Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Circle of Trust

Trust. It's a tricky thing,and for a PWD,the question of ultimate trust boils down to a little red box.

In 12 years, I had only asked the question of ultimate trust one time (to a non-family member-family members have given me some,& my husband does know how to give one) It was directed to my then-EMT boyfriend(my blood sugar was under 10 mg/dl, & I was hysterically convinced that I would soon die) and he said no.Who knows why...nerves,perhaps.Or the legality of the situation.It did not matter,I was both annoyed(to the nth degree) and scared & crushed,that question of trust had been thrown back into my face & ultimately,that helped in the breakup.If you cannot trust someone completely,you have no business being together.(and I used to be an EMT & in my section of the universe,heck yes they give them.I know he knew how)

So when I asked my clinical instructor if she would be willing to administer "the shot", it was with a great deal of fear & trepidation. She said yes.(she's an ER nurse,heck yeah she knows what to do in an emergency) I ran through the basics,& what I'd be like(in such a situation). But then a dept wide email circulated RE school policy in such a situation & it was advised just to call 911,not to get involved.

Crushed,that's what I was. I dunno why it feels so important that I have someone on my side,but it felt like that trust I'd just given out for the 2nd time in 12.5 years didn't mean squat,again.Of course my clinical instructor was sympathetic but she couldn't go against dept policy. So back I went to talk to the dept head,& she said in actuality,the instructor could do as they wished-call 911 or give the shot/call 911,the schools liability insurance would cover either way. I wouldn't ever sue but there is liability insurance for everything,these days.

I am,so relieved. I thought the school really didn't care if I lived or died,& I don't have the attitude that it's anyone's responsibility to do this..only someone I think would care enough to do so. When my clinical instructor said sure,I thought that to be the case.(she's pretty great) I have worked a retail job & in 7.5 years,never trusted anyone there (even good friends) with that burden.(said person has to be somewhat knowledgeable about medical matters) I think part of the deal here lately has to do with the lability of my blood sugars,& my desire to stay closer to 100 then to the 250's of yesteryears. A blood sugar monitor is also not always it was at my old job. You can't very well crack the meter open in the middle of a procedure.(plus you have to wash your hands a billion times a day)

I hope to never need it(on the job)but it's so wonderful to have that piece of mind.(Bgs have been all over the map lately & it may come to pass,that I need one) I need to feel safe,& more then anything else,this decision has greatly influenced that. I don't think I'm going to be having this conversation with all my clinical professors but in this rotation,I never needed that reassurance more.(nursing home in the middle of nowhere)

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Kathy said...

What an interesting topic. I have never needed glucagon before, but did show my husband what to do in case I needed it. I half-heartedly showed my coworkers what to do and later said that they should just call 911 or get a pathologist. I work in a clinical lab.
Since my islet cell transplant, its no longer an issue, but I think if it would become one again, I would retrain my coworkers and my kids. I agree that it is an important and difficult decision to make as to who to ask and exactly what to say. It really depends on the person's comfort both with needles and with you. It would be an incredibly difficult thing to perform in a stressful and scary situation.

Brenda Bell said...

Sad to say, but from my viewpoint this is a much, much, more serious (and pervasive) issue than it is made out to be -- and if I am to believe reports, at least one person has died because there wasn't an EMT or paramedic in time, or the EMT was not licensed to administer glucagon. (IIRC my First Aid correctly, one has only four minutes until brain damage starts to occur?) IMNSHO glucose testing, glucagon administration, and epi-pen administration should be taught to BLS and allowed within the bounds of the license (glucose testing without direction required, epi-pen and glucagon with direction from the hospital or paramedics).

One of the big issues with EMTs and licensed personnel providing any medical assistance (including blood glucose testing, epi-pen administration, and glucagon administration) is that they are not covered by Good Samaritan laws. This leaves them more vulnerable to legal liability than the average man-on-the-street.

That said, I might argue for information on blood glucose testing and emergency-injectable provision (epi-pens, glucagon) be covered within the bounds of a Standard First Aid course.

Scott K. Johnson said...


This is a great post. That question of trust is such an uncomfortable situation on both ends, isn't it?

Kind of sucks that we have to be in the position to ask sometimes. And the reaction of your ex-boyfriend blows my mind.