Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ok, so you're a caretaker

(Note: I really hope my boss doesn't read this...)

This morning around 2 AM my fire department pager goes off. It's a first-responder call with Princeton Rescue Squad. 75 year-old unresponsive female patient.
Ok. I'm at work so I can't go on the call, but since the firehouse is in my patrol area, I do go to the station and get everything ready for whoever responds, get the rig started, bay doors opened...
So I do that and the only person to respond to the page besides myself is the Chief. Crunch time. I really hope my boss doesn't see me do this... I hop in the shotgun seat and we head out, lights flashing. I'm glad he's driving because I haven't a clue where this job is.
We find the house with no problems, I grab the BLS bag & O2 and head in with the Chief.
Sparing the details (which I couldn't give anyway) we find exactly what dispatch had reported. The Chief begins to take the vitals as I start to record everything. BP, pulse, O2 level... Here's where it became baffling to me... Some things never seem to change no matter where I'm at.
I ask the live-in "caretaker" how long she's been unresponsive...
"Since about 5 o'clock last night..."
I'm thinking at this point, and you had to wait until 2 AM to call us?' but I keep my mouth shut. Next I ask what her meds were...
They're there on the dresser..."
OK. So now I've got to go through and write down the entire pharmacopoeia sitting there. Now for my next question... "Any allergies?"
"I'm not sure..."
Great... You're a big help. "What's her history?" (i.e.; COPD, CVA, stroke, diabetes, malaria, Bubonic Plague, Yellow Fever, creeping cruds, crotch rot...)
"I don't know..."
The squad arrived at this time and we turned everything over to them, giving them what information we had. But I couldn't stop to wonder what kind of requirements one needs to be a live in 'caretaker' but one would think that you should at least have some idea of why you're taking care of someone in the first place.
The Chief and I help load the patient into the ambulance and cleared the scene. He wasn't feeling all to well so he let me drive the rig back to the station... (Backed it into the bay perfectly, first try, by the way...)
I headed back to work but all I kept thinking of was that live in 'caretaker' and her Dan Quale, deer-in-the-headlights look and prayed to God that if I ever get that old and infirm the person taking care of me would have at least some idea of what was wrong with me...
But I could be asking just a little too much with that.
Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

9 comments:

Lindsey said...

I cannot believe someone would allow her to have that job. That is completely rediculous. That woman could have died. And the fact that she had already been unresponsive for 9 hours prior to reporting it...just blows my mind. I work for a physician so this just really pisses me off. That woman has no business in that field.

Courtney said...

Wow. It's amazing that somebody could be that stupid.

berly02 said...

I can't believe she even got the job!! That is crazy.

cantellya said...

In this case calling that person a caretaker is an oxymoron.
Do you know if she ended up being okay?

gautami tripathy said...

No you are not asking for too much...

Cheryl said...

that is unbelievable. Was that person really the caretaker or a fake?

Sherri said...

That poor woman. I'm with you, I hope to God I don't end up in a situation like that.

Lisa said...

That is horrible! How did you NOT say something mean and get all bitchy with her?

Course sometimes the pay is crap and you don't get quality people and I guess you get what you pay for.

Bev said...

Maybe she's not good in an emergency situation. You know, maybe you put her on the spot. Of course, ignoring a person for like 8 hours is just plain dumb.