I was driving home with the kiddos from a really nice outing to the arcade in Manitou. Headed home on Manitou Blvd/Colorado Ave and cruising in the right lane. All of a sudden, I hear all this ruckus to my left and there's a Harley on the ground and a dude tumble-saulting into my lane.
I slammed the brakes, threw it into park, and jumped out. Luckily, the guy had already jumped up off the ground. His bike was on it's side in front of this little green station wagon. The teenager who had been driving said station wagon was out of his car and for one tense moment I thought biker dude was going to pummel him, but after some choice words he stopped and stepped back to his bike, lamenting the damage to it.
This is when I noticed the biker woman in the street behind the bike. She had, apparently, gone backwards off the bike instead of forwards and she was now sitting on the street in apparent pain. I started a call to 911 and passed my phone off to another onlooker to go take care of her.
She was conscious, didn't seem disoriented or in shock, but she was in pain. I told her I would start at her head and work my way down asking her to move and asking her questions. I asked her about her head. Does it hurt? Can you see ok? Do you think you hit it? She said no, it was her back. I looked at the back of her head and there was no sign of any scrapes or bumps so I asked her if she could move it, could she turn her head or shrug her shoulders. She said no because her back hurt too much. She explained that her back hurt on the lower left side, near the hip, radiating up. She said it felt like the muscles were torn or pulled or something. She asked me to get her purse for her and, like a dope, I left her to go get it.
While I was grabbing her purse (bad first responder!! no leaving the patient!!) someone else tried to help her up and move her. I saw her stand for a second and then sit right back down. I got back and she said it hurt too much to move and I told her to just stay very still and not move. I was pretty convinced that her spine was ok, it seemed like her injury was a tissue one. At this point someone asked me to move my car so traffic could pass on the right. I moved it to the closest parking lot, right next to the scene of the accident, and told the kids to sit tight, I needed to help that lady. I saw a young woman sanding on the sidewalk, looking around, and I called to her. "hey, you want to help?" I asked. She nodded and I said "Good, stay with my kids while I go take care of that lady." So now I had a sitter.
When I want back to my patient, she was still sitting on the ground. Her boyfriend had finally made his way over to her and he kept touching her back trying to see if she was ok, which was hurting her a lot. I asked him to step back so we could keep her still and more comfortable and asked him how he was doing. He said he was fine, just pissed about his bike. He didn't seem to worried about his poor girlfriend. She was sitting in a weird position and getting really uncomfortable, so after a few minutes I helped her roll to her left hip to be more comfortable. We just sat there and I held her hand while we waited for the paramedics.
When they arrived they started to work on her and she wasn't happy because it hurt but they started getting her braced and boarded. I grabbed her purse and brought it over to her boyfriend. I told him her cell phone and flip flops were under her. A cop on the scene asked me if I'd seen anything and I said not really. I just heard it, saw them in the street and hopped out of my car to help. I asked if he needed me for anything and he said no, so I headed back to my car to collect my kids and head home.
I sort of wish I'd been able to say goodbye to her, since we exchanged first names and she seemed like a real sweetie. I hope they've got her pain under control today, and that it was just a muscle issue and not a disc. I'm glad I was able to help. I know I got a couple of things wrong in how I handled her (NEVER leave your patient, and I probably should have braced her neck with my hands) but in retrospect I'm glad all my first aid training paid off. I'm most glad it wasn't worse.
I think my adrenaline level was at a bazillion for the next three hours... and I don't know if that's what made my immune system collapse in on itself today. The cough and sinus cold that I've been fighting for the last 4 or 5 days has totally taken the upper hand and today I feel like poop. Which suck, because I was supposed to join a new friend on an Autism 5k. :( Here's hoping I feel better by Monday, because the show must go on.
Hopefully with a lot less excitement than Friday afternoon.