We both arrived on the scene with plenty of concern and zero medical experience.
“Should we call the EMTs?” my sister asked.
“I hate to bother them just to get him into his bedroom,” I said.
“I know. We can do this.”
And so we did. She wrapped her arms around Dad’s chest, I got his knees and we carried – well, sort of dragged and carried – him from the bathroom where he’d fallen into his bedroom.
Dad was grateful while Mom was in a flurry of tucking him into bed.
It happened again the next day. Dad was in the bathroom and lacked the strength to pull himself up. He fell between the toilet and the tub.
We were called again.
This time, we decided he needed to go to a doctor. And so we carried and dragged him to the car and drove to the emergency room, since it was in the evening, and let the doctor check him out.
He was admitted overnight and then sent home.
The next day, he fell again. Same scenario: no strength, little balance.
“Let’s call the ambulance,” my sister said.
“Is it serious enough for an ambulance?”
“All I know is I’m tired from hauling him around. I think it’s time for an ambulance.”
We didn’t have to do the rock-paper-scissors thing to decide who called. She decided: “You call.”
“It’s not a problem.” The woman’s voice was kind and clear. “That’s what we’re here for.”
Within minutes, a police car pulled up at our house but the 911 operator had alerted us to that possibility. Then came the ambulance and two EMTs walked in with medical gear.
They checked Dad’s blood pressure and pulse. They listened to his heart. And when it was time to take him to the ambulance, they gently lifted him onto a stretcher, buckled him in, and rolled him out.
I learned a few things. First, when an elderly person falls, the ambulance crew does not see my call as a bother. Second, the EMTs know a lot more medical information than I do.
And, third, I’m pretty sure my Dad was glad not to get dragged – I mean carried, of course – out of the bathroom yet again.