Code Three - Lights and Siren. Unique Experience!

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Ray D

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I had a ?significant event,? yesterday. It was a ?wake up? call! My whole family knew about it, within minutes, as did the neighbors and a lot of friends. (Neighbors saw the Paramedics, Fire and Police, sirens blaring - lights flashing, in front of MY HOUSE! Everybody has a phone, or several. Word spreads fast!) So, today I am well, and to make sure no one was missed, sent an E-Mail summary to friends and family. That E-Mail is below.

I participate in several discussion boards, including this one. In most I am the senior member. In this one, I have to remind myself that I am among peers. Lots of old geezers, here!  ;D  Lots of disabled Vets. Decided this might jar some useful thinking, for others, in my boat or similar boats. Hence, the post.

(If I am out of line or the issue is not appropriate to the forum, staff, please feel free to delete. I won?t be offended.)

My wife, Dani, and I, each, have a ?Medical Information? sheet that we update, from time to time. It has our names, phone numbers, contact names and numbers, VA medical coverage information with doctor?s names and appropriate phone numbers at the VA. It lists our medical issues and current treatment. It lists our medications and has a daily medication schedule.

It is one page long, for each of us. We have two copies in our stick house, in appropriate, handy locations, and two more, for each of us, in the motorhome. Paramedics, last night, really appreciated the list. It had everything they needed, and then some. They did not have to rely upon our memories, and my memory was out to lunch, anyway.

Questions - issues:

Who makes the decision to call 911? Does everyone agree? Is there going to be an argument?

Would you rely upon memory, or do you have a hard copy of vital medical information, to help the medical team get started? Would someone be likely to find the hard copy, if you have such?

Do you have the means to take temperature and blood pressure?

Who will take care of your furry family, and how will they accomplish that?

For those here, who carry: Have you ever wondered what happens, if they wheel you into a VA hospital (or any other hospital) and the emergency medical staff finds a gun on you? They ARE GOING TO FIND IT, you know! Any ideas? Thankfully, I remembered last night, and didn?t have to deal with that!

Is there a doctor in the house? How about a paramedic?

Friends and Family E-Mail follows:

CODE THREE

November 9, 2006, 5:18 PM: I was in the kitchen, and had just poured a glass of wine. As I turned from the refrigerator, the room began to tilt, and I lost my balance. I was able to quickly set the wine on the counter, and grab at the counter for stability. My right hand made it, but I missed the counter with the left, and continued downward. Second grab with the left got the counter, but I was unable to stabilize myself, and continued the fall, more slowly.

I felt Dani grab me, from behind, and the two of us were able to keep me off of the floor. (Don?t know where she came from.) She assisted me to the couch, 10 ft or so away. She wanted me to lie down. I wanted to sit down. She wanted to call 911. I objected.

She got the blood pressure machine and took my blood pressure. 227/125! She wanted to call 911, again. I knew the machine was goofy, and asked her to do it, again. 215/105. She threatened to call 911, again! I asked her to do it, once more. 197/97.

I was unstable, faint, and nauseous. I had a visual aura, somewhat blurred. I was out of arguments.

?Well?? she asked, glaring at me!

I figured I was losing the argument. I thought, if this was her, and I was standing there, there wouldn?t be any argument. If I saw this in the parks or Greenbelt, I wouldn?t even ask. I?d make a radio call, Code 3. That would be it - no discussion - ?Police business.? If they wanted to argue, they could do that with the Paramedics.

I said, ?Yeah, go ahead. Make the call.?

In the ambulance, before they started moving, I asked where they were taking me. ?We are on the radio with the VA Emergency Room. We?ll take you there, or wherever they want us to take you. It?s up to them. If they are fully staffed, tonight, they?ll probably tell us to take you there.?

On the way to the hospital, they quizzed me, third degree, the whole way. The also hooked up an EKG. They took my BP, continuously. EKG normal, for me - showing Atrial Fib. BP very high. Nauseous and disoriented.

At the VA Emergency Room, one nurse took my pressure, again, while another hooked up another EKG. They withdrew enough blood to do a surgery, for blood tests. After 2 hours, I was stable, could walk as well as I can walk, BP 133/64, EKG - Atrial Fib. Blood tests - all negative. No stroke. No hear attack. No aneurysm - internal bleeding. Pro Time down to 2.4 - ideal for me - dead center on the target Pro Time.

They gave me a diagnosis and sent me home. For several days I have had fluid in my inner ear, interfering with my hearing aids. This happens, from time to time, and they told me it is associated with my tinnitus. This time, it disrupted my balance. (Hasn?t done that, before.) My blood pressure regulation mechanism got confused and raised my BP in error.

Dani had to leave, a few minutes earlier to go home and take care of the dogs. They had been crated for more than three hours, too long, and needed out. Bruce drove me home.

I feel fine, this morning.

Highlights:

(Well, and lowlights.)

Dani was doing all the paramedic stuff, as if she did it, every day. I suddenly realized I had another problem. It is unlawful to take a gun onto Federal property, and civilian hospitals don?t like guns in their Emergency Rooms!

?Dani! The sirens are close! They are going to transport! I?m armed. Get my gun off of me! Don?t let any of them see it!?

She did. She it put it under the keyboard cover on the piano, and closed the cover.

So, what do they do - they bring in someone who is (otherwise) legally packing, and in the course of getting his clothes off - Oh, my! There?s a gun! He?s in violation of Federal Law! He has a gun, on Federal Property! Now what? ????

The dogs behaved amazingly well. Kudos to both of them! The cat was a bit of a poopy head.

We keep a ?Medical Information? list posted on the wall in the office, and several other places in the house and motorhome. It is a summary of our names, address, phone numbers, VA contact information, medical conditions, medications and a medication schedule. When the Paramedics got here, Dani handed them a copy.

?Wow! This is great!? the Paramedic exclaimed. When I got to the hospital, the staff was similarly impressed. I am impressed that Dani had the presence of mind, under those conditions, to grab a copy of the list off of the office wall. Shouldn?t be surprised, of course, as that was the plan! That is why it was there.

Basically, Dani just went into ?Paramedic? mode, and didn?t come out of it. I asked her how she avoided a flashback, after I got home.

?I got a bit ?scattered? a couple of times,? she replied. ?I?m a Paramedic, and I fought to stay that way. I?m still there! I?ll come out of it, tomorrow. Don?t know what will happen, then.?

Medics, in the ambulance, complimented me on her preparations. Said she did everything right. Particularly impressed with the Medical Information List. They asked if she had been a Paramedic. I told them that she had, and had been injured, disabled, in the OK City, Murrah Building bombing. They were very nice to her.

Bruce beat the ambulance to the Hospital! He was the first thing I saw, when they opened the doors in the back of the ambulance.

I asked him if Dani was there. (I had been worried that she was driving, under these circumstances. Needn?t have worried.) He said ?she just parked her car, right over there. She?ll be here in a minute.?  A paramedic told me, that she had followed the ambulance down there. Boise has a system that turns the traffic lights for approaching emergency vehicles green, and all others, red. We got green, all the way, as did anyone behind us.

Guess I have to compliment both, on their driving.

Ray D
 

jaspers mom

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This is Dani.  I know that my memory becomes disengaged when under stress so make up little ditties to remind me of things.  In order to recall where I placed Rays firearm (On the piano keyboard under the lid) I thought of the old saying "please don't shoot the piano player".  I am very happy to have Ray home again.  We are so looking forward to many more travels and experiences in the RV.

As an aside, having been a Paramedic I would like to stress how very important it is to have those bits and pieces of information available to the responding services.  Assumptions can be made that would be detrimental to your long term health when the information is not available.  Services delayed, unnecessary testing and even wrong moves due to the only things the medical staff may have picked up along the way from emergency site to hospital.

It does not matter where you are when something like this happens.  The most important thing is to be right there and able to give as much information as possible to aid in the rescue of a loved one.  Okay, I am done.  Please forgive my nagginess.

Dani  (Jasper's Mom)
 

Kenneth

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Nov 21, 2005
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Ray ,Dani,

Wow , thank goodness it wasn't anything serious !

The info about the Med stat sheet is great , I told  Cindy to have some made up for us. She knows all this in her head ( ex- nurse ), but I on the other hand haven't a clue, I guess I  rely on her too much, so the sheet would be a great advantage for when she isn't around at the time of need.

Hope your feeling better !
 

Tom

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Ray and Dani,

Thanks for sharing that with us. I'm really glad to hear that all is now well.

Your list reminds me that we have something similar in the forum library - Vial of life , prepared by forum member and ER physician John Vandergrift, aka the Rock Doc.
 

Ray D

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Posts
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Location
Boise, Idaho
Tom: I went to that link. I hadn't thought of the refrigerator. Good idea. We keep ours in the medicine cabinet, taped to the back of the door, both in the house and the Motorhome. We also keep a copy taped to the wall in the office and inside a cabinet in the kitchen, in the motorhome.

Also, on ours, the second line tells when it was last updated. They now say "Last Updated, 11/10/2006." Did it, this morning. The list the Paramedics got, last night, was last updated in July.

We don't have a family history on ours. Will think that over. Sounds like a good idea, to me.

Never, really, thought we'd need it. Sure came in handy, last night. That was a bumpy ride, in more ways than one!

Ray D.
 

Jackliz

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Hondo, TX
Howdy, Ray.
We sure are glad that you are OK and didn't have the BIG ONE!!! As a open heart surgery survivor, I can tell you that I NEVER dilly dally with symptoms of any sort of distress.  I too remember those rides in the EMS ambulance and they do a lousy IV port!!
Not fun but a life saver.

Take care of yourself, you are a precious Framily member.  ;D  ;D

Regards,
Liz
 

Shayne

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Certainly glad that all is better.  Now lets pray for more improvement.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
I used to carry an "E-Key" with all my health info on it, I'm going to have to print out from backup though as it got lost.

I will be printing it out before we hit the road.  I also carry a "Basic info" card, Really helps (Current med's major issues)
 

Ray D

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Location
Boise, Idaho
Thanks, everyone. I really do feel better, now. Right side up is best.  ;D

Jackliz said:
I too remember those rides in the EMS ambulance and they do a lousy IV port!!

Ouch! I wasn't going to mention that! I have never liked IV Ports. That one last night is unforgettable! I will say it worked, quite well. And, that was definitely not a motorhome ride. I mentioned it to the doctor. He said, "Yes. It is a truck, you know." Well, so is our Damon Challenger. We'll take it, next time! Well, I don't have the lights and siren. (Local PD has one with lights and siren, so they are available.)  ::)

I worried about the dogs. Course, we were at home, and Dani went home to take care of them. Out on the road, that would have been problematic!  :( Any ideas? What is your plan?
 

Gottasmilealot

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I'm a fire department based emergency medical technician.? Here are a few comments.

Who makes the decision to call 911? ? Anyone can, and should, call if they feel a person is in need of medical attention.? As family or co-workers, you are better able to detect a problem than a stranger, because you know the person's "normal" state.? The problem is that many times the patient does not want all the attention, or they don't want to be a bother.? Especially men (sorry guys).? If you don't feel right, call yourself, even if you can't talk or communicate.? Get the phone off the hook, dial 9-1-1, and set the phone down.? Someone will come, and the dispatcher will be able to hear what's going on. With enhanced 9-1-1, your address will display at the dispatcher's console, and police will be dispatched to investigate.? This may vary in your area, but don't feel that it's of no use to call if you can't communicate.

Does everyone agree? Probably not, but call anyway. They can always return if not needed, and the patient, if capable of making an informed decision, can refuse care later, but call. If you don't call, then the person collapses anyway, medical care has just been delayed, and the consequences can be catastrophic.

Is there going to be an argument? Better an argument than a dead or seriously injured patient because no one made the call. If in doubt, err on the side of safety and call. Emergency responders are used to dealing with patients who are unhappy with the fact that an ambulance has been called, or that someone feels they should receive medical attention when they don't feel they need it.? A person becoming agitated and miserable is a sign of some medical conditions. If any of you have seen a diabetic emergency where the person becomes combative, you know what I mean.? It's part of the problem.? Make the call.

Would you rely upon memory, or do you have a hard copy of vital medical information, to help the medical team get started? Would someone be likely to find the hard copy, if you have such? ? I can't emphasize enough how much it helps to have a written statement available with at least you medications and doses, doctor's information, advanced directives for care, etc.. It's a time saver, and it improves accuracy, which will improve the care you receive. One thing that has to be obtained whenever possible is a medical history and medications list. An EMT being hit with many meds and dosages being transcribed for relay to the hospital in a rush is more prone to error than a printed list. If you get in a situation where you're with someone and you don't know what they take, just scoop up their medicine bottles, put them in a bag, and give it to the ambulance crew. Remember that in the midst of the emergency, you may not be clear thinking as a result of the problem, and others may be excited and can't think straight.? Write it down. The next time you watch TV, gather your meds and make the list.? It's your life.

Do you have the means to take temperature and blood pressure? ? In an emergency, the ambulance crew will always take vital signs anyway, but what's really valuable is to know what a person's normal vital signs are.? That way, their emergency vital signs can be compared with their crisis vitals.? Keep that information with your medications list. Keep your information on or in your refrigerator.? Why? because everyone has one, and they're easy to locate in the home.? There are programs that have information tubes in which you keep you information right in the door of your refrigerator.? Give your local ambulance a call and ask them.? If they use a different program, they'll let you know, but we always go to the refrigerator and at least look.

Who will take care of your furry family, and how will they accomplish that? It's always good to have an emergency contact (or several) who can be contacted by the police to jump in and handle the minor issues associated with you not being there.

For those here, who carry: Have you ever wondered what happens, if they wheel you into a VA hospital (or any other hospital) and the emergency medical staff finds a gun on you? They ARE GOING TO FIND IT, you know! Any ideas? Thankfully, I remembered last night, and didn?t have to deal with that!? The gun won't make it past the ambulance.? Some people legally carry firearms.? Some illegally carry them. If when doing our patient assessment, a weapon is discovered, the police officer will be requested to secure the weapon and remove it from the rig.? They are familiar with handling firearms, will unload it, and keep it until it can be safely returned to you.? If you have any weapon, or as a bystander you know the patient may have one, just notify the ambulance crew.? If you walk into a medical facility, let them know you have a weapon that needs to be secured.? They'll take care of it.? Not a problem.? Don't be afraid to go to the hospital because of a weapon.? Get the help you need.

Also, don't drive to the hospital.? Call an ambulance.? The ambulance works as an extension of the hospital emergency room and can ( and must) operate under the direction of the medical command physician at the ER, even though they are away from the hospital.? They cab transmitt EKG's, get needed medications in you, administer breathing treatments, resuscitate you.? None of that can be done in a car.? A trained person would have difficulty maintaining your airway in a car. Some conditions like diabetic emergencies are routinely handled without hospital transport.

One other thing to think about... can you traveling companion drive your RV if you have a medical emergency on the highway? It would be nice if someone else besides the normal driver would have the ability to be able to move your rig off the highway to a safe place, or be able to drive on to the next exit to meet a responding ambulance.? Just a thought.? Not absolutely necessary, but not a bad idea if all that is need is some training and practice time.

Stay safe!

 

Ned

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Keith,

Excellent information.  With your permission, I think Tom should add this to our library.
 

Tom

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Thanks  for asking Ned. I was going to ask the same thing, but you beat me to it.
 

Ned

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Got to get up early, Tom :)  I do hope Keith gives you permission.
 

Tom

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Ned said:
Got to get up early

I actually read it while you were still asleep  ;D but waited until this morning to compose a more coherent request. Was just too pooped to be able to make sense in the wee hours.
 

Tom

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Gottasmilealot said:
No problem on my end if it helps someone....

Thanks, much appreciated. I'll get it into the library. As Ned said, it's really good information.
 

Gottasmilealot

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As a follow-up, information on the Vial of Life refrigerator medical information program can be found here. (http://www.vialoflife.com/vial_affiliates.html)
 

Ray D

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Boise, Idaho
Gottasmilealot: I too wish to thank you. Good sensible answers. Happy to see that go to the Library. Practical and Useful.

One answer, while it was correct, I still wonder about. Do you have a VA hospital, where you are, and have you ever taken an armed person there?  (Other than a Law Enforcement Officer?)

In the event, above, I was pretty well "out of it." A little worse, and I would not have remembered that I was armed, and I would have made it to the VA hospital as the Paramedics did not remove my pants, necessary if the gun was to be discovered. That didn't happen until I was actually in the emergency room, getting wired up. That is when it would have been discovered, had I been a little worse off. The Police, there, are Federal Police, and a firearm is unlawful, there.

Do you have reason to believe that they would have been calm, cool, and collected - or ?? ?  Ummm - Panic!

Ray D  ???

Thanks

Ray D
 

Gottasmilealot

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Emergency responders transport unconscious people whom they don't know anything about to the hospital all the time, and have to check for various items like medical ID bracelets and necklaces, pacemakers, and also hazards like guns, knives, needles, etc., for their own protection.? I wouldn't worry about it too much.? It's not like you are knowingly and intentionally carrying a weapon into a federal building. If you're conscious and alert, then yes, as a responsible gun owner you would be expected to make the presence of a weapon known and it would probably be secured by security personnel until you get discharged. If you don't have a gun permit to carry a concealed weapon according to your state's particular laws, and you're not legal,then yes you probably would have a concern, but you would have the same concern on a routine car stop by a police officer.? My advice is to be legal and use common sense in this regard.

If a weapon makes it to the emergency room via ambulance, there will be a medical command quality control discussion with emergency responders.? Someone will go to the woodshed, so to speak.? With a walk-in ER patient, the gun would be found during the assessment, which is what they did initially when getting you out of your street clothes and asking you many questions about what was going on and your medical history. The primary purpose of the initial patient assessment is to get pertinent information for that patient's treatment, but it also has secondary reasons like identifying hazards to the staff or patient.? We're discussing a firearm here, but you wouldn't believe what comes in on people. A drug addict carrying dirty needles that end up accidentally sticking someone treating them can be more deadly than a gun.

Also. if you sometimes carry a gun, there's no reason you can't note that with you medical information so responders will read it and double check.? It can't hurt.

In answer to your question, I've transported patients to and from a VA hospital as well as a state prison, and haven't had any more or less issues relating to guns and safety, as hospital and ER safety is protocol everywhere and our operations don't change, although the federal installations are probably regulated by federal law in addition to state law, but to be honest, that's nothing that involves me.
 

Ray D

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Boise, Idaho
Thanks, Gottasmilealot. That?s about as clear and complete as one could ask for.

I never thought of including that in my Medical Information sheet. Will consider doing that. Yes, I?m legal in my state and several others. Where concealed carry is not legal for me, I don?t carry. In states where firearms are illegal - or severely restricted - I don?t go. So, I?m cool on that score.

There are places in every state where weapons are unlawful. If I am conscious, I am OK, with that. I hate the idea of alarming someone whom I have to trust to take care of me, if I am not conscious.

Didn?t know about the ?woodshed prospects? for Paramedics. Wouldn?t want to be the cause of that!

Thanks, again.

Ray D
 
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