Fun And Games Off Duty · guns · Life in Da City! · Pre Planning Your Scene

Pedicabo non est mecum

So, TINS, after a time, Mallory had succumbed to my animal magnetism, and we had begun to date. Our relationship progressed, and when her apartment lease came up for renewal, she moved in with me.

Now, understand: Mallory was a very nice woman, and had grown up and lived in one of The Suburbs. I, on the other hand, lived in Da City, right off of Elmward, known as State Highway One. In addition, I lived just south of a neighborhood renowned for arson, drug dealing, and assorted mayhem. Kind of a jakey neighborhood. Still, I could afford to buy my two flat, and the rent from the other apartment paid for my house note.

Mallory, for her part, was, to say the least, skittish. This was not helped by my insisting that she phone me as she left work at TSBTCIDC, and subsequently meeting her at the door with a pistol in my hand.

We went to the range, and she became familiar with my assemblage of firearms. She really liked my Colt Government Model in .380 caliber, and purchased one for herself.

From time to time, she’d call, and ask me if I wanted anything from a drive through on her way home. On one of these side trips, she came home, a bit more frazzled than was her baseline.

She related her story as we ate. It turned out that she pulled up and gave her order, and then pulled to the window. As she was gathering her money to pay for the meal, some character knocked upon her (locked) passenger door, and began to panhandle her.

“Go away. I have nothing for you!”, was her response.

He began to tap more insistently upon her car window, and demand a hand out.

“I told you, I got nothing you want! Go away!”

He seemed to be slow on the uptake. Now, pounding upon her window, he demanded that she give him some money.

Mallory was “dressed to impress”, for sure. She produced the little Colt, directed it his way, and admonished him, “I TOLD you that you do not want what I have for you! Now, do you REALLY want me to let you have it, or do you have someplace else to be? Like, right fucking now?”

As she recounted, “People’s eyes really do get THIS big! He never took his eyes off the pistol, as he backed up across the parking lot, stumbled on the curb stone, and, once he regained his feet, ran to wherever he abruptly realized he’d rather be!”

Then, she replaced the pistol in her purse, and turned to the (likewise wide eyed) fast food employee, and asked, “May I have my change, please? And, my sandwiches? Oh, thank so very much! Have a nice night!”

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Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Oh, Tempores! Oh, mores!

When I walked into the exam room, the olfactory evidence of marijuana hit me as if I had walked into a wall. If the lights had been flashing, and there had been earsplittingly loud rock music, I would have thought I had been transported back in time to the Grande Ballroom.

It’s often entertaining to interview stoners. Typically they have difficulty maintaining a linear train of thought. I encounter associations that I, sober, have difficulty following. So, I asked this soul how I could help them.

They told me that they used eyedrops (No, they did not know what eyedrops. Nor did they have said drops at hand. Of course not. Why would I care what medications they took?) They told me that they had a bacterial infection, due to these eyedrops. How, might you wonder, could they have a bacterial infection due to their eyedrops? Congratulations, you, too, can have a career in clinical medicine.

Now, for the loose associations. My new friend related that they had several transplants, of a sort that they could not identify. (Most of us might think that knowing WHAT SORT OF FREAKING TRANSPLANT we had received, might be nice to know. Just in case, ya know, we had to see some sort of clinical professional. Ever. ) Their exact words? “You know, a transplant of that stuff!”

Kinda unhelpful. Plan “B”: elicit indications of said “bacterial infection”. I expected something along the lines of discharge, or fever, or productive cough. Again, with the loose associations.

“I just know I’m sick!”

And, my friend, what sort of experiences led you to conclude that you are sick?

“I’m just sick!”

They told me in PA school, that, if you listen to the patient, their story will tell you what is wrong. I suppose that my instructors had never met my stoned new friend.

So, I examined ears, looked in this soul’s throat, felt for swollen glands, listened to lungs and heart, palpated abdomen, and found a completely normal exam, if you discount the marijuana fumes emanating from their every pore, and bloodshot eyes. Oh,yes: and, if you exchanged not a word with them.

So, trusting that the med list my MA had elicited from my mentally wandering friend was accurate (if you ignored the absence of any mention of, uh, EYE DROPS thereon….), I described my stock spiel of symptomatic relief medications available over the counter, and handed them a typed list thereof.

They nodded, agreeably, and shuffled to the door, off to wander the local environs.

Yep, I am DEE-LIGHTED! that marijuana legalization passed in our last election! How can that go other than well?

On the up side, it will provide a blatant and olfactory Jackwagon Flag. Once you encounter some happy-go-lucky soul out in public, wafting reefer fumes hither and yon, well, you may avoid wondering if they are a fool or not. Just sniff.

Fun And Games Off Duty · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene

The “Heimlich remover” in Song and Legend

 

So, TINS©, TIW(after)FDASL©, having been asleep for a couple of hours after another fun filled, exciting night of EMS in Da City. I was just about hitting my sleep stride, sleeping my ass off, when a commotion on my front porch awakened me.

I had bought a two flat in Da City, and lived in the downstairs apartment, renting out the upstairs to a fellow we can think of as The Clod. The Clod had roommates, who seemed unsavory. This appraisal developed as I noted one of these folks to have what we used to call, on the street, “lobster claws”. This alludes to the fact that IVDAs (pronounced as it is spelled, “iv-dahs”), or folks who spend their recreational time injecting street drugs intravenously, develop sclerosed veins, from the damage those veins sustain from the chemical irritation of the drugs, crappy needle technique, and repeated infections of the veins due to nonsterile injectate. It tuns out that the lymphatic circulation simply is not up to the task of returning all the fluid delivered by the uninjured arterial circulation, and so fluid collects in the downstream portions of the limbs, and the hands swell. When this process has advanced sufficiently, the hand(s) resemble the claws of a lobster, hence the appellation.

Now, some folks have stated their appraisal that my years on Da Streets have left their mark upon me. Indeed, my very own cherubic, innocent daughter, aged 20 something and mother of the sweetest, most wonderful children in North America, reports that I am “the most cynical human being that I have ever known.” (I can only hope so!) So, I had taken note of the fact that unusual sounds, seldom presaged Good Things in Da City. Therefore, awake, I put on some pants and a shirt, tucked a revolver into my pants, and laid my shotgun against the wall next to the door. Then, I peeked out the window to see what was transpiring.

My peek revealed an excited disturbance, featuring several folks unknown to me, and The Clod. I slowly opened my door, hand near revolver, and asked The Clod, “What’s happening?”

All a-twitter, he announced that “Luigi (not his real name) has swallowed a sandwich! Do you know the Heimlich Remover?”

Sheesh! The Heimlich Maneuver had been taught in every CPR class I have ever taken, since Desoto himself was in short pants and wondering why the pretty lights sparkled on top of the emergency truck. I moved closer, and noted that Luigi was coughing pretty vigorously, but, since he WAS coughing, it seemed pretty clear to me that he WAS moving air. This was not something I felt particularly enthusiastic about remedying, so I kept an eye on him, and asked, “has anybody called 911?”

I was dazzled from the glare of the metaphorical light bulbs illuminating over every head on that porch, all at once. The Clod noted that this was “A great idea!”, and bounded upstairs to make the call, leaving Luigi, and me, and Ghawd alone knows who else these bastards were, on the porch. Shortly after The Clod’s run up the stairs, Luigi stopped coughing, which I thought was Not Good. I asked Luigi if he could talk, to which he shook his head negatively. Not noticing any air moving in spite of his energetic attempts to do so, I elected to perform the Heimlich Maneuver.

He was sort of crouched over, which worked well for me. I reached around him, clasping my one fist in my other hand, and, planting the thumb of that fist into his stomach (just below the xyphoid, just above the umbilicus), I briskly lifted him off his knees, and settled him back down. I repeated this gesture several times until he coughed again, and produced a glob of half chewed sandwich about the size of my fist.

At this, he began to gasp and wheeze. The crowd started to thin out, as the sirens approached. Soon, it was The Clod, Luigi, and me left on the porch.

The responding EMS crew was a couple of guys I knew, and the one chatted with me while his partner checked Luigi, and obtained his signature refusing transport.

How long have you been working here?” I was asked.

What do you mean?” was my response.

Well, we all figured that this was some kind of adult foster care, because every time we drive past, there’s always a bunch of these guys hanging out. We figured that the residents had to get out of the house during the day.”

FML. Just what I wanted to hear.

 

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

“Mister, I never seen anyone fall asleep standing up, before!”

 

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL©, and running on around 2 hours sleep a day, between work, school, studying and etcetera. One night, I was driving and Doug was medic-ing, and we caught a run for a sick person. Now, in Da City, it gets cold in the winter. In addition, in Michigan, in February, there’s this thing, the locals call it “snow”, all over the place. It’s cold, and, once it gets all over your socks, your feet get wet, and, being February in Michigan, they get really, really cold.

I had imagined that folks who lived there, would have figured that out, after a winter or three. I was mistaken. So there we were, in somebody’s living room around oh-dark-hundred, and folks were scrambling to find shoes, and coats, and ID, and medical cards, because, nobody had figured out, going to Da Hospital entailed exiting their warm, dry home, walking through the snow to the curb, and, once EMS had delivered you the Da Hospital, identifying yourself and providing such insurance documentation as you possessed.

Seemed like a new concept to these folks.

So, while the scramble happened, I found a nice cozy doorway, and leaned up against it, and went to sleep. Standing up. On a scene. In DaCity. With my partner next to me.

The next thing I knew, Doug was nudging me, and demanding the keys. “Why?”

Because I’m driving.”

Why are you driving?”

Because you are too sleepy to drive. Here’s the trip sheet.”

I don’t know the information to complete it.”

I completed it. While you were sleeping. Standing up.”

Recognizing when it was useless to argue (particularly when he was right), we settled the patient in to the back of the truck, I buckled myself in, and I tried to get my eyes to focus enough to make sense of the trip sheet. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my patient, an elderly grandmotherly type, looking at me peculiarly.

Can I help you, Ma’am?”

Mister, they must work you folks awful hard.”

Well, Ma’am, it gets kinda busy sometimes, Why do you ask?”

Mister, I ain’t never seen nobody fall asleep standing up before!”

Ma’am, it’s kind of a novelty to me, too!”

guns · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City! · Pre Planning Your Scene

Medic 5 Heart Attack

 

So, this one time, at band camp…..no, wait. That’s not quite right.

So TINS©. There I was FDASL©, detailed out to Medic Five from my home house. It appeared that I had offended the Patron Saint Of EMS and Street Medics, grievously, because I arrived to find Cletus, grinning widely, awaiting me. Shit.

I asserted The Prerogative of Seniority, and drove, leaving Cletus to medic. (Remember that. File under “Things That Come Back To Bite Me in The Ass”) The day passed pretty uneventfully, runs came in, patients got transported, and we, of course, fought disease and saved lives.

Now, at that time, nearly 40 years ago, Medic 5 was out toward the western margins of Da City. The firehouse called home was on Bliss Road, close by to the Western Expressway. Western suburbs included Gardenia and Westworld. Our hospital choices included a couple of small hospitals of the plethora that (at that time) dotted the city, or a couple of respectably sized facilities in those selfsame suburbs.

So, somewhat later in the afternoon dispatch invited us to respond to a “heart attack”. This took us nearly to the city limits. As we pulled up, there was a figure hopping around on the porch, arms a-waving, feet a-tapping, directing us to that dwelling. (Uh, you mean to tell me that every other house, lacking front porch frenetic interpretive dance performances, are NOT the scenes to which we were called? This is my shocked face!)

So, of course, Cletus bought into the pandemonium, whole hog. He leapt from the rig, just about as soon as I brought it to a stop, and beat feet into the house, leaving me, the handheld radio, and every other thing (except the medic bag) behind. I placed the ambulance in park, shut off the beacons, and radioed in to dispatch that we were on the scene.

I turned on the handheld radio, and followed him into the house. As the occupants opened the door, I was struck (nearly literally) by the pall of gunsmoke that wafted out into my face. Asking about my partner, I was directed into the rear of the house.

I reached the end of the hall, and, in the bedroom to my right noted my partner bending over a supine soul. I announced myself, and CLETUS TURNED ON ME, SNUB BARRELLED REVOLVER IN HAND. Of course, he was pointing the barrel at my belt buckle. I swept his hand over my head, removed the handgun from his hand, and asked him what the…er, fenomenon he thought he was doing.

“She had it in her hand, as I entered the room.”

“Uh huh. What else is up?”

“I dunno.”

“Howzabout you find out?”

As he turned to assess this lady, I figured that having a loaded gun, on my scene, and not in my control, was A BAD THING. I wasn’t about to remove it from the scene: that seemed to me to be very like tampering with evidence, so, instead, I opened the dresser next to me, opened the cylinder and dumped the bullets into one drawer, slammed that drawer shut, and tossed the revolver into another drawer, which I also shut.

I turned back to Cletus, and saw him reaching for the BVM (bag-valve-mask), as he evidently had determined that this soul was arrested. Hmmm. Trauma code. Kinda expecting a malign outcome.

I handed him the prep (handheld radio), asked what else he thought he would need, and ran to the truck for the cot. We wrestled the patient onto the cot, trotted from the house, and set Cletus up for a restful episode of solo CPR in the back of a moving ambulance. Yeah, totally.

I called to dispatch, asking the location of and directions to the nearest trauma center (it wasn’t my house, wasn’t my district.) I reported , “Medic Five, Code One, Westworld Hospital. GSW Chest, cardiac arrest. Notify police, no scout at scene.”

Sometimes, you can hear the double take over the radio. “Medic 5, did you say GSW?”

“Affirmative. GSW chest, cardiac arrest.”

“Medic 5, are you sure?”

“Yeah, dispatch, kinda sure. My partner retrieved the pistol from the victim’s hands, I tossed it into the dresser drawer next to her.”

“Very good, Medic 5. We’re calling the hospital now.”

So, I navigated the Tie Fighter that is an ambulance running code, through the suburban traffic. I was (pleasantly) surprised to see traffic moving aside, as if I were Moses at the Red Sea, as the siren and beacons made known our intent.

We arrived at Westworld Hospital, and turned our patient over to the ED crew who, unsurprisingly, called the code after a brief attempt at resuscitation. Cletus and I cleaned up the truck, and completed the trip sheet.

We were just about to head out, when dispatch called us, directing us to phone them.

Once I had done so, I was directed to phone another number, because the detective wanted to talk to me. Once I had identified myself, he launched into his inquiry.

“You the medic on the scene?”

“Yeah, me and Cletus.”

“So, this was a shooting, right?”

“Yep, gunsmoke and all.”

“So, where is the pistol?”

“I dumped the cartridges into the dresser drawer, and tossed the gun itself into the top drawer.”

There was a pause. “You know, you have messed up my scene, and tainted my chain of custody.”

I contemplated this for a moment. “Well, sir, there was no officer on the scene I could turn the gun over to, and I was reluctant to leave a loaded, unsecured, firearm floating about on my scene. I did not think it would be clever to (a) remove a gun from a likely crime scene, (b) have in my possession a firearm that had been implicated in a likely crime scene, or (c) carry said firearm into a hospital with me. So, I did not identify any better option, at that time and on that scene.”

Life Lesson Number One: Sometimes, you have to extemporize.

Life Lesson Number Two: to quote John Farnam: “You may be killed when you take decisive action. You may likewise be killed when you do nothing. Either way, dithering is toxic. Indecision and delay will prove fatal. So, size-up the situation quickly. Hit the “go” button. Don’t look back.”

http://defense-training.com/2018/who-dare/ (datelined 14 May 2018)

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

History Lessons

Long ago, and far away, I was FDASL © in Da City. On EMS, when I was partnered with Doug, things were generally smooth, as he was a great partner, had his head in the game, and we worked well together. In addition, he was a genuinely nice guy.

We took turns medic-ing, and driving. One night, Doug was driving, and I was doing patient care. Well, TINS ©, Doug and I were out on a scene, with a gentleman who was some variety of sick. For some reason, now lost in antiquity, this soul felt compelled to deliver an oration on the subject of The History Of Oppression Of People Of Color (such as himself), By The Blue Eyed Devil (that would be me).

He had pretty much completed the review of Prehistory, The Roman Empire and Oppression, and was beginning the preliminary discussion of Black Folks Being Oppressed In The Middle Ages, when he stopped for a breath. Turning to my partner, himself of The African Persuasion, our patient invited him to participate in my education. “Ain’t that right, Bro?”

Doug looked at this person, as if he had just discovered a new species of insect, and responded. “Sir, ya know, if I were you, I’d speak a little more nicely to my partner, here. Me, I think you’re an asshole, and just as soon as my partner has had enough of your shit, well, we’re out of here.”

My tutor turned to me, goggle eyed. I smiled, and (just as if I really meant it) I said, “Uh, sir? Weren’t you just about to tell us what sort of sick you were, and whether you wanted us to take you to the hospital?”

Life in Da City!

Medic Six: Medic in Trouble.

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL© in Da City. So, in the course of EMS in, really, any city, you occasionally encounter folks who fail to realize just how wonderful you and your partner truly are. Some of these folks, at a loss for words to articulate their world view, act out. Indeed, from time to time they seek to act out upon members of the uniformed city services, which is why cops have sidearms, firefighters travel in groups of 5 or more, and medics….well, we generally rely on good fortune. And the antipathy police officers most everywhere demonstrate, kinetically, upon those folks who lay hands on medics.

So, having taken note of the above cited occasional dilemma of the tactical variety, The Powers That Be in Da City administration, had established a radio code, to indicate that the crew employing it, was either in trouble, RIGHT NOW!, or anticipated things to get sporty, REALLY FREAKING SOON!. Since we were, by department rule, forbidden arms, we relied upon our friends at TBCPD to extract our bacon from the fire, when the occasion demanded it. In return, we paid very, very close attention to the calls of “officer (insert injury here)”. While nominally all our responses were “Code 1” (red lights and siren), there were varieties of “Code 1”. For instance, there was a “Code 1” response to the call, “man has cough, for two weeks”, and there was the “code 1” response to “Officer shot”. For only one of these, would the ambulance require brake replacement after the call, and other motorists wonder what was that orange streak that had passed them by at “Warp 8”.

Generally, EMS Dispatch was on the ball. They kept track of where you were, how long you had been there, and, if you had not cleared the scene after a suitable interval, they would radio you and check that you were alright. On (thankfully!) rare occasions, they were not. Whether this was to be laid at the feet of dispatch, or the elderly radio system we employed, is not clear.

So, this one time, several crews were hanging out at TBTCIDC, telling tall tales, conversing, and generally waiting for dispatch to decide that it was Our Time To Save Lives. Our handie talkies were on, because dispatch might NOT assume we were still hanging out at TBTCIDC. Our radios, at that time, were open, meaning that any traffic on the frequency was heard on our HT. Therefore, when Medic 6 called “Medic in Trouble”, well, the room went silent. We waited for Dispatch to respond, and heard nothing. One guy phoned dispatch, asking “Did you hear Medic Six call that they were in trouble?”

When answered negatively, he said, “Well, they just did so. What is the address of their scene?” Writing it down, he hung up. “Hey, partner! Wanna take a little drive?”

Sure. Where to?”

Medic Six’s scene.”

Abruptly, four ambulances called on the air from TBTCIDC. We sped over to Six’s scene, and (thankfully) beheld the crew strolling out of the house there. And, no police.

You guys alright?”, one of us asked. 

Yeah, but it go a little tense there, for a minute!”

Everybody drove away, and the rest of that shift passed, without making any more memories.

Thank Ghawd!