A little break in routine never hurt anyone.

“CODE BLUE! CODE BLUE!”

I look up from the coffee and tea I’ve started to serve in the dining room and frantically look around. Code blue is choking and if it’s called you know it’s serious. Who’s choking?! Oh crap. My resident, ofcourse.

“Call CODE BLUE!” The nurse yells and my co-worker runs frantically to make the call. My resident is red. Oh boy are they red and not breathing or coughing. This isn’t good at all. The nurse is starting abdominal thrusts and I run over to see if there’s anything I can do. I’m stronger than her – her words, NOT mine – so she asks me to take over. Are you shitting me? I know I learned this stuff in school but I never ever expected to have to use it.

“Don’t die, don’t die, don’t die, don’t die” I say on repeat in my head. On the outside I’m calm and collected and apparently know what I’m doing, but the inside feels like I’m tumbling around inside a washing machine.

Coughing! He’s coughing! OH, thank God. By this time our RNs and other RPNs have come on to the floor. Are they ok? They seem ok, “Are you ok?” Wow. They’re still coughing, what did they choke on?! Pills. Well, I guess it’s applesauce now until further notice. … pills are crushed and put into applesauce – or yogurt – if they can’t be taken whole. Normally they can take them whole, but something happened today.

They’re not very pleased with having to be put on a minced diet until the dietician can evaluate them. I’d be pissed too, it’s not at all appealing to look at. .. but there’s something still wrong. They say they’re fine but they don’t look themselves. I’ve been taking care of you for 2 years and this is not normal. You look almost stunned… half asleep. You’re asked if you’d like to go to the hospital and you agree.

Alright. Don’t judge me. But when we have to call the EMS services I get a little giddy. Firemen and ambulence dudes in uniform are delightful and add a little excitement to my day. Usually they send women – weird luck of the draw – but today we get 3 firemen and 2 EMS guys. FIVE! So exciting.

They’re talking to my resident and asking if they remember anything and they don’t. They don’t remember choking and they have no idea why all these people are in their room. I knew something wasn’t right.

Very rarely do we have days like this, but they happen and you have to be prepared for them. I don’t know how I knew what I was doing but I guess when you need to do it you just remember automatically. Kind of like riding a bike. … something else I haven’t done in ages. I wonder if I’d fall off.

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