Monday, July 14, 2008

Friday (or was it Saturday) night.

So I'm in IPDA (the drunk tank). And it's a Friday (or was it Saturday) night, and it's crazy busy. The police are sitting outside like vultures waiting for us to discharge someone. One comes out the door and in they bounce. IPDA full, IPDA accepting, IPDA full, IPDA accepting etc... There are of course the usual bangers and screamers, the regulars, the "kid" high on E, and the new and different ones. It's Friday (or was it Saturday) night.

We had a woman in from a bachlorette party, never been in the drunk tank before, and just crazy emotional. Alcohol does different things to do different people, many people are quite angry, but she was sobbing and crying and begging us to help her. It was honestly one of the hardest things I've ever had to listen to down there. Anger is so much easier for me to deflect then anguished pleas for help. Anyway, she was kicking her door, crying, screaming, begging etc... and she WOULDN'T go to sleep! I rarely let people out if they haven't slept. But, the police didn't give her a mat, they had to carry her in basically it said on her form, so she was understandably cold. I finally gave in, despite my coworkers complaints of "oh she's just a jerk" and threw a mat in her cell. This puts me at risk, but I'm a softey, what can I say.

Anyway, it's getting close to 9 hours and she's slept some, so I'm ready to discharge her. She's finally calmed down or so I think. And then the screaming and begging starts up again. I'm like "what the heck"? So I investigate, she tells me she's having an asthma attack, and her breathing really is quite screwed up. She has no inhalers in her belongings, and she's not calming down to my verbal reassurances. So, I call an ambulance (yay for direct dial bipassing 911), and then go into her cell to assess her and try and calm her down.

For someone who called me every name in the book that night, she latches onto me like glue and I can't leave, even to waive down the amublance. I tried to stick half my body out the door and she freaked. I'm trying to get her to stop talking and work on breathing instead, so I'm trying to babble so she can't get a word in, but at least use calming words, not random stuff. Nothing's helping and she just keeps begging and pleading with me to help her. I'm usually pretty good at calming people down, but not this, not this at all.

So firefighters get there. Take her vitals etc... she won't let me let go of her, so now I'm trapped in a cell behind two firefighters and their equipment. Can't get out to get her info for them (yay for radios). They put her on oxygen and she "starts" calming down... sort of. Paramedics get there. Thank goodness. Super nice paramedic. I really need to write a thank you card. She was awesome. Turns out, my IPDA is having an anxiety attack (which makes total sense). It takes me and the nice paramedic a LONG time, but we get her calmed down. She's breathing fine, her lungs sound fine. The paramedics are going to leave and I'll discharge her when we all discover, her ankle is broken/sprained and very swollen. So she winds up getting an ambulance ride to the hospital after all, probably freaking out all the way. Poor woman.

So that took up half an hour when I should have been doing discharges. Because I was trapped, and because we really are supposed to stay with them while the paramedics are there. It's just that we were short staffed, and yeah, usually they take them right away, not so much figuring things out. Oh, and did I mention the paramedics left ALL their garbage around for me to clean up? Oh well. I really do want to send a thank you note to the one who was so awesome... I just have to figure out how!

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