“My Life Saver.”

So. I had one of the wildest experiences of my life today.

I went to Starbucks today to get a cup of coffee. I’ve gone to the same place several times a week for the last four years. One of my favorite Baristas was there; we always share a bit of conversation and she makes a fantastic Macchiato. There’s another reason why she’s one of my favorites…

I was hanging out at the Fire Department, helping to teach a bunch of Rookies when we got dispatched for a car accident. I secured my place on the Rescue Engine and we were off. The dispatch was for a two vehicle MVC, one patient entrapped.

On scene, I began normal rescue duties as the ambulance was already there. I chalked the vehicle, cut the battery, and was setting up the extrication tools when one of the supervisors came over to me. He asked me to help with the medical side of the extrication as the EMTs that were in the vehicle were brand new and had no clue what to do.

No biggie.

I walked over and the EMT nearly kissed my boots. Looking in the vehicle, there was a young woman screaming her head off; the steering wheel had collapsed down on her lap, pinning her in the vehicle. Her left foot was contorted at a funny angle and she was complaining of chest pain. I knelt down next to her and I put a hand on her shoulder.

“Ma’am. My name is Shao, I’m here to help.”

She looked over at me and started crying. She kept saying her chest and leg hurt. I directed the EMTs to put a collar on her and hold C Spine while I did a quick trauma assessment. Slipping a NRB over her face, I calmly told her that the Oxygen would help and that her ankle was broken.

I looked down and blood was pouring onto the floorboard. Her BP was low; 92/60 and her heart rate was sky high: 134. I looked at her, a gentle smile on my face.

“We’re going to get an IV started on you and I’m going to try to stop the bleeding from your ankle…”

I unzipped her boot and her entire boot was filled with blood. A decent sized section of her Tibia was sticking out of the wound and even applying direct pressure wasn’t stopping the bleeding. I tried wrapping her leg, but due to the buckles and snaps on the boot, I couldn’t get it wrapped properly. I pulled out my trusty pink shears and I looked up at her.

“Ma’am…I’m going to have to cut off your boot.”

“No!!!” She began grabbing my arm, “Please! I just bought them! Just take the boot off!!”

I shook my head as I held onto her hand. I went ahead and ducked under the blanket as they were about ready to pull the steering wheel up.

“Your ankle is so badly fractured, it’ll hurt more for me to pull off the boot than it will for me to cut it off. I have to stop the bleeding…”

She started crying, but she stopped hitting me. I made short work of the boot and had the bleeding stopped within moments. While I was working, all she kept saying was, “My boot…my boot!”

With a proper wrap, we quickly extricated her from the car. She held my hand all the way to the ambulance and I got the Holy Hazmaticus from my Line Officer to accompany her to the Landing Zone. In the ambulance, she quickly lapsed into unconsciousness. Her last words to me?

“Why did you cut my boot?”

About six months later, I saw her while I was out shopping. It’s not hard to recognize me; I’m a black chick with pink hair. She gave me a huge hug and thanked me for helping her. I then realized she worked at the local Starbucks and we’d always have a nice chat every time I’d go in. As I said up top, it also helped that she made a freaking good cup of coffee. We never really talked about the accident outside of when I asked her if she bought a new pair of boots. She said she e-mailed the company asking where she could find a similar pair as they were just out of style and they sent her a new pair when she explained what happened to the first pair.

Today, when I went to get my coffee, she was there. We had our normal conversation while she made my coffee. The place was busy, but not obscenely so. She handed me my cup and this is what I saw:

 

20140209_160925

 

 

 

 

 

 

She then says:

“You saved my life exactly three years ago, today. Thank you.”

I could barely get out a “You’re welcome.” I was stunned. I can honestly count the times I’ve gotten a Thank You from a patient or patients’ family and every time it happens, it leaves me speechless. I was just doing my job…the job I love and can’t get enough of, and she was so grateful for the less than thirty minutes I spent with her. I know she had taken time and had sent a very lovely fruit basket and card to both the Fire Department and EMS Department, but being singled out for a thank you was so unexpected it was overwhelming.

Have fun and Be safe.

Shao.

Comments

  1. Wow, what a beautiful story, Shao. I’m very happy to have found your blog, by the way. No doubt a unique blog name!

    I have to admit, your story was a bit intense to read once it got to the accident scene, and so when you mentioned that the lady screamed “don’t cut my boots!” I couldn’t help but laugh. Of all the things to be worried about in such a serious situation!

    One thing I wanted to ask you though, Shao. If this was the same woman who made a great Macchiato for you for a few years, did you recognize her as the same woman behind the steering wheel at the scene of the accident? Or were you so busy with saving her, you didn’t immediately recognize her? Because the way you phrased the story, it sounded like she was the one who recognized you in the mall six months later.

    • Medic Trommashere says:

      I apologize for the late reply. Moving sucks. 🙂

      Honestly, no. I didn’t recognize her at all. I’m not sure why I didn’t, but I didn’t. She was the one who recognized me. It wasn’t until we started talking that I remembered her.

      She said something very interesting to me that I mulled over for a very long time. She said there was a strange intimacy with me while we were in the car. She remembered EVERYTHING about me down to the perfume I was wearing and I remembered very little about her…then it dawned on me that I remembered the smell of her shampoo. It’s the oddest thing in the world, but I remember even commenting to my partner about it. I thought back to many other MVCs…the intense ones…and I realized I remembered weird things about the patient; interesting undergarments, perfumes, eye color…those odd things.

      But, yeah. I had no clue who she was when she approached me.

      Thank you for reading! I promise I’m going to write more content, I just need to finish getting settled in and get my life in order first.

  2. This was a beautiful story. Too often, we share the gross stories. We share some of our successes but we don’t get too many thanks. It is wonderful to hear about a patient that thanked you. It is not why we do our jobs but it is always nice. I have read several of your posts. I enjoy your writing and your passion. I am writing an article about EMT blogs that everyone should read. I am adding your blog to my list at http://www.emstraininghq.com

Trackbacks

  1. […] There are dozens, if not hundreds of EMT blogs. However, there are not that many from female EMTs. I apologize if there are many of them and they have just passed me by. First thing you will find out is that she is humble. That is always great in a blogger. Humility usually means their motivation is purely to share information. She has spent 6 years as an EMT-Basic and 3 as a Paramedic. Her latest blog post was inspirational. I don’t want to give away the ending but you have to read, “My Life Saver“. […]

Speak Your Mind

*