Well, I finally had my first ride in an ambulance. Very pleasant, all and all, but I could have done without it..
Yesterday afternoon, while driving home with my wife and two of my grandchildren, it was raining like stink. The vehicle in front of me signaled for a left turn into a driveway and stopped. Being a right thinking sort of person, I stopped too. The car in back of me? Well, that's another story. Luckily, we were all wearing seatbeats, but the force of the impact whipped me forward and did not-so-lovely things to my back. Oh, well.
I could have gotten out of the car, but I was advised not to. So along came the EMT's and the state police. I had a neck collar placed on me and they lifted me out of the car and onto a backboard and hustled me into an ambulance. Although it was about twenty miles to the hospital, the ambulance had to take a couple of detours to find a way out the development we were in.
A couple of interesting things. In the back of the ambulance with were two young girls and a boy. It's a sure sign of age when the cops, doctors, and ambulance personnel look like children. One of the girls, the licenced EMT, proudly told me that I was her first car accident victim ever. The other girl chirruped in, "Mine, too!" The boy didn't say too much because he was completely unfamiliar with the ambulance and its procedures. Great. Luckily they strapped me down because the ambulance rocked and rolled and shimmied and shook the entire ride -- sensations I used to pay money for at carnival rides. They were going over a checklist and decided they should give me oxygen even though I didn't need it, but "just in case." They searched the ambulance but couldn't find an oxygen mask. They settled on one of those thin oxygen tubes, inserting it in my nostils, but the shaking of the ambulance kept knocking it out. I had to hold the thing in place for the entire ride, because they were all busy trying to find things, like a blood pressure cuff. I switched hands holding the oxygen line so they could take my blood pressure. 150/80 -- pretty high for me.
We arrived at the hospital, after they decided they couldn't stop at a local supermarket where a customer had passed out. There was nobody waiting to meet us. The two girls and the guy mumbled some bad words and tried to figure out how they were going to get me off the ambulance. I'm a fairly big guy, 6'3" and weighing less than Charlie Stella, so I'm thinking these three 12-year olds weren't going to be able to lift me from the ambulance and they were thinking the same thing. I was about to offer to get up and walk in when the EMT-girl said she would go in the hospital and see if she could find someone, preferably several hefty someones. "You stay here," she said, as if we were actually thinking of going anywhere.
In the meantime, my wife and grandchildren were standing by the side of the road in the raining-like-stink. Our car was undrivable. Rear end all smashed in and blocking the tires. Both rear doors buckled. My seat (the driver's seat) broken -- I had ripped it from the frame when I was whipped about. (Interestingly enough, no air bags deployed. Makes me wonder if there were any in the car when I bought it.) Somebody towed the car away and I'll have to find out where tomorrow. The car that hit us was driveable, not much damage. Everyone in that car were also wearing seatbelts and none of them were injured, thank God. There was a goodly amount of shimmery stuff on the road, so either my car or theirs (or both) peed out some sort of vital fluids.
My wife was trying to contact our daughter and son-in-law. He was working at a nearby Naval Air Base and my daughter was taking a class in Baltimore, an hour and a half way. She couldn't get ahold of either one. And the charge on her phone was dying. She managed to get a call to my other daughter in Massachusetts who coordinated notifications from there. It took a while, but soon wife, daughter, son-in-law, grandchildren, and a niece from Virginia made it to the hospital.
At the hospital, I was asked to sign something. Don't know what; EMT-girl had taken my glasses. I was told the nurse would check on my glasses when and if EMT-girl delivered someone else to the emergency department. (Turns out the EMTs had put by glasses back in my car on the dashboard; my wife rescued them along with the current book I was reading, Legends of Highwaymen and Others by Richard Blakeborough. Yea, Kitty!) They took my blood pressure. 126/72 -- much closer to my normal pressure. I spent an hour or so lying around waiting to be told they were going to take x-rays, just to be sure. Not quite as long to be wheeled down to x-ray, and about as long for the doctor to release me. He pointed out some of the bad things the x-rays showed about my back, and I assured him they were all there before the accident.
My daughter drove us to a pharmacy where I could get the happy pills the doctor prescribed for the pain, while my son-in-law picked up Chinese food. I also picked up some ice cream and we had a party.
The other guy's insurance company did not have 24-hour service and no weekend service. So we are at home, carless, both a bit stiff and sore, and about to run out of Chinese food and ice cream.
So how was your weekend?