One month ago I was spending the night with my squad at the Gloucester County Fire Station when my was body jerked from it's sleep by the loud, blaring sound of the Tone. I sat up in anticipation for the information on the call. "Maybe it will be someone who really, really needs us. But I hope nobody is..." The thought cut off as the call came in: "We have a 91 year old bleeding from a laceration in her head."
The address and other information came through, but we already knew who it was. Mrs. White (Name edited) was a sweet, elderly woman we had picked up the night before because she had fallen and cut her head open. She had been fine when we had left her, though. Chipper and happy, we drove off feeling satisfied with how things went.
Then, I listened through the dispatch in my head again: "Altered Mental Status" and "Combative" had come up. I doubted it. She was so sweet.
We arrived at the nursing home to see several people trying to restrain her. Caron Jowers, our preceptor, immediately began trying to calm her down. I grabbed her right side and Cody, and EMT, grabbed her left. She began spitting, biting, kicking, and scraping at us with her hardened nails.
Dementia had eaten away at her frail mind, and she cried out for her husband who had died several years before. She cried out for her parents, screaming "Mom! Mom! Help me, they are abusing me!"
The reality of just how far gone she was setting in. I restrained her forearms as gently but firmly as necessary, but her fragile skin began to tear under my hands. I tried to loosen up in tiny increments, but she immediately attacked Caron the moment I did.
We lifted her and put her on the stretcher while she continued to scream and assail us. By the time we got to the hospital, she had torn open her arms even more and my gloves were covered in her blood.
Once in her hospital bed, the hospital staff was finally able to administer something to calm her down. Her eyes met mine and she looked so completely lost and afraid that tears came to my eyes. "Help me." She said, "Please.".
I blinked away away the tears quickly, knowing it wasn't the time to deal with my emotions. I tried to say good-bye when I was finally able to let her go, but the drugs had rendered her useless.
I never had the time to go visit her before she died. And all I can remember is her eyes meeting mine, and the words "Help me. Please.".
My life has had the reoccurring theme of my desire to help people so in the next ten to fifteen years, I will pursue becoming a doctor and will hopefully work in pediatric oncology. This is the beginning of my journey. I plan to work hard in order to turn my passion into a life-saving set of skills and my desire into my dream job.