Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Pre Planning Your Scene

Car Fire

So, before Mallory and I had begun to live together, I had one of my ex partners, let’s call him Adam, as my room mate. Mallory would come over from time to time, and the three of us would chat, or share dinner, or simply hangout.

One day, she came into the house, and asked us to hurry out and see what was wrong with her car. Now, this was her baby, one she had purchased because, as she termed it, “I look so good driving that car!” It had been her very first new vehicle, ever.

So, Adam and I threw on some shoes, and trotted out to see what was the matter. She had told us that it was smoking, and once we got outside, it became clear why. The smell of burning plastic emanating from beneath the hood told the tale.

Mallory was starting to get excited, hopping around and beseeching us, “Can’t you guys do something?”

Adam looked the vehicle over, and asked her, “Do you REALLY want us to do something? If we let it burn, or call the fire department, then it will be totaled, and you can get a brand new one. If we extinguish the fire, you are gonna have to get all that burned shit replaced, and it may never be altogether right, again.”

Mallory was nigh unto break dancing by now, and simply couldn’t bear to see “her baby” burn up. Adam asked her again, simply to be certain, “Are you REALLY REALLY sure you want us to do something?Again, she pleaded with us to act. Adam looked at me, I looked at him, and we charged the garden hose, donned work gloves, and sprayed it down through the grill as well as we could. Once it had dampened down, I opened the hood, and stood aside, while he blasted it (or, at least, “blasted it” as much as one is likely to be able to, with a garden hose!). It was evidently sufficient to the task, for soon the smoke stopped, the smell abated, and we were unable to identify any further burning stuff after diligent search.

Mallory called her insurance company, they sent a wrecker, and she got a loaner.

Several weeks later, her car was returned to her. She subsequently had repeated complaints about this, that, or the other thing not performing properly. Soon, she turned to Adam, and admitted, “If I had listened to you, and let it burn, I’d be driving a new car by now!”

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!”

Life in Da City!

Moving Targets

So, some background. I have spent some time in urban EMS, as perhaps you had determined from both the title of the blog, as well as my tales of rollicking good times. I have noticed a few things.

Thing The First: Typically, EMS service populations are not drawn preferentially from what might be termed “life’s winners”. Indeed, for some reason, the log books skew towards the underachievers, the disenfranchised, the unsuccessful, and those who, generally, actively choose the stonier path upon which to direct their lives. Thus, the Donna Reed Quotient is kinda low. Clean cut? Not so common. Well spoken? Again, um, no. Conversations revealing polish, education, and familiarity with The Classic Works of English Literature? Nope. Preventive, or any other sort of, maintenance in evidence? Uncommonly. Not of the dwelling, not of the vehicles in the yard on blocks, not of the furniture, not of the persons of the folks you meet.

There are, of course, exceptions to this observation. Among the impoverished portion of the community, there are folks who are clean, polite, energetic, hardworking, and who try to make that which they do have, last, and their households and persons reflect this effort. Their children can be seen, when you are on the scene, quietly, out of the way, watching you perform your EMS magic, when they are not completing their homework, or accomplishing chores about the home. But, these folks are outliers.

Thing The Second: There is a well nigh unitary correlation between what might be considered Dumb Life Choices (drug use, intoxication on a regular basis, failing to pursue an education, to name a few high profile such choices), and poor hygiene and poor housekeeping. Again, there are contrary examples, and I see within them a spark of potential for redirection of self into paths perhaps more life enhancing, but (1) they are exceptions, and (2) folks have to make these transitions themselves, because they value these changes, and will not do so because I am so freaking perfect, and think that they should. Because, for one, I’m not.

Thing The Third: There is a similarly high correlation between squalid domestic settings, and infestation with vermin. Deer hunters know (And, after all, I live in rural Michigan, and deer hunting is One Of The Eight Sacraments) that, if you want to attract deer (or any other game species), you provide those things that they seek, and they will come. Food source, shelter from wind, water, protected lanes of travel between these things? Set up your blind, the deer will come a’calling.

Similarly, if you want roaches, provide them with water (check your pipes), food (which we spell g-a-r-b-a-g-e), shelter (cracks in your cabinets, walls, or the openings for electric outlets).

As you can infer from the foregoing, dilapidated housing, with inattentive folks (because stoned/drunk/other), and a failure of the concept “take out the trash! Wash your dishes every several days! Remove/reduce the clutter everywhere that provides shelter for vermin!”, well, you get, at the least, bugs.

As attractive as that sounded to me, and as fun as it looked as well when in these houses, well, I was reluctant to form my own “Wild Kingdom” to enjoy in my very own home. I developed the habit of shifting my weight from one foot to the other, regularly, in hopes of at least providing a moving target for the insect life present in the biome. Kind of a common tic among my colleagues, at that time.

So, TINS ©, TIWFDASLIDC ©, and in the course of doing so, my partner, Doug, and I transported a soul to TSBTCIDC. Of course, this soul originated from, let us say, a domicile that would NOT win a Good Housekeeping Award, although Merck might be interested in seeking new antibiotics there. We arrived at TSBTCIDC, and I was giving report to Mallory. I was winding my tale up, about to deliver the epilogue, when she interrupted me.

Do you have to go to the bathroom?”

(Me, shifting weight from left foot to right foot, rhythmically and repetitively) “uh, no. Why?”

(Her, looking skeptical) “Because you’re doing the potty dance.”

I looked at my feet. Looked at her. Looked at my feet. Looked at her. “Nope, I just got into the habit of doing this, so as to make it harder for the roaches to hitch a ride home.”

Just so you know, that is not a particularly successful pick up line. For some reason, the women do NOT find that insight alluring.

Who knew?

Life in Da City! · Overdoses

War Story The First

27 July 2017.

Taking an Overdose to The Second Best Trauma Hospital in Da City (SBTHIDC): “Breathe!”

Let’s see if I understand this “blog” thing. In addition, I suppose we’ll see if I can translate my Tales Of The Dark Side narrative style to a screen. Let me know, OK?

So, this is No Shit ©, There I was, Fighting Disease and Saving Lives In Da Big City ©. As was not uncommon at that point in Da City’s history, EMS received a call for an overdose. Shocker, right? Further compounding the shock, my partner, Doug (Not His Real Name), and I caught that run. So, fleet of accelerator and steely eyed for Clovers in their natural habitat {(a) on the road, and (b) in front, or on a collision course with the Battlestar Galactica that was a Big City Ambulance}, we arrived on the scene.

In some regards, heroin overdoses were rather adult-adult transactions, with a minimum (generally) of drama and hidden agendas. It typically ran along the lines of “He’s too high, he’s fucking up our party, y’all snatch him on up, and carry him on down to the hospital!” (translated from Street into more easily transcribed neo-English). Conveniently enough, said action plan would minimize our time on scene, with a couple of beneficial effects. First, (OF COURSE!) was expeditious transport of this ill soul to higher medical care, and a life changing resuscitation courtesy of The Ghawd Narcan, and, secondly, enabling my partner and I to elope from the free fire zone that such a scene had potential to develop into, and do so in a time frame calculated to have us safely away before said fireworks unfolded.

Well, on this particular day, Doug was driving and I was medic-ing. We announced ourselves (“Fire Department!”), were admitted, and found Mr. Hypoxic inert, supine, but, par miracle’!, breathing. Well, sorta. He was breathing every 15 seconds or so. Doug handed me the BVM*, and skedaddled to the truck to retrieve the cot.

While I waited, I noted that Mr. Hypoxic seemed to move air OK, when he remembered that this was sorta important. I wondered if reminding him of this little chore would be productive, and so bellowed “BREATHE!” into his ear.

He breathed.

I wondered if this was a “one of”, or a replicable experiment in assisted respirations, and so, again, bellowed “BREATHE!” into his ear.

Again, he breathed.

I love it when a random thought produces an actionable plan.

When Doug returned with the pole stretcher, we rolled Mr. Hypoxic onto it and trundled out into the street, onto the cot, and into the ambulance, me hollering, “Breathe!” every 5-10 seconds or so. He continued to breathe.

Doug radioed dispatch, advising them of our priority two transport to The Second Best Trauma Hospital in Da City (SBTHIDC), and then dialed up said SBTHIDBC on the hospital alert radio (in those days called “the HEARN”, for Hospital Emergency Alert Radio Network, and on VHF. Ah, yes! The days before 800 mhz!). He supplied the abbreviated version of Mr. Hypoxic’s story, and then focused on driving a near-code through city streets. (I did mention The Clovers, right? They’re everywhere!)

Once we arrived, Doug and I debussed Mr. Hypoxic, and we strolled into the triage area of TSBTHIDBC, where Mallory the triage nurse, and my then-current girlfriend, awaited us. She looked puzzled when I wasn’t ventilating my patient, and that puzzlement only grew when I commanded, “BREATHE!”, for, like, the 1200th time. He breathed, again, of course.

So, what happens when you don’t yell at him like that?”

Uh, he kinda doesn’t breathe……BREATHE!…..See?”

She looked unpuzzled. “Uh-huh…(pivot, poke head into resident’s room) I need a doctor in here, right stat like!” (pivot to me and Doug) “Put him in the trauma room!”

Some people don’t really seem to appreciate whimsy, very much.

*BVM: bag-valve-mask. A device for introducing room air into the lungs of a nonbreathing person, by compressing a bag, pushing the air from that bag through a one way valve into the mouth (and therefore airway) of said person via a mask. Releasing the bag allows it to self inflate, and the patient to exhale, so you can repeat the whole process again. And again. And again…