My father took ill, on the order of 30 years ago. He had a heart attack, and, while recovering from that excitement, was found to have cancer. Given that he was at that point in his seventies, well, it was a rough time for him, and my mother.
Now, shortly prior to these discoveries, they had moved from The Unnamed Midwest State, to The East Coast. They had been born, and met, married, and started our family in The Megalopolis. With my one brother and I living in and about Da City, and our other brother living overseas, well, my brother the contractor was not a strong candidate to help mom take care of dad, and I, the nurse, seemed better suited, occupationally, to show up out there.
So, I did so. The mortgage company did not seem likely to grant me a payment holiday. It appeared that the credit union was on this same page. Therefore, I needed to work as a travel nurse should I spend any time on The East Coast. I did so, pulling 12 hour weekend night shifts.
After I was credentialed, I was assigned to work various East Coast emergency departments, my job back at home. So, this one time, I was sent to St. Elsewhere, in some fishing town on the southern coast of The State.
I arrived early, and announced myself, asking for the charge nurse. She greeted me, and asked me if I had any ER experience.
Now, by this point, I had spent around 8 years on Da City’s EMS, and close to 7 years in ER in Da City. My answer was “Yeah, some.”
She looked me up and down, and gave me her New Kid Spiel. “This is a fishing town. We have a bunch of young guys, working hard fishing, and, when they come into port, they play hard. Now, if you get a 20 something guy, tap dancing away, can’t sit still, anxious, sweating, and complaining that he feels like his heart is about to jump out of his chest, he’s not having a heart attack. Likely, it’s cocaine.”
I nodded. “Sounds right.”
She paused. “You know anything about cocaine? Ever seen any cocaine overdoses?”
“I know some, I’ve seen a couple.”
“Where have you worked?”
“Da City, in ER. 8 years on Da City EMS before that.”
“Why am I telling you about cocaine? You were just gonna let me carry on, weren’t you?”
“Yeah. If I listened, likely I’d learn something.”
She rolled her eyes. “Here are your keys, your module is over there, get Lucy to count narcotics with you.”