My entry for EMS week 2010 'I was there'

After reading ADs blog tonight, I got inspired to write this. It’s a shorter version, since I’m not even halfway done with the long version and it’s over 700 words 😛 This night is one of the times working as a transport jockey that I felt like I made a difference. It made it worth it to be working Christmas Eve night, with miserable weather. I hope you enjoy it.
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My partner grumbles as she brings us into the ER bay. Time to get another patient to take home. On this very cold and snowy, very unusual for us in New Mexico, Christmas Eve. “Why are we doing this again?”

I shake my head as we go inside and get our patient for the call, a very nice lady I’ve taken on several occasions for radiation appointments. But now we are called for something different. Something that, while part of my job, can be some of the hardest calls I go on. We are taking her for home hospice. This might very well be the last time I see her. So I am determined to give her as smooth a trip as I can in this horrid weather.

She is out of it for most of the trip, her mental status having slowly degraded over the months, her husband tells me from the front. I remember it’s been at least 3 months since I’ve seen her, and when I last did, she looked nothing like the tiny woman who seems to have wasted away.

It’s slow going, as a lot of the roads are icy coated. We try our very best to minimize bumps and jostles as my patient moans in pain on my stretcher. I just talk to her, reassuring her, as her husband looks back at us from the walkthrough.

“All she wanted was to get home and be with her family this one last Christmas. She wouldn’t let them admit her upstairs,” he tells me while smiling at his wife sadly. “She just wants to see her grandchildren smile as they open presents.”

“Is the whole family going to be there?” I ask, knowing that all of their children and grandchildren live nearby.

“Almost. We have one son flying in from Iraq now. He should be here late tomorrow. She’s hoping to hold on until then,” I notice a few tears roll down his face as he says this.

We eventually get to their gorgeous home, and intact no less, and get my patient covered with a blanket so she doesn’t get we or cold as we wheel her inside. As we walk in I notice a hospital bed, looking quite obscene, to one side of the Christmas tree. I also notice the whole family is awake, now at 11pm, to greet the family matriarch as she gets home. They just watch as we gently move her over to the bed and get her tucked in and as comfortable as possible.

As we start to step back the family circles around our patient, and you can feel the love flowing in the room. We get our gurney organized and the required signatures for the transport from the husband. I go to her bedside to tell her Merry Christmas when she looks at me and utters her first coherent sentence in the entire time she’s been with me tonight.

“Thank you, TJ.”

With just those words, and a last look around, we head back out to the bus. I feel a tear roll down my face now. I look at my partner and say, “This is why we do it, no matter when or what it’s like outside. Sometimes we do make a difference, even if it’s just taking someone home.”