So, TINS©, TIWFDASL©, and we caught a run for a shooting. Being full of excitement, because, gosh, THIS was an opportunity to, ya know, SAVE A LIFE!, we coded our happy way to the scene, there to meet the police. They pointed out the named patient, who, to our surprise, was NOT hovering at death’s door. Rather, he had sustained a small caliber gsw to his lower leg, had intact pulses downstream of his injury, and no evident bony injury. We walked him to the rig, buckled everybody in, and set out for TSBTCIDC.
We had dressed and bandaged his wound, and I was busily documenting same, along with the vitals we had obtained, when he asked me a question.
“Doc, am I gonna die?”
I looked at him, and shook my head no.
“Doc, really, am I gonna die?”
Sighing, I tucked my pen away, and addressed him. “No, you are not gonna die from this wound. You may not even be admitted to the hospital overnight.”
Hearing no further inquiry, I turned, again, to my charting. But, it was not to be.
“Doc, really, I can handle it. Am I gonna die?”
Some people, and one track minds. “Sir, you are not gonna die today, and not from that wound. Really, I’ve seen hundreds of shootings, and your injury is in no way life threatening. Okay?”
He nodded, as if in understanding. I (attempted to) return to my charting.
Shortly, he spake again. “Doc, really, I can handle it. Tell it to me straight, Doc. Am I gonna die?”
I was about over the “Doc” idiocy. “Sir, I’m not a physician, I’m a medic. And, do you really think you can handle the truth?”
“Yeah, I can handle it! Give it to me straight?”
“You sure you can handle the hard, icy, no bullshit truth? Because, if you are really, really sure, I’ll tell it to you straight! No punches pulled, no bullshit, no evasions. Is that really what you are looking for?”
“Yeah, Doc! Tell me the real deal!”
(Ah, well, it appeared that ‘listening to and following directions” was not at the very forefront of my friend’s skill set.) I rubbed my forehead, as if confronting some weighty ethical dilemma. I looked skyward, as if seeking Divine Guidance. I gazed at him, and delivered my response.
“Ok, if you’re sure you can handle it, here’s the real deal! You are not going to die! Do you know why, you are not going to die?”
“No, Doc, why?”
“Because you are not going to live that long!”
The rest of the trip was in blessed silence, as he endeavored to make sense of my revelation.