Carpe Diem: My First Ambulance Ride
Freak mall accident. I’m walking through the food court, pushing the stroller, and a light bulb falls out of a light fixture and breaks into pieces right near to me. I look down, and there’s blood all over my foot, pooling up in my shoe.
I’m suddenly surrounded by people. The kids are being great, very quiet. Someone finds a chair for Bubble and someone gets the kids glasses of ice water. Someone holds napkins on my foot. Some guy is taking information, including my driver’s license and phone numbers. Security comes. They suggest we call the ambulance. Security takes off my shoe–someone puts it in a plastic grocery bag–and wraps the foot, which starts bleding again in the meantime. I try to call Computerguy. Get his voicemail. I call his work buddy/best man, Get his voicemail. Try CG’s desk phone. Voicemail again. Realize I don’t have a number for the office as a whole. Try CG’s cell again. Try his buddy’s cell again. I’m wracking my brain for whom to call if I can’t get CG (my friends who live 40 minutes away? CG’s buddy’s daughter who might have a better way to get hold of her dad? I’d about settled on the associate pastor who might’ve at least had an idea of who might be around. I still need to know more people!) when his buddy calls back and gets CG for me (ironically or coincidentally, they were in a meeting where the powers that be were laying down the law about absences due to illness and “emergencies”). So, CG’s on the way by the time the paramedics arrive. They decide to wait until we are in the ambulance to undo the gauze. They start clearing us to the side while we all wait for CG to arrive. Someone hands the paramedics the bloody shoe in a bag which they hand me on the gurney. He comes in and I give him my car keys–we don’t have car seats in the other car right now–and the paramedics take me out on the gurney.
Sheesh!! I am not a run-to-the-doctor kind of person, but there was a lot of blood, and there were the kids, and it happened in a public place, and it just seemed like a good time to go with the flow and let them take care of me.
The paramedic unwraps my foot and puts a plain old bandage on it (it was a fairly small cut). He thinks they’ll just glue it or steri-strip it at the hospital. He and I chat on the way to the hospital. (He has a 2 and 1/2-year-old and they’re trying for another. His wife had a miscarriage, so he’s really hoping for her sake she gets pregnant soon.) I watch through the back window at the cars jockeying for position behind the ambulance. They take me to our HMO. When we get there, they take me in on the gurney and then we wait. It seems, if we stay there it could be hours until a cubicle clears (I’ve actually been in that situation before–nightmare!), but if they take me to the ER waiting room (more like urgent care?), I’ll be seen more quickly. They transfer me to a wheelchair and wheel me down there, and then my nice paramedic hands me my bloody shoe in a bag, says I’ll be called, and leaves. I was utterly disappointed. “But aren’t you going to stay and wait with me…?” Guess not.
Eventually I get a call from CG saying he’s in the family waiting room. I am called to the window and given a bracelet which assures me they am aware of my presence and will eventually call me for real. Meanwhile Oprah is on (a rerun?), some show about horrible, horrible sexual abuse that I really don’t want to hear. I am utterly grateful when a noisy family comes in and sits next to me and I can’t hear the show anymore. I’m finally called in. I limp in wearing one shoe, carrying that plastic bag with the bloody shoe in it.
The doctor gives me three stitches. He says it probably hit a vein because it started bleeding again when he was working with it. The nurse comes in and gives me a tetanus shot and offers me a bottle of something (alcohol?) and sponges to clean the rest of my bloody foot if I want to or I can wait and do it at home. Seeing as she isn’t offering to do it for me, I opt to wait. So I gather my purse and my bloody shoe and limp out–only because of the lack of shoe–I feel fine. I text CG that I’m on the way out. I pay my co-pay (and will probably have to deal with the mall folks regarding that. We aren’t the type to make a big deal out of it, but there is that significant co-pay, and it was an incredibly freak accident that happened on their property and was caused by their people. Whatever.) and head to the pharmacy to pick up an antibiotic and pain killer prescription.
I’m in line at the pharmacy when Computerguy and the kids arrive. CG is surprised at my bare, bloody foot. The paramedics had tried unsuccessfully to get me a sock, and nobody had bothered since then. I stuff the bloody shoe in the stroller basket and deal with getting the prescription. Finally, about 4:45–I had made my first call to CG at 2:10–CG and Squeak go to get the car and Bubble and I head to the patient drop off/pick up circle. I get a blended coffee drink on the way out (and some chips for Bubble from the coffee cart. Did I mention how great the kids were the whole time?!). CG picks us up, and we head back to the mall to get the other car (it’s my left foot; I can drive fine). We hurry home and get Bubble to swim lessons only slightly late.
So that’s my story for a Monday. Could’ve been a lot worse. And the bloody shoe in a fast food take-out bag? I made myself clean it up–taking pictures first, of course–before I crawled, exhausted into bed. It cleaned up well. Who knew?