Traci choked on her coffee and spit a mouthful out all over the dash and windshield of my truck. Think: blueberry pie eating contest in the movie ‘Stand by Me’
She never got a single drop of coffee on her, as it was a very purposeful/ directional choke/spit because she was making a big delivery of 150 Thanksgiving treat buckets to a corporate client. Yep, not a drop on her tho….
On the way back from this delivery, we stopped at the Italian Bakery Deli for a fresh sandwich for lunch. As we are finishing lunch outside on a picnic table, I watch a elderly lady walk into the bakery, then walk back out. She heads back to her car but as she steps off the curb she trips. With a sickening thud she falls onto the road.
I Bolted over to her to help and this poor woman was just crying and crying.
‘Ok, ma’am, we’re going to look after you. We’re right here. Tell me what hurts’ – Traci, call 911 right now.
‘Ma’am, try to relax, you have taken a pretty good spill, we have called 911, tell me where it hurts’
‘My arm!’ still crying she tries to show me. keep in mind she is face down on the rough asphalt kinda twisted. At this point some dude says, ‘lets roll her over’
‘No sir, we won’t move her’ - ‘please just support her leg, DO NOT try to move her’ - ‘Ma’am, does it hurt anywhere else?’
‘My leg’ she shows me (near her hip, obviously). She is still crying, but gathering herself as we talk.
‘Ma’am, I know its uncomfortable right now, but we are going to wait until the paramedics get here until we can move you, I'm going to put my hand under your head, and take your glasses off. I've set them right by your purse and keys, what is you name ma’am?’
‘ Mary Theresa ‘
‘Hi Mary Theresa, I’m Neil. I saw you go into the Bakery and come out with nothing, what were you doing here’
‘I wanted to pick up a loaf of bread, but the line was too long’
Meanwhile, I had kind of checked her out, no blood, she had stopped crying, seemed to be gaining her spirit. Another guy showed up with a blanket and a pillow( a really cute little embroidered pillow) and we kind of supported her where we could.
‘Mary Theresa, you are doing ok, but we are going to wait for the help crew before you can move. Is there anyone you want us to call.
‘ummm… uh… my son’
‘One sec Mary Theresa’ – I scan the gathering crowd ‘YOU with the phone! (Traci was still on with 911), come here!’, ‘You are going to call her son’, the dude *snaps* to attention, OK!. She gave me the number (good sign for Mary Theresa, no bad head knock), there was no answer, ‘Is there another # we can call?’, there was and the helper dude left a message. I had noticed a ruby ring on her finger with a ‘50’ on it. ‘Mary Theresa, can we call your husband?’
‘He’s in a nursing home, that’s why I wanted to stop here, I was going to see him and I wanted to get him a loaf of bread’ (I know, heartbreaking)
‘ Can we call the Nursing home?’
‘Yes, but don’t tell them I fell, just tell them’ – she stops short of finishing the question and lifts her head up, twists it around very awkwardly and seemingly painfully)… to look at her watch ‘ Oh, it’s only 12:30, just tell them I can’t make it for my 1:00 meeting’
‘Mary Theresa… (I say in my best school teacher tone) the next time you want to know the time, please just ask me…’
She actually laughed.
‘What’s the phone number to the nursing home’
‘Oh dear, that’s a tough one, I don’t know.
‘what’s the name of the home?’ – she tells me, and I scan the crowd again. ‘YOU, is that a blackberry?’ – yep- ‘ Look up the xxxxxxxx nursing home, then call them, but don’t tell them she fell.
So she was feeling more comfortable, Traci went in and bought her the loaf of bread she came for and before the Paramedics could arrive, a Fire Dept Hazmat truck arrived and lent their assistance. I gave them all her info, then told Mary Theresa she was going to be looked after by the pros now and said goodbye. She kind of waved her hand at me and so I grabbed her hand and got the nicest little ‘thank you’ and little hand squeeze.
They had her on the stretcher by the time we left. I wanted to jump in and go with her, but there wasn’t anything more I could do. She had a pretty good sense of humour, at one point she says “oh my, we need to get off the road, we’ll all get ran over” I replied, ‘no ma’am, if they want to get to you, they gotta go through me, and that ain’t happening because I am a big man and they don’t want to wreck their car’. She got a chuckle there too. Oh, and Mary Theresa turns 77 next Monday (Thanksgiving up here, btw). Happy Birthday Ma’am!
That was it. I got a few compliments on how I handled everything, and one guy says ‘You’ve done this before’, I replied ‘nope, first time’, ‘You obviously took the class’… I did take the class, 3+ years ago, it was Baby CPR, but it had a basic component on first aid. It got me thinking about the incident in Fish Creek this spring and how there was a good team captain (a nurse out for a run) on that emergency, and I was glad I could help on this one…
I guess I listened well enough in that class! Amazing how having a kid will snap you to attention, because I never listened in school. Took me a few hours for the adrenaline rush to subside and even now, recounting the story, my heart rate has gone up…
Take care everyone!