The last time I wrote was Saturday night – I woke up grumpy because of the generator guy then Saturday night was ending quietly and I was going to go to sleep after quiet hours started at 10:00 p.m. At 9:57 p.m. I had decided it was safe to get into my pajamas when there was a loud knock at the door and it was one of our campers. He explained that he was sorry to bother me, but his wife had fallen earlier and he was afraid that her leg was broken or possibly she had injured her hip. She was in too much pain to move. I called dispatch and the man on duty, Joel, said “Oh, no. Literally my hand was on the door handle to go home and it is my Friday!”
Joel promised to call me back to see if he could round up a paramedic and ambulance driver while I went to further assess the woman’s condition. I had her medical and event history by the time we got to their fifth wheel. The husband and wife were walking home in the dark after a program on the night sky at the amphitheater when he stopped to admire the stars, she plowed into him and fell to the ground. Those darn, gorgeous stars!!
She hurt so badly that fellow campers helped lift her into their car, drove 200 feet to their fifth wheel and carried her into the rig. The couple waited an hour or so to see if her condition would improve, but finally decided that she would need medical attention. She was in agony and could not move an inch without the pain worsening. We all chatted to try to keep her mind off the pain until Joel called and said they were on their way with an ambulance. Keep in mind that the ambulance is 21 miles away, it was night time when deer, javelina and other critters scamper across the road a lot and the speed limit is 45 under good conditions – it took them about 30 minutes to get to the campground and I met them at the entrance to guide them to the patient.
It was another 45 minutes to assess her condition, carefully move her onto a stretcher and out of the fifth wheel, start an IV with pain meds, and make her comfortable for the 2+ hour (120 mile) trek to the hospital in Alpine. While the paramedic and driver were doing all that I made them a lunch bag full of water, fruit and snacks. It was 11:45 p.m. when I guided the ambulance out of the campground and they were on their way. Joel gave the husband strict instructions to give him lots of following distance because of all the deer that might jump out in front of them along the way.
Most of the time after you help people in this sort of situation we never get feedback on how things went but this time was different. The man had to leave his fifth wheel in the campground, so he returned to tell the story late Sunday. Indeed, his wife’s hip was broken but they could not operate on her in Alpine and were going to airlift her to their home town near Dallas to have the surgery. Poor guy – he was exhausted and had not yet slept since Friday night. To add insult to the injury, he and his wife had been driving on the East River road the day of her fall and they had a flat tire after they got off the East River road, changed the tire and stowed the flat to be repaired. Son of a gun, on the way back to Big Bend from Alpine another tire blew out! Now he had no spare and had to call a repair service and get 2 new tires! Between the new tires and repair services he had to spend about $1,400! The life-flight for his wife was going to cost $25,000 – hopefully covered by insurance!
He left early this morning to drive 10 hours back to Dallas and the day for me was quiet.
In the morning (tomorrow – Tuesday) I start my 3 days off and hope to do some hiking. Good night!