Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tikki Masala, Strange Languages, And Sugar

“Engine 4, Medic 2, respond to the possible stroke, 70 year-old female, conscious and breathing.”

When we arrived on scene, we were immediately faced with a potential language issue. Hindi. She spoke limited English. Fortunately, her son and daughter-in-law were  with her and they both speak excellent English.

Her son reported that she was cooking dinner (it smelled wonderful in the house, but I couldn’t quite identify what was on the stove) when she started complaining of arm numbness and an apparent change in mental status. When we assessed her, it was as though she was looking right through me. But she seemed to not have any weakness on her right side, where she was supposed to have had deficit.

A quick check of her medical history showed hypertension and non-insulin dependent diabetes. And a quick check of her blood glucose level showed us right away what was going on.

It was 38.

So we got an IV established and gave her an amp of Dextrose. Immediately prior to my partner giving the Dextrose she was still looking at me like I was invisible. As soon as it started working she woke up, looked at me, and started chattering away at me in Hindi. Her son and daughter-in-law both started laughing, and when I asked them what she was saying, her son told me that she said I was scary-looking. And that made me laugh.

When we re-checked her sugar, it was up to 289. And when we offered to transport her to be evaluated, she adamantly refused. Wanted no part of a hospital visit in any way. So we released her. Got her to sign our refusal. And documented the call thoroughly.

Her daughter-in-law offered to send some of the Tikki Masala (I thought that’s what it was but I wasn’t sure) with us back to the Firehouse, but we’d eaten dinner about a half-hour before the call (homemade Mexican), and we were still good with that.

But it’s the thought that counts.


Susie Hemingway said...

Great story - I must admit I might have taken-up the offer of the Tikki Masala and popped it in the freezer for another day - freshly cooked as it was. A nice insight into the work you do - such a good man doing a good job!

Nurse and Hospital Stories said...

"But it’s the thought that counts."

Yeah, they are a very thoughtful family and in spite of what had happened, they still are cheerful and optimistic and even offer some of their foods. Wow! Generous, eh.

Peny@uniform discount