Friday, October 15, 2010

Challenges are Realtive.....

 We were dispatched to a group home in our District for a resident that had assaulted a staff member. I can't count the number of times I have been to this residence. It is not very far from my home and I tend to do a lot of "first responder" runs there because I know it will take the regular crew a while to arrive, and because I know a lot of the residents and treat them like neighbors. Most times when I walk through the door, I just ask who the patient is, and expect a first name. Actually, I usually know who the patient is based on the dispatched chief complaint. "45 Year old male in seizures" almost always means that I will be working on Phillipe' for instance. Several of the patients recognize me and I get a big smile, and sometimes a hug.
I like these people. They are all mentally challenged, but they are all caring people with hopes, dreams, senses of humor, and needs just like everyone else. Theirs are just on a different level than yours and mine. When we do our "Santa Run" in December, I always insist that we bring the Engine down the long road to the residence and hand out candy canes because it brings them such unadulterated joy. The crew always leaves with big smiles on the faces, even though they may have gone in with hesitation. But I digress.....
 So we pull up at the scene and a Fire Officer gives me a hurried, and way too detailed description of the assault and I patiently waited until he got to the part informing me where my patient was located. PD was on the scene and informed me that the patient had given them no problems and was cooperative. I asked the Fire Officer to stand down the ALS unit that was headed in. I walked over to the police cruiser where my patient was seated and opened the door.
 "Hi Bob!" I said. "How are you doing?" Bob just grunted. He, of course didn't trust me yet. I had never had Bob as a patient, although he's lived here for about 15years. Bob never had any issues requiring our help, but recently had a med change that seems to be taking some time to get worked out and his social skills are suffering for it until they get the dosage figured out. This is his second altercation in two days with no prior history.
 "Bob, how would you feel about taking a ride with us to the hospital?" Apparently that appealed to him and he bounded out of the cruiser and loped over to our rig, I barely caught up to him to make sure he climbed the steps without issue. The staff, the cops, my crew, and the firefighters were all watching and waiting to see how I would handle this guy and if he would try to take me out.
 "OK Bob, good job. Ok, do you think you could sit on our stretcher here? Just sit right down here Bob." I patted the sweet spot in the middle of the stretcher. He looked at it and I could sense something felt wrong to him. I reached around and lifted up the backrest believing this would give him a better sense of which way his head and feet should go. Bob went for it and put his butt down and tried to get his feet up on the wrong end where the back was already upright. He had his knees up by his chest and wrapped his arms around his kness to help him sit up. "No Bob, sorry. We need you to turn around and face the other way. Lets try this again, ok?" Bob jumped up and stood there and contemplated the situation again. I could see he was really trying to make this work, but the stretcher was not facing the direction he expected. He began to sit again and realized it was 'still not right', but he tried anyway and didn't get as far as he did the first time.
 At this point I can see there is some frustration building on Bob's part and I don't know if he notices the smiles on the faces of those at the back of the rig, but I can hear some noises from them and I am concerned that one of them might actually make a comment that would upset Bob.
 I turned to my onlookers at the back of the rig and said "Doggone it guys! You put the cot in backwards again, no wonder Bob is having a hard time here." The smiles stopped when they saw my facial expression. "Bob I said, these guys messed up again, could you work with me and try to sit on the stretcher the other way?" Bob sat down, thought for a second, then lay down in the proper direction and helped me with the straps. As I clicked the one by his ankles I shot another look out the back of the rig and said "It's a good thing for you guys that Bob here is a flexible guy, otherwise I would have had to make you guys fix this mess."
 Bob and I had a nice ride to the hospital.


  1. Sometimes it's not about the treatment at all, is it? Sometimes it's just about good old-fashioned talking and patient care.

  2. Most of the time it's not about the technical skills, it's all about the care. It's ALL about respect for the people you treat and learn from.
    Hope you are doing good in school girl or I'll have to come up north and whip your butt!