Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Medical Emergency

There is some confusion regarding dialling 111 or 999.

If you need medical advice dial 111.  If you need an ambulance dial 999; speed is of the essence and can make the difference between life and death.

In the latter circumstance when there is more than one person present, try to make sure the person on the phone has good hearing and that another person stays with the patient calmly reassuring  them and ready to follow any instructions dictated to the person on the phone.  All other persons should remain calm and silent so that the advice can be heard and passed on to the person with the patient.  Then someone should stand by the road to guide the ambulance.

 When medical help arrives just one person should relay to them what has happened and everybody else should retreat and allow them to do their job.

Yesterday was the Christmas lunch of our Bereavement Group.  There were 13 of us and we held it at The Bistro where Kym and Robin served us either turkey or one of the four alternatives we had ordered.  All the regulars had made way for our long table – I think some of them even shared a table with each other which was a happy sight to see.  It was all very relaxed and pleasant – Veronica gave us all delicious handmade edible goodies and cards were exchanged but not from me.  After my little card fiasco I had used every Christmas card in the house and resolved not to do any more local Christmas cards- which I think is a bit daft.  As Veronica said - that allowed the ones who had done them to feel smug

In recompense I invited them back for coffee, chocolate cake and mince pies.  Only seven could make it – such gadabouts!

I set off up the hill the second time that day to make sure the house was toasty and the kettle on the hob.  To my surprise cars were left at the bottom of the hill and everybody walked.  Soon we were all sitting comfortably – relaxed and idly chatting when we noticed Joy seemed to be dozing.  I asked her if she felt like nodding off – as one often does after lunch but then we noticed her pallor and expression and all became concerned.  We rang the emergency services explained what had happened and then – as best we could followed their instructions.

They told us to lie her down on her side - in the recovery position, and slowly she came to.  By the time the medics arrived she was fully conscious and asking to go to the bathroom.  They stayed with her for about 20 minutes - asking questions and explaining what had happened.

She had had a Vasovagal experience – what we used to call a faint and the old remedy of ‘put your head between your knees’ is not far from good advice.
In these circumstances, after exertion or a hearty meal the blood goes to the stomach from the head and the patient can lose consciousness.  If Joy had been too heavy for us to manoeuvre onto the floor we could have held her head down.  The important thing is to prevent them from falling and injuring themselves.

We were relieved to hear this as at one time we weren’t sure if she was breathing and Chris and I (her husband died in the street in Spain within a few days of MTL’s death)
were reliving painful memories.

When the medics were finished they pronounced Joy fit to walk home - quite a bit further up the hill but we decided otherwise and James went to get his car and then he and Chris took her home and waited until she was settled in and comfortable.

If one is going to have an episode it does help to have it amongst good caring folk like my new friends.

I spoke to Joy’s daughter and son – as I had promised to do if ever I was worried and the consensus of opinion is that she should inform her doctor and see him when things settle down.  She phoned me this morning and is feeling back to normal.

My car has been collected – no tears no fuss – as Chef kindly pointed out 'Many lives have been saved.' I’ve only once cried over a car when my beautiful little white Spitfire  was stolen and then dumped in a field – topless - rendering it useless. 
Onwards and upwards!


Anonymous said...

This is all too, too exciting to read. Lunches, cards (or not), faints, paramedics, cars being uplifted ... I've got to go and lie down. Remind me not to retire to Minehead, I couldn't cope! Love you, Pat!!

LL Cool Joe said...

Wow that was a dramatic coffee and mince pie experience!

I'm glad Joy is okay and was with such good friends when she needed help.

Mike and Ann said...

Quite agree with Cool Joe. Most people will want to help, but not all will know how. It sounds as if you and your friends did ALL the right things. WELL DONE!

kenju said...

How very fortunate she was, to have been with all of you when that happened.

One of my friends' fathers is 90 and 1/2, and he had a seizure recently. Friend was with him when it happened and was able to call for an ambulance pronto. I shudder to think what would have happened had she not been with him.

John Greenwood said...

How exciting, if very worrying! Sounds like you all did a stirling job!! :-D xx

Pat said...

rosneath: that's life in the fast lane for you:)

Joey: typically she has been apologising ever since.

Mike and Ann: fortunately we were all quite sober.

Judy: I think we all learnt something.

John: looking back there were some comic elements - not least trying to get elderly people to shut up when you are trying to hear phone instructions and someone else is speaking in a loud voice to explain to the hard of hearing what's happening:)

angryparsnip said...

Goodness, as @rosneath said all too exciting. Life in the fast lane. I am glad to know all when well and Joy is fine.
Enjoyed your comment to John. Looking back you can see the comic elements.

cheers, parsnip

maurcheen said...

Right then, it's been quite a while since I did my last First Aid course, so this has spurred me on to get up to date. Glad everybody was grand in the end. :¬)


Pat said...

Parsnip : it could make a great one-acter:)

Pat said...

Maurcheen: it would be time well spent.

lom said...

So pleased to hear Joy is feeling better

Pat said...

lom: great relief all round:)

OldLady Of The Hills said...

A rather scary experience that turned out well! It is wonderful that you all were with her and that she is okay! A doctors visit sounds like a sensible thing to do, doesn't it? I think it is great that your Grief Group is so close and that lovely friendships have come fro such shared sadness....!
Glad to hear the car has gone 'Bye Bye' and you are no worse for it, my dear.

Wishing you the BEST of Holidays, my dear Pat...Christmas is just around the corner now----it certainly seemed to come faster this year.

Granny Annie said...

What joy for Joy:) So wonderful that she was among friends.

Mage said...

So glad you were near a phone and able to call. I had one of those experiences last year and they hospitalized me for 6 days. Scared the heck out of me. Glad you were able to help.

Sorry that cute little car turned out to be an albatross. Keep us posted. :)

Merry Christmas.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Life with the elderly is full of adventures, scary moments and comedy! I can imagine the chatter, the flutter, trying to do the right thing.

I'm glad Joy's okay and you're all well.

Pat said...

Naomi: I must phone her tomorrow and check she has got in touch with the doctor. Her son is taking her to his house in Llandudno for Christmas which she will love.

Granny Annie: all's well that ends well.
I had another lovely experience last night. The third time. I do hope it happens to you too.

Mage: next time just give me a shout. The minute you feel queer carefully lie down on your side.
But hopefully it won't happen again.

GG: I expect you have had similar experiences. At times like that I forget that I am as old as most of them and feel like an impatient daughter.

Exile on Pain Street said...

What a fantastic episode! Thank goodness everyone is okay. It pays to keep your head.

I had one of these episodes, believe it or not, whilst I was getting a tattoo. I started to pass out and the tattoo artist had me put my head between my knees. He then put his big, beefy arm on my neck and had me push up. My head cleared immediately. Genius!

I would have paid ANYTHING to see you zipping by behind the wheel of a Spitfire, scarf flailing in the breeze.

Pat said...

Exile: was your tattoo completed?
That'll larn you!
Mindful of Isadora's fate I have always been wary of scarves and sports cars.

rashbre said...

Wow. It all happens! I'm so glad it all worked out well. You all seemed to keep so calm in the emergency.

I hope Joy has an MoT checkup as a result.

Pat said...

Rashbre: Joy has just been on the phone - all well, had a chat with her doctor and looking forward to her son whisking her off to Wales for Christmas.
She wants me to thank ALL the group when I see them on Christmas Eve.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Ahhh, yes, the impatient daughter...then I realise it's fear that's making me react that way.

Nea said...

Glad to hear you managed the situation so well... I had to wait for a fire engine this week and although it only took minutes it felt like hours. I'd already put the fire out by the time they arrived, but you never know how you'll react in a crisis and it always helps to have thought things through first...what would/should I do if...


Pat said...

GG: as far as fear goes - since I lost MTL I haven't felt much fear.

Nea: well done Nea. Just what I would expect from you.