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

“Just wait a while. He’ll stop doing that!”

So, TINS ©, while I was FDASL© as a medic for Da City, this one crew had gotten a run on a jackwagon who had engaged in a shoot out with the DCPD, and had lost. The story ran that he had shot at officers, secured cover behind a utility pole, and then had exited cover to fire, again, at the officers. It seemed one of the officers had, indeed, paid attention at firearms qualification, because Mr. Gonnashootacop received a bullet in his face, that exited the back of his head and took a substantial portion of his brain along with it. Not an outcome likely to promote his long term high level wellness, in my opinion.

It seemed to appear so as well, to the EMS crew that caught the run, as they determined that he was DRD (“Daid Raht Dere!”, as we say it in Da City), and they went in service and left the cadaver to the care of the investigating officers.

Unfortunately for that crew, Mr. Gonnashootacop had not attended to that memo, for it was told that after EMS had departed, he took another (final) (agonal) breath. The officers, unsurprisingly, freaked the phenomenon out, called for another ambulance, which crew read the writing on the wall (which explained, “This Way To Department Charges And Unemployment!”) and transported Mr. Gonnashootacop to the friendly local ED, where he was pronounced (again), this time by a physician. Finally.

The story continued relating that the first crew was granted 6 weeks of unpaid time off, in order to allow them to fully deliberate upon, and repent from, the error of their ways. The rest of us recalled the aphorism that “there is no teacher like experience, and a fool will learn no other way”, and figured that OTHER PEOPLES’ EXPERIENCE would work just fine for our own educations, thankyouverymuch!

That touching little parable, leads into a tale of (nearly) my own. I was, at the time of this tale, working a three medic house, with Marielle, and Tim. Tim was a new hire, and had come to the department as a transfer from being a bus driver for Da City. It came to pass that I had/took a day off, for one reason or another, and, when I returned, I entered the firehouse to find an very, very agitated Tim.

“You sunovabitch! Where the hell were you yesterday?”

“Uh, I had the day off?”

“Yeah! And you left me with Marielle! Did you know that she is crazy?”

“Uh, she hasn’t struck me as significantly more crazy than any of the rest of us.”

“Well, let me tell you what happened, yesterday! We caught a shooting, and once we were on the scene, found that this dude had been shot in the head. Pretty bad, most of his cranium had been emptied. It was my day to drive, and so she was on the bag (doing the patient care). So, she sauntered up to this dude, looked him over, and turned to go. I was a bit behind her, and so didn’t really contact the guy, myself, at all. I heard her say that he was dead, and so we wouldn’t be transporting him. While she was standing up to go, he took an agonal breath. Well, the cops freaked out, and started yelling, ‘He’s alive! He’s alive!'”

“She turned back to him, shined her light into the gaping hole in his noggin, showing that there was not hardly any brain left, and said, ‘Oh, just wait a while. He’ll stop that!'”

“Dude! I cannot afford to be suspended for a month and a half! You gotta talk some sense into her!”

Nice. Don’t give me a Herculean task, or something!

Life in Da City!

Dead man on the roof

We typically ran a three medic house, at Medic Seven, just so one of us could take a road trip in the event that somebody or other called in sick, was injured, or other wise was absent for one reason or another. I got the detail, and wound up working Medic One with (let’s call him) Roger Whitaker.

It was his house, and I therefore was the medic that day. It was mid summer in Da City, one of those days with blue skies, sunshine, and temps running high 70’s to low 80’s. Simply a great day to be alive, in your twenties, and working outdoors. We cruised along, between runs, windows open, talking about inconsequential things, and listening for our next run. And, it happened.

We were sent out on a “unconscious man”, at an address down the street from the engine company where we commonly gassed up. At one point, like 30 or more years ago, this had been a prosperous, upper middle class neighborhood. Just off Main Street, the buses (I suppose, at that time, it was trolleys, but the same effect obtains) ran to downtown and back, and north to, let us call it, Middleville, where another of the industrial empires had several of their factories. The managers and suchlike, living in this neighborhood at that time, could take public transport to and from their jobs, and the families, with domestic help, could keep the home fires burning.

Once Da City changed, and the prosperous moved to Da Burbs, well, all those 4, 5 and 6 bedroom homes became multiple apartment buildings. One of them was our destination.

We pulled up in front, called on the scene, and walked to the door. One of the residents met us there, and led us up the staircase, into one of the apartments, around a corner into the kitchen, out of the kitchen window, and onto the tarred roof of the grand porch the building boasted.

This had evolved into some sort of patio for the residents, and there were three men there, two of whom were drinking something from a brown paper bag in the sunny July afternoon, and the other lay, as if asleep, semi prone. Alumni of the old-school Red cross Advanced First Aid And Emergency Care course (yes, I AM THAT old!) might recognize this posture as “the coma position”, as it facilitated drainage of oral secretions from someone who could not manage them on their own. Like, someone in a coma, fer instance.

Roger approached the upright, actively drinking folks, in order to elicit some information regarding our presumably somnolent subject. I approached him, and, kneeling, channeled my inner “CPR Manikin”. I did not quite bellow, “Annie! Annie! Are you all right?”, but I did attempt to shake our friend, to rouse him for conversation.

It quickly became evident that no amount of shaking, nor shouting, nor any other sort of human intervention would cause this gentleman to join in our conversation, without a Ouija board. When I lifted his off arm, as a lever to roll him preparatory to sitting him up, well, he rolled as a unit, as if he was a man shaped board. Students of emergency care might recognize this as “rigor mortis”, and it occurs variably, on the order of 6-14 hours after death.

Our patient had been laying on that hot roof for a long time.

Roger asked one of the bystanders, “When was the last time any of you all talked to him?”

One looked at the other, squinted up into the sky, and answered, “I guess it was before noon when he sort of moaned, laid down, and sort of rolled over. He hasn’t moved since.” Since this was late afternoon, well, this was not going to be a successful resuscitation.

I looked at Roger, he looked at me, and we shook our heads. He retrieved the handie talkie, and called dispatch for TBCPD, and a medical examiner’s crew, and holstered the radio. The second fellow, agitated now, asked, “Is he….? Is he….? Is he….?”

Roger interrupted, “Man, he daid!”

This gentleman walked to the parapet of the porch, threw one leg over same, and made as if to leap. Roger peered over said parapet, admiring all the broken concrete piled against the foundation, and said, “Friend, if you don’t mind, kinda jump a ways out there, into the yard, why doncha? My knees are aching, and I just know I’ll wrench something if I have to pull your broken body off all those rocks!”

The guy stopped, frozen, and stared at Roger for a moment. He lifted his leg back over the parapet, re entered the building through the kitchen window, and was last seen walking down the middle of the street, gesticulating and cursing, heading westbound.

Life in Da City!

Doberman Overdose

 

So, I was working Medic Seven with Doug. We caught a run for an overdose, and proceeded to the call. Calling dispatch to announce our arrival on the scene, we stepped into the autumn evening.

So, there was (and, likely, still is) a considerable, amorphous, body of knowledge, that might be termed “street smarts”. For example, there is what we called “Decker’s Law”, which opined that, should you be on a block, and you were sure your call was at one house on that block, but, of course, there were no house numbers, you should knock upon the door of the house that appeared most likely to be a heap of rubble by the time you went back in service. Your patient awaited therein. Or, Ciaramataro’s corrolary: the house with the steel window and door bars was your scene. Or Ivan’s Axiom: the house with the “ghetto gates” had nothing within it worth stealing. And, those folks likely knew who was doing all the B & E’s in the neighborhood, because they were likely the ones performing them.

Other insights were more what might be called stagecraft. As in, do not have your back to residents of the scene. Or, know two (or more) exits from every scene. Or, do not stand directly in front of the door. Or, and relevant to this tale, plant your boot in front of an outward opening door, because you just might not really want whatever is inside, to abruptly come outside to play. With you. Or your partner.

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL©, with Doug on one side of the door, and myself on the other. Doug was on the handle side of the screen door, and I was on the hinge side. I knocked, and announced our presence in the immortal words of yore: “Fire Department!”

The occupant came to the door, and we heard his dogs enthusiastically greeting us before the door opened. Doug, thoughtfully placing his boot before the door, allowed said occupant to uselessly push against the door as the dogs leapt, barked, and slathered their greetings. This gentleman was exhorting us, “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon! He could be dying in here!”

We suggested, “Sir, if you will secure your dogs, we will be right in!”

He responded, “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon! Dude’s dying in here, and you all be fucking around!”

Again, Doug suggested, “Sir, you have to put your dogs up, or we aren’t coming inside! We aren’t going to get bitten by your dogs!”

Our Host again responded, “I ain’t putting my dogs up! Y’all get in here! He could be dying!”

I looked at Doug, and he looked at me. “You need to hear anything more?” Doug asked me.

“Nope, heard everything I need to hear.” Doug nodded, and said, “Let’s go!”

We got. Once in the truck, and around the corner, we went a couple of additional blocks, and called dispatch. “When you get another call to this location, send police. The resident has a couple of big dobermans, they are aggressive, and he refuses to secure them.”

I finished the run sheet, and prepped the next one. Dispatch did not disappoint.

“Medic Seven, you still near you last run?”

“Affirmative.”

“Respond to that scene, run number (number), address (address). Scout car has been dispatched. “

“Medic Seven on scene, around the corner, waiting for scout.”

The police car soon pulled up, we regaled them with the above story, and off we went. This time, the offices stood at the door, their boots were on the door, and we stood back to admire things.

The same gentleman opened the door, the same dogs danced and growled, and the same dialog. “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon! He could be dying!”

One officer said, “Sir, secure your dogs.”

Our Host had considered his response. “I ain’t locking up my dogs!”

The officer asked him, “Did you just tell me somebody inside there is dying?”

“Yep, and you all are fucking around on this porch!”

The holster snaps were released. “Sir, we’re coming inside in 3 seconds. Those dogs will be secured, one way or the other. You need to lock them up, right now!”

Our Host began to protest, as the other officer placed his hand on the grip of his sidearm, and began to count. “Three! Two! ….”

Somehow, it appeared, the dogs levitated, and disappeared with a “whoosh!”. Seconds later the gentleman announced, “They’re locked up, in the bathroom!”

The officers unholstered their pistols, and led us into the house. One officer, locating the closed door, presumably the bathroom, behind which the barking continued, ensured that it was latched, and waved us past. We moved on, and found an inert soul, unbreathing and pulseless. We started CPR, transported him to TSBTCIDC, and they pronounced him.

Yeah, some runs you remember, even after the better part of forty years.

guns · Life in Da City!

Why am I a suspicious soul?

 

Why am I a suspicious soul?

 

Because of runs like the following.

 

TINS ©, TIWFDASL © , and Medic 13 (our unit) caught a shooting. (Yeah, I know. Shocking! Shocking! Folks getting shot in Da Big City!) So as per the usual plan, we Weedle-Deedled our way to the scene, and pulled up after the police had retired the combatants to neutral corners. (Remember that assumption. It figures prominently in the rest of this story.)

So, our friends at DBCPD (Da Big City police Department) pointed out the shoot-ee, who did not appear to have a care in the world. Well, not THIS world. In fact, he appeared disturbingly unaware of the excitement unfolding around him, and so we assessed him quickly. Awake? Nope. Breathing? Nope. Carotid pulse? Nope. Trifecta of cardiac arrest. The Bonus Points of chest wounds meant that our friend was a trauma code, and trauma codes are widely renowned for having malign outcomes. In short, pretty much Dude be Daid. (for our non-street speaking readers, “daid”=DEAD.)

 

Around this time in Da City, another crew had left a dead fellow on the scene. They had figured that the GSW that had pretty thoroughly emptied his cranium had removed him from the living column of life’s census. However, once they had gone in service, one remaining neuron in this person’s hind brain had met up with another lonely neuron therein, and, in saying “Hello!”, had elicited one, last, agonal breath. The cops on the scene had freaked out (“He’s alive!”), called for another unit, and this medic crew, reading the writing on the wall which said, “This way to departmental charges and unemployment”, took another path, which included transporting this patient so the hospital could pronounce him. The first crew was suspended without pay for something like 6 weeks.

 

For this, and other reasons, there was no way we were going to leave this soul on the scene. Onto the cot, into the truck, and prep for liftoff! As I was connecting the oxygen to the BVM, and generally settling in for a lengthy episode of solo CPR in a moving vehicle (nearly as much fun as it sounds like it is, you ought to know), the rear door opened, and a female face appeared therein. She asked, “Can I ride with you?”

“Who are you?” I inquired.

“Oh, that’s my fiance!”

Let’s pause a moment. After several years on Da Streets of Da City, I concluded that there was not a solitary female older than 17 in the corporate limits of the City of Da City, who was not betrothed. This particular run was NOT after those several years, and so the following may be unsurprising, in retrospect.

Well, I invited said Fiance to enter the vehicle, and secure her safety belt. Doug set off to the The Best Trauma Center In Da City (TBTCIDC). He gave radio report, and I CPR’d my little heart out. Ms. Fiance inquired after my patient’s condition and prospects: “Is he gonna be alright?”

I gave her the long answer. “Well, ya know, when we do CPR-this is CPR- on somebody, they are very, very sick. In fact they are critically ill. Critically ill means that there is a very real chance that they will not survive. Now, I’m doing everything I can to help him, but people who are this sick, well, a lot of ’em die. We’ll just have to see how he turns out.”

She digested this for a moment. “I’m sorry I shot him.”

Huh? I mean, What The Fuck? Huh? Gotta admit, I was so startled, I stopped CPR, looking at her for a minute. After several breaths (mine, not his), I collected myself again and resumed CPR. Ya know, CPR, by yourself, in the back of a moving ambulance, coding to TBTCIDC, is kind of challenging. It becomes particularly so if you are trying to keep your eyes on the just-self-admitted-shooter of your trauma code. Yeah, him. Right there, under your hands. And, well, she is all of 24 inches away. Yeah, that sort of distracting.

I had just about deluded myself into thinking that I was getting back into my resuscitative groove, and had turned my gaze from Ms. Shooter/Fiance, when she decided it was time to expand her fund of knowledge. “Is this gun big enough to kill him with?”

Holy Fenestrated Fertilizer! What the absolute fuck could possibly happen to make this run any worse?

I froze, keeping my eyes on my shootee. “Er, Ma’am? Would you please put that back wherever you got it from?”

A moment later, “Ok, I put it away.”

“Thank you! Please keep your hands on your lap!” NOW, I kept my gaze upon the shooter/Fiance. Of course, THAT meant I wasn’t doing compressions, or ventilating my patient, but, in truth, I was kinda paralyzed. So, when we pulled to a stop, and Doug launched from the driver’s seat, to extract the smoothly running resuscitation that was his smooth, professional, skilled partner, well, that is NOT what he beheld. Rather, it looked like a sort of diorama, perhaps entitled, “Medic Gets A revelation In The Back of the Ambulance”. In any event, it was a still life, not a moving picture. He tried to form his question, along the lines of “Why aren’t you doing CPR?”, but I propelled myself past him, and dragged him away, stuttering profusely. My part of the dialogue sounded like “G…G…G..G…GUH…GUH…GUH…GUN!”, and it took him a moment to process it. Meanwhile the ER crew had extracted our patient, and were running him into resuscitation.

Doug and I grabbed one of the BTCIDC cops, and Doug, by now obviously the brains of the operation, told said cop our tale. “She’s got a gun, she shot our patient, and here she is!”

We found somewhere else to be.