Mike had a few more years under his belt than the rest of the crew, and when he showed up, he took charge.
I was really grateful.
For instance, he coordinated the placement of me on a backboard. This involved having two or three people on either side of me and ‘one-two-three’ing and lifting me ever so slightly to slide the board under my back and head. Also the taping of my forehead to foam blocks on either side of my head and then to the backboard. Crossing my arms and taping them in place, too. Cutting the rubber band out of my hair because my pony tail made a tiny bit of wiggle room for my head that had to be eliminated.
With each successive stabilization, I felt better and better. My neck still hurt like aitch ee double hockey sticks, but I felt safer and safer. I was also less and less able to see anything that wasn’t directly above my eyes.
Mike also made the decision about which hospital I was going to. My insurance primarily pays for care at one hospital, and I asked him to take me there. He said, “Sure.” Then, a couple of minutes later, he felt down the back of my neck and said, “We’ll be going to the Hill.”
The Hill is shorthand for the Oregon Health and Science University, which is the teaching hospital where Nurse Tattoo works. In case you don’t know, she’s a nurse in the pediatric emergency department and frequently goes over to the adult side to help with trauma cases.
I had already asked Half of Hoffman Bros. to call NT, because if you’re going to the hospital, you really really want to have someone along who knows lots about all things medical. Also, just… NT. Sighs of relief.
Now I knew that I would be on her turf, which was about as good as it could get, in terms of having to go to the hospital.
Then Mike coordinated the lifting of me into the ambulance and away we went.
Here comes one of my favorite parts.
About five minutes up the road, after checking my blood pressure and starting the first of what would be about fifteen IVs I had over the next week, Mike asked, “Are you allergic to morphine?”
I said, “You can give me morphine? Oh please.”
Because my neck hurt as if I’d broken something. Funny how that worked.
So he gave me some morphine. About a minute later, I felt melty all over and the pain started to fade. I can’t tell you how good it felt to have that pain getting smaller.
I made a noise like this: Ohhhhhh. Mike said, in a very kind way, “Good for you.”
I wanted to cry from sheer relief. But I didn’t because I wanted to save crying for things that really mattered.
The rest of the trip went pretty fast. Once, he told the driver to take it easy because she went around a corner pretty fast. He gave me some more morphine. We talked about the possibility of putting something on the ceiling inside the ambulance for people to look at.
Then we arrived at the emergency room.