Sunday, July 29, 2007

today on the munger trail ...

i was on about mile 4.5 of a planned 12-mile inline skate on the munger trail this afternoon, when just as i was trying to conduct a physics experiment involving wheels and rail road ties, a man on a cell phone waved me toward him and pointed to a tiny woman laying in the grass.

"ambulance," he was saying into the phone, trying to give instructions to the closest cross-road at this point of the trail.

he looked at me.

"can you sit with her?" he asked.
"of course," i said, spinning to a stop.

the woman in the grass was shivering and sweating and drooling and mumbling. the man was still on his phone when he started to pedal away without further instruction. i grabbed his t'shirt off the back of his bike and a water bottle from the holder. he didn't tell me what i was dealing with here -- he was still on the phone when he rode away -- and within 20 seconds i was dealing with a shivering and sweating and drooling and mumbling tiny woman in the grass by myself.

this is when i remembered that i have absolutely no medical background, save for a session with "annie, annie, are you okay" many, many years ago. frankly, i'd have more success doing this woman's taxes or knitting her matching potholders. but monitoring her while waiting for an ambulance ... yikes.

i assumed that she had heat exhaustion, because i, too, was inches from pushing her aside and laying in the grass.
but what if she was diabetic? epileptic?
she wasn't wearing any sort of bracelet ...
and frankly, it occured to me that maybe this whole thing was going to appear on a reality show.

a couple and a dog came along. the woman and dog -- i believe he was named blue and i really came to love him -- stayed with us, and her husband went for a truck. everytime the woman in the grass broke out into groaning, she and i cringed and looked at each other.

but the woman with the dog was funny and for 10 minutes she was my best friend in the world. another two minutes of this and i would have turned to her and said: "do you guys want to come to my boyfriend's house really late some week night and play wii?"

but the truck was backing down the narrow trail and by now more bikers without medical experience had come along. three men lifted the woman into the truck. i passed them the shirt and water. my new friend and her husband drove off, and left me charged with that excellent dog.

i could hear sirens coming as they left.

so, me: a pair of inline skates, a dog whose owners' names i don't even know, a nonresponsive woman's sun glasses, water bottle and bike. the couple's backpack water bottles. i skated slowly down the trail toward the nearest road. a straggler pushed the woman's bike.

at the intersection i realized i was going to have to take blue, on wheels, down a gravel road toward his owners. a man in a golf cart with a pizza hut delivery sign attached to the top drove up with the man who originally found the woman laying in the grass. [here i learned that he didn't know her, which made me stop thinking of him as 'that asshole who didn't tell me anything about the woman before he biked away.']

it turns out she had been stung by a bee and was in anaphylactic shock. she had no ID, no epi-pen or anything. [consider that a blah blah blahler public service announcement] as is, with these kind of things, we all went our own way. i have no idea what happened to the woman.


Amber said...

Good job on just being willing to help, though...

Ben Hanson said...

I was one of the men "with no medical experience" (other than Red Cross CPR, AED, and First Aid training)that helped lift the lady into the truck. I was the guy on the bike pulling the trailer. I hope the lady ended up ok. I was just searching to see if there were any news articles on her and found your site. She's lucky to have fallen where she did on the Munger, so close to a main road and parking lot. I'll save your site and let you know if I hear anything else about her.

Ben Hanson in Duluth

christina said...

hey, ben. yeah and i'll post an update if i hear anything.

Sarah Hanson said...

hello! i was the lady with the man pulling the trailer! (his wife) just wanted to say you handled the situation very well! i was so confused as to who was with who and what happened to who! i think we all learned a valuable lesson in hydrating often when it's bloody hot out. *chuckle* after the incident my husband and i continued up to carlton and back to the munger inn (our starting point) during which i drank about 1500 ml's of water and when we arrived back to the inn i turned to my husband and exclaimed, "you know, i drank 1500 ml's of water today and i don't have the slightest sensation to pee!"

anyways, stay cool out there!

christina said...

hey sarah,
lots of lessons learned. yesterday i went looking for one of those water bottle backpacks. and after sunday, i decided to always carry an ID. granted, yesterday i was out there with neither. but i had my cell phone, so at least that was a start.

i just thought it was weird that she didn't have an epi-pen or whatever. maybe she didn't know she was allergic to bee stings.

Sarah Hanson said...

was it really a bee sting though? an allergic reaction to a bee sting results in the contraction of the trachea, aka, ya can't breath and thus pass out and die. she was breathing fine...well, as fine as she could. that's why i'm guessing it wasn't a bee sting but just heat exostion. my husband looked up the symptoms of heat exostion and in his opinion it fit her to the T.

as you said, many lessons learned, i'll now never bike without an id, water, and a cell phone.

p.s. i've been reading your blog at work (don't tell my boss) and i was wondering if you had a facebook or myspace as well?

christina said...

the guy who originally found the woman told me that the woman was able to tell EMT's what happened and that she was treated for shock. ... i just went with that.

i have a neglected myspace site and no facebook.