09 May 2009

Life Ain't Fair

"Your patient is a 44 year old woman who fell from the standing position. She has fractures to both Tib/Fibs and to her left forearm."

What?

Fractures like this from a fall from the standing position?
How ? !

As usual, we arrive and my crew departs while I complete my shutdown procedure. Then on many occasions I actually get a better picture of what has happened to our patient when I walk in and chit-chat with family members or police outside the trauma room who were actually on scene with our patient.

But not this time...
There's no one outside her room.

When my crew wheels her out she's talking a mile-a-minute...
"I've NEVER ridden in a helicopter before!"
It's obvious she's trying to be brave but is scared to death.
"I've ridden in an airplane but never a helicopter!"
And she continues to talk about whatever comes to mind while we load her.

I start the engines and we get underway to the Trauma Center. Only then, over the intercom, do I get more of the story...
She's mentally disabled and fell at a facility that provides work for her and others like her. She is able to live alone with the money she makes at work and the funds provided by SSI. Her parents are elderly and poor and they have no car, so they cannot make the trip to meet her where we are taking her.
She'll be with strangers for quite a while when we drop her off.

Later, my crew finished with the transfer, the news gets worse...
She has bone cancer, which is the reason her bones broke. She's going to lose her left arm because it is shattered and won't heal. It's possible the same will be true of the injuries to her legs.
Damn.

I feel sorry for myself sometimes.
Today I'm ashamed of myself for forgetting how blessed I am.

3 comments:

cj said...

GB, your stories are truly amazing. They never fail to make your point and they always pull at my heart strings.

This one reminds me of the young man who worked for my department. He was 20 years old and while playing volleyball his arm snapped. Turns out he had tumors in the bone, which actually made the break a good thing. Last I knew he was doing well.

It also reminds me of a similar moment I had. I was sitting in my doctor's office waiting for my turn when I heard him ask his receptionist to set up a consult appointment for a young woman in her 30's. His preliminary diagnosis? MS. It put all my petty little complaints into crystal clear focus.

Thanks for the reminder.

cjh

jinksto said...

Thanks for the reminder. Think I'll go hug someone special.

Here's hoping that the "good" rides balance out the "bad" rides and that you can continue to find guidance in the bad ones.

-Jinksto

Erin said...

This is a touching story. Honestly. I'm not being sarcastic. I know some of my comments on your more political notes have a bit of bite to them, but I'm not completely heartless, nor do I have a problem with you. This is a real story of human suffering and it's very well narrated. Thank you for sharing.