9 out of 10

“It’s no big deal,” she said, “just a little pain in the middle of my chest.”

“How much pain, scale of 1-10?”


“That can be a big deal.”

“I didn’t want to bother you boys.”

“Trust me, you are no bother. If you wait to call for two days again, then I’ll be bothered.”

We did some preliminary vital signs and an EKG. BP 152-130, Sinus tach with left ventricular hypertrophy, SP02 97%, BG 337.

The deal was getting bigger.

“What kind of medical problems have you had in the past?”

“Oh, just the usual, high blood pressure, diabetes, and oh, I had a heart problem last year, something to do with my aorta.”

Great. Now we have a bona-fide BIG DEAL.

“Be gentle,” I said to Brian.

“Don’t be silly, I can walk,” she said.

“I’d rather you didn’t.”

I found out that last year she had an aortic dissection, which is basically a tear in the aortic wall that increases blood pressure and is often fatal.


We got her into the stretcher and out of her home. Then we got her into the hospital, and right to the front of the line.

“Thank you, boys, for making such a big fuss.”

I often wonder why it is that the people who need us the most call us the least.

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