in Da City is a special time. The snow, late enough in the season,
covers up the litter in the gutters, the layabouts tend to lay about
indoors, and generally you can almost convince yourself, if you
squint just so, that there is hope for, and in, Da City.
then you meet people. Kind of an occupational hazard of being a
medic for Da City’ fire department. Most of us held to the TRUTH! Of
the aphorism that “sick people suck”. Daily (or nightly- kinda
depends on your shift, amirite?) we encountered folks who, well,
sucked. Both as people, and at life. Because, after all, the
lottery winners infrequently phoned 911 to regale our dispatchers
with tales of wonderfulness. Face it: nobody calls the fire
department, to gush about he/she just now met The Love Of Their Life,
and how this soul brought sunshine into their every day.
with that thought in mind, TINS©,
TIWFDASL© one lovely wintry afternoon
and we (Doug and I) caught a run for a man with a broken leg.
Arriving on the scene, we noted the usual choreography of the “He’s
In Here!” dance, oh so very popular in Da City.
entered to find a gentleman on the sofa, ethanol fumes emanating from
his every pore. One of the (more) sober bystanders informed us that
our guest had fallen while shoveling snow, and broken his leg. I
turned to the named patient, and he obligingly illustrated the point
by waving his (no shit, notable from across the room, articulated in
an unnatural spot between his knee and ankle) leg in the air,
declaiming, “Hey! Look! I’m fine! There’s nothing wrong!”
you may have already surmised, he likely had already been well
anesthetized. Then, there was the question: if he broke the shit
out of his leg, as he manifestly had, how, and why, had he made his
way into the house? And, what parts of this tale remained untold?
attempted to orient him to current events. “Uh, sir? It sure
appears like you have broken your leg. We would very much like to
take you to the hospital, to get that fixed up for you!”
I’m fine!” was the reply, accompanied by more
broke-the-shit-out-of-it leg waggling.
citizens on the scene were ever so helpful. Or, not so much. They
contributed, “He broke his laig! Y’all cain’t leab him here!”
you, Dr. Schweitzer, for your orthopedic consultation. Certainly
gonna have to factor that into our clinical decision making!
looked at Doug, and he looked at me. He handed me the handie talkie,
and went to the ambulance to retrieve the cot and assorted helpful
goodies. I attempted to elicit something along the lines of
allergies, medication and medical history information, figuring that
sort of information would be kind of mission critical to our friends
in anesthesia. I was certain that a tour of the OR in the presence
of the orthopedist was in his future. Oh, and vitals. Vitals would
Doug returned, and I noticed that he had preplanned the upcoming goat
rope, including a long backboard, backboard straps, and plenty of
approached out new friend, and pinned him to the sofa. Doug bandaged
his arms…yeah, THAT’S the ticket! Bandaged, not restrained! Once
he was hindered from “lending a hand” to the festivities, well,
we rolled him onto the spine board, secured him with straps, and,
laying a nice wide rigid splint between his legs, secured
bandaged them as well.
foregoing accomplished a couple of things. First, he quit flapping
that grotesquely fractured leg around. Secondly, he was a
considerably more stable package to carry out to the rig. Finally,
all the citizenry was placated by how thoroughly their friend had
been splinted. Everybody won!
we arrived at TSBTCIDC, and debussed Mr. Leg Fracture, well, the
nursing staff couldn’t help but unsecure him, since they simply HAD
to evaluate the fracture. That set off an entirely new round of
protestations that he, the patient, “was just fine!”,
accompanied, again, with the semaphore wig-wagging of the
demonstrably unfine fractured leg.
story. I finished my trip sheet, and completed and signed a “Petition
for Involuntary Hospitalization”, citing my new friend’s manifest
unconcern for a clearly broken leg, documenting his inability to
comprehend his need for hospitalization.
in a day’s work!