Friday, October 24, 2014

BROWN: Health scare, but not about care

By LINDA BROWN, Hold Me up a Little Longer, Lord | 6/9/2014

Sometimes things just don’t work out quite the way we plan. Such was the case last week when I was muddling along, trying to work through an allergy-induced asthma attack when the episode reared up and all but took away my ability to breath.

Clearly beyond what the Big Guy and I could handle on our own, I asked him to call 911 for help.

Sometimes things just don’t work out quite the way we plan. Such was the case last week when I was muddling along, trying to work through an allergy-induced asthma attack when the episode reared up and all but took away my ability to breath.

Clearly beyond what the Big Guy and I could handle on our own, I asked him to call 911 for help.

Oh, did I mention that this was in the middle of the night? The Big Guy was sleeping in the bedroom with the door closed and I was in the living room unable to get out of the rocking chair to seek his assistance.

I cried, I hollered — as best as a person can holler who can’t breath — I threw things at the wall and even turned the TV on as loud as it would go in an effort to finally rouse him from his slumber.

I’m not actually sure what woke him, but he finally came stumbling out saying, “Do you need something?”

As calmly as I could, I told him to listen very carefully because I could only say it once.

“I need for you to get dressed, bring my the shirt hanging on the crock in the bathroom, bring me a pair of fresh panties, turn on the porch light and then call 911.” I must have looked pretty pathetic because he turned around and went on his mission.

I’ve never called 911, but I do know once you are connected to a dispatcher you’re unable to do anything else except stay on the phone. I knew if there was to be any semblance of “normal,” a few things had to be addressed before making the call.

Bringing me the shirt wasn’t critical, but I felt a little less exposed after putting it on over my nightgown. The fresh panties? Now those were important. Never underestimate the empowerment fresh underwear can provide in an emergency situation.

Within minutes of placing the call, our street was lit up by the blue and red lights of the Emergency Medical Service crew. A few seconds later, the “big red bus,” also crazily lighting up the neighborhood, pulled up in front of the house and suddenly I was surrounded by three EMS personnel and two firemen.

After getting me stabilized, we were ready for transport to Ransom Memorial Hospital, but first came the challenge of getting a 112-pound woman out of a 110-year-old house with little negotiating room around an overly large staircase and surprisingly small entrance.

It became obvious very quickly that the only challenge presented was in my mind because within seconds we were out the front door and on our way down the sidewalk. Clearly this wasn’t the emergency crew’s first rodeo and I wasn’t their first cowgirl.

Everyone was very professional, compassionate, helpful and well-trained. The only comment I heard anyone make not in regard to me and my well being was when we arrived at the the hospital’s emergency entrance and found a Buick SUV parked in the space reserved for emergency vehicles. The paramedic was correct: That’s just rude.

Once inside the ER, I was quickly and professionally cared for. Everyone I came into contact with was kind. Yes, I was wired up to a heart monitor, given oxygen to further enhance the breathing treatment started in the ambulance and poked at so many times for blood I thought they had mistaken me for a fresh supply during a blood shortage. But again, everyone was kind and very good at their assigned task.

I was admitted by an ER doctor who I interviewed for a story when he first joined the hospital years ago. The X-ray technician carefully and adeptly managed to remove my necklace, a task my shaky old hands couldn’t seem to handle, and within an hour I was snuggled down in a private room — feeling exhausted but much, much better.

The diagnosis was pneumonia. How that happens during an allergy attack I’m not quite clear. I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s much more important to know that I am blessed enough to live in a community with excellent health care services.

I’ve had very little experience with Ransom and practically none with the fire department or EMS until last week. Yes, I know The Herald does stories often about what’s new and who’s who in community services, but it’s something you have to actually experience to fully appreciate.

And, yes, I know there are those out there who shake their heads and say they’d rather die than use our local hospital. And I know I could sing their praises until the cows come home and not change their minds, and I’m OK with that because that means there’s a little more compassion, excellent care and kindness out there just for me the next time I need it.

Our heartfelt thanks to all who helped us through a crisis. We’re very impressed and grateful.

Linda Brown is marketing director for The Ottawa Herald. Email her at lbrown@ottawaherald.com

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