My First Ambulance Ride

If you missed the first post in this series, go back and read it.

The approaching sirens wailed into my consciousness. I thought about hiding, but it was too late. From where I was sitting, I could see my friends pointing out my location to the paramedics.

Within moments, a flurry of EMTs in navy blue uniforms infiltrated our quiet barn aisle. One EMT was holding a board that I would momentarily be hoisted onto asked me a few questions to find out what happened, where it hurt, and to determine if I had sustained a serious brain injury.

“What’s your name?”
“When is your birthday?”
“What year is it?”
“Who is president?”

Though I felt faint and spacey, I answered his questions accurately and without much thought (luckily, I had not lost consciousness during the fall). The EMT gently fastened the cervical collar to protect my neck and asked if it would hurt if they lifted me onto the board. I wasn’t sure if it would hurt. (It did.)

My barn mates were all ogling the EMTs who were all in very good shape.

My barn mates were ogling the EMTs who looked as if they had leapt out of a 2019 calendar. Even in my injured state, this didn’t escape me. That all left my mind when they hoisted me up on the board, I cringed, and then they walked me towards the waiting ambulance.

It was a strange vantage point to be facing skyward and unable to turn my head. As we made our way through the parking lot, I saw the girl whose horse had spooked mine looking down at me with an expression of sincere worry. I gave her a wave, pretending it was all no big deal, and then I was hoisted into the ambulance. The doors shut with a metallic clack and we were on our way down the idyllic, tree-lined drive in Portola Valley.

One of the EMTs asked me a few more questions about allergies and kept talking to me throughout the ride, likely to keep me awake in case I had sustained a concussion or other head injury. He wound a tourniquet tightly around my arm, then jabbed with a needle several times, failing to start an IV. Regardless, he kept his positive attitude. He asked if I wanted something for the pain and I said no, worrying about fentanyl or some other addictive opioid coursing through my body.

It was a short drive from the barn in Woodside to the nearest hospital at Stanford in Palo Alto. The EMT warned that when I arrived to the ER, I would be swarmed by doctors and nurses. “Don’t be alarmed because they may cut off your clothes,” he said in all seriousness. My eyes widened as the ambulance came to a stop.

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