“FEM/22YO/BLEEDING FROM MOUTH” says the MDT.
We arrive on scene to find a pleasant looking female, approximately the age stated on our mobile dispatch terminal thingie. We don’t notice any obvious trauma or distress, but we haven’t made it to the apartment door yet.
Slimm takes point.
“Good morning, ma’am. What seems to be the problem today?” he asks.
“I’ve got this thing on my mouth and it burns.”
And then we see it.
A cold sore.
“I bet that burns and hurts. How long have you had it there?”
“I woke up with it this morning.” (and decided that a call to 911 was in order, apparently…)
“Have you tried putting anything on it?” Slimm asks, knowing full well the answer will be a resounding ‘duh, of course not.’
“I don’t know what it is! Shouldn’t I see a doctor or something?!”
“Well, ma’am,” Slimm replies, being the consumate professional that he is “it appears to be a cold sore. There are lots of treatment options at the pharmacy.”
“What is a ‘cold sore’?”
“It is a type of herpes infection. They are pretty common, actually. They usually go away in a few days, but they can come back at any time really.”
Sometime in the past few days, Slimm has become a dermatologist.
“I HAVE HERPES?! ON MY FACE!?”
“It really isn’t that big of a deal. Most people get them…”
We are sliding quickly down the slope towards an anxiety attack.
“Am I, like, contagious?”
“Well, yes ma’am. If you share utensils, or drinking glasses or straws, or kiss, or have oral sex, you can pass the virus to the other person.”
A gasp audible from ten yards escapes her mouth.
“I need to make some phone calls…”
We make our way back to our ambulance and climb in. Slimm turns to me. “I wonder who she is going to call?”