Life in Da City!

Baby Huey’s Theory of Stress Management

So, my good times with Baby Huey did not end with the gentleman seeking to fall from the stretcher. Nosiree! I worked the rest of that schedule with him, and Cletus. So, TINS ©,TIWFDASL ©, when we caught a run in “The Corridor”. This was a section of Da City that was south of Da University, and renowned as a hotbed of drugs, prostitution, alcoholism, a veritable wretched hive of scum and villainy. Indeed, the fire house serving this area had so many working fire calls, that the house was known among the firefighters as “Fire Island”. Or, it was, until some wag noted that New York’s Fire Island was a noted vacation spot among the “Faaaabbulous!” of Manhattan. With that insight, the cachet of the nickname seemed to fade.

So, as it turned out, we were dispatched for “difficulty breathing”, or some such bullshit. Therefore, the three of us, Cletus, Baby Huey, and The Stretcher Ape, arrived without the police. This was not usually a problem, both because EMS was sort of cloaked in invisibility with regards to the citizen antipathy towards other uniformed services, and, even if things were jakey, there were few problems that could not be solved by transport. Prompt transport.

We found ourselves outside some bar, door open, in the warm May sunshine, and (curiously) nobody about. (THAT should have been a clue!). Cautiously, we entered. There was nobody inside, if you ignored the woman halfway slumped against the bar.

She appeared to be around a suburban sixty years of age. That would place her somewhere like a corridor forty or so. It was difficult to eyeball estimate folks’ ages, because, as a later partner would put it, “Life is tough in the ‘To” (as in “ghetto”). In any event, it became clear, both, that she was our named patient, and why she might have “difficulty breathing”. There were six red holes angling diagonally up her torso, and she appeared to have no notice of our arrival. In the course of her fall, her dentures had been halfway knocked from her mouth.

On this day, Cletus was driving, and so he rapidly assessed the situation, and pivoted to hotfoot it to the truck and retrieve the cot. Baby Huey knelt at the patient’s side, and began to wave his hands over her, just as if he were warming his chilly fingers in the (fading) warmth of her inner fire. I was fumbling with the straps of the medic bag, since I very much wanted the BVM in my hands, and similarly wanted to commence to resuscitatin’. While I was fumbling, and Huey was waving, he was saying “Relax! Relax! Relax!”

I was puzzled. Not puzzled enough to stop retrieving the ‘Bu, but puzzled nonetheless. My snap assessment of this woman was that, among her multiple medical and surgical issues, stress and tension were not prominently featured in my differential diagnosis. I shared this with Baby Huey.

“So, how about laying her down on the floor, removing her dentures, and we can start some CPR?”

I know I spoke. I heard myself. Baby Huey, however, continued his invocation, evidently seeking to exorcise her of the demons of stress. It occurred to me that just a LEEETLE more tension among her rescuers might be a bit more helpful, and I shared this new insight.

“Uh, lay her down and clear her airway, OK?”

No change. She still wasn’t breathing, he was still hypnotically entrancing her, working feverishly to allay her nervousness. AHA! BVM finally in hand, I moved to her side. I repeated myself to Baby Huey.

“Lay her the fuck down, get the god-damned false teeth out of her mouth, and then get the fuck out of my way!”

Evidently, I simply had to enunciate my thoughts in terms that he could comprehend. He stopped with the hand-waving, he ceased the incantation, dentures magically moved from her mouth, and, Viola!, she was supine on the floor. I extended her head, sealed the mask on her face, and set to ventilatin’. Baby Huey, finally struck by the Clue Bat with sufficient vigor, lined up, located her xyphoid, and set to chest compressions.

Cletus arrived right about that point in our festivities, and so Ms. Beenshot was loaded up, and trotted to the rig, whereupon Cletus skeedadled us the 4 blocks to TBTCIDC, where she expired.

No, I am not making this shit up. True story, near as I can recall it from around 40 years ago.


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