The first time Dad fell at home, Mom called the logical people for help: her two daughters.
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.
We’re the two-trips-is-for-wimps sisters. We could do this.
My sister wrapped her arms around Dad’s chest, I got his knees and we carried and dragged and dropped him into his bedroom.
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.
So the click-and-drag sisters got another call.
This time, we decided he needed to go to a doctor. And so we lugged him to the car and drove to the emergency room.
He was admitted overnight and then sent home.
The next day, he fell again.
“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.”
So I did. “I’m really sorry to disturb you but my father has fallen and we could use some help getting him up.”
“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 followed by the ambulance from which two EMTs emerged with medical gear.
They checked Dad’s blood pressure and pulse. They listened to his heart. They decided a hospital visit was appropriate. 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.
So here’s what I learned: 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 Dad was glad not to get towed on the carpet again.