Tachylawdy

“What’s wrong with her?”

“Nothing. She’s got the tachylawdys.”

“Geez. Take her to triage.”

***

‘Tachylawdy’ is a thing down here. Along with sick rags, but that’s a whole different post. Never have I seen tachylawdy present in a sick patient. Not once. The only times I have seen tachylawdy present in the field are:

  • anxiety
  • doesn’t want to be at work
  • [pick your male family member] is getting arrested
  • anxiety because of being at work
  • getting pulled over

I have never seen a patient present with the tachylawdys without the presence of other concerned family members. Nor have I ever seen a male patient present with the tachylawdys. I have, however, seen the tachylawdys present in female family members that were present while I was caring for another person, be it male or female.

Basically, you walk into a house and find a female, usually with the back of her hand on her forehead, always with her head turned away from you, eyes closed, not a damn thing wrong with her:

“Oh, lawdylawdylawdylawdylawdy…. OOOOOOOH, lawdylawdylawdylawdylawdylawdyheppmelawdylawdylawdy…”

***

Bradyjeezus now, is much, much more serious.

Brilliant!

“Medic 4, caller reports a male in his twenties possibly overdosed. PD is en route with you.”

An overdose at the drug-treatment center. This seems ironic.

“Medic 4, update. Caller reports patient is unconscious but breathing. Caller advises come to the intake area.”

“Medic 4 received. Radio, show us on scene.”

Slimm and I make it inside with our equipment, walking with local fireguys. Slimm is still incredulous that Marshawn Lynch didn’t get the ball on those last plays from the goal line.

The scene looks like something out of a sketch comedy: fifteen people running around like chickens with their heads cut off, while some guy is lying unconscious on the floor. There’s two women in the corner, on a floral sofa, crying softly. One appears matronly, and the other could pass for a sister or girlfriend.

“Hey, y’all. What’s going on?” even though it is pretty obvious.

“He came in for <gasp> treatment, but then <pant, pant>, he acted like he was really high, and <gasp> then he went unconscious.”

Fire dudes are taking care of the supine gentleman on the floor. They say something about him breathing 6 times a minute. I see them get a BVM out. The chickens start to run faster.

Slimm looks exasperated. Not about the Lynch thing any more, but the current situation. He turns to the ladies on the sofa; “Ma’am, any idea what he could have taken, or how long ago it might have been?”

His mother tells us between light sobs “He does heroin and oxycontin. He probably took some pills on the way here or something, I don’t know.”

Well this should be easy enough.

“Okay, no big deal. We’ll give him some medicine, make him breathe a little faster, and we’ll get him over to the hospital next door, okay?”

One of the chickens says she will go get their Narcan.

This can’t take long, right?

5 minutes later, she’s still not back. It looks like fire dude’s hand is cramping.

“Any idea where the lady is with that narcan?”

“Oh, she had to go across campus. And then she probably had to get the key from the director”

“You keep the narcan somewhere else?”

“Yeah, we don’t keep it here.”

“You don’t keep narcan in the intake area of a drug treatment center, and instead you keep it more than five minutes away, under lock and key?”

If we had known that, we would have simply left a long time ago. And here I am, trying to save my boss a little money.

They give cops that stuff now days, and I’ve seen addicts with it. But the one place most likely to see an overdose and need the drug, is the one that makes it the most difficult to get to.

“Ma’am, please…”

“Hi, ma’am. I’m C with the ambulance service. What’s going on today?”

“My baby need to be checked out.”

“The sleeping child right here in the car seat? We can certainly take care of that for-”

“No! Y’all need to take him to the hospital!

“Alright then, we can certainly do that for you-”

Now!

…and later on…

“Ma’am, please don’t feed your child in the back of the ambulance-”

“But he hongry!

“I understand that, but first, he is 2, and second, the hospital won’t want him to eat anything until the doctor sees him.”

“But he hongry! He gotta eat!”

“Yes, ma’am, but – what are you doing?”

“You won’t let him eat, I’m bout to give him some milk!”

“Ma’am, please don’t breastfeed your child in the back of my ambulance.”

 

Sigh.

Unconscionable

One of my coworkers caused the death of a patient. In layman’s terms, my coworker killed someone. There really isn’t much to discuss, or wiggle-room, or room for doubt.

That’s what happens when you act arrogant and talk a big game around veteran EMTs and Paramedics – your actions are scrutinized just a little bit more.

And it doesn’t help that my coworker doesn’t understand what she did wrong. She tries to defend it, when her actions scream negligence.

We’ve all seen the EKG. We’ve heard the report. We’ve heard the excuses. We know what happened.

A person is dead now because of the negligence of one of my coworkers. Sure, the patient may have died anyways, but my coworker assured that the patient would die.

And that lady still has a job.

And she won’t be fired.

Because she shows up to work on time.

I can’t respect management that allows that to happen.

I won’t respect management.

They are unconscionable.

Detective Doggy

An “83 year old female with back pain and can’t move.” Great. This sounds serous. At least the dispatcher didn’t say “new onset of immobility.”

That’s the catchphrase lately.

We arrive at the residence, a two-story attached townhouse in a nice area. The door is locked. The fire department meets us at the door, and refuses to allow me to kick in the door.

Something about a “hidden key.”

“But she could be dying in there!”

One day, they are going to let me kick in a door, I can just feel it.

So we find this lady, who, sure enough, is 83 years old. And, what do you know, she says her back hurts. And, if you can believe it, she says she can’t move. Dispatch is 3-for-3 on this one. She is laying in bed, with her dog standing next to her. I notice the dog has stairs to get up and down the bed.

I learn the dog is a Bichon Frise’. His name is Hercule. He looks like a fluffy soccer ball. The patient/lady/owner/doggymommy says she is a big fan of Agatha Christie. She thinks I won’t get the reference.

I do, but just don’t care.

“Ma’am, we are going to put our stretcher next to your bed, then we will lift you and move you.”

“Okay. Is someone going to take my dog?”

“We will put him in your bathroom while we move you over, then we can let him out once we get you in the ambulance.”

“No, he needs to go with me.”

“Ma’am, he can’t go with you.”

“But he has separation anxiety.”

I cannot believe that I am actually hearing this shit. My eyes roll so far in the back of my head, I can see my senior prom. Slimm is dumbfounded. The fire guys are scratching their heads.

“He has separation anxiety?”

“Yes. It’s very bad.” She looks at Mr. Poirot, and kind of whispers to us “He probably needs…medication.

“Ma’am, we can’t take the dog.”

“But you have to.”

“Is he a service dog?”

“A what?”

“A service dog. Is he trained to help you with some sort of disability?”

“No, he’s like my son.”

“He’s not coming to the hospital with us.”

“Then I’m not going either.”

Sigh. “But you said you can’t move.”

“I’ll call my daughter, and she will come take Hercule, and then I will call 911 again.”

Sigh. “Sign here.”

Guilt trip

“You two work so nicely together.” says the dowager octogenarian, looking at Slimm. “It is nice to see two handsome young men who care so much about other people.”

“Thanks, ma’am. We’ve been together for quite a while now.”

“Oh? How long have you two been working together?” she asks.

“Going on four years now, ma’am.”

“Oh, that is delightful. You make a great team.”

“Thank you for your kind words. C and I are actually brothers, and partners.”

“I bet it can seem like you are brothers, working together for so long.”

“No. We are actually brothers.”

“But, but…you’re black” she whispers, furtively glancing around. “and, and…he’s white.”

“Yeah, well, C is adopted.”

Subpoena

So I was served with a subpoena. Or should I say, I wasn’t served with a subpoena. I received an email from some lady I see for three minutes once a year. I don’t know what her job is, or why she works at our company.

Maybe her job is to send out emails about subpoenas.

The email is an obvious form email. How often could EMTs and Paramedics at our company get subpoenaed that we would need a form email to notify employees?

The email says that my supervisor has the original subpoena. You guys know what is going to happen next, right? You got it.

My supervisor has no idea what I’m talking about.

The email says if I am scheduled to work that day, I can use PTO. If I’m not scheduled to work that day, I don’t get paid. Of course, I wouldn’t expect my employer to pay me if I wasn’t on duty. But I expect my employer to pay me when they require me to wear my uniform. Which the email says I must.

I would prefer not to wear my uniform, especially since I have the perfect suit and tie to wear for a court appearance. If it was summer, there might be a Matlock appearance. But no seersucker yet.

I haven’t decided if I’ll be showing up for court yet, but I have decided I won’t be in uniform.

Unless someone wants to pay me.

Conundrum

“Hey, C, it is time for your annual training and stuff. These are the days you have to come in for your TB test, mask fitting, and the safety course evaluation. It should take about two hours total”

“Hmm. I work this day, this day, and that day. Can I do it when I get off work?”

“What about this day here and these two days over here?”

“I’m off those days.”

“But can’t you come in?”

“Probably not.”

“Okay, we’ll come back to that in a minute, but I think you are going to have to come in on one of your off days. We assigned you some courses online that you need to complete, too. It should take about three hours.”

“But didn’t IT just disable the Internet on the Toughbooks?”

“Yeah, you’ll have to do it at home.”

“On my off time? How am I going to get paid for that? Do I need to fill out a time exception sheet or something for HR?”

“No, you have to complete it on your own time. We can’t pay you for it.”

“So you are going to require my attendance here on my off day, and require me to do three hours of work, but aren’t going to pay me for either? I’m going to give you 5 hours of my off day, and not get compensated?”

 

And I’m the only one who sees a problem here?

Look here, Miss Bubbly

I get it. Your bubbly personality is part of your ‘shtick.’ Everyone understands, you were a housewife, but your husband was a meany-head, and you divorced him, and had to get a job, and for some reason chose EMS. Whatever.

And you like to make cute little jokes, thinking your personality will make up for your lack of experience or real-world knowledge. But they don’t.

Making jokes and trying to be all cutesy is just fine and dandy, at the appropriate times. But that time is not in the middle of a patient’s home while they are having a myocardial infarction. I needed a hand with vitals, IV, and meds, but you had to go pet Sadie instead.

Oh, you didn’t realize that’s what was happening?

Maybe you could shut your mouth and open your eyes. Pay attention. Look at the patient. Hell, I don’t know, maybe you could follow the cues of your paramedic partner, and the fire department medic. Our combined experience may not be exactly as many years as you are old, but we know what we are doing.

But at least the dog was happy, right?

Rocket science

“I don’t really know what’s going on. They are all speaking some sort of foreign language, but I don’t know what it is.”

“It’s probably French.”

“Oh, you speak French?”

“No.”

“Then how do you know they are speaking French?”

“Well, that guy over there is wearing a Koivu jersey, the lady standing next to him has a sweatshirt that says “Montreal” on it, the car has a Haitian flag license plate on the front, and they are black. Five bucks says they are Haitians, and Haitians speak either French or Creole.”

“Uhhhh… Well, we still can’t talk to her. Nobody here speaks French.”

“Excuse me, ma’am? Bonjour. Parlez-vous anglais?”

“Yes, yes, of course.”