Wednesday, July 20, 2011

stickin' to my hood.

Unfamiliar with the Seattle area, I have quite enjoyed getting lost as a unique way of discovering new little areas full of coffee shops/yoga studios/boutiques/cupcakeries/parks. Every time I walk to the Pike/Pine area I always try to take a different route to see what little shops of awesomeness I pass along the way. In Seattle, there is a plethora of organic food markets {vegan french toast flavoured donut, anyone?}, vintage clothing shops and awesome home decor stores {to name a few favourites} ... but last week I veered off my usual path and ended up at a Trader Joes on the North side of town. As I proudly stepped out of my car admiring my superb parallel parking job, I saw an elderly man face plant out of the corner of my eye and I immediately sprinted over to him where I quickly realized he was profusely bleeding... out of his eyes, nose and a huge gash on his cheek bone. I couldn't tell if he was conscious and whether he had fallen due to a heart attack or because he had tripped on the uneven pavement. Another bystander had watched the entire thing happen as well and helped me roll him over. The old man was stunned but thankfully, still breathing and his heart was {thankfully} still beating. He was lying there with his hearing aid smashed on the ground and kept saying, "my wife, my wife". His wife was nowhere in sight and I immediately thought she had passed away several years ago and he was delusional and remembering her in this time of a near-death incident. You are not going to meet her in Heaven today, sir. Not on my sparkley blue watch. {Turns out she was waiting in the car for him and we were able to locate her but for those .76 seconds, it added to my heartache tenfold}. He had a handkerchief in his pocket and after my assessment (lesson #1 in nursing school), I immediately used it to apply pressure (lesson #2)... because to be completely honest, they are the only two things I remember from nursing school where I learned about how to adequately care for adults for a cajillion hours a week for four years... and the proceeded to never use any of it in a real setting and consequently, have forgotten EVERYTHING I once knew. 
I waited until the fire department arrived before I started to cry attempted to grab a few things in TJs before heading into work... I obviously was too freaked out to concentrate on buying groceries because I returned home with a bag full mango: dried mango, frozen mango cubes, 2 real mangoes, mango green tea, mango gelato and mango granola cereal {nothing really of sustenance!}... As I wandered around the store aimlessly trying to calm my nerves and refrain from downing a bottle of 2-buck Chuck right there in the frozen food aisle, people kept putting their hand on my shoulder telling me how well I handled this minor medical emergency... Just about the time I would compose myself, I'd turn down the next aisle and some other citizen was standing there to thank me... It was awful... having to be a nurse... Out of the controlled, sterile bubble that is usually reserved for me to save lives in. I was so thankful to return to my intensive care unit later that night with my monitors and crash carts and medical team at my disposal... My little babies might be much more critical but at least their blood comes in small doses and I know if their heart is beating at all times. I think I'll be sticking around my 'hood. 

I was reminded of this story when there was an unlocate-able fire in my unit last night. They must have called Code Red a million times over the loud speaker while the alarms went off and we tried to locate the aprons we were supposed to stuff all the babies in to and triage which ones would stay and go (survival of the fittest, my friend)... then the fire fighters showed up in full garb and were also unsuccessful in locating the fire... I guess it was a false alarm but it definitely made the night go by quick! 

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