The tipping point that led me to HCRI occurred on Christmas Eve 1992 when my ambulance crew was dispatched to a residence for a gentleman in cardiac arrest.
We arrived on scene and immediately began advanced resuscitative measures. Since our location was perfectly situated between three hospitals, I asked the distraught spouse to which hospital she would like her husband transported. She looked at me in disbelief, having not processed the gravity of the situation, and asked why her husband must go to a hospital.
Behind me the team was simultaneously shocking the patient and preparing to intubate him. There was equipment everywhere, flashing lights shining in the window, a stretcher being clumsily dropped to floor level, and syringe wrappers scattered about.
I attempted to explain that her husband needed continued treatment in an emergency room setting, but when I tried to talk no words came out.
In this moment of extreme crisis I couldn’t speak. So I did the only thing I could think of in that situation. I stepped to the side and made a “ta-daaa…” motion with my hands at the scene behind me. (I pray this woman has forgiven me.)
Right then and there I knew I could not wait any longer. I had to do something about my stuttering. I contacted HCRI and went through the stuttering therapy program. I can now communicate effectively and speak fluently. I am so grateful to the people at HCRI.
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing