I am overworked but only because I am picking up the slack for those who don’t do their job. After working a full teaching schedule, I went right into coaching baseball. I am becoming more annoyed by most of the players on the team, again entitlement rearing its oversized head, but there are some grateful ones. Unfortunately they don’t get the attention they deserve, but I made sure to let them know we appreciate them showing up every day by saying it to them, besides its not like they are being physically hurt…..until today.
One of these self entitled individuals ran through my hold sign and got thrown out at second base. He didn’t even apologize or recognize the mistake. One of the grateful, happy to be there students was playing right field. A short pop fly was hit and he was running for it. In the past game he dropped a fly ball (all of our outfielders have) so the same student who ran through my sign ran into right field and collided with the other student. He was OK but the other student was not. This student is not a complainer, he is a tough young man although his body would not lead one to believe this. As the other kid celebrated holding on to the ball, ran back to the infield (no he didn’t stay there with the hurt student) both me and the other coach recognized something was wrong.
We took him out of the game, he sat down for a bit and I noticed he did’t look right. I told the other coach I was taking him to health services immediately. Right when we began walking I knew he was going to the hospital. He kept repeating questions, asked if he was dreaming, had short term memory loss. I also knew I had about an hour to an hour and a half to get him a cat scan. This is the time it will take the brain to swell and possibly cause death or severe brain damage.
I went in told the nurse the deal and said he needs to go to the hospital ASAP. Guess what? It was going to take time to find someone to drive him. I looked at the clock, 20 minutes since injury. Nope, not going to wait, I will take him now. OK, have to sign out van, get him to ER, that will be 15 minutes, 20 minutes with lights and traffic……I drive him to the ER, as soon as he finishes a question he asks it again, he asked the same three questions about 20 times.
Got to the ER, 40 minutes since injury.
I pressed the ER people to move things along, they were not happy with my urgency. I explained to them the situation, all the while continuing to answer the same three questions the student was asking me. I knew he was getting scared, he didn’t know what happened, how he got to the hospital, why he was there. I knew what he was going through, I also knew he needed someone there to keep him calm, calm blood pressure increases the time period you have to swelling. Each time he asked the question I answered it calmly. To prove a point to the nurse each time he went to ask the question I said it with him word for word with the exact same intonation. The nurse realized he may be a little worse than she thought.
I remembered hearing about “Immediate Head Trauma Admittance”. So I told her it had been 50 minutes since the injury and he needs the CAT scan ASAP, although in retrospect I wish I had said STAT because I feel like that would be more legit in the medical field setting.
She could tell I knew what I was talking about and rushed him through, ten minutes later (and 20 more repetitions of the same questions) and he was in the scanner.
60 minutes after injury, head scanned, no blood, no swelling. However they wanted to keep him for observation to make sure his memory improved. His mom was called but she lives in NJ and was doing the best she could to get there. So I stayed with him, I kept answering the same questions for him and worked with him to improve his mental state. He kept asking me if this had happened before. I discussed that it feels like this has happened before because he is remembering asking me these questions, not actually being in this situation before and how is brain was having trouble sorting memories. After doing this for about ten minutes he began being able to answer his own questions.
His mom rushed in scared, I told her what was going on, but she did not speak English very well. The student had to translate but he was pretty confused at the situation. He kept asking her how she got there, and she answered. After the third time asking in two minutes she began to get frustrated with him. I decided to stay a little longer to keep him calm. I could see as she got frustrated he began to get scared as to why he couldn’t remember, I knew this would be bad for his mental state.
Two hours after injury and I could tell he was becoming more comfortable with the situation and at this point it was past 7pm and I still had tons of stuff to do. I was still in my baseball uniform, still had stuff at the field, in my classroom, return the van, etc.
So once again I got home around 8pm, then I had to catch up on work and grading that I can’t get done during my one prep period a day so here it is midnight and I still have more work to do.
However this reminded me why I teach. Students like my ER buddy. Someone who may not be the best athlete, but guts it out. Someone who is endlessly positive, someone who when you say “hey swing like this”, he does and practices it and becomes better. Someone who will stop by in the morning just to say hello, someone I would sit in a hospital with for two hours and answer the same three questions over a hundred times and never show an ounce of frustration for.