As I turned onto Crowchild Trail going south, an ambulance, lights flashing, siren blaring, passed me on the other side of the freeway going north.
I wondered if it was C.C. Were they taking him to the Foothills Hospital on the north side of the river? Should I get off at the next exit and go north? Why wouldn’t they go to the Rockyview, a less than 10 minute drive from our house? At rushhour, traffic is always a slow crawl going over the river to the north side of the city. At least the ambulance could drive in the bus lane.
He hadn’t called me yet to tell me where they were taking him. All I knew was that 10 minutes before he’d called, short of breath and told me he was thinking of calling an ambulance.
“Do it!” I’d exclaimed, hanging up the phone and tossing everything into my bag as I made a hurried exit from the office.
I decided not to follow the ambulance and stick to my plan. Home first. If he hadn’t called, maybe they were still there.
Five minutes later, I drove down our street and saw the ambulance still in front of our house.
I found C.C. with two EMS techs inside it.
“We’re just trying to get him set-up so we can take him to the Rockyview,” one of the techs told me as his partner regulated the drip from the IV they’d inserted into his arm.
“What is it?” I asked, trying to keep calm. I didn’t want to cause C.C. any more distress than I knew he was already in. If I was wild and anxious, he’d feel like he needed to comfort me. That wasn’t part of my plan.
“We did an EKG. Heart’s good,” he said. “Sounds like pneumonia.”
And it is.
And now he’s home on bed rest, taking steroids and inhalers and focussing on getting better.
Originally, they were going to keep him in hospital for a couple of days but, because he responded well to the steroid, they’d let him come home. “You’ll get better faster,” one of the nurses said.
That’s my plan. Keep him resting. Keep him quiet. Keep him focussed only on his well-being.
I am grateful.
There are so many people who spend their time criticizing our health care system. Wait-times too long. Staff shortages. General incompetency.
Not my experience.
While we were at the Emergency, C.C. was surrounded by caring, competent and knowledgeable staff. The only time he had to wait was when they wheeled his bed over to the X-ray department and the porter didn’t turn up to bring him back to his cubicle in the Emerg.
C.C., tired of lying all alone in a corridor, got out of bed and started pushing the bed himself. Two techs found him, wobbly and short of breath, and brought him back to his cubicle. “We decided we’d bring him back ourselves,” they told me as they locked the bed into place before wishing him well and leaving.
They didn’t criticize the porters. They didn’t comment on poor care. They simply stepped in and got the job done as they were going off on a break. That late at night, there aren’t as many porters on duty. Perhaps they were all busy in other areas. Porters are not critical care. It didn’t compromise his health — though getting up and pushing it himself might have!
It was a long night and now he is on the mend.
I am grateful.
I’m also grateful for my sister Jackie. She’s the neighbour everyone wants. As soon as she heard C.C. was laid up, she was at our front door, delivering chicken noodle soup, buns and books to read. C.C. and her husband JT share a love of spy/murder mystery novels. C.C.’s all set. 3 new books, yummy food and the flowers I’d bought for the bedroom to cheer him up.
Our health care system may have political and structural issues, but on the ground, at the front lines where people are in distress and needing help. They are on duty, giving their best to save lives and doing whatever it takes to make people better. And that’s what makes a difference.
Thank you Dr. Rogers and all the team at the Emergency at Rockyview and the EMS team. You shine!