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.”


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.


“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?”


“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.”


“Hi, this is C with Local Ambulance, I have a patient report I’d like to call in.”

“We are on diversion.”

“Yeah, I know. I tried to tell my patient that, but she insisted on coming to your hospital.”

“But we are on diversion.”

“I understand, but my patient wants to be seen there, so we are bringing her in. Would you like a report?”

“I don’t think you heard me. We are on diversion. You can’t bring her here.”

“Okay then. No problem. I’ll just need the name of the physician refusing to accept my patient.”


(and later on…)

“We don’t have any beds. You’ll have to wait there by the wall.”

“Okay, sure thing.”

The ER is virtually empty. The tracking board says they have five patients and more than twenty available rooms. It’s 6:45 on a Sunday morning. I spot two nurses playing checkers and drinking coffee.

Seriously, checkers.

“Hey, C, the bed in 6 is empty.” Slimm tells me after about 15 minutes of waiting and being ignored.

“Sweet. Let’s do it.”

(and later on, after being ignored for a few more minutes, and moving the patient to the empty bed in the empty ER…)

“Excuse me, would you happen to know who the nurse is for room 6?”

“We don’t have a patient in room 6.”

“Yes, you do. If you’ll look right over my shoulder, you’ll see a patient in the bed in room 6.”

“Where did that patient come from?”

“My stretcher.”

“You can’t do that!”

“Sure I can.”

“I’m getting the charge nurse!”

(charge nurse appears, obviously upset that her game of checkers was interrupted…)

“I told you we were on diversion.”

“But you hung up on me before I could get the name of the doctor refusing to see the patient.”

“But we are on diversion. I’m not accepting your patient.”

“It’s a little late for that.”

“No, it isn’t. You had better put that patient back on your stretcher and leave!”

“I can’t do that.. That’s against the law. Sign here, please.”


“Okay. Thanks. Bye.”

Overheard in the EMS room

Two guys, who work for the same company, but not Local Ambulance:

“You know, I’m thinking of getting out this business.”

“Yeah, me too.”

“No, man, I’m serious.”

“Yeah, right. What are you going to do?”

“I’m thinking of going into acting.”

“What makes you think you could be an actor?”

“I think I’m pretty good at it. I act like I care every day at work.”


“Are you allergic to any medicines?”


“Like…which ones?”

“Tramadol, Toradol, NSAIDS, Ibuprofren, and Meloxicam.”

“So, you’re allergic to non-narcotic pain medications?”



“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.”