Monday, October 24, 2011

Is there an AED available? (Updated)

This weekend has been one heck of a weekend. Saturday, I had to pick up an elderly gentleman from dialysis. I had transported him once before and had issues then. Last time, he tried climbing the steps of the bus only to fall backwards and ONTO me. I luckily caught him and set him down gently. I ended up calling the fire department to help get him off the ground since I could not lift him, nor could he help me lift him. After that fiasco, I prayed I would not have issues this time. I was wrong.

I got to dialysis, and the nurse comes out and tells me he had pulled one of his own needles. He bled everywhere inside dialysis, and they were getting the bleeding stopped and him cleaned up. I had one other pick up from dialysis who had already boarded the bus and was waiting for transport. The gentleman finally comes out, pushing his walker. He seemed to be walking okay, and I escorted him out, let down the lift, and he walked on. He got himself settled, gripped the handrails of the lift and I pressed the button to raise the lift. We made nonsense chat the whole time. The lift got to the level of the bus (about 4 feet off the ground) and he went to put his hands back on his walker, and suddenly stopped talking to me.

He fainted, fell forward and to the left away from me. I was able to grab him to stop him from toppling completely off the lift. I called his name out trying to get him to respond, and yelled to the person on the bus to get help. He came to, and I told him to hold still and help was on the way. The nurse from dialysis came out, saw him, and helped me get him back on the lift, so he wasn't dangling off the lift. I thought his arm had started bleeding again, so the nurse and I switched spots, and then the nurse told another nurse to get a bag of saline and to call the ambulance. I was holding his leg which he had scratched and it was bleeding slightly. He told us he was going to faint again. They started a line and pushed fluids. Then he stopped responding all together.

The nurses told me we needed to let the lift down and get an airway on him. I was still holding his leg so I told a third nurse how to press the button to let the lift down. Once he was on the ground, we flipped him and I elevated his legs. They were still trying to get him to respond. The main nurse shouted for a stethoscope and told the other nurse to call the ambulance and tell them we needed them NOW! They couldn't get a heartbeat or a pulse and started CPR compressions. I asked if there was an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) available, and the fire chiefs truck arrived. The firefighters got out and asked the same question. The nurse told the firefighters where to find the AED. At that point I got up and set his legs down gently and asked the nurses if they had his daughters phone number. They didn't have it, so I called the one number on my transit sheet praying that the number worked.

I got ahold of someone of the family who was able to get in touch with his daughter. I explained the situation really quickly, while listening and watching them work on him. The AED shocked him 4-5 times. His eyes were open and vacant and he was not responding. The ambulance arrived and they continued chest compressions and went to get him on the stretcher so they could intubate him. They secured him to the backboard and immediately loaded him into the ambulance after it was clear he was NOT reviving. They went off to the hospital.

Turns out, he did not survive. The coroner said his heart stopped. May he rest in peace.

Sending up Prayers,

The Bus Driver

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Blind Confidence

One of the most valuable lessons was one I learned on my first day as a bus driver.

"Go Slow... Eventually, they all get off."

Sometimes I have absolutely NO CLUE where I'm going. Kinda bad considering I'm the driver! I can't tell you how many times I have to rely on the children to tell me the route, the coaches to tell me how to get to the fields, and the teachers to tell me how to get to the museums. Most of the time, I am able to get a general idea of where we are going prior to leaving on trips or driving bus routes, but many times, I fake it.

Yes, I fake it. I pretend like I know what route I'm on when I'm driving a bus route, I pretend like I know how to get there when driving a trip, and I pretend that I know each and every child's parent or legal guardian especially when they are causing trouble. I go everywhere with Blind Confidence. It enables me to set aside my worries and just go with the flow. I don't concern myself with extra problems and simply "let it ride."

I have too much else to worry about than figuring out exactly where the stop is, or what time we'll be back from a trip. I don't worry about the child on my bus nearly as much as the PEOPLE outside my bus. Don't get me wrong, I worry about the kids too, but so many drivers are distracted with cell phones, texting, and other things that they often don't "SEE" the big yellow bus with flashing lights that cannot stop on a dime.

Pull out in front of me and cut me off when I'm traveling fast? I can't stop. Failure to maintain YOUR lane? I can't help that I'm in my lane and making my turn as wide as possible. Slam on your brakes for that cute little dog? This bus cannot stop as quick as your little car, and we have upwards of 60 precious lives on board.

All I ask other drivers to do is to be more aware of whats around them. Think before you run that flashing stop sign on the bus. The life you spare may just be your own kid.

Deep in Thought,

The Bus Driver