“How old is your she?”, the 911 dispatcher asked.
“Uh. I can’t remember her exact age right now. She was born in 1980…She’s 35, yeah, 35.”
“Ok. Is she in pain?”
“She has a chronic pain condition.”
“She has a condition?”
“No. She has chronic pain. I don’t know that pain would register as a symptom of a stroke to her.”
“Oh, ok. What symptoms is she experiencing?”
“She has slurred speech, neuralgia, and the left side of her face is sagging and numb with no muscle tone. It could be a minor condition like Bell’s palsy, but her family has a history of female stroke in mid-late 30’s. She says she’s also feeling dizzy but has not lost balance.”
“Ok. We’re sending an ambulance out. Are you there?”
“Yes, I’m on the line. I’m not with her. I’m driving to her house right now. She asked me to call 911 because her speech is slurred. She was concerned you wouldn’t understand her.”
“Can she answer questions?”
“Yes. She’s coherent and thinking logically.”
“Ok. We’re on the way.”
Moments earlier Dee called asking if I could take her to the hospital. She had been experiencing symptoms of stroke all day, but did not want to bother me since I was planning to visit her tomorrow. Suddenly Dee’s symptoms worsened so she called for help.
“I’m so sorry.”, she said, “I know you’re coming tomorrow but I think I’m having a stroke. Can you take me to the hospital, please?”
Since Dee lives nearly 30min away from my house, I told her she needed an ambulance. An ambulance is closer, faster, can break speed limits. An ambulance has EMTs who can take care of her if her symptoms suddenly worsen in transit, and can arrange for her to be flown to another facility if needed. The drive to the hospital is 40min in the opposite direction from Dee’s farm. One hour, 10 minutes.
“You don’t need me, honey. You need an ambulance.”, I told her.
Dee asked if I could please call the ambulance for her. Her speech was so slurred she worried the 911 operator wouldn’t be able to understand her or wouldn’t take her seriously.
I pulled out of the driveway and started driving to Dee’s farm while speaking with the 911 operator. The ambulance beat me to her house by more than 20 min. The ambulance was definitely the right call.