleaning up afterwards.

    But if it's like keys locked in a car or climbing through windows etc, I'm in my element! :D

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    Replies
    1. Joey,
      Seems you are more of an action adventure guy than a clean up after but you did quite well with you mum.

      Delete
  3. Your ability to keep it together as long as is needed is exemplary. Also your willingness these days to keep yourself from hitting the ground so hard. I'm pretty good with emergencies and don't faint at the sight of blood. I'm glad you worked this one over and gave it to me again, Patti, since I missed it the first time around! :-)

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    1. Djan,
      It was necessary to learn. I don't go down gracefully like a heroine in a novel. More like a tree so in self defense, I needed to pick out a soft spot to land.

      Delete
  4. I've always seemed to be able to rally enough to get through the trauma, and THEN I fall apart afterwards. However, I seem to be getting emotionally a tad more 'frail', so I'm not so sure anymore. I'm extremely lucky to have a calm, level-headed husband who's 16 years my junior to see me through things.

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    1. Silver,
      Know the feeling. So glad you have someone you can count on to support you. I'd keep him on the payroll.

      Delete
  5. I've never been tested at an accident, but with the run of the mill emergencies, I usually hold it together as long as I have to, then I fall apart. I've never laid down afterward, but that's a pretty smart thing to do.

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    1. Jean R,
      Seems we are pretty similar but for me getting down wasn't an option.

      Delete
  6. I'm not sure how I would be... I have never been in that kind of situation.. The closest experience I ever had was when George fainted on the trail one time years ago when we were hiking... I hollered for help --and someone called 911.. The rescue squad came up that mountain trail --but that was after he was awake and seemed okay. It was an extremely hot day that day --and his blood sugar had dropped. SCARY --and I truly didn't know what else to do to help.

    The other time was this past Feb. when my heart rate SOARED --and I almost had a stroke. An ambulance took me to the hospital. That was the beginning of my A-Fib.... Scary to me --but much moreso to George (who remained loving and kind throughout that horrible ordeal).

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    Replies
    1. Betsy,
      Seemed you and George can do what is necessary when the time comes. So sorry you both had to be tested but you passed. Now you know you can count on eachother. That AFib is scary.

      Delete
  7. I don;t think I have ever been seriously tested. I'd like to think I would be helpful, but I have my doubts. I did stay for the deliveries of all my children without fainting, but I was pretty worthless. I tell all new prospective fathers to do the old fashion thing, stay in a bar and drink pace and smoke. The delivery room is no place for useless men, you just get in the way and your wife will only yell at you which that hatred will last subliminally for years.

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    1. Joeh,
      Wise advice joeh. It is hard to be sweet to the man responsible for all that pain.

      Delete
    2. I don't get that "man responsible for the pain" thing. Didn't the woman also participate willingly. Didn't they choose together to have this child? They are equally responsible.

      Delete
    3. River,
      Severe pain can make the most sensible souls cranky and angry. Many men and women I know can attest to this reaction.

      Delete
  8. I think I'm OK if the emergency involves me... like getting my thumb locked in the slammed car door... or having a gun held to my head during a robbery. But if it involves someone else, I don't know. I know that I was fine until he turned the gun on another person in the office and then my heart leaped into my throat.

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    Replies
    1. Rian,
      Mercy, you and River have really been tested. Sure hope all but the robber came out OK and that he is still doing time.

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. I don't think I am good in an emergency, but maybe I have gained some wisdom since the last time I had to test it.

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    1. Olga,
      Hopefully you will never have to find out.

      Delete
  11. I'm pretty good in an emergency. Of course, one has to be to work in a coronary care unit for so many years. Emergencies are a normal part of the day.

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    1. Carolyn,
      That makes you a bit of a pro. I want you on my team.

      Delete
  12. OMG you're funny! You come up with these interesting questions that, to be honest, I've never even thought.

    I can't say how I am in an emergency as I've not had to experience very many. The earliest one I remember, occurred about 40 years ago when I was working in Northern Saskatchewan at an air charter service. The weather was bad, so flights weren't going out, when we heard a helicopter flying low about the lake. The next thing we heard was a loud bang, two of our pilots taxied out to the crash site and brought back the one survivor. The village we were in had no medical services, we couldn't fly him out and the nearest ambulance was 50 miles away. A woman who lived in the community had some first aid training but didn't want to left alone with the man so I sat with them. He had been burned badly by the aviation fuel and several hours succumbed to his injuries (after he had been transported to hospital). All I really remember is the smell of burning flesh...it's something I hope to never experience again. I know I didn't faint but must admit I didn't care to get too close to him. We had nothing for his pain, we could only sit with him and listen to his moans.

    My children had had a few accidents but nothing horribly serious, a broken arm, a head wound that required stitches, another gash needing more stitches. I don't recall being too upset...so I guess I did okay!

    Eileen

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    1. Eileen,
      I'd say you did more than OK considering what you had to work with. That must have been awful to have felt so helpless with him in such pain.

      Delete
  13. I have never really been tested like you have, but when it comes to blood, I have fainted over my own.

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    1. Linda R,
      I use to be like that. I have gotten past that--mostly.

      Delete
  14. I’ve not encountered all the challenges you have. I’ve never fainted. I was in the middle of a dog attack once, three against my young female and I. She accidentally bit my finger, attacking dogs got me in the bum and leg. I was so focused on saving her I was oblivious to anything else.

    There was a situation with my little Dtr in hot sand burning her feet to which I had to sweep her up and momentum kept me going down the bank burning my feet.

    I did have to do equivalent of Heimlich on my young son in a restaurant once. I had him stand up and gave him compression from front, staying calm so as not to alarm him. We just sat back down and don't think others, including my husband, dtr, those at other tables even knew what happened.

    There may have been some other things. I think what happens is I instantly kick into gear focused on whatever, then when it’s over or passed to another I’m just kinda numb in a somewhat surreal state but seeming to be going through the motions automatically of whatever I’m supposed to be doing, like eating at restaurant as we did. There’s some kind of mental state or dimension I inhabit for a bit.

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    Replies
    1. Joared,
      Your automatic responses are stellar and you handled the situations efficiently. Well done.

      Delete
  15. Dear Patti, I don't think I've ever really encountered an emergency. Well, I forgot the cats--with them there have been emergencies and I was able to hold myself together long enough to get Noah to the vet when he broke one of his back legs and couldn't walk and Laz when he looked at me with such pain in his eyes and I knew something from very wrong. Also, when Dulcy looked at me and I knew I had to have her euthanized.

    I did well each time, but then a great weariness set in and a great malaise so that life was bleak no matter what the outcome for the cats. With them, I'd been touched by the possibility or the actuality of death and I knew great loneliness.

    So I think I do okay but emotionally I'm a wreck when an emergency happens with the cats. Peace.

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    1. Dee,
      Our pets are like our children and When something hurts them, it is devastating. Been there also.

      Delete
  16. Very interesting post as always sweet Patti. I have never fainted but I did have a complete melt-down after assisting a some teenage boys who had a car accident in front of me. I made it home okay after help came for the boys but fell apart in my hubby's arms on the porch when I arrived home. I smelled blood for several weeks after that. Emergencies with animals and children I have done okay with. Hugs

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    1. Maggie,
      That would have scarred anyone and at least you could make it home before losing it.

      Delete
  17. I'm a total failure in emergencies.

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    1. Mage,
      When you know that about yourself, it is good to surround yourself with staunch friends and a solid hubby.

      Delete
  18. I am terrible in an emergency which is why I never wanted to be a nurse. I can't stand to see blood on anyone, but I could be bleeding profusely from a gaping wound and it wouldn't bother me. When my son was hit by a car I went into a complete meltdown and if not for a nurse friend who happened to be at my house at the time, I don't know how I would have coped. So, no, I am terrible in an emergency and pray I never have to deal with another one.

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    1. Snickelfritz,
      Wow, that was really fortunate that your friend was handy. Somehow I think if she hadn't been there though, you would have held together just long enough.

      Delete
  19. I loose everything during emergencies. I will not be able to do anything, will be stuck...

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    1. Weekend-windup,
      Knowing that is important. It lets you work on plan B.

      Delete
  20. I am pretty good in an emergency, but I faint at the sight of blood. Even in photos I can faint. God bless you for helping animals.

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    1. Nawm,
      Thank you. It was just something I had to do.
      At least is no one is bleeding--you are a champ.

      Delete
  21. I can’t think of too many emergencies that have involved me. Blood doesn’t bother me, injections don’t bother me. My husband and both my parents died at home and I didn’t panic. I guess I do all right in emergencies.

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    1. Linda,
      You are the kind of person most of us would like to have handy in an emergency. Someone level headed and calm.

      Delete
  22. When my then 10 year old daughter sustained an injury (minor) that resulted in blood, I had just enough time to tell the older siblings (oldest was 15) to take care of her because I was getting ready to faint. I didn’t totally faint but blacked out somewhat and sunk to the floor. You don’t want to be dependent on me in a bloody emergency. Non-bloody, I am pretty competent.

    ReplyDelete

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