February 3, 2013
He winced, walking slowly into the exam room. Pain gripping his face.
Where does it hurt?
“Here.” He pointed to the middle of his left chest.
He grimaced, leaning back in his chair for support. ”It awfully hurts.”
The more I asked, the more I dreaded. I moved quickly. I checked his blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and respirations. Assessed his pain. We got an EKG. Soon after, I called an ambulance.
Unexpectedly, he hesitated. ”Wait… I can’t go now, I need to pick up my kids.”
What?! Ain’t nobody got time for that! Every minute counts here.
His life is my priority but his kids are his priority. What to do…??
~ ~ ~
No matter how much I studied,
no matter how much I read,
no matter how much I practiced,
no matter how much I’ve seen…
there are some things
that appear straightforward, in a textbook.
but when the moment arises,
that scenario, that you’ve reread hundreds of times on paper…
suddenly becomes reality-
and you are looking at it, face to face…
as much as you want to follow the protocol, follow the correct pathway, do the right thing…
it is not that simple…
it should be though, right? Because I thought I was prepared…
~ ~ ~
He approached us, in the hallway, ready to leave. Like he was just goin’ to straight up walk outta there, chest pain and all.
I tried to stop him, attempting to explain, in my poor Spanish. “Entiendo que necesita recoger su hijas (I understand you need to pick up your daughters) pero, que es mas importante (but, what’s more important)? Es un posibilidad que tiene un ataque de corazon (it’s a possibility you are having a heart attack)… “
“No sabemos que tiene un problema con su corazon o no, pero, es importante para usted ir a la hospital para hacer mas examens (We don’t know if you have a heart problem or not, but, it’s important for you to go to the hospital to do more tests)…”
“Este es una emergencia, hay alguien que puede recoger su hijas para usted (this is an emergency, can someone pick up your daughters for you)?”
He understood. He made a phone call.
The ambulance arrived and transported him to the hospital.
~ ~ ~
but can anything adequately prepare you for this?
for that moment in which
this one person’s life
depends solely upon mine?
I don’t have a moment to lose,
don’t have a moment to spare,
must always be…at the ready.