Mar 12, 2021
3 mins read
Here's a sneak peak for everybody at the first section of O.O.T.A! (Available for purchase on March 16.)
Usually shifts go by without too much weird stuff happening. According to Ash this Halloween was pretty standard for the area. Four unnecessary calls where the person was definitely drunk, but there was no medical emergency (we told them to switch to water and everything would be ok), a couple of fake bodies that the elderly neighbour thought were unconscious people because they couldn’t find their glasses, and one where a group of tweens were able to convince one of the operators that someone’s foot was cut off. Somebody told us the address of one of them and after we dropped them off we heard the beginning of the earful that the parents were giving them. Even though it was a dumb night I don’t normally go home after my shift feeling like I’m going crazy. It could have been the spirit of Halloween that got to me, but there was something weird that went down…
19:26 we got a call. Older woman on the floor, daughter phoned in saying she thinks her mother had a heart attack. When we arrived on-site the patient was taking shallow breaths and the weakest of pulses was still hanging on. As soon as the daughter got off the phone with emergency services she had started CPR. A random person off the street doesn’t usually use the best techniques, but it’s better than nothing. She managed to keep her mother going until we got there. That’s not the weird part though. That didn’t come ‘til a bit later.
Because we could find a pulse, we didn’t continue the compressions. Instead, Ash quickly applied the pads to her chest and we got her into the ambulance. With no backup available, Ash started to head to the hospital and I was simply monitoring her vitals. There wasn’t much else either of us could do. She needed tests and possibly surgery. We weren’t qualified for that.
Halfway to the hospital she flat lined. I gave her a shot of adrenaline to try to start her heart. Nothin’ doin’. I couldn’t find a pulse and the monitor was screaming at me in its high-pitched tone. I began to do chest compressions and called for Ash to stop driving. Sometimes bumps in the road can make these monitors act up and weak pulses aren’t always easy to find. I was impressed — there was a bit of squish. There has never been squish after a random person tries to do CPR on someone. The daughter must have had some form of basic training at some point. A couple of minutes passed and she wasn’t back with me. Ash, who had joined me while I was doing compressions in case I needed assistance, motioned to the defibrillator behind me and told me to use it. In my short six months on the job I had never used it on a real person. I mostly drove until I was paired up with Ash a month ago. This did not please my experienced colleague, so even though we switched off duties regularly I was in the back more frequently. It was that or Ash decided to take things easier on our shifts together.
I closed my eyes and took a breath. Please let her live, I’d been thinking this during CPR, but the thought intensified as I reached to press the button to shock the patient. Ash stopped me. She was no longer up the creek. She was taking deeper breaths than when we first picked her up and had a fairly strong pulse all things considered. I had to blink a few times. Adrenaline rarely works, but maybe we got lucky? Maybe a cord jostled out of place on a small bump in the road and it disrupted the monitor? Ash returned to the cab and sped off. That’s when I noticed it. Dark smoke across from me on the other side of the patient. I blinked and it was gone. I gave my head a shake.
I must not be getting enough sleep…I should probably try to take a nap as soon as I get home.