“Rescue 1, Respond to 54 Chair Street for a fifty year old male who fell down a flight of stairs.”
I fumble for the radio, find the key and press.
“Rescue 1, responding.”
In the five minutes it takes to arrive on scene blood flow has resumed, hopefully erasing the crease on my face. I open the door of the rescue, step onto the ground, feel pain shoot up my legs, pooling around the knees for a minute before landing full force in my back. The man is on the second floor, laying on a couch. I slowly climb the stairs, get to the landing and rest. When I catch my breath I walk toward him. We do a visual assessment.
“You look terrible!”
“Where is the pain?”
“Mostly my back but it’s all over, really.”
“Do you have any pain meds?”
“I think my doctor is addicted. If she gives me any there won’t be enough for her.”
“You need some help, can you get back down the stairs?”
“I think so.”
“Come on, I’ll help you.”
He helps me. We slowly make our way back down the stairs and into the rescue. The guy who fell down the stairs helps me in. When the rescuers are in worse shape than the rescuees, it’s time.
“You need a vacation,” he says. “Maybe you should take the stretcher.”