Friday, June 22, 2007

A Matter of Perspective

Tonight we had an Amish man and his son who were driving their buggy and were hit by a car that came up behind them too quickly to stop. It ended up swerving to try and miss them, and sideswiping them instead. Both of them got tossed out. Both of them had numerous abrasions and lacerations. Mr. Amish had a broken neck. (He was neurologically intact, thank God.) Both of them were obviously in tremendous pain. Both of them continuously refused pain meds.

Mr. Amish got shipped to the Neuro Hospital in the Big City. His response the last time I asked him if he was sure he didn't want any pain meds? "No, it's not that bad. I'll be OK." Mind you, he could barely move his extremities because they hurt so bad. When we rolled him to staple the lac on the back of his head, he was gritting his teeth in pain, but all he said was, "Just go slow. I'll be OK."

Amish Son could barely move, he was so sore. He had an 8 cm lac on the back of his head. He didn't even want pain meds to go. He said he had to get up early tomorrow to milk the cows and pick the produce for their stand, and he "didn't want to be fuzzy".

While I cleaned her husband's bloody head a bit, Mrs. Amish and I talked about fresh vegetables, people who drive too fast, and cows. She told me where their produce stand is. It's right down the road from where I live. I told her I'd come by.

On their way out the door to the ambulance, Mr. Amish said, "Be sure to come by and see us!" Mrs. Amish added, "But wait for a day or two. He'll probably be down for the count for a day or two."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the difference between our normal clientele and people that truly work for a living.

20 comments:

hannah said...

Meh. While I'm very much in awe of their ability to withstand the pain like that, it's going from one extreme to the other.

Most people, in that situation, would be grateful for pain meds. And they should get them.

But on the other hand, most "normal" people don't demand narcs for a stubbed toe.

The middle ground tends to exist outside of the ED, I think. :)

Joeymom said...

Buy lots of vegetables. Lots and lots of vegetables. And let them know we're thinking of them, too. :)

RealisticRN said...

MG,
I have loved taking care of every single Amish pt that has ever been put in one of my beds. They are so gracious and polite. I once heard someone complain that "they smell." My response was, "If you worked 1/2 as hard, you'd smell too!" Out of all of the ones I've taken care of, there was only 1 that was not such that they had to go to the OR or be admitted for something. The one who was discharged did receive pain meds (IM) for his back. He was in some serious pain. His wife had to call long distance for a ride home. I gave her my cell phone to use. She actually offered to pay me for the long distance call! What a nice treat to deal with people who don't believe the entire world owes them something!
BTW, I'm from PA where there is a large Amish population. Their talents are incredible!

MonkeySister said...

In light of your semi-recent "salad shooter" diet, you should definitely try to frequent their stand as often as possible and show your support and appreciation for the "normal" people out there.

Job Well Done!

Amy said...

This post gave me chills. It would be a privilege to take care of gracious, appreciative people with no sense of entitlement. It might even make me consider going back to work in the ED. Maybe.

Jessica said...

wow. Just, wow.

Babs RN said...

We used to have an Amish family that lived about 8 miles or so out of town and who would come in to town every day and sell their vegetables (and I buy corn by the bushel), butter (home-churned), bread (homemade loaves), and cookies. And besides the massive amount of work that goes into producing that stuff and in maintaining their home, they made the three-hour trek into town on their buggies to sell their goods. Hot, cold, rain...they did it. Just an absolutely awesome group of people and I have the utmost respect for their way of life. They could teach us all a few things, probably.

Voter Mom said...

Very stoic.

Mousie said...

I'm a bit jealous that we don't have an Amish community over here!

ERnursey said...

I used to live in an Amish community also, you could not meet nicer people anywhere. One time I took my sister in law to buy a quilt at a farm nearby. The women invited us in for home-made ice cream and cookies. The house was so spotless it glistened, despite the fact that they had canned 120 quart jars of meat that morning (already, even though it was only noon!) They have such a sense of community, if we could only emulate that. One families house burned down. They don't have insurance but the rest of the community pitched in to pay for the materials and then got together to build a new home for them. We could really take a lesson from the Amish.

Loving Annie said...

Succinct and well-said, Monkeygirl.

I wish that could be printed as a letter to the editor in EVERY major paper in the country.

Oh wait, the politically correct and frequent fliers would get in an uproar...

Happy, healthy Friday to you !

ID Crossroads said...

That's just so amazing. It's no wonder the Amish people don't want to assimilate into the "modern" society. They know how to protect what's important and real.

DK said...

I live in the south, far away from any Amish. So here's a question. Do the Amish have insurance or are they self-pay patients?

Nurse K, Generic ER Nurse said...

They work hard for a living, of course, but they work hard because they're living with 19th century technology. If you refuse items that make peoples' lives more efficient, it seems a little silly to give them props for hard work on a basic philosophical level. It's like givin' the most inefficient person in your department props for hard work because they have to stay later than everyone else to finish.

mielikki said...

California also has a sad lack of Amish people. We have some Mennonite's, thats as close as we get, and they are a joy to care for, as well. (when they come in, that is)

MonkeyGirl said...

They usually don't have insurance, (I've never met one that did), and they're very proud. I'm trying to figure out how to pay 100 bucks for some onions and corn and get them to keep it. Mr. Amish's bill will be in the tens of thousands, and you know they'll pay it....

And their sense of community is astounding. They help each other with everything.

MarlaQuack said...

Wouldn't the guy who hit them have insurance that would cover their care?

daedalus2u said...

Actually, my guess would be that they do not smell. They do not use electricity, so they do not have running hot water with which to bathe, so they (most likely) have a biofilm of "my" bacteria (autotrophic ammonia oxidizing baacteria) which suppress the heterotrophic bacteria that cause odor.

The guy who hit them is clearly at fault. He is the one who should be hit for the bill. I suggest you have the hospital bill collectors take care of that because Amish man would probably rather pay it than deal with getting compensated.

Alexis said...

As an fyi, monkeygirl and dk, most Amish do not have insurance (there's lots of kinds of Amish, so some sects might), but I grew up in Lancaster, PA (that "Amish Paradise" song by Weird Al is about my hometown!), and some of the communities there had a pool of money that everyone put into to help out those with sudden pressing medical bills. I once saw a woman pay her surgery bill in cash (it was truly impressive). Some healthcare facilities (like rural clinics) offer the Amish patients a discount so that the price is equivalent to what the clinic would be reimbursed if the Amish had Medicare.....

If you want to see a man who has done amazing things with and for the Amish community, check out Holmes Morton at The Clinic For Special Children. Nothing like an Amish-made clinic that also has its own Tandem Mass Spec machine.

beajerry said...

It'd be cool to have an Amish patient in Bed A, and a wussy drug-seeker in Bed B. Then you could say stuff to Bed A, loud enough for Bed B to hear.

(yes, I'm evil)