Wednesday, 27 April 2011

So less than an hour left on my shift tonight, with the crackles from an electrical storm hanging over the mountains, I hear a voice weakly calling “hello? Hello?” into the office from our back door. I get up and make a move to the door as it swings open and in shuffles a soldier with blood dripping from his hand. He is sweating bullets and tells me he needs to sit down because he's so dizzy. So I pull out the chair at our second desk and run to get him some water as he drops his head to the desk. I ask him if he thinks he’s really going to faint and he says the water is helping. I ask him what happened and he said he was putting his helmet together and a screw went through his finger. I ask him if I can see his finger to assess if I need to take him to a hospital. He’s says he doesn’t think he can look at it so I tell him to close his eyes and just hold his hand out so I can see it. Gently I removed the paper towels he used and while I could see it was a good sized rip, it was obvious he wasn’t going to bleed to death on my floor. I told him to keep drinking the water and keep breathing deeply. I went over to see if we had anything better to use for bandages and I kept him talking to me the whole time. As he was telling me about what had happened it dawned on me that I probably should take him to the hospital for evaluation since he told me that it was a jagged rusty screw with WD 40 on it that went into his thumb. Sounds like maybe a tetanus shot to me! I was also worried about how woozy and sweaty he was so, better be safe than sorry. I quickly called another red cross station to cover our emergency message queue since I was the only one in the office, and together we walked to the car through this crazy lightening storm with the purple sky flashing like a strobe light every few seconds.

When we arrived at the hospital I took him in the emergency entrance since he had never been there before. Once we found a nurse, I made a move to head back to the office and as I turned to go he says “Hey wait… I don’t know how to get back!” Poor guy, apparently he was a transient trying to get to an outlying FOB and didn’t know the base. So I asked the nurse if he would have access to a DSN phone and she said yes, so I handed over our business card and said “I’m up all night, just call if you need a ride!” Once back at the office, I was just up and running again when an NCO from the soldier's unit came in and said, “I heard you took one of my guys to the hospital!?” I confirmed this and he said he would head over now to stay with him and bring him back. So I guess the whole thing worked out, but a bloody guy stumbling in in a electrical storm? Always something out here...

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