Monday, April 26, 2010

Brenda - Day Two

©Karen A J Rinehart

I arrived in time for breakfast on Monday. We talked most of the morning and later her roommate arrived. She rested off and on during the morning. Lunch arrived and she had ordered me a tray. The three of us were eating and enjoying our lunch. My sister told me that she had to use the ladies room. Since she had an IV attached, I asked her if she needed help. She said, "No, I have it." As she was exiting the ladies room, she said, "I'm dizzy." I told her to sit down on the bed as soon as she could and she told me, "Ok."

She was sitting on the edge of the bed when she said, "I need to lean forward." I got up from my chair and walked over to her and placed my hand on her right shoulder. She told, "Move your hand. You know I have claustrophobia." I stepped away a little and she leaned forward. However, she continued leaning forward and didn't stop. I put my hand on her right shoulder and took my right hand to push her back with it, when I missed and she fell to the floor.

My training put me in motion. I walked over, knelt beside her and checked her breathing and found her gurgling. Airway not open. I tried to roll her to her back but she was so big, I was unable to do it myself. I immediately got up from the floor and went to the door and yelled down the hall, "I need a nurse in here stat!" I went back to her and knelt down beside her, still gurgling. I told her room mate to call for a nurse again. She went for the call button on the bed. I got up from the floor and yelled for the nurse again.

Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. I knew what the nurses were doing as I had been in the hospital many a time working a code blue. They were getting the crash cart and hurrying down the hall. By the time I reached my sister, knelt down beside her again, I had one nurse at her feet and one across from me. I knew the look on both of their faces. The one standing was doing a quick sweep and assessing the situation and the other was checking pulse and breathing. When I looked up, I realized what was going to happen next. "Code Blue, Room 357. Code Blue." I grabbed the room mate and left the room, with her asking me, "What is a code blue?" I told her I would tell her when we reached the hall but that we needed to get out of the room so they could work.

I explained that a Code Blue was when there were no life signs in a patient that had just gone down. Further explanation of Brenda's situation caused me to become sick to my stomach. We went to the waiting room and awaited news. I called my husband and told him that they had just called a Code on Brenda and we were on the third floor. He told me, "I will be right there."
It seemed like an eternity before he arrived.

I knew that Fire Rescue and EMS would be there because we always came to the hospital during a Code. We were the extra hands that they might need. Walking towards the room that Brenda was in, I noticed a paramedic from work and asked how she was doing. The paramedic stated, "We have it under control." I became mad because this is a paramedic has an attitude that just doesn't end. I'm not even sure she knew that Brenda was my sister. I walked back to the waiting room to wait when a nurse walked up and asked me if there was anything I needed. I told her that I wanted the Floor Supervisors name. She told me who it was and I asked if I could speak with him. The Floor Supervisor was an RN at the hospital but was also a paramedic that had helped train me when I became an EMT. He walked down the hall to talk to me.

He hadn't realized until that moment that Brenda was my sister. I asked him what the situation was in her room and he said that they were working on her but she was unresponsive. He went back to her room but within just a few minutes he was back with another report. Brenda was now breathing on her own and her heart rate was 54 with a very strong pulse. I was thrilled. They had her back.

I went and stood outside her room and thanked the Floor Supervisor for keeping me informed. Shortly he stepped out of the room and told me that she had told my boss that was in the room with her, "Please let my sister know I'm ok. " He told her he would but I had heard her and stepped into the doorway. My boss told me to come in and he told Brenda, "Sis is here so you can tell her you are ok." I took her hand and told her that I would be right outside the door. She told my boss, "You are going to need a crane to get me up off the floor." To that he replied, "Brenda, what do you want a bird in here for." They both laughed. It was really good to hear her laugh at that moment.

The Floor Supervisor said that he would take me up to ICU to her room, ICU 402. He told me, "She is only going to ICU as a precautionary procedure since she fainted." The had decided that she wasn't a Code since she came back so quickly and they had not initiated CPR. On the way up in the elevator, he asked me to tell him what had happened. After telling him, he told me, "I could never do that for a family member. You stayed calm the entire time and did what needed to be done." I thanked him for the compliment and told him that he needed to tell my boss. You see my boss doesn't think I'm assertive enough on calls when I'm working the ambulance.

1 comment:

  1. My heart just goes out to you, Karen. I am in awe that you were able to "work" when it was needed, the feel. I'd put my life in your hands anytime.

    I teared over Brenda's laughter... good Supervisor, compassionate... and I smiled, knowing how her laughter and his care, were important to you at that moment in time.

    Karen, Brenda was lucky to have you for a sister. I'm lucky to have you for a sister-by-choice. (And I do not use that term lightly.)