Sunday

A 75-year-old woman fell on the treadmill today at the YMCA. I didn’t actually see it, I heard it. It sounded terrible and I jumped off my machine and saw this poor lady on the floor. Only a few people were concerned enough to interrupt their workouts to check on her and help her out. We got her on her feet and she just stood there staring straight ahead. A couple of people went back to what they were doing. I asked the lady if she was okay. I asked if she was at the Y alone or with somebody. She kept saying ‘yeah’ to every question.

“Are you here with somebody?”

“Yeah.”

“Who are you here with?”

“Yeah.”

This big-ass weight lifter had helped her up, but he was kind of pacing around not sure whether to leave her be or what. I went up to him and said she seemed very disoriented to me, that we should do something. His wife was a nurse or had some kind of medical background. She came along. We got a chair for the lady to sit in. We’re asking her all these questions, and people walked up...did whatever survey of the severity of the situation they felt was necessary...and then walked off. I was alone with the lady a few times there. Finally I got it out of her who she was with, and I got him over there. And more people were around then, and there was a young guy working there, working the room where all the treadmills and so on are. The phone system was out...crazy...so the kid called 911 on his cell.

There were only three of us who thought the call to 911 should happen. The other four or five didn’t seem to have a plan or didn’t think it was that bad. The lady was not communicating well at all. She seemed dazed and dizzy and out of it. Then I heard somebody saying she’d just been discharged from the hospital...with some kind of condition that causes one to have difficulty communicating or whatever. I don’t know what the hell that means.

The more I talked with the lady - or tried to - the more I thought we gotta call 911. So what if it’s a false alarm. False alarms happen. ...but now I’m feeling kind of dopy and panicky and silly for freakin out like that. It scared the hell out of me, but I’m pretty sure I did the right thing. Still, though, I have this feeling that I'm kind of a dope...and I can't reason it away. Maybe I overreacted. I'd rather overreact than underreact. I'd rather be dealing with the feeling that I was a dope instead of dealing with the feeling that I watched a 75-year-old lady flop onto the floor while I continued my workout, just turning up the volume to drown out the annoying sounds coming from some irksome commotion...know what I mean?

10 comments:

whimsical brainpan said...

I think calling 911 was the right thing to do. It could have been a stroke. And as always, better safe than sorry.

Pacian said...

Before she went into a care home, my grandmother was always falling over, and she was often disoriented as the cause of, or as a result of the fall. Several times it was a stroke. Several times she broke her hip bones up into smaller pieces. Sometimes she was just winded. But there was always an ambulance. Even when she didn't want one.

You did the right thing by calling 911. Think about all the people calling 911 because they broke a nail or the television reception went. Dialing it because an elderly person fell and is disoriented isn't just perfectly sensible - it's the best course of action.

potentially lethal said...

You didn't overreact! If someone seems dazed and out of it - you need to help them. Don't beat yourself up for doing the right thing.

daily intake said...

definitely did the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Madsquabbles agrees! I'd much rather transport a patient just in case than to get the call later to "declare" them deceased. That happens more times that not because people don't trust their instincts. They're afraid of being ridiculed.

The Mighty Kat said...

I was training a woman who fell off the back of a running treadmill while I was with her. Sure, I was her trainer, but Come on! No one so much as looked at her. Surrounding treadmills were full. There were the peripheral glances, but no one turned their head. I should've made a scene, actually, about it.
Strong argument for calling 911 when you did, weak argument for naught. Going to be especially weak if her relatives decide to sue the Y later for related complications from her fall. You can't know. Well done.

Bobby said...

Thanks, good - yeah: I figure, what's the worse outcome from callin 911...somebody gets a little embarrassed, the county uses a little diesel fuel...

lizard. dot lizard. said...

totally the right thing. really what else is there to do, just walk away from a 75 year old woman who couldn't answer a question? i'm glad you stuck around and did what you could, i hope if i'm ever in that position that people don't just shrug it off and leave me to 'walk it off' or whatever.

lluviation said...

i understand your discomfort. i'm always unsure what to do when noone else seems concerned...i think, perhaps, i am over reacting?? it is a hard call, especially because ambulance rides are expensive (mine was 10 grand).

it reminds me of this time traveler movie i watched...maybe i was called, time travel?? where the guy goes into the future and he sees a woman screaming being swept away in a river. noone is doing anything for her, they are completely unconcerned. he goes and saves her and she kind of walks off like nothing happened....

Bobby said...

Thanks Liz. Me too. I wonder how I'll do when I'm in my 70's, and I start to have trouble.

$10,000, holy smoke! I had no idea it was that much. Did you have to go out of pocket for that beast? Good God. That's just wrong.

I was talking with this blogger friend in Canada, and he said there's a separate deduction out of your paycheck for ambulance type stuff - but other than that - I guess they have have pretty much the best health care - or among the best