Picky

“Ma’am, do you think you could sign my computer for me?”

“I guess so. What am I signing?”

“The disclaimer is right here on the screen. When you finish reading and accept it, you can hit ‘OK’ and it will take you to the signature screen. This allows us to release your information to the hospital and insurance companies.”

“Oh, so standard stuff?”

“Exactly. Standard stuff. These nurses are going to have you sign the same thing for them.”

“There seems to be a problem, though.”

“Oh yeah? What’s that?”

“This isn’t my name. My last name only has one ‘e’ in it.”

“Yes, ma’am, I know. I added the ‘e’ in there for the pronunciation.”

“But that isn’t how my name is spelled.”

“If I don’t spell it that way, then people will pronounce it wrong.”

“But my last name has an umlaut over the ‘u’.”

“Yes, I’m aware, but my keyboard can’t do umlauts.”

“But that isn’t my name. My name has an umlaut and only one ‘e’. I’m not signing this until you spell my name the right way.”

 

Sigh.

My partner the bigot

Slimm and I are trying to take care of a gentleman who is a guest of the County in their local Adult Detention Facility. He’s been vomiting, has a little bit of a fever, and describes a very sharp pain that started over his right kidney, then has slowly started moving down lower in his abdomen.

So he has a kidney stone.

I’m feeling generous, so I’m planning on hooking him up with some Fentanyl and Zofran. I like giving people narcotics, especially if I think they might need some, they aren’t a jackass, and they don’t beg for narcs.

Slimm is getting an IV.

Owww, man! That hurts!” He of course yells this out just as Slimm gets flash, and jerks his arm back at the same time, blowing the IV attempt.

Come on, man, it doesn’t hurt that much, and now I have to do it again.”

He gets everything ready again after putting a 4×4 over the previous puncture.

Now don’t jerk this time, man. I need to get this IV so we can give you some pain meds.”

Whatever, man.”

Big stick on three. One, two, thr-”

AWWDAMN! SONOFABITCH! MAN! That HURTS!”

Come on, man, it doesn’t hurt that bad.”

Shit, man, yeah it does.”

Okay.”

Man, you’re just trying to hurt me because I’m black.”

You dumb bastard. I’M BLACK TOO, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!”

No narcs for this guy. Works for me. Less documentation, anyways.

Rhetorical

A “person shaking and cold after having an ultrasound” according to the dispatcher and the MDT

We are going by ourselves, and a quick glance at the directions tells me it might be a 15-minute ride. Just enough time to set my fantasy lineup for the weekend.

How do we know which house it is, if we are having trouble locating? That’s right, it’s the one with all the cars in the driveway.

Four cars this time.

Sure enough, some lady is sitting on a couch, shaking. She complains of being cold, and thinks this is some sort of a reaction to the ultrasound she had earlier.

I have already checked out, but we load the nice lady up anyways, and do a full workup.

Her pressure is better than mine, 12-lead is a sinus rhythm in the sixties, blood sugar is around 100, she’s afebrile, blah, blah, blah.

So we head on over to the hospital with, you guessed it, a guy following us in his car. He’s playing it tight, too. Less than one car length behind us, and he even has his flashers on.

Instead of brood over how stupid people are, I try to decide between starting Antonio Brown or Dez Bryant in my flex spot.

Before we can get this lady out of the ambulance, the follower is all up in Slimm’s face.

“What took you so long to get to the hospital?!”

“Nothing? It took about ten minutes.”

“Why didn’t you go emergency? Use the lights and the siren?”

“Because it wasn’t necessary? Because your wife’s vital signs are all just fine.”

“Hell, I could have brought her here in less time!”

“Okay…”

“Why the hell did I call an ambulance if I could have taken her to the hospital just the same?!”

“…uhh…”

Gotta love it when they answer their own questions.

Not even close

We’re posting. We have a new hire, and Slimm is in the back. From the sounds of it, he is in deep slumber. I’m pecking away on my computer.

“What are you doing over there?”

“Just writing.”

“Oh. What do you write?”

“I have a blog. I’m just writing some posts out.”

“Oh, you have a blog?”

“Yeah.”

“Where’s your blog?”

“It’s anonymous. I don’t put my name on it.”

“Oh. So, like, you write stories about EMS and stuff?”

This chick is brilliant. “Yeah, something like that.”

“Like, ohmygod! Are you Burned-Out Medic?!”

“Ha! Not even close.”

“OOOOH, I BET YOU ARE.”

I don’t think my mom even reads my blog. Heck, I don’t think my mom even knows that I have a blog.

Yonder

Yesterday, I wrote about how Slimm and I were discussing the definition of ‘yonder’ while on the way to a call to pick up a bossy lady.

Seriously, that’s what we do.

We suggest that everyone eschew the common, accepted definition of yonder, which can be found at dictionary.com. While it may be used to describe some “place, more or less distant; over there,” we propose a new definition:

yonder

[yon-der]

adjective

1. further than you can throw, but not too far to walk

“I’m going to head over yonder to pee. Holler if we get a call.”

Now you know.

Bossy

A lady fell in her home and hurt her hip. At least according to the MDT. Slimm and I debate the definition of ‘yonder’ on the way to her house.

We are met outside of a palatial townhouse but one of the fire gals. She is standing next to the truck with the bags and clipboard.

When one of the grunts has the clipboard, you know it is some serious bullshit.

“This lady fell ten days ago.”

“For real?”

“Yeah. Anyways…so she fell ten days ago, and went to the hospital. They said there was nothing wrong with her, and sent her home. Now she is in there demanding to go back to the hospital.”

“Whatever.”

After five minutes of moving this lady around and getting her outside her home, and onto the stretcher, then locking all the locks on the door, then getting her loaded into the ambulance, then hiding the key back under the statue of the cherub by the front door, we finally have her loaded into the ambulance, and I’m covered in sweat.

The South sucks in summer time.

“I want some water.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am, we don’t have any water in the ambulance.”

“Well, go back inside and get me a bottle out of the fridge.”

Now, normally, I am not opposed to giving patients water. Especially when I’m pretty sure there is nothing wrong with them, but one thing I am not is an errand boy.

“Ma’am, we aren’t going back inside your house to get a bottle of water. You will have to talk to the doctor when we get to the hospital.”

“Why aren’t we moving yet? Why is it taking so long to get to the hospital?”

“Because we just got you loaded into the ambulance, and then we were discussing your water request.”

“Well, if you aren’t going to get me any water, at least take me to the hospital.”

Later:

“I want you to call my doctor.”

“You can go ahead and call him if you would like.”

“I don’t have a phone, so you need to call him.”

“That is interesting. I don’t have a phone either.”

“I want them to put me on the fourth floor of the hospital.”

“That will be up to the doctors at the hospital.”

“No, that will be up to me.”

Just a few minutes later, after I call the hospital on the radio (since I don’t have a phone):

“Ma’am, the hospital says they are on diversion, and it might take a while for them to find a bed for you in the Emergency Room.”

“I don’t want to go to the Emergency Room, I want to go to the fourth floor!”

“But you have to go through the Emergency Room.”

“Take me home.”

We are literally almost there. I can smell the antiseptic, and see the hospital through the front. “What do you mean, ‘take you home’?”

“I don’t want to wait. I want to go right to a room.”

“What are you going to do when you get home?”

“I’m going to call 911 and have someone take me to the hospital.”

“Ma’am, the people that show up when you call 911 are myself and my handsome partner up front. That would just be a huge waste of everyone’s time.”

Thankfully, Slimm has been ignoring this lady, and has pulled up onto the ramp already. But she is still at it:

“I want you to call my son.”

“Ma’am, I will make sure to get you a phone when we get inside.”

“I don’t know his number!”

“Okay, I’m sure that you can call Directory Assistance, and they will help you find his phone number in this city of several million people.”

We wheel her inside and put her against the wall while we wait for a room assignment. The charge nurse looks over my shoulder and sighs.

“Oh crap. This bitch again?”

“So you’re familiar.”

“I took care of her like, last week. Wouldn’t quit bossing people around.”

“Sounds about right.”

“Put her in triage.”

“She is going to raise a big stink.”

“I don’t care. You need me to sign something?”

Breakup at the blaze

We are headed to a house fire. We can see the column of smoke from pretty far away, and there are lots and lots of big red trucks with flashing lights and lots of noise.

One of the guys in the heavy coats with the reflective stripes directs me to the front of an engine, where there’s a man sitting on the bumper. He has a prosthetic leg, and a bunch of soot on his face. Quite the interesting combination.

We can clearly see what used to be a mustache on his face, and the curly remnants of his singed eyebrows.

We already tried to get this guy to go to the hospital, but he just won’t listen to us.” says one of the fire guys.

Hey, sir, you really need to go to the hospital” says Slimm.

He wasn’t persuasive enough.

Right about that time, someone who looks like they are with the Red Cross walks up to our patient. I guess she is with the Red Cross by the words “American Red Cross” embroidered on her red shirt.

I’m telling you, I should be a detective. I’m good at this stuff.

Sir, we have a place for you and your wife to stay all set up. Do you want me to call anyone for you? Any family? Friends?”

Hell naw, I ain’t go nobody to call. And I only need a place for myself.”

Well, we have a place where both of you can stay.”

I ain’t stayin nowheres with that lady!”

The Red Cross lady looks confused. “You mean your wife?”

Hell, she might as well by my EX-WIFE NOW!”

Uhhh…”

Bitch burned my HOUSE DOWN!” he yells at no one and everyone at the same time. “I told her ’bout SMOKING ON OXYGEN!” Then he makes eye contact with a distraught appearing woman a little ways down the road.

We are DONE, LADY! I’m getting’ a DIVORCE!”

Slimm looks at me with obvious discomfiture, then turns to the new bachelor.

Sir, if you don’t want to go to the hospital, could you sign this computer for us?”

Overtime sucks

I never pick up overtime shifts. Except when I do.

Now I’m stuck in this ambulance sitting in the parking lot of some hospital in an unfamiliar county, waiting on some little old lady to finish with her lunch so we can take her back to her nursing home. With a guy that has a strange, slightly unpleasant odor, and a penchant for telling war stories. I just want to take a nap, and this guy is trying to tell me about a bus crash on the side of a mountain during the first Bush administration.

Some war stories are cool. But not this guy’s war stories.

My employer is paying me time-and-a-half for this shift. And that still isn’t enough.

Estoy aprendiendo español

Slimm is out again today. Sometimes, I think that guy calls out just because he doesn’t like me. He gave me some lame excuse about his daughter getting her tonsils removed.

Whatever.

My partner today seems to be a nice guy. He obviously showered, doesn’t make me listen to country music, and leaves me alone while I’m reading.

We get a call for a “person down at a bus stop.” No doubt called in by some hero roaming the streets of our county, saving victims from themselves with phone calls. We never get to meet this hero, likely because he or she is always off in a rush to save the next poor soul, and can’t stick around the scene.

It’s a drunk guy laying on a bench at the bus stop. He is obviously Hispanic, or a really tan Texan with a penchant for western wear. He’s awake, but groggy. I think ‘somnolent’ is the correct medical term.

“Hi.”

“Ayyyyyy”

“Hola. Cómo estás?”

“Estoy bien.”

“¿Habla usted Inglés?”

“Eh, pero un poco. “

“Mi español no es muy bueno, pero lo intento.”

“Suena bien.”

¿Estás bien? ¿Tiene dolor en alguna parte?

“No. No tengo dolor.”

“¿Está usted enfermo?”

“No, cansado.”

“¿Cansado?”

“Sí.”

“¿Borracho?”

“Sí. Muy borracho.”

“¿Beber toda la noche?”

“Toda la noche. Muchas bebidas.”

“¿Cerveza? ¿Vino? ¿Tequila?”

“Sí.”

“¿Cuál tomaste?”

¡Todos ellos!”

“¿Quieres ir a un hospital?”

“¿Por qué?”

“Mi jefe me pregunto.”

“Su jefe suena estúpido.”

“Buenes noches.”

I look at my partner and the fire guys. “Alright, let’s pack it up. I think we are done here.”

“What the hell just happened?

“He says he is just tired because he is absolutely wasted, then he called our boss stupid.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. He doesn’t want to go to a hospital, either.”

“He called our boss stupid?”

“Yep.”

“Smart guy.”

My policy trumps your policy

Today we pick up where we left off with our previous call.

To recap; some chick doesn’t want to be at school, so she either a) is having a panic attack because she forgot her homework, or, b) just wants to go home. The fireputterouters have no idea that nothing is actually wrong with the patient, because instead of performing an assessment, they went straight for the IV attempt.

And blew up both of her ACs in the process. With 22 gauge catheters.

Seriously, a 22 in the AC? Knock it off, guys.

Slimm and I fixed the flag, and we are walking out of the classroom, ostensibly in a hurry to take care of our critical patient.

Some guy approaches. This guy looks official. He has grey hair and a lanyard, AND a whistle.

“This is Missus Whatsherface. She is going to ride with you.”

“She will have to follow us down to the hospital, we can’t take riders.”

“Well, it is the school policy that a staff member accompanies any student.”

“Okay. She can accompany the student at the hospital. Slimm and I will accompany her in the ambulance.”

Now, mind you, I’m not really against people riding in the ambulance with patients. Frankly, I don’t care. Except in cases like this. First, this guy is being a mega-douche, and second, we don’t take riders in the ambulance with fakers/anxiety attacks. We give them quiet rides, with vital signs monitored. And third, I don’t like the cut of this guy’s jib.

“Umm, one of our staff members has to ride in the ambulance with her. It is our policy.

“I am terribly sorry, but it is the policy of the ambulance service that will be transporting her that only immediate family members ride in the ambulance with any patient, and that is at the discretion of the ambulance crew.”

She followed in her car. With her flashers on the whole way. Later, I find out that Lanyardman called and complained. And lo and behold, my supervisor stood up for me.  “Yes, sir, I understand, but the paramedic made the right decision, and followed our company policy.”

Maybe the third time that has ever happened.