Here's a rundown of the last time Friday the 13th came knocking. I kept a running log for the thirty-four hour shift…
0710 hrs. Ten minutes in, patient # 1, forty eight year old female struck by tractor-trailer while exiting Rt. 95. As an added bonus, pt's vehicle struck again by different tractor- trailer minutes after original accident. Board and collar applied, transported to ER with minor injuries…
0835 hrs. While doing housework discovered dozens of Saugy Hotdogs in refrigerator. Three #10 cans of B&M Baked Beans nearby. Six people on shift. Captain Healey must have gone shopping…
0850 hrs. 20 y/o male possibly on drugs, mother called 911 for an evaluation. Respond to find 20 y/o male sitting outside, mother inside with police, son has been stealing money from mom, she wants to throw him out, he told her he is addicted to crack but he told us he really isn't, but needs to go to ER so he can stay. Transported for psych eval.
0930 hrs. Firehouse bathroom cleaned and restocked. The Captain of the house, the nefarious Captain Healey mandated that the station bathroom's cleanliness is the responsibility of the rescue officer. Keeps us humble, I suppose. Rescue 1 is the last rescue in service, won't be here for long.
1123 hrs. Dispatched for nature unknown on Cactus Street. An elderly couple meets us at the door. Neither looks particularly sick, or particularly well for that matter. We walk to the rescue to find both are requesting transport to the ER for evaluations following a month of malaise. Neither speaks English, however, the entire alphabet was used in the spelling of their names, which takes a long time to get out of them. Utilizing my Sesame Street Spanish for EMT's and the latest gadgetry provided I learn that the male is hyperglycemic. The female is hypertensive and aching all over. We transport both a mile to the ER. They were actually quite nice.
1220 hrs. Unusually slow morning. Hmmm… Had time to read this editorial and subsequent commentary, and offer my two cents, not a good idea but I sometimes can't help myself. I get a little tired of the "union hack, greedy pig" thing and sometimes fire back, which does little more than give them justification to keep on attacking. But it felt good for a little while.
"We live in a world that provides ambulances to people disabled because of drug addiction and alcoholism, take them to the methadone clinic in that ambulance, give them their "dose" take them back to their state subsidized housing, where they shop for food with their state EBT card and spend their government checks however they choose, after contributing nothing to society, financially or otherwise, yet the comments here attack people who have put twenty-thirty-forty years of their earnings into a pension fund and expect that that pension be viable.
Punish the workers, reward the slackers and keep your heads in the sand. Bunch of morons."
That'll show em! Show 'em that I'm a moron too for participating in a comments section of any newspaper.
1337 hrs. Intoxicated male on Elmwood Avenue. Our old friend Will-I-Am sleeping on the sidewalk. He's fifty, homeless and beyond rehab. Twice he has bee run over by a city bus, numerous times drunk himself into an intubated state in a trauma room. Not too bad today, hasn't pissed or shit himself yet. Only the fiftieth time this year for old will, but summer has just begun.
It's old home day at the ER, six homeless alcoholics have taken over the triage area, four brought in by Providence rescues, two from other towns. They all know one another. I hate bringing them in in the afternoon, they will be released at around eight tonite and we'll bring them back in around eleven.
1553 hrs. Engine 13 and rescue 1 respond to local University for a female having a seizure. Arrive two minutes later to find "seizing" student in nurse's office, alert and oriented and refusing treatment from school nurse who called 911 to obtain a refusal. Patient assessed, nurse addressed, rescue 1 back in service.
1631 hrs. Respond to a group home for a male unresponsive. Find Fred. I've known him for twenty years, first as a homeless heroin addict who could not or would not take care of himself, most recently as a disabled former addict living in a group home, sober for ten years, drug free most of that time. He wasn't exactly productive, but he stopped being a drain on society, at least less of a drain anyway. He died peacefully in his recliner sometime last night, I declared him dead at 1635 hrs.
1715 hrs. I'm at Rescue 4, Washington Street, Downtown. As I left Rescue 1, a call came in for an unresponsive female at the Steere House. http://www.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2007-07-26-foreboding-feline_N.htm I won't get to see Oscar but I have a one body per hour limit. It's in the contract.
1839 hrs. Seventy year old female unresponsive in theater bathroom. Carried stretcher upstairs empty, downstairs full, pt. received two IV's 12 lead ekg, oxygen, narcan, glucose test and a quick ride to the ER before she regained consciousness. Her BG was normal, but an insulin syringe was found next to her in the bathroom. Narcan? Hmm. she's seventy now, would have been twenty fifty years ago, that would be 1961, thirty in 1971, anything is possible, the sixties were a strange time!
1950 hrs. Fifty year old female delusional, suicidal and psychotic. Not taking meds. Spanish speaking. She held it together all the way to the ER where she will get a psych evaluation and hopefully some help. I found out later what she was saying on the way to the hospital. She kept pointing out the rear windows and repeating herself. "Get me the knife!" I need to learn more Spanish.
2110 hrs. Intoxicated female in cemetery. I haven't seen her in a few years, looks like she is having a relapse, becoming a regular, again.
2230 hrs. 16 Year old female, riding on friends shoulders falls backward striking her head on sidewalk, unknown loc, possibly intoxicated. Board and collar applied, iv established, vomit control initiated and transported to trauma center. A fall from approx. seven feet onto concrete has potential to be quite serious.
2350 hrs. 39 year old male beaten senseless by three "sissyboys" who punched and broke bottles over his head. Judging from his intoxicated belligerent demeanor in the rescue the end result was no surprise.
0122 hrs. Hand injury downtown. Police officer broke his finger during apprehension operations
0215 hrs. Twenty five year old lost an eye when somebody threw a bottle at him during a fight. Maybe it's me, but I don't see much fun at the clubs these days, a lot of posing, drama and drunk people. "It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye." Someone did, a twenty-five year old kid out with friends, scarred for life. I used to think it would be cool to have a battle wound to show what a tough guy I am, something jagged and ugly, something to give me character and an air of danger. Thankfully it never happened, because that kind of thinking only comes from somebody who isn't scarred, and doesn't have to look at it every day. Those who live with the evidence of a twist of fate, or a bad decision can never go back to their former selves.
I got back to the station around four, opened my eyes and it was seven. A miracle, every rescue in the city was out, it's like a dome of tranquility descended over Rescue Four's district for a few hours. I'm back at Rescue 1, the aforementioned nefarious Captain Healey has some power tools out and is waiting on the apparatus floor for me to rehab an old cabinet;sanding, puttying and painting. He's going to have a long wait.
More runs to follow if I haven't bored you to death yet.
0800 hrs. My relief came late from Rescue 5, during my travel time back to Rescue 1 from Rescue 4 (i know, I can't keep up) and subsequent de-con, a seizure victim, who we met yesterday at the local college, a student with lacerated hand, also from the local tax exempt college, and an elderly lady who fell called 911 for assistance. The other Rescue crews came into my district. Rescue 1 is overdue…
0930 hrs. Saturday in the firehouse means two things. 1. Scrub out. 2. Hot dogs and beans. Part 1., Scrub-out. All apparatus moved outside, apparatus floor swept, hosed down, scrubbed with brushes and Spick&Span, rinsed with the booster line from Engine 13 and squeegee'd until dry. Part 2. Franks and Beans.
Three dozen Saugy hot dogs
1 pound of bacon
1 gallon vegetable oil
2 pounds salted butter
Three # 10 cans of B&M Baked beans
Three dozen Snowflake rolls
Boil two gallons of water. While water is boiling pour gallon of oul into large pot, heat to nearly on fire. Add onion. Top with bacon until pan overflows with boiling fat and oil. Fill with baked beans. Drop Saugy hot dogs into boiling water. Using ladle, skim bacon grease, vegetable oil and a pound of butter and drop it into hot dog pan. Cook until hot dogs split. Slather another pound of butter onto Snowflake rolls and eat them while hot dogs cook. Serve hot and wait for the heart attack.
1052 hrs. A suicidal female is allegedly locked in her house, heavilly secured. Arrive on scene with Providence Police and an engine company. All eyes on me. The friend says she is definately inside, not answering the door, told her she is suicidal and has a history of prescription pill abuse and slicing her wrists. Landlord contacted, he is five minutes away. The police officer is trying to talk the lady out of her hysteria, I decide to force the door. I've seen one too many swinging bodies in closets to worry about lawsuits for unlawful entry. One of the guys lifts the hinges from an interior door, we enter and find the apartment vacant. minimal damage was done to the door. I honestly don't know what the law says about this situation, but my internal law is at peace.
1257 hrs. Call for a woman feeling depressed. Arrive on scene to find a large man sitting on front steps of a run down house in a run down neighborhood. A lady stands behind him, tentative.
"It's for her," says Jabba the Hut, throwing his thumb behind his right ear as the flubber from his arm jiggles under his dirty t-shirt.
She walks zombie-like past him, toward us.
"You got something to say to me girl?" says the monster, angry, piercing eyes nearly hidden by the rolls of fat on his face.
"I'm sorry," she says, and continues her slow, trance-like walk toward the rescue.
"You better be."
A staring match between me and the tormentor ends quickly. No need escalating things.
"What was that all about?" I ask my patient once we get into the safety of the rescue.
"He's mad because I'm leaving him alone. I clean for him, make him breakfast and take care of him, he says he can't walk, but he manages to get to the breakfast table just fine!"
A tear begins to form, filling her eye, first one, then the other. As it takes shape and spills down her cheek rage builds inside of me. Yesterday I sat with a man I've known for twenty years as his lifeless body sat still on the chair he died on, gravity pulling his useless blood toward the surface of the chair and watched it mottle there and felt nothing. Last night I wrapped a bandage around a young man's head, covering the socket where once a bright blue eye looked out at the world around him and now was a dark, empty pool of blood and felt nothing but the need to act. Today, a seemingly simple tear pulled me apart, and brought a primative urge to protect this woman, and get her away from her situation, and show her that a woman needs not be treated like an object, but did nothing. There was nothing I could do, but lend a sympathetic ear and bring her to the ER for a psych eval. She's been hearing voices.
"You're suffering with schitzophrenia," I told her. "You need somebody who understands, and can help you, not expect you to take care of him."
She sat and cried, and listened to the voices in her head.
You never know which call will get you.
1430 hrs. Sixty-two year old male with difficulty breathing. Upon arrival find patient in obvious distress, Spanish speaking, AYE AYE AYE the only words I can understand. EKG shows rapid a-fib. Some 02 and IV enroute during the two minute transport, pt delivered to treatment room, given Versed and cardioverted at 50 joules with a sucessful outcome.
1525 hrs. Eighteen year old male with abdominal pain. I have no idea but I took him to the ER anyway. 120/70, hr 65 spo2 100% no vomiting, just a little pain in the middle of his tummy.
1637 hrs. This party might just end mercifully! I might do this every weekend, good luck came with my little Blog Log, this was the quietest thirty-four I've had in years. I've got about an hour to go, fingers crossed. prayers to the rescue gods and saline solution thrown over my shoulder! Let's go home…
1638 hrs. So I taunted the rescue gods and lost. I kind of did it on purpose just to see if I could get away with it. I didn't. Intoxicated male deep in the Providence Forest. He's a good guy, polite, cooperative and down on his luck I don't see that luck changing any time soon, but I've also seen a few miracles during this strange trip I call a career in EMS. Relief is in, I'm out!
Thanks for reading.