Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

O’BEAST

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy not so very far away…Ok, it was something like 40 years ago, and Doug and I were working Medic 19 on nights. We caught a run on a sick person of some sort, and arrived to find a not-so-very-sick person, in an ill humor.

For some reason, this soul appeared to believe that employing us as a lightning rod of sorts for every missed opportunity, failed hope, crushed dream, and malign bit of luck that had befallen them, would in some manner alleviate their misery. I was not seeing it, but, whatever.

Since Doug was of The African Persuasion, whereas I, myself, was very much of the White Bread Persuasion, well, Ms. Misery, herself melanin enhanced, took him under her metaphorical wing, and expected him to commiserate with her in her plight.

Horrible fail.

I was driving, and so stood off to the side whilst Doug negotiated with Ms. Misery. He had worked pretty damned hard to get to where he stood, and was, let us say, unsympathetic to those who did not appear to exert themselves even minimally to better their lot. While he attempted to conceal his views from the folks on the street, we had detailed conversations in the firehouse on this, and other, topics.

Eventually, Ms. Misery concluded that the only succor we were about to offer her involved a trip to the ER, where she anticipated spending her evening, with no benefit to her pity party prospects. Therefore she directed us to depart, bidding us (and our mothers) farewell.

Once back in our truck, as Doug completed the run sheet (and I moved us to a neutral corner, several blocks away), I noted our friend’s considerable girth. “Glad she SNR’d herself. Obese as she is, I’d hate to attempt to carry her large self anywhere.”

Doug chuckled. “Obese? Were you there, as she yelled at us? With that attitude, she was Oh-Beast!”

Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City!

Blazing Saddles and A Philosophy of Life

After another run on a person who was unhappy, yea, verily, unto such depths that he had an abundance of unhappiness to share with everybody in the community, us in particular, Doug was owning his frustration. That might have sounded like bitching and complaining about ungrateful, bitchy, asshole, ignorant layabouts who verbally abused those unfortunate to be trapped into serving them in any capacity whatsoever. But, of course, noble Saviors Of Lives, and Defeaters of Disease, such as Doug and myself, would never, ever, bitch, moan, complain, whine, grouse, pout, sulk, grumble, carp, kvetch, squawk or otherwise gripe about our lot. Oh, no! No, no, no! Not us!

Well, Doug was inspired tonight, and was waxing eloquent about the character deficiencies and general life failures afflicting our service population in general, and Medic 19’s area in particular.

After several minutes of admiring his eloquence, and noting the fact that he did not repeat one swear word, one time, he paused to draw a breath. I jumped in. “Ya know, you sound like you’re frustrated by folks.”

He agreed. “Yep. A more foul hive of scum and villiany, never has a medic unit covered!”

“Doug, I’m not sure you really have the proper perspective on our peeps, here.”

“What do you mean?”

I warmed up, channeling my inner Gene Wilder, as I consoled my metaphorical Cleavon Little partner. “Doug, you have expectations that simply are not going to be met. You have to understand these folks. These are the common sort, with the common touch. They are the folks who chose to move into this district, to drown their lives in drugs, alcohol, and a myriad of other bad life choices. They see themselves victimized by the choices that they make, again and again, every single day. It is as if they awaken each morning, draw in a breath of fresh, morning air, blink in the sunshine of a brand new day, and say, ‘I think I’ll fuck up my life, even more than I did yesterday! I’ll alienate everybody in my family, piss away every opportunity to take a different path, and ever more closely associate myself with other losers, in hopes that they will one day look at me, and sigh, ‘Damn! I wish my life was as fucked up and useless as that guy’s”.” I paused, taking in a breath. “You know, Doug, Morons!”

Fun And Games · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

The Fellow Who Would Not Go

A long, long time ago, in a Blue Hive not
 so very far from here  (In truth, not nearly
 distant enough!), I was a nursing supervisor.  
This one time, TINS©, TIWFDASL©, and I 
received a phone call from one of my nursing 
floor charge nurses. 

It developed that one of our physicians had
 written discharge orders for this one gentleman, 
let us refer to him as “Mr. Man”. 

Mr. Man was apparently of the opinion that
 our physician was mistaken, and that he, 
Mr. Man, was not sufficiently recovered to
 return to his home. I responded, spoke to 
the nurse, and then spoke to Mr. Man.  He 
pretty much recreated the report that I had r
from the nurse, culminating in his ultimatum: 
“I'm not going anywhere, and you cannot 
make me!”

I phoned the physician and relayed my 
conversation.   This doctor asked me a few 
Questions,  corroborating his assessment o
the patient's clinical circumstance.  Having done
so, he reiterated his plan of care:  “Mr. Man 
does not meet the criteria from the insurance
 company, who is paying for his hospital stay, 
and they are not going to continue paying for his
stay.  He is discharged, I have written prescriptions,
 and arranged a post discharge office visit. If 
he has issues, we can discuss them at that visit.”

I relayed this to Mr. Man, and he again indicated 
his determination to remain. 

I returned to the nursing station, and invited my
 friend the security supervisor to show his 
smiling face, so that we could confer. 

My friend the security supervisor had no new
 input, although he sent a couple of officers 
to stand by the floor, in case Mr. Man decided 
that some interpretative dance, so to speak, 
would make his case more effectively. 

Shortly, the med nurse was passing by, surprisingly
 enough, passing her afternoon meds.  
I stopped her.  “Do you have any meds for Mr. Man?”

She consulted he med book.  “Yep, he has
 (whatever) due at 2 o'clock!”

Hand it to me.  I'll take this one over from you.”

I placed the meds securely in the med room, and s
in to chat with security.  

Sure enough, as I had expected, Mr. Man put on his c
light, shortly after he noticed the med nurse pass by without stopping. 

I answered his light (security dawdled just down the hallway). 

"Yes, Mr. Man, what can I do for you?”

I am supposed to get (whatever) around this time.  I just
 saw the nurse pass me by.”

Why, yes you did, sir.  You see, since the doctor has discharged
 you, you are no longer a patient here, you are now a visitor. It is
 not our practice to administer medications to 
visitors, and so the med nurse did not have any medications 
for you.”

"How am I supposed to get my meds?"

"Discharged patients usually obtain their
 medications from a pharmacy."I bet you think you're smart!  You cannot 
make me leave!  I'm staying right here!”Yes, sir, I understand what you are saying. I
there anything else?”No. Go away!”

With a smile, I departed. 

A couple of hours later, supper time arrived.  
I removed Mr. Man's tray, and sent it back to dietary, with
the admonition that he had received orders for discharge, a
therefore would not require meal service. 

Indeed, shortly he noticed the aids passing supper trays, 
and, again, he engaged the call light. Again, I responded. Mr. Man, what can I do for you?”You could serve me my supper tray!”Oh, sir, I'm sorry! We do not feed visitors. You have 
been discharged, and therefore are present here as a visitor."

"How am I supposed to get something to eat?"

"A lot of people find that a grocery store is helpful in this regard. 
Other folks find restaurants to be more to their liking."

Again, I was dismissed. 

In our facility at that time, visiting ended at 2000 hours. Our
 switchboard operator announced this fact, and bade all visitors 
a good evening. I popped my head into Mr. Man's room, and reinforced this
message.  Security, this time in the person of the security supervisor, 
accompanied me. "Sir, you will have to leave soon."

"I dare you to throw me out!"

Security responded. "Sir, our usual practice is to ask folks to leave. 
Those who do not depart, are trespassing, and we ask Da City Police 
Department to handle that. I imagine the responding officers will ID 
such a person, run a LEIN check, and either walk that person out, or, 
if somebody were to have outstanding warrants, arrest that person, and 
lodge them in jail"

Mr. Man again indicated that our audience with him had come to a conclusion. 

Outside the room, we heard one sided conversations as of telephone calls, 
and, from what we could discern, seeking transportation. 

Again, shortly, we were summoned by the call light.  Mr. Security and I 
responded, and I (again) asked, “Mr. Man, what can I do for you?”I don't have my prescriptions, and my ride will be here in a couple of 
minutes.”Yes, sir, I'll get right on that!”

I secured his prescriptions and discharge instructions, and Mr. Security 
and I returned to the room, where I delivered the instructions and 
prescription, and the security supervisor and I wheeled Mr. Man to the 
door, where he sprang from the wheelchair, entered a vehicle, and exited 
our lives. 

Whew!
Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene

Clem, Cletus, and Why Heavy Equipment Operators Require Functional Partners, Too

Many, many years after I had left the employ of Da City, I came to live in Small Rural Town. Our little slice of Heaven featured, among other things, a municipal water system. The town had been built out shortly after the Second World War, and the infrastructure was contemporaneous with that construction.

Apparently, the engineering lesson of corrosion occurring at the junction of dissimilar metals, had not percolated to the individuals who built the house in which we lived. This epiphany developed after I noticed one Friday morning that there was water pooling in our front yard, between the door and the street.

Side note. NEVER! call the water department with that sort of observation on a Friday. They will shut off the water. It turns out, the service line from your home to the main is YOUR problem. You will NOT get that problem resolved late on a Friday. Or on a Saturday. Or on a Sunday. Not having running water makes for a long weekend of work.

Monday, I was again working, but TDW-Mark I had successfully contacted the Knob City Excavating Company to respond and repair our service line.

This involved excavating my front yard, and, having accessed the service line, replacing it.

It appears that professional excavating practice involves having one individual operating a back hoe, with another standing by, inspecting the back hoe’s progress, apparently in an attempt to avoid engaging the service line with the back hoe’s bucket, reefing thereon, and using that service line as a leader to abruptly extricate all the plumbing from your home.

So, about that. Clem was the back hoe operator, and Cletus, evidently, was tasked with leaning upon his shovel so that neither he, nor the shovel, fell over. In that, he appeared to be successful. Clem DID notice the entanglement of his back hoe bucket with my plumbing, but only after he had begun to extract my plumbing from my house. Fortunately he had only JUST begun to do so, before he determined that Things Were Not Right, and stopped. That was about the point at which I returned home from a day of fighting disease and saving lives.

Things were at a standstill as I entered the house. TDW-Mark I was standing there, gazing into the hole adjacent to our foundation, looking decidedly unamused. Clem was there as well, while Cletus was a’holding that shovel, determined that it was NOT going to fall!

TDW pointed into the depths of the hole, calling my attention to the copper stretched out from the foundation to it’s junction with the iron pipe that, evidently, had been our service line. Another vehicle pulled up, disgorging a worthy who was, is seemed, Bob The Knob, owner and operator of Knob City Excavating. TDW beckoned me inside, where she showed me where the service shut off on our domestic water feed, formerly near our ceiling, was now located at the floor. I suggested to Bob The Knob that he might want to get somebody with plumbing expertise in to review the situation, and effect such repairs as seemed needful. On his dime. And, RFN. (Right Fucking Now)

He did not appear to think that this was particularly unreasonable, particularly if he were to consider the alternative, which would involve court, attorneys, attorney fees on both sides, and much bad Ju-Ju.

The next day, I returned home from work, and TDW-Mark I informed me that Some Dude had arrived, crawled around in our attic, and had pronounced everything shoreward of our shut off to be intact. This worthy had then replaced our shut off, and the associated piping, and Knob City Excavating had replaced our service line with copper, had installed a bimetallic junction (TDW-Mark I had asked/insisted) at the main, backfilled everything once the city building inspector had signed off, and we Now! Had! Water! (cue the rejoicing)

It turns out that Bob The Knob was satisfied with my check in the original, estimated, amount as payment in full. We did not have any leaks subsequent to this adventure, and we all lived happily, ever after.

Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

Revelations

Recently TDW-Mark II was perusing Facebook, and noticed that Number Three Son, and his wife, had posted a couple of pictures. In the first, he was dressed in a nice suit, she in a nice red dress, posed all nice and proper.

In the second, SHE was in the suit, HE was in the red dress, and they were, again, posed soberly and portrait like.

TDW-Mark II called this to my attention, allowed me a couple of seconds to deliberate over this vignette, and then opined, “He loves his wife way more than you love me! You would never do that sort of clothing swap with me!”

I considered this, and observed, “Well, now you know!”

Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

Drinking in the Heat

When my boys were young teens, they were scouts. I was the assistant scoutmaster, and the troop required two adults to accompany the boys to camp. Since I worked weekends and off shifts, I could finagle a string of days off, and, therefore, I could take the time off for scout camp.

Being of the medical bent, I was de facto medical officer. Therefore, the scoutmaster and I (the only fellow, ever, who was more conservative, politically, than I!) got up early the first day, and, observing the hot, humid nature of the morning, and the weather forecast promising even more of the same for the day, assembled the boys for the morning briefing.

I observed that it was hot and humid. (for am I not, after all, a man gifted with a firm grasp of the obvious?) I next observed that this provided an opportunity for some preventative medicine, to whit: DRINK! DRINK! DRINK! If you (the scouts) are under the misapprehension that you are drinking enough water, you are wrong! When you stop, drink water. When you are moving, drink water. If you are wondering if you might be drinking too much water, drink water.

There appeared, among the boys, some skeptical looks. The Scoutmaster, Tom Swift, admonished the troop, that I had schooled my self for a long time, and delved ever so deeply into the mysteries of the functioning of the human body. Therefore, I likely I knew whereof I spake, and they ought to attend to my counsel.

We broke up for the day’s activities. I lingered in camp, being “on vacation”, until I roused myself to wander the camp. I eventually caught up with my partner Tom, and the gaggle of our scouts. One of these worthies appeared unfocused, with a bit of a bobble to his walk. One of the scouts took note, and directed my attention his way. I poured this scout a tall glass of ice water, and commanded him, “Drink up!”

He demurred, reporting that he was not thirsty.

“I do not recall asking if you were thirsty or not. Drink up!”

He did so. As I poured him another glass, I asked him, “How much have you had to drink since breakfast today?”

“Uh, not much?” Another scout, who had followed this scout’s schedule, chimed in, “I did not see him drink anything today!”

Finishing the glass, another poured. “Drink!”

He had just about polished off an entire liter at that sitting, and Scoutmaster Tom and I conferred. Our scout still appeared unfocused, and so we elected to change venues to the first aid cabin, wherein he could benefit from air conditioning, as well as a place to lay down.

As an oasis, the first aid cabin certainly fit the bill. Kevin, the tottering scout, appeared to like it, and slurped down several popsicles under the camp nurse’s supervision. An hour of hydration as well as temperate environmental conditions certainly seemed to perk him up.

That evening, we held a review of Heat Injuries, And The Scout Population. Using Kevin as an object lesson, for some reason the boys appeared considerably less skeptical than they had that morning.

Weird.

Fun And Games · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City!

Dumpster Diving

This one schedule, Doug had elected to rotate onto day shift. Likely something about a wife, family, and wanting to spend some time with That Bright Thing all up in the sky, while he was awake, might have figured into his calculations. In any event, TINS©, TIWFDASL© on night shift at Medic 14 (let us say). I was partnered up with Johnny Wadd (not his real name), who was, even among the collection of characters that made up the crews of EMS in those halcyon days, a character. He was book smart, street wise, quick on the uptake, head on a swivel, and, despite a very crusty persona, good hearted.

So, this one time, at band camp….uh, wrong story. So this one night we were cruising around between runs, and, as commonly happens in my “sea stories”, well, we caught a run. In the misty distance of all these years, I cannot tell you what the nominal nature of this run was. I do, however, remember (a) that the police were NOT dispatched to this run, and (b) once we arrived, and began to understand what the happs were, well, item “a” began to appear to be a big, big mistake.

So, we arrived on the scene to discover not a light on in the alleged address. Calling on the scene, we verified that the house number on the house before us, was, indeed, the address dispatch wanted us to report to. Check!

I knocked upon the door, while Johnny looked around the front of the house. As he reached the edge of the house adjoining the driveway, he heard something from the back that caught his attention. We meandered back to see what was up (notifying dispatch, on the way, of our explorations).

The sounds Johnny had heard were moans, and they were emanating from a wheeled trash bin. That made sense, as my flashlight illuminated two legs protruding from the top thereof. Johnny peered inside, and beheld a gentleman curled up inside, much the worse for wear.

We figured that any conversation to be had, would be had with greater clarity should our new friend be extricated from the trash bin, and so we began to attempt to lift him by his legs.

BAD PLAN! At least, in his view. He screamed, convincing us that this was NOT the course of action we desired to pursue. I ran to the truck, and retrieved the cot, a backboard, and backboard straps. Johnny and I then slowly levered the bin onto it’s side, and tried to gently place Mr. Trash Bin onto the backboard so as to remove him from his nest with minimal discomfort (to him) as we could manage. In his opinion, we were not particularly successful.

Once he was out in the light, such as it was (MagLite light, it was!), we could discern from the angulation of his thighs that he had sustained two fractured femurs. Further evaluation revealed a couple of gunshot wounds, as well as several stabbing wounds.

We determined that further time on the scene, with our basic life support asses, would be unprofitable, and so secured our guest onto the board, strapped him onto the cot, loaded him up into the truck, and coded our happy way to TBTCIDC.

Once we had turned him over to the ED crew, and they were poking, prodding, needling, radiating,

IV-ing, and generally getting to know him far, far better than anyone else in his life ever had, we cleaned up and restocked the truck. Johnny turned to me, reflection written deeply in his eyes.

Ya know, Reltney, I wonder if someone, somehow, got a little angry at our guy there! Somebody does not seem to have had his very best interests in their heart!”

Fun And Games · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City!

Night shift lost the medic bag, a fact we discovered *AFTER* we caught a run!

So, TINS©, TIW©, all psyched up to FDASL©, chatting with the off-going crew, with my partner Doug. I had just about completed dropping my bookbag full of nursing school homework on the desk, when the phone rang with a run. Unaccustomedly, we were on day-shift, this being summer and my class load being light.

Of course, our very first run of the morning was Not a “sick person”, was not a “stomach pain”, no, indeed, it was an arrest.

It was Doug’s day to drive, so I settled into the passenger seat, buckled up, and we were away.

It was the custom, in those dark days of antiquity, to gather our immediate aid materials in a “mussette bag”, generally mil surp, olive drab, canvas. With a capacity of around six liters, we could carry several roller gauze bandages, a dozen or more sterile 4 x 4 dressings, several 5 x 9 ABDs (variously translated out of acronym into English as Army Battle Dressings, or ABDominal Pads), tongue blades, plastic oral airways (NOT endotracheal tubes: in those days, we were running an entirely basic life support operation), and, most relevant to Today’s Lesson in Life In Da City, a bag-valve-mask resuscitator.

Mostly, Da City bought the Laerdal brand of bag-mask, branded as Ambu, Therefore, of course, we referred to these as “the ‘Bu”.

You may wonder why I am assaulting y’all with these details of my far gone workaday life, amirite? Well, ya see, on this particular day, on this particular “cardiac arrest” run, as I settled my bony ass into the passenger seat, I did NOT have to step around the green bag. This caused me to look around, as we sped to the run, and NOT find the bag. I twisted around, and gazed into the module from my seat, and, again, did NOT! See our bag.

This was not encouraging.

Shortly, we arrived on scene, and, fortunately (for certain narrowly defined values of “fortunately”), our named patient was not only arrested, but, also, in rigor mortis.

Please recall that “narrowly defined values of ‘fortunately’” thing, cited above.

This soul was not going to benefit in any manner from CPR, ventilation or any other intervention in our (missing) bag of tricks. Therefore, we pronounced him on the scene, called dispatch for a scout car to take report, and went in service.

Returning to the firehouse, we examined the log entries from night shift, listed several likely locations of our errant bag (and I retrieved my personal bag from my vehicle, so, in the interval, we would not face performing mouth-to-mouth on some unlucky stranger). Then, we went visiting.

On our second or third stop, a pleasant lady answered the door. “I was wondering when you fellas were going to come back. Them nice fellas last night were in such a hurry that they left this on our living room floor!” And she handed us our bag.

I asked how her husband was doing, he being the subject of night crew’s visit last night. “Oh, he’s staying in the hospital. The doctors said his belly pain was from his appendix, and he’s gonna have an operation today, but they say he’ll be fine!”

Doug and I applauded this news, thanked her for holding our equipment for us, and bade her farewell.

And, boys and girls, THAT is why I forever afterward placed my own green bag in the ambulance, for the duration of my days on EMS!

Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

Duck Butter

So, TINS, there I was, sleeping my ass off, and NOT saving lives, because my employer had laid me off due our low (read: nonexistent) census. As had become my routine, I awakened promptly at the asscrack of noon, and stumbled to the kitchen, blearily admiring the Hot! Coffee! Pot! That TDW-Mark II had whipped up. As I was preparing my offering to Saint Arabica, Patron of the Sleepy, she was saying something, probably related to planning for activities later in the day. I was not paying much attention, grunting affirmatively from time to time, when a lull in her soliloquy indicated the need for some sort of response from me.

I had completed mixing my coffee and replacing the fixings, when she observed that she had included on her list, and I swear that I am not making this up, “…and we need some duck butter, so that’s on the list.”

THAT captured my attention. “What? Duck butter? Why do we need duck butter? What is duck butter, anyway?”

As is likely no surprise, she gave me “THAT LOOK”, the one learned in wife school, and generally displayed when the husband displays some new peak of stoopid.

“Duck butter? I said ‘cat litter’! How on earth can you get ‘duck butter’ from cat litter?”

I deliberated on this question for a moment. “I dunno. Squeeze it really hard?”

Fun And Games · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City!

“Fittin To Throw Down!”

When I worked the road for Da City’s EMS, several of my colleagues were simpatico with the majority of our service population. So, the habits and mores of the folks on the street were not much of a novelty for several of my colleagues.

Indeed, one gentleman who was my partner for a schedule or two told a tale of a cousin of his who, exchanging words with another soul, found their conversation adjourned outside the bar in which they had crossed paths. Words grew more and more heated, in my partner’s telling of the tale, and the party of the second part drew, displayed, and announced his intent to employ, a handgun.

My partner described subsequent events. “Well, my cuz stood up tall, and challenged the other guy, saying, ‘Well, hell! SHOOT me!’. Which he did. My cousin did not survive the exchange.”

Tough crowd.

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL© with my regular partner, Doug, and we (of course) had our squelch open so we could hear radio chatter from other medic units. If one of them got into trouble, well, THAT might be a handy thing to know, so we could begin to sidle our happy asses over closer to their scene, to lend a hand should medical hands be required.

Over the radio came the memorable tones of Abbie Smith. He was able to recreate the richly evocative tones, rhythm, and nuance of the patois of the street. Partly this was due to the fact that he was of the street, and partly because he was an old hand on the job, and therefore wise in the mannerisms of the citizenry from that perspective as well.

So, anyhow, he drawled out his greeting: “Dispatch, this is Medic Nine!”

The dispatcher on duty that night was another old hand, who had been dispatching since Marconi had first dispatched “S” from Cornwall, England. He, in contrast to Abbie, was an old white boy, who was renowned for knowing off the top of his head where every ambulance was, and what they were doing, at any given time. When you are in a tense, hostile scene, is is reassuring to have a sort of radio bodyguard looking over you!

So, he acknowledged Medic Nine’s call: “Medic Nine, go!”

Dispatch, could we get the po-leece out here?”

Very good, Medic Nine. Why do you need them?”

Dispatch, these folks are all hot and bothered, and they fittin to throw down!”

Remember, our dispatcher was a white boy. He had not immersed himself in the vibrant, and ebonics speaking, culture of the street. In contrast, our friend Abbie, had. Dispatch sought some clarification.

Medic Nine, what are they going to throw down? And, from where?”

We could hear the sigh from Abbie, before he even keyed up the microphone. “Dispatch, this is Medic Nine! They fittin to throw down! You know, get it on! Fight!”

That cleared things up for our friend the dispatcher. “Are you involved in this fight, Medic Nine?”

Naw, we down the street. But, they gonna get to fighting pretty soon!”

Dispatch got it. “Medic Nine, clear that scene! Clear that scene! Police are on the way, repeat, police are on the way!”

Dispatch, this is Medic Nine! We clearin the scene!”

Again proving the importance of speaking, so that they can understand you!