Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Adventures in Del Taco

It went something like this...

Yesterday, I decided to walk over to Del Taco. Not because I like it there, but because it was close and cheap, and I needed something to eat between classes.

I ordered my food and heard a weird sound around the corner by the bathrooms, but ignored it. I noticed it took an especially long time to get my food and there suddenly seemed to be no one around. The lady handed me my order without looking at me and walked off. I thought, gosh I love it when customer service people are friendly.

As I was leaving, I looked to my left around the corner to see a man lying on the ground, appearing unconscious, and some employees gathered around with one on the phone. I asked if they needed help.

"Are you medically trained?"
"I'm a nursing student and I know CPR."
"He's just lying there. I dunno..."

I stepped in and knelt down, prepping my hands for chest compressions. This is where the rubber meets the road Jordanna. Ok - check for breathing. He's breathing. Ok - check for pulse. Wait... if he's breathing he has a pulse. Ok - check for consciousness.

"What's his name?" They told me. "Sir, can you hear me?"
No response.
He's definitely unconscious.

Ok - call emergency personnel. They're on the phone - great. Then I hear the lady say to 911 "ok thanks, bye" and hang up. I say, "are they sending an ambulance?" "Yes - she said to call if I needed help." Great, thanks 911. Ok - I'm in charge. Keep him alive and safe. Well, he's alive. But safe. 

"Do you guys have any medical history on him?" (he was an employee).
"Did anyone see what happened?"
"I think he was getting the trash in the bathroom."
That's not exactly what I meant... how else can I ask that question... oh well, I'll figure it out later.

He opens his eyes. "Sir can you hear me?"
He wasn't responding. I told him where he was and who I was, and told him I was going to stay with him and he was ok. We were taking care of him.
His eyes met mine for about a second. Check the pupils. Oh wait, I don't have a pen light... hmmm... can I get him to look at me to see if they react... nope, he's not gonna look at me. Maybe I should take his pulse and respirations. They were normal. That's good.

He was sweating buckets and super confused. The next thing I know he's pulling his pants off frantically. "Sir, what are you doing?" He stops and looks at what he's doing. "You can put your pants back on, it's ok. You can relax your head, you're ok." He buttons his pants back up. Whew. 

In the meantime... here comes 15-year-old girl who works there... "He needs to have his head between his legs. He needs to be sitting up. That's what they say." Oh gosh I'm so glad I know that is NOT what you do. That's before you pass out... he's passed that part. "No, he's ok laying here. I don't know if he hit his head so we aren't going to move him too much right now. Thank you for your help." She leaves.

And then, the glorious sound of a siren getting closer and closer. The store manager says "They are just driving around out there but they aren't coming."
"Ok - they probably don't know where we are. Can you go outside and tell them we're in here and open the door for them." She goes.

Here come the paramedics... all 5 of them. I stand up and grab my food, and give my report.
"I found him unconscious but breathing...."
"Ok. Are you a nurse?"
Yes! No.... almost... "No, I'm a nursing student, but I'm CPR and ACLS certified."
"Ok thanks."
They totally didn't need to know that. It was a yes or no question. 

They did their assessment. They know just the right questions to ask. They got the people to tell them he had been shaking when they found him. SEIZURE!!! Oh, ask if he was shaking... smart. Be more direct... Oh I forgot to tell them his pulse... "His pulse is 80." "Ok thanks." That's normal Jordanna, they don't care about normal. Let them do their job. 

As I'm leaving and they are getting him on the stretcher to take to the hospital, I say to the paramedic with tattoos down his arms, "do you need anything else from me?" "No thank you maam." Obviously they don't need anything else from me, there's 5 of them and they know way more than me. 

I talked with another employee who told me in broken English he had an assault called on him on the trolley and they brought him to her (what...? Oh, I get it... I think...)

As the paramedics are climbing into the ambulance, "An employee just told me he's aggressive." "Ok thanks." Doors closed. And they're off. I don't even know if that's what she was saying. And they can take care of themselves. But still, they might need to know. 

Lessons learned:
- I really don't like Del Taco's food that much
- Pay attention to weird sounds and environmental changes
- People often have a reason to be less than polite :)
- I love (sort of) knowing what to do in emergencies
- I can stay calm and take control
- Be nice to people trying to help 
- Don't try to be a paramedic (even though it's most definitely the coolest job in the world)
- Just give the important info in report... concisely... ONE time... not FIVE times
- I know better questions to ask for next time (if there is a next time)
- Giving report is fun. It's cool to say "this is what's happening, this is what I did, your turn."
- I can't wait until I can answer "YES" to the "are you a nurse" question!


  1. Sooooooo proud of you. You were in the right place at the right time, and you never know what might have happened if you hadn't been there. God has His hand on you, and is already using you in a whole, new way!

  2. Excellent J, and you helped, you could have easily just left it to the employees. Not everyone would take the chance. UR the best!