The Emergency Room

emergency room


I read a funny story someone posted about an emergency room and riding a horse and for those who know me, I mean really know me, you got to be thinking what in the world is he going to write about horses or emergency rooms?

Well I probably could write a bit on both, as my brothers can back me up on the farm at Wilder, Idaho when we kids all climbed on the horse and started riding thru the neighborhood. Actually we left the house, went a few feet over to the country road and the horse began to trot and into a gallop with us all hanging on for dear life. Suddenly the horse decided to stop.

Not us, we continued on for probably 5 feet past the horse, and we all landed on the road in front of the horse. We were not seriously hurt except I landed chin first and ended up with quite a bruised and purple chin that lasted for a while. Sorry no emergency room on that one.

Yet I’ve been in the emergency room several times.

While in uniform while running along a loading dock trying to catch the attention of the driver of a truck I ran full steam into a steel headboard of a semitrailer. Yup I came to an immediate and complete stop. It was a hard landing which knocked the air right out of my sails.

After catching my breath and feeling pain in my chest I continued to work the rest of the day, but later that night I ended up in the emergency room.

The doctor examined my chest, had x-rays taken which showed no fractured ribs, but a partially collapsed lung. He had to get my lungs inflated again, so he handed me what amounted to a paper bag and said blow into it. He didn’t tell me about the hole in the bottom and while in a lot of extreme pain I never could blow up that bag. It worked on my lungs and he gave me a temporary profile exempting me from physical training for a week. By then I was back to normal (my normal) and none the worse for wear.

Another time I was all decked out in military gear, pistol belt, load bearing equipment, canteen, flashlight, etc. All the stuff we needed as we prepared to finish loading our equipment for a field exercise the following morning.

As I walked thru the motor pool, headed into the maintenance shop I didn’t notice the patch of ice and became airborne for a short time. (It’s been said that skydiving without a parachute won’t kill you, it’s the sudden stop), well I felt that sudden stop as my lower back came down right on top of my canteen.

Here I went to the nearby aid station and the physician’s assistant (PA) said I’m just trying to get out of going to the field exercise. Thru clenched teeth I told him I am going to the field because I’m the platoon sergeant and have no intention of anyone not going especially me.

After retiring from military service I have been to the emergency room several times. Once for trying to open something with a pocketknife and that’s not a smart idea in the first place. (Give a truck driver a task and he’ll getter dun, with anything at hand). My middle finger was the recipient of knife wound and the corpsman at the Air Force hospital did a fantastic job of stitching it up and wrapping it neatly with this white hospital dressing.

My driving on the way home was somewhat hindered by my middle finger pointing up at the ceiling and everyone began to think I was from California and without hesitation would return my salute.

I ended up pulling over and undressing my wound, putting a bandage over the stitches and continuing on home without further incident.

Don’t even ask me about the motorcycle accident, ok? Alright I was riding my trusty old 1983 Honda Magna 750cc motorcycle, headed out for a little Colorado day trip and I believe it was a Saturday morning, headed over to a well known coffee shop to meet up with a couple of friends.

I never made it.

I was riding in town when I spotted what looked like a road construction sign ahead and traffic had stopped. I had just passed a side street, so I attempted to turn around slowly, hit the curb and jammed the throttle at the same time. The bike went up on the curb, came back down (remember it’s the stop that gets you) on top of my left leg.

So I’m all decked out in leather jacket, chaps, boots and gloves. All the protection you need right, right?

Now I’m lying on the ground with this 500 lb or more motorcycle still running, but laying on top of me. A minivan stops and a lady asked do you need help? I had to think about that for what a second before answering YES!

Two women got out of the van, and a gentleman came out of an office nearby and they managed to get the bike off of me. Phew that was close. I thanked them and as I reached up to push the kickstand down with my left leg, it didn’t work right. In fact there was so much pain.

They called 911 and an ambulance was dispatched to the scene, also a city cop came. He wrote up an accident report as a single vehicle accident. The ambulance came and the paramedics said they were going to CUT OFF MY NEW CHAPS and BOOT!

I told them to hold on nobody’s going to cut nothing. I reached for the zippers on either side and the chaps were loose. They looked at the bandaging over my left femoral artery on the leg and decided to leave the boot on until the surgeon had a look at it. That was fine with me.

They asked where I wanted them to take me and I told them a local military hospital because I’m retired military.  I listened to their radio conversation, “This is XYZ ambulance, we’ve got a motorcycle trauma patient we’re bringing your way.” The response “Don’t bring him here we’re not prepared for that”.

So I was diverted to a local civilian hospital here in town where the ER people were great. They started cleaning up around the leg, but looked at that boot and the bandaging and said, the surgeon’s going to have to take that off, I’m not!

Well they x-rayed my leg and found the main leg bone was busted and I was going to have a titanium or plutonium or some kind of metal rod inserted into the leg. It would support the leg healing but would not be coming out. The operation went well and I had to go back in for an adjustment (loosening and re-positioning of a screw).

While waiting to check in the guy in front of me had also been in a motorcycle accident. He was in a wheelchair and was fitted with a halo contraption to keep his head and neck still. It was at that moment I decided I didn’t want to end up going thru that kind of trauma, and put my motorcycle up for sale. Yes I kind of got that emergency room thing down pat. – I am the Real Truckmaster

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