There's three rescues from surrounding communities here already, the phone is ringing off the hook, people needing rides, having emergencies, looking for comfort and dying, it matters not, they call, we respond. There is no triage system in Providence, we send the resources available when the call comes in. At times, our resources are so depleted there is a twenty minute wait or more for help to arrive for a Basic Life Support call.
Margaret is one of those unfortunates who has waited for her 911 servants to respond. She has had flu-like symptoms for two days now, runny nose, cough and a mild fever, and doesn't want to bother her children who live a few miles away with her problems, so she calls us.
"What took so long?" she asks as soon as we enter her apartment.
"It's Friday afternoon, a lot of people call, not a lot of people to respond."
"Unbelievable," she says, and begins to gather her things.
"I need my coat, it's in the bedroom closet. And turn off the TV while you're in there!"
Ten minutes pass as she takes her medications, writes a note, turns off her lights and finally decides it's time to go.
"Right outside the door." I'm too tired, and been through this too many times.
"Can you wheel it in?"
"We'll help you."
We get her onto the stretcher, wheel her through the corridor, the Housecoat Brigade peeks out of their doors as the parade moves past. Once into the rescue, she sits up, peers around like a meercat and makes an announcement:
"I'm going to have a bowel movement."
The hospital is five minutes away. Bedpans are not on our inventory list.
Nothing like a little old lady to brighten the day.