I might need one after this holiday weekend. A majority of the weekend was relatively uneventful and downright predictable, except for Stretcher Granny. My last pick up of the day on the Fourth of July was a one-way trip from a nursing home to a local address about 15-20 minutes away. Being it was the holiday, I figured it was grandma going home for a short stay with family during the holiday. Ordinarily, we do these runs all the time, one-way, round-trip etc.
I should have known this run was not going to be anything but ordinary when I walked into the nursing home to inquire about the individual and the nurse on duty looked me in the eye and deadpanned, "Do you have a stretcher?" Yes, you read that right. A stretcher. Our typical response is, "No, we do not have a stretcher. We are not an ambulance service. We are simply transport." Someone then spoke to the nurse and then the nurse said to me, "Oh I guess they're going to put her in a wheelchair instead."
I figure, "Sure, I've dealt with a lot of wheelchair patients before, why is this one any different?" It was. They wheel Stretcher Granny out in a wheelchair and the first thing I notice is her awkward position in the wheelchair almost like she can't sit upright in the chair. Her head is resting on the CNA pushing the wheelchair. When the CNA backs up a little bit and her head is off the CNA, it is hanging there practically bobbing up and down and side to side. I ask, "Can she support herself?" The answer is, "No."
I should have refused transport right then and there, but I plugged on. We get Stretcher Granny in the bus and I'm securing the chair and setting up the seat belt mechanism in order to help prevent Stretcher Granny from slipping any further than she is already. Her son and daughter-in-law reposition her a couple times, scooting her up in the chair so she is not sliding down as much. The CNA returns with pillows which they place under her head on the seat propped up against the bus wall. I cinch the seat belt down and ask the family if they think it is secure enough. Then I let the daughter-in-law know that I will drive gently and slowly so as not to jar Stretcher Granny. Also I requested she remain standing to help support Granny. Stretcher Granny is moaning and complaining by now and we haven't even left the parking lot yet.
The ride over to the house is uneventful and I make small talk, all the while holding my phone ready to dial 911 if Stretcher Granny shows any signs of slippage. In transit, I discover there is no ramp to wheel Stretcher Granny up to the house, only stairs. We arrive and I position the bus to let the ramp down by the back patio which has 3 steps about 2 inches high each, so they were very shallow steps. The ramp won't reach to the patio without the door being blocked. Not wanting to get any closer to the air conditioner, I decide to let Stretcher Granny down as close to the steps as possible. As I'm unhooking her, the urine bag had fallen on the floor of the bus (YUCK!) and fearing the family would move her before it was secure again, I did mention it and the family fixed it. The daughter-in-law says to the son, "Next time we're calling an ambulance!" and he says completely oblivious, "Was it that bad?"
Because I was so close to the house and the steps, there was a thorn bush right by where I had to stand to let the lift down. As such, I managed to get trapped between the thorns and the lift resulting in a few nice thorns to my butt while I'm trying to maneuver Stretcher Granny onto the lift. I had decided since we were close enough to the steps, that we should back her on to the lift and let her down backwards, but this meant her head would not be supported. Luckily her son was tall enough that he supported her head on the way down. In order to get her off the lift and release me from any liability in this case, she had to be bumped up the steps. So, I helped her son bump Stretcher Granny up the steps so they could get her in the house. (We technically are not supposed to do lifting, but because I simply wanted to get the heck out of there, I did.)
Stretcher Granny's son asks me how to pay and I explain that he can go ahead and pay the 6 dollar fee now. He hands me a 10 and asks for change. I oblige and he walks away without so much as giving a tip. We don't expect tips, but mind you, its a holiday weekend, I got Stretcher Granny home under extenuating circumstances, I helped bump her up the steps, I went above and beyond what we do in normal circumstances and the guy is a complete jackass! I'm sorry that your 6 dollars didn't buy you a 600 dollar ambulance ride. That's what you get for being a cheap jerk.
Worthy of my 100th post?
The Bus Driver