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Give Blood, Ice Skate - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Give Blood, Ice Skate
Yesterday I went ice skating on my lunch break, like I do almost every monday. I had a lesson, which is also normal. Unfortunately I also had a rather dramatic collision, which is much less normal.

The noon sessions I skate at are "adult open skating". This is good, because there are no kids -- but since they're not figure skating sessions it means there are often a lot of low-level recreational skaters. They happily skate in slow circles around the rink chatting with one another, while a few of us figure skaters work on more challenging stuff.

As a general rule, I watch out for them. I am doing fixed patterns which are supposed to be in specific parts of the ice, so in theory it'd be nice if they got out of my way. But I am much faster, and more maneuverable, so if I see somebody coming I stop or swerve around them. This generally works okay, though it can be frustrating for me (since I'm often unable to practice doing the pattern "right").

Yesterday was very uncrowded, and at one point there were only 3 people on the ice. I decided to quickly do a opposite-direction pattern while everyone was off the ice, since I rarely have space in which to do this. I started out just fine, but somehow even where there are only 3 people on the ice, they manage to try to occupy the same space. Thus it was that I saw an older recreational skater heading toward me.

I immediately slowed down and started to avoid him. Unfortunately he started to avoid me too, and we both managed to swerve in the same direction. We bumped shoulders, and he grabbed onto me. I'm not sure if he was trying to hold on to stand up, or trying to support me, or what, but since we were going in opposite directions that didn't work. I tumbled over backwards, bashing my elbow a bit, but unhurt. He, wearing hockey skates, slid right off the front of them and landed on his face.

I turned around to see if he was okay, and I saw him touching his nose, looking a bit dazed. My eyes quickly scanned for injuries, and I spotted a red mark on his forehead. His nose was also starting to bleed, and he was starting to stand up. Immediately I skated over and put my hand on his arm, telling him to sit still, not to try to get up yet.

He sat on the ice, leaning on his elbow, looking down. With gravity's help, his nose proceeded to bleed quite a lot, splattering bright red dots all over the fresh white ice. His head was bleeding too; it was quite a mess. I sat around on my heels, holding him still, not quite sure what to do. My coach asked if he was okay, and I said no, we needed paper towels or something. She hurried off the ice to get some.

I stayed with him, and considered my options. I didn't want to get anybody's clothes bloody, but I had to do something to control the bleeding. N skated over, and I asked if she had a towel or tissue or something. She handed me one tiny piece of kleenex, which seems terribly insufficient given the puddle of blood his nose was generating. But I used it to put pressure on his forehead, which I considered a bigger problem anyway.

Eventually Lisa came back with paper towels and an ice pack, and we helped him catch and stop some of the blood. I asked him a few times to tilt his head back, but he didn't. I'm not sure if he didn't understand, or wanted to keep the blood from getting on his clothes, or what. I kept asking him how he was feeling, and he kept saying that he felt fine. Which was surprising, given how much blood he was generating. It was all over the ice and his face.

Somebody from the side of the rink said they'd called the paramedics. He insisted that he didn't want anybody coming, that he felt fine, but I thought it was a good idea since he just kept bleeding away. Especially since he was an older fellow, I wanted to be sure somebody competent looked at him. I could tell that his head wound needed stitches, and I didn't know if he might have a broken nose and/or a concussion.

Finally, to my relief, they showed up. He was still bleeding, though less profusely. My coach and I took turns putting pressure on his head and encouraging him to hold towels over his nose. I was very happy to relinquish control to the medics, then I stood up and watched.

I felt soooo bad that this had happened! So did my coach. I mean, I know it was just a fluke accident, but still. One of his friends came up to me and said (jokingly), "Why don't you pick on somebody your own age?" He saw that I was upset, so he hastened to assure me he was only kidding, and "Anyway, he's only 74 after all."

Sheesh! The medics decided to take him to the hospital, because he definitely needed stitches and they wanted to verify nothing worse was wrong. So they bundled the poor fellow up into a stretcher and carted him away. "Sorry we messed up your ice," my coach said to the rink manager.

He just shook his head, looking at the bright red splatters and puddles. "It's okay, I've seen worse."

It was then that N mentioned that we should have been wearing rubber gloves, and I noticed there was blood all over my hands. Ohhh.... damn, that's right. I'm not trained in these things. I had been so worried about helping him, I hadn't even considered medical precautions. I excused myself as soon as possible, and thoroughly soaped and washed my hands. I examined them carefully, and I didn't see any nicks or scratches, so I don't think it's a big issue. Still a little freaky though.

Today my sister and I skated at a different rink, to see if it might be less crowded. I managed not to send anybody to the hospital, so I consider the experiment a success.

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Comments
dagibbs From: dagibbs Date: February 7th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
At that age, there is some likelihood he is taking some sort of anti-coagulant due to heart/stroke issues, which could explain the large amount of blood from the nosebleed, and the fact that it took quite a while to stop. It wouldn't be that solid a hit (so he felt "ok") but would bleed an amount that would make us think it was far more damamging -- cause for us to bleed that much, would require quite a bit more basic damage.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: February 7th, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, two of the medics immediately asked him if he was taking "X", which they explained was a blood thinner where he looked confused.

But at that point I stepped back and gave him privacy for the rest of the medical questions.
specialagentm From: specialagentm Date: February 7th, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Probably Warfarin (aka Coumadin or Marevan). Quite common, even among younger folks (my brother is on it since he had a micro-stroke last year).
cannibal From: cannibal Date: February 7th, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, cool, I love people who are on biochemical weapons! Even nitro tablets, McGyver will use them to blow up things when he's 74.

Anyway, head wounds always bleed way more than you'd expect. Lots of little vessels.

Rennie, you're dangerous. Heh. Just be Glad Sandy wasn't there! That's probably when the rink guy has seen more blood.
greyyguy From: greyyguy Date: February 7th, 2006 09:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Anything with the head tends to bleed a lot. It looks a lot worse then it usually is. It sounds like you handled it well.

Though now you should be thinking about hockey instead of figure skating. They are used to the rough stuff ;)
tammylc From: tammylc Date: February 7th, 2006 09:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Quite the excitement.

Oh, and FWIW, the current advice on nosebleeds is NOT to tilt your head back.

http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/medicaldepartments/emergencymedicine/nosebleeds/

To stop a nosebleed, put pressure on the bleeding point by pinching your nose against the facial bones at the bridge of your nose and hold for five minutes. "If anything, lean forward, with your head above the level of your heart. Do everything possible to not let blood run down your throat. Blood is a stomach irritant, which usually causes nausea," he says.

renniekins From: renniekins Date: February 7th, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, good to know -- thanks for the link!
lintra From: lintra Date: February 7th, 2006 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Grin, you poor thing. I got screamed at by an EMT (well, it *felt* like screaming) when I stopped at a car accident right after I'd turned 16 - and right after I'd gotten my lifeguard cert.

It was a bad car accident, and the guy had a piece of glass stuck in his thigh. He wasn't really conscious, but was bleeding like crazy from that wound and I was afraid it was an artery. So I pushed down with all my might above the wound (since we are never to remove an impaled object.)

By the time the EMTs got there my hands were soaked in blood. He poured alcohol over my hands and let me know never ever ever to do that again. It'd never crossed my mind, and I'd just been trained. You're never focused on gloves when you're training, you focus on how you can help. But I never forgot after that (though not having them with me hasn't stopped me yet.)
aiela From: aiela Date: February 7th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Honestly, even trained professionals can forget Universal Precautions in an emergency situation. When I was working daycare (and Brittany attended with me), Brittany slid headfirst into a sink and sliced her head open. The teacher on duty scooped her up and brought her to me at a run, near the office, where the director of the center immediately yelled at her for not having put on her gloves before picking Brittany up.

I'm sure it's not a huge deal, especially if you don't have any obvious cuts, but I understand it can be scary.
shakespeare__ From: shakespeare__ Date: February 8th, 2006 12:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I've had all my worst injuries at Troy. Their open skates are crowded.
But, I have worse problems on my freestyle ices to tell you the truth.
It's ALL little kids. And they ... well... are apparently blind or something.

=/.
nishar From: nishar Date: February 8th, 2006 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Try not to feel too bad Rennie. Accidents happen all the time like this. You did the right thing helping him like that.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 8th, 2006 01:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Having grown up in an era before all these rubber gloves and such, I have a hard time taking all this crap seriously. I'm sure people dealing with all manner of folks are right to be extra cautious, but there's no way I'd take much extra time to worry about it with a 70 year old man who's apparently in pretty good shape if he's out skating.

I mean, when I was a kid, my dentist didn't even wear gloves or mask, even when drilling. I remember the first time I saw a medical type put gloves on it kind of startled me, because I'd only seen them do that on TV when they were getting ready to operate.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: February 8th, 2006 01:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
it's me. one of these days I'll figure out why livejournal never keeps me logged in no matter what I do.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: February 9th, 2006 12:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee! Thanks for letting me know.

Of course, when we were growing up, people were only just beginning to learn what AIDS was, its dangers, and how it was transmitted.
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