Doris, the smoocher!

She's 80 years old but looks like she's 60. Doris just had her knee replaced a month before. She takes medicine for high blood pressure. She was wearing her seatbelt. The airbag blew. The front of the minivan is metallic and rubber hamburger. The engine is 2 feet away from where it should be.

I gently take her head in my hands with my thumbs along her jawline. "Doris, I want you to keep your head still, Ok?"

She nods. "No, Doris, you need to relax and keep your head still."

Collar, headroll, backboard, straps, into the Medic unit. Once inside I do a full assessment. for any trauma and get a better idea of her mental status. Biggest complaint is the knee she had replaced. Hit it on the dashboard. She also has pain from the seatbelt in her chest, neck pain, back pain and her wrist hurts too. The whole time I'm talking to her to reassure her. I tell her everything that I'm going to do and I'm honest if something's going to hurt.

She's lucid and with it. No loss of consciousness, pupils are equal and reactive, no signs of head trauma. I get a good IV started and run a 12-lead to get a look at her heart to rule out any cardiac problems. Her EKG looks better than mine!

All of these procedures are difficult in a moving ambulance. (My preceptor is driving because he trusts me enough to run the call!!!!) but I also have to do them all one handed. Doris will not let go of my hand. I can get her to switch hands from time to time but, for the most part, she's hanging on to me.

I think all of the medical interventions I perform don't do as much for her as holding my hand.

Into the crowded hospital. We're in line. A doctor comes out to check out Doris's neck. He directs us to X-ray right away. I give my report to the receiving nurse and assure Doris that she's in good hands.

With a strength that surprises me and the nurse, Doris reaches up, grabs me by the neck and pulls me down for a big smooch on my cheek.

I'm almost skipping when I leave the ER.

Later, on my evaluation form, my preceptor writes, "EXCELLENT bedside manner!"


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