The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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My mom has worked extremely hard my entire life and I'm eternally grateful for all of her sacrifices, so it warms my heart to hear her get the recognition she deserves. She was so happy when she told me this story so I knew I had to share it.

The phone let out a low melody. At this point she didn’t think about it at all, “ER, this is Beth,” she chanted into the receiver as she did so many times a day. The voice on the other end was 911 dispatch, informing her an ambulance was on the way in with a bariatric patient who was having abdominal pains. Nothing out of the ordinary, she prepared a room and called down to book a CAT scan. Not long after, the ambulance arrived with the patient. Beth realized the patient was much larger than dispatch had led her to believe. The man was having severe pains and had a very high fever. They rushed him down to get a CAT scan but soon realized he wouldn’t be able to fit in the machine. This was something Beth had been suspicious of but was scared to say out of fear of seeming insensitive.

In her fifteen years at Doylestown Hospital, she had never had a situation quite like this. The doctors and nurses stood around dumbfounded, unaware of what to do. Beth reacted quickly and started making calls to nearby hospitals, all of which said they didn’t have the right type of machinery to help this man having extreme stomach pains. Without a CAT scan, there was no way for Beth, who had the same basic job description as a secretary, nor the doctors nor nurses, to diagnose him. Beth didn’t have any medical training, but she wanted to do everything she could to help this man she’d never met, as he bravely dealt with this mysterious pain. 

She dialed numbers for hours. After a while, a hospital mentioned calling the zoo, a suggestion that first offended Beth, then, actually didn’t seem like a terrible idea. After a short deliberation between her and her supervisor, they agreed to call the zoo. After all, they were running out of options. When Beth got on the phone with the zoo, they were surprisingly comfortable with allowing them to fly the patient in for scans and said they had done so in the past. Beth discussed the possibility with the doctors on the case, who feared having to tell the man he’d have to go to the zoo for scans. They didn’t want to offend or upset him, and they didn’t want him to feel like they were treating him like an animal. Beth decided to get back on the phone and make a few more calls. 

After what seemed like hours of dialing, she was finally able to find a hospital in the city with a larger size machine that would be able to fit the man. Relieved, she informed the appropriate people and left to take her lunch. Upon her return, she was delighted to find a letter of gratitude on her desk and a line of her coworkers prepared to give a round of applause for Beth’s hard work and determination. Her supervisor thanked her on not giving up and worked so hard to accommodate for this patient. She often felt her job wasn’t nearly as important as the others in the emergency room, so the appreciation her coworkers showed that day made her remember why she’s never left.

Gratitude

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2018
Doylestown, PA

My mom has worked extremely hard my entire life and I'm eternally grateful for all of her sacrifices, so it warms my heart to hear her get the recognition she deserves. She was so happy when she told me this story so I knew I had to share it.

Decade: 2010s
Rating:
Recorded by Julia Michael on December 5, 2018
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