Fun And Games Off Duty · Fun With Suits! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Phone Company Follies

I had moved from Da City, to a more rural corner of the state. I accepted a job there, as a nursing supervisor. Since my medic license was active, I planned to volunteer with the local rescue.

In the course of securing housing, I arranged for utilities: electricity, propane delivery, and phone. Given the very rural nature of this county, and the presence, here and there throughout the state, of party lines, I inquired about same. Indeed, my question to the person taking my phone order was, “Since I am going to be a nurse for the local hospital, as well as a volunteer with the local rescue, having a private line will be very important. Will I have a private line?”

Her reply, verbatim, was “Private line? No problem!”

I subsequently learned that in Bugtussle, or wherever this particular numbnut was, the meaning of the phrase, “no problem!” was altogether different from the meaning I had become accustomed to.

I learned this when my phone rang (and, differential ringing was whole ‘nother mystery, that I did not understand at that point in time!), I picked up the handset, and found somebody-indeed, two different, and stranger to me somebodies, at that!- greeting each other.

I inquired of my colleagues at work, they being wise in the ways of rural living inasmuch as they were, well, already doing it. I learned that there was such a thing as differential ringing, that in my corner of the county there were, indeed, party lines and that it certainly appeared to be the case that I was the proud subscriber to one!

Against my will.

With this insight in mind, I telephoned the local office of the telephone company, and asked about my “private line”. I learned that the plans called for me to get a private line sometime after the year 2000. This, in a conversation taking place in 1989.

I was not (favorably) impressed.

I next called the regional office, and spoke to the Schmoe In Charge Of Taking Calls From Disgruntled Customers. This schmoe informed me that the new millennium could be celebrated, likely, by me placing calls on my new, and private, telephone line.

I reviewed the “Private line? No problem!” statement of the employee, the fact that I did not, in fact, have a private line, and that due to work and volunteer considerations, this was, and would remain, unsatisfactory.

While it was not phrased that way, the resulting communication could be summarized as “Tough luck!”.

I next uncovered, and called, the number for the Midwest Schmoe In Charge Of Taking Calls From Disgruntled Customers. I learned that the the construction plans for this telephone company did NOT include building out private lines in my corner of the state until after 1999, ten years hence. I reviewed my previous conversation with the order taker, and suggested this was inconsistent with what that worthy had stated would be fact.

Again, while it was not phrased in these words, I was told that that would be my tough luck.

So, I called my Un-Named Midwestern Fly Over State Public Utilities Commission, and was connected with the gentleman charged with fielding complaints regarding, among other things, the telephone companies.

He introduced himself. “Nikolai Tesla. What can I do for you?”

I suggested the position was ironic, given his name, and he agreed. I began my plaint. I reviewed the “Private line, no problem!” misdirection, and my unsatisfactory climb up the chain of command, seeking redress from the phone company. I interjected, “You know, it is ironic that I am calling you in the first place. I tend to be small government, minimal regulation, best government is least government sort of guy.”

He paused, then asked, “Do you mind if I savor that irony, for just a minute?”

“By all means, savor away!”

We resumed our conversation, and Mr. Tesla took my contact information, and promised that he would keep me posted on new developments.

I next called my representative in The Un-Named Flyover State, State Legislature. I spoke with a legislative assistant, and reviewed the material, presented above. I told this soul that my desired outcome was that my representative’s office would hound the PSC over my complaint about the phone company, and that I would be invited to any hearing, the next time the shitweasal telephone company wanted any sort of rate increase. The aid promised me that they would make a few calls, and look into things.

I spent the next couple of weeks fighting disease, and saving lives. (Bet you wondered if I was gonna work that in, somehow! Well, wonder no more!) Since I was working 3-11, I tended to rattle around my residence for several hours after work, before going to bed, awakening generally at the crack of noon. So, I was surprised one morning around 0800 to be awakened by the noise of a barely muffled engine, seeming to arise from the end of my driveway.

I dressed, and walked to the street, asking the workmen there what it was that they were doing?

“We’re putting in a private line. You did want a private line, didn’t you?”

“Sure did! Thank you, gentlemen! Carry on!”

I was tempted to ask him if I had overslept, and it was 1999 already?

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

Ham radio at Fort Custer State Park.

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL©…well, Ok, I wasn’t, really. TDW-Mark 1, our kids, and I were away on vacation, camping in Custer State Park, in South Dakota. TDW-Mark 1 had planned on a drive across the northern tier of states, culminating in a visit to Mount Rushmore, The Crazy Horse Memorial, and generally seeing the sights of Not The Un-Named Flyover State. So, there we were, cleaning up after dinner, and the air got surprisingly still, and felt, well, “heavier”. There had been thunderstorm warnings earlier in the afternoon on the broadcast radio, and I figured that a little visit to Ham Radioland was in order.

I turned the car on, powered on the amateur radio, and set the radio to one of the several Ham Radio repeaters in the area of the park. TDW-Mark 1 wandered over to see what her husband was up to.

What I was up to, was taking notes on the “weather net” in progress. There were reports of rotation on the observed thunderstorms, and occasional reports of funnel clouds. TDW-Mark 1 decided that it would be clever to get all the clean up done, and everything put away. She corralled the kids, and set them to work.

One of the other campers wandered over, likely thinking that I had found “The Game” on the radio, and appeared surprised that I did NOT have the broadcast radio on, in my vehicle.

“Whatcha listening to ?”

“The local radio amateurs are weather spotting, and calling their reports. Some of them have seen funnel clouds, others have seen rotation in some of the thunderstorms that they have seen.”

“What’s that mean?”

“That it is very likely that one of these storms may touch down, and the folks near there will have a tornado to call their very own!”

“That sounds like it could be bad!”

“Yep. That could be very bad.”

Right around this point in the tutorial on Weather Spotting In America, And Amateur Radio’s Role Therein, TDW-Mark 1 returned, both to inform me that our campsite had been battened down (or, as battened down as a pop-up camper was going to get, anyhow), and inquire as to what was my brilliant contingency plan in the event that all our little family was to be offered a trip to Oz, by Thor himself.

I had noticed, upon our arrival, that the bathrooms appeared to be very substantially built. Fine brick structures seemed well suited, in my estimation, to the task of sheltering my family from the storm. I so instructed TDW-Mark 1. “If it appears that we are going to get heavy weather, we will hit the showers, select a toilet in the middle of the building, and call it home for as long as necessary.”

“Any sign that things are heading our way?”

“Presently all the funnels, and all the rotation are to our east, and northeast, so we are unlikely to catch any of it. If they close the weather net in the next several hours, we ought to be clear.”

The other camper, overhearing all this, began to turn his head, just like at a tennis match, goggle eyed at our seemingly tranquil acceptance of the potential of holing up in a toilet against some tornado or other. “Aren’t you guys scared at all by this?”

TDW-Mark 1 had his answer. “What good would that do? He’s a medic and ER nurse, I’m an ER nurse, he’s keeping an ear on the weather for us. Tell you what: keep an eye on our campsite. If you see us scurrying to the bathrooms, gather your family and join us, because it is unlikely that we all will catch the trots simultaneously!”

The look on his face was nearly priceless.

Even better? The fact that we heard the Skywarn Net stand down, around a hour later.

Life in Da City!

Things you learn in your early jobs….

Before I was a medic, full of derring do and beating back the scourge of death and disease, I was an orderly at Da City General Hospital. There, I shuffled bedpans, obtained vital signs and generally attempted to do all the routine stuff that did not require the skills nor education of a nurse. I learned a lot, particularly among those things that I learned, was that I did NOT desire to become a floor nurse on a med surg floor.

One day, I was gathering the vitals on our guests, working my way through the wards. One particular gentleman had recovered, sort of, from a stratospherically elevated fever. In most regards, he was on track to recuperation, although the fever had done malign things to his brain. He appeared to have a rudimentary understanding of his surroundings, and did not engage in conversation. We were feeding him each of his meals, although he had (re)mastered chewing and swallowing.

So, bright and early, before my coffee had had the opportunity to effect therapeutic caffeine levels (in my bloodstream, that is), I was bent over at his bedside, both siderails up and secured. For some reason, I was having difficulty establishing his BP, and went through several retries.

On one of them, I had failed to note that he had scooted himself over to the rail, rolled onto his right side, and introduced his penis through the slats of the siderail. That, of course, placed me downrange of the volley of urine he was about to produce.

It is never good to be downrange when that range is hot. I received quite the baptism, and reacted smoothly, suavely, and effectively: I cursed, and attempted to leap, from a standing start, over the bed. Didn’t work, but the other patients in the ward certainly found it amusing.

Later on, on a night shift, I was working on the orthopedic floor, and the nurse requested that I provide a suppository of one sort of medication or another, to one of our male patients. Sure, no prob. She bade me pause, before I left the nurse’s station to administer this to the patient, and asked me, “So, Mr. McFee, how are you going to do this?”

I recited, “I’ll inform the patient that this is the suppository of (whatever it was) that your doctor ordered, and the nurse handed to me, so if you would be so kind as lay on your left side, I will lubricate it, and, with my gloved finger, insert it into your rectum.”

She paused. “You missed a step.”

Huh? “Uh, what step would that be, ma’am?”

“You did not include removing the suppository from it’s foil wrapping.”

Huh? “Uh, OK, ma’am, I’ll be sure to remove the foil from the suppository, before I administer it.”

Fun And Games

“WHY DO WE NEED FARMERS? I ONLY EAT FOOD FROM THE SUPERMARKET!”

Perhaps I have mentioned that TDW-Mark II grew up on a farm. As you might expect, she is familiar with chickens, and the process whereby eggs are acquired. She is, in addition, familiar with the process whereby chickens are changed into roast chicken, and even into chicken nuggets.

Similarly cows, and milk, as with cows and beef.

So, she was in school studying to prepare herself to be a social worker. Of course, she was required to take a course on ecology, or some similar stuff, because, after all, what social worker will be able to mend broken psyches, or minister to the fearful and ill, should she/he not have studied ecology, amirite?

Please understand that, while I did, indeed , “trade up” with the transition from Wretched EX (formerly TDW-Mark Ø), my wife (TDW-Mark II) is very much a non traditional student. This works both from the perspective of her age (she is not a gosling), as well as her having had some life experience prior to college. In addition, she has developed opinions based upon that life experience, and they are not particularly consonant with the stereotypical gosling/kid kollege student opinion set.

In her class, she learned all sorts of wonderful things, such as why corn in general, and corn syrup in particular, are death in a carton/on a cob, and ZOMG! WE! ARE! ALL! GOING! TO! DIE!, because of the presence of corn and corn syrup in our diets. Nice.

So, this one time, the class took a field trip (no, I do not, either, understand the point of a college class taking a field trip, unless is it a paleontology or archaeology class visiting some dig somewhere. This was not such a class!) Since this is Land Grant College Country, and the local Enormous State University is a Land Grant College, well, her little ecology class visited the Land Grant College Agricultural School. To be exact, the University Farms.

Being a farm girl, TDW Mark II dressed accordingly. Jeans, boots, denim shirt, hair up in a baseball cap, gloves in her pocket. No surprises there, right?

Her gosling classmates, not so much. Once she got home (TDW, not the gosling/classmate), she was laughing (TDW, not the gosling classmate).

TDW started off her after action report with a dramatic foreshadowing. “Ohmigawd! I just cannot believe some people! This one girl showed up for the farm tour in nice, dressy, high heeled boots, a nice dress, and a nicer blouse. You had to see her picking her way around the cow pen! And, she had lots of fun on the ladders! It seems that miniskirts are not really designed with climbing in mind, although the guys in class did not seem to mind very much!”

I had spent the day washing clothes, washing dishes, cutting the grass, and suchlike so that we could spend a nice weekend doing something that was NOT chores, so I nodded while finishing the last of the dishes.

It seemed that TDW Mark 2’s classmate had some difficulty meandering around the farm. Farms, after all, are industrial environments, when you stop to think about it. Once the procession had returned to the classroom, Ms Fine Clothes dove deeper into the vat of clueless in which she had evidently immersed herself.

The instructor initiated some sort of discussion, perhaps seeking to tie the afternoon’s travels back into the nominal subject of the class (ecology, or environment, or some such thing). This student observed that she or he had not appreciated how much effort went into raising and marketing animals for milk, eggs, and meat. Another noted the vast difference between the olfactory experience of a farm, and the Styrofoam cleanliness of the supermarket.

Ms. Nice Clothes stood and made her point. “Oh! My! Gawd! I could NEVER eat an egg from a chicken! They come out of their butts! I’m so glad that I only ever have eaten eggs from the supermarket!”

And, TDW Mark II wonders why it appears that I have a tic, consisting of shaking my head and muttering “What the actual FUCK?!?”

Fun With Suits! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · School Fun And Games · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Again, with not fitting the mold!

Remember my fun filled interview for Nursing school? So, nearly 30 years later I applied for PA school. Among the requirements was 500 hours of patient contact experience. So, I had worked as an RN for (shockingly enough) 30 years at that point, and had accrued, with overtime, something on the order of 63,000 hours of patient care.

So, I went to interview for the incoming class, and they asked me if I had 500 hours of patient care experience. I had included my resume detailing my schooling and work experience as part of my application, so I assumed that my work history was not a surprise.

I asked, “Do you mean, in the past 3 months? or overall?”

“How about, overall?”

“Well, something like 60,000 plus hours, I guess.”

The reply? “Well, alright then! Let’s move along!”

I succeeded, and so got to deal with the financial aid office.

I filled out the form, complete with the birthdate revealing that I had been born some 50 + years previously. I ignored the part where they sought my parent’s tax forms.

When I turned in my application, the gosling behind the counter reviewed my papers,  and looked my elderly ass right in the eye, saying, “You don’t have your father’s tax form in here!”

She sure was quick! “No, ma’am, I do not.”

She was, albeit, persistent. “You have to include your father’s tax forms.”

“Ma’am, I am not going to submit my father’s tax forms. For one thing, he has not filed in 13 years. ”

“He hasn’t filed in 13 years? He has to!”

“Ma’am, perhaps you could call him up, and let him know that. But, it’s going to be kind of a long distance call. And, when you reach him, please tell him that I love him, and miss him every day.”

Perhaps, she was not so quick. “Huh?”

“Ma’am, my father died over a dozen years ago. You will not be receiving his tax forms.”

Undeterred, she demanded, “Well, we will need your mother’s tax forms!”

I was over this. “Ma’am, you are not going to receive my mother’s tax forms, either. She is pushing 80 years old, I have lived on my own for 30 years, and the only tax forms you will receive are those belonging to my wife and me. Perhaps I should talk to your supervisor?”

After several minutes, an adult appeared. I reviewed my position. “Ma’am, this young lady insists on my providing my parents’ tax forms. That is not going to happen. I have supported my own family for nearly a dozen years. I am not about to provide my parents’ forms, nor have they supported me for longer than this nice young lady has been alive.”

The adult looked at me for a moment. “And, you are Mr. McFee, correct? And, you are the student? Not one of your children?”

“Ma’am, if you look at the applicant’s birthday on the application, you will see that it matches my apparent age.”

This soul indeed perused the applicant’s birthday, and regarded me. “Uh, sir? I think we have everything we need here. You will not be asked again to provide your mother’s tax forms. Thank you, and have a nice day!”

Knives · Pre Planning Your Scene

Why do ER staff frisk patients? This is why!

TINS©. Once I had left Da City’s EMS, I was an Emergency Department nurse in , surprisingly, Da City. Now, this was in the depths of the then current round of the nursing shortage, and so (a) they put me in charge (BIG mistake!), and (b) we had rent a nurses working with us. You might imagine, folks who have spent their careers working in the hospital may not be entirely as cynical as I am, and so might have a different level of urgency regarding, say, frisking a patient, than I do. Remember that thought.

So, one soul, a frequent flyer at our department, was brought in by the local fire department. This municipality was entirely within the border of Da City, but had stand alone police and fire services. These firefighters also provided EMS for the community. This particular wintry evening, they brought us an intoxicated fellow, who wanted to misbehave. Prior to my arrival, the evening staff had placed this gentleman in a vest type restraint, and settled him into a corner with a couple of blankets, and an admonition to take a nap.

So, once things had pretty much cleared out, I figured that a walk through, and placing eyes on my charges might be useful, and so I set out.

As I cleared the curtains surrounding our friend (mistake number one), I noted that he was fiddling with his vest. Closer inspection revealed that he had secured a knife (frisk fail, mistake number two!), and appeared to be attempting to cut his way free, presumably thereafter to make his escape. Acting prior to thinking this all the way thorough (mistake number three!), I grasped the hand with the knife, and extended his arm over the top of the bed, bending it, and securing it, and the knife within, with both hands.

That gave him the opportunity to consider the advantages he might enjoy, by popping me in my face with his off hand. Having considered, he tried to act, and so there we were, me holding onto the knife hand with both of mine, bobbing and weaving to avoid punches directed, drunkenly, my way by our guest, and calling for assistance.

One of the agency nurses walked over to see what the fuss was about. She stood there, motionless, for a long moment, until I suggested, “Ya know, if you could get some security in here, right stat like, that would be wonderful!”

I shit you not: she pivoted in place, and bellowed, “Security Stat To The ER!”

Sheesh! I amended my suggestion. “That was very nice. Now, if you were to open that door over there, and go out in the hallway, where our friends from security actually are, and tried it all over again, it might be just a little more helpful!”

She did earn bonus points for “Listening to and following directions”. Shortly, our friends from security piled into the room, relieved Mr. GottaGo of his knife, replaced his restraint, and frisked him, thoroughly this time. I frisked him, myself, because, well, reasons. I found no surprises. This time.

Life in Da City! · Pre Planning Your Scene

Nursing Student Ride Along

Doug and I, at “Lucky” Medic 13, had one schedule with Cletus as our third partner. Cletus appeared reasonably intelligent, but had the unhappy superpower, of rubbing folks the wrong way. On many occasions, he would be medic-ing, enter the scene, announce us with “Hello. How can we help you?”, and get a growled response of, “The Hell you mean by that? You can’t talk to (me)(him)(her) like that!” And, of course, in Medic 13’s area, negotiation was a lost art. A night that we didn’t get into some sort of fight with a chucklehead or two, was a night we were not at work. This, even in Cletus’ absence.

 

So, Back in The Day, some of the local RN programs would offer their students the opportunity to ride along with Da Big City EMS, as part of their emergency nursing rotation. Typically, these were women, and they were commonly young, bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed, cute, smart, and agog at the gritty realities of Da Street. We would occasionally get one of these women as our ride along. Considering the aforementioned “Fight Club” nature of our area, we took pains to give them The Talk (EMS Version).

 

This consisted in admonishing the student to NEVER get separated from Doug and me. We showed them the radio in the cab of the truck, and directed them, “If one of us says, ‘Let’s go get the stretcher’, that means ALL OF US go get the stretcher, and then unass the scene. If you get to the truck before us, in that situation, you pick this microphone up, right here. You push the red button, hold it down, and you say, ‘Medic 13! Medic in trouble!’, and keep repeating it, without releasing this red button, until the cops show up. Then show the nice police officers where you saw us last. Got it?”

 

That typically produced wide eyed head nodding. Some of the quicker students would ask, “Why would you both leave?” We would explain that we were reluctant to engage our students in fisticuffs, with folks who did not know who the Marquis of Queensbury was, let alone know his rules for boxing. We would do a pocket dump, showing pocket knives, Kel-Lites (heavy duty, police-style flashlights, useful for illumination, or as a bludgeon), belt knives, neck knives, and explaining the utility of each. More wide eyes.

 

So, this one student was in quarters, getting The Talk, when Cletus arrived. He was off duty that day, yet for reasons not clear to Doug or me, felt the need to hang out at the firehouse. Must not have had cable, I guess. Now, Cletus and I are honkeys, Doug very African Heritaged. Our student, who was a cute as a bug’s knee, was, herself, of the African Persuasion. Cletus sat there, until Doug and I had concluded The Talk, and then I went up front to call my girlfriend on the house pay phone (You may have heard of them. Way, way back, before the I-Phone 3, there were these telephones, connected with wires to the Phone Company. After you deposited money, you could dial a number, and get connected to whoever you wanted, sort of like a cell phone, except with other people’s germs all over them.)

 

So TINS © , there I was, chatting away with my girlfriend, and I saw Cletus and Our Student exit the firehouse, and turn left, towards J’s Lounge. Now, in Da City, the firehouses are not generally in the “high rent” district. Rather, they were scattered around the city, and that tended to place them in what might be charitably described as firefighting target rich environments. Similarly for EMS houses, except substitute “pathology target rich environment”. So, next door to our firehouse was J’s Lounge, whose historic claim to fame was the distinction of being the site of several shootings, conveniently located next door to the medic unit’s quarters. Since, at that time, Da City was running around 130,000 EMS calls a year, with something like 16 ambulances, well, we were seldom home, and so the citizens expected the firefighters to be the first responders. Ghawd, did they LURV that! About as much as they’d enjoy a fully involved structure fire with the nearest 6 hydrants being out of service.

 

So, since our house was located in a neighborhood in the center of Da City, and the majority of Da City’s residents were themselves of the African Heritage Group, well, that left Cletus (honky), strolling into J’s Lounge, with a clientele representative of that corner of Da City, in the company of an attractive young woman, herself a stranger in these here parts, and, for bonus points on Cletus’ part, Black.

 

Now, at this point in Da City’s history, relations between the races were, well, tense. A lot of the Black folks were conscious of White political leaders, and decisions that had been taken by these White politicians that were not advantageous to minority folks. A certain percentage of the White population leapt to the conclusion that, inasmuch as minority criminals were featured in news reports of, well, crime, that therefore, all minority folks were criminals. Neither set of citizens stopped to consider the possibility that some White folks were assholes, some Black folks were jackwagons, and a lot of the rest of either group simply wanted to be left the hell alone, to work, pay their bills, raise their children, and generally get about their days.

 

So it was into this oven that Cletus and Our Student strolled. Once I identified what the frack it appeared that Cletus was doing, I abruptly hung up on my girlfriend, and sprinted to our quarters. Doug looked up from his textbook, and, as I grabbed the handie-talkie from the charger and motioned him to follow me RFN*, asked what was up, I told him, “Cletus just took Our Student into J’s!”, and he bolted from his seat.

 

We had just about made it to the front of the firehouse, when Cletus and Our Student returned, Cletus with a big idiotic grin on his face. Doug and I called dispatch on the HT (“Medic 13, back in quarters, off the air.”), and dragged Cletus back to our quarters. Once there, Doug bade him sit, and began a profusely illustrated, highly evocative, richly turned narrative, filled with esoteric turns of phrase describing deviant familial relations, marital practices, and love of our fellow beast, with the recurrent theme of “What The Fuck Did You Think You Were Doing?”

 

Long around the second or third stanza, Cletus lost his grin, and turned to me for support. Doug tagged me, and climbed out of the ring. I wasn’t quite as polite as Doug had been.

“So, Cletus, you know you’re white, right?”

He got smart. Well, OK, smart assed. “Well, d’uh! Of course I know I’m white!”

“And, perhaps you had noticed, most of this city is Black, right?”

Again, the smart ass. “Well, D’uh!”

“Just like this nice, and naïve, young woman, right here?”

“Yep, I noticed.”

“Have you noticed that folks in this town, particularly the folks we deal with all the time, are kinda tense about that whole Black/White thing?”

“Uh-huh.”

“So, Young Einstein: what do you suppose is the conclusion that our neighbors over there, most recently in our mind for that shooting last month, will jump to when a young white boy, strolls into their bar, escorting a attractive young Black woman? You are aware, are you not, that a primary commercial enterprise hereabouts is, er, um, the ‘escort’ business, right? What, are they recruiting illegal immigrants from Hondouristan to work these streets? Or do these women kinda look like our other neighbors? Hmmm?”

 

He responded with a blank look. I did not let that stop me. Doug nodded, and waved me forward. “So, here’s what happened: my white, and civilian clothed partner, walked into a black bar, in a predominantly black city, in an area whose major commercial enterprise is the sex trade, with a very attractive black woman, who is a stranger hereabouts. He laughs about this, while his partners were anticipating yet another shooting in that bar, only this time featuring their partner. Do you see, yet, how and why we anticipated this going horribly wrong?”

 

Our Nursing Student contributed, right about this point in the lecture series on Appearances Mean Things, “I think I need to go home, now. Thanks, guys for the lessons!”. And, with that, she scurried out of the door, into her car, and puttered away.

 

Cletus started looking uneasy, and suddenly remembered something pressing that he had to do, right now, at home. And, away he went.

 

Doug looked at me, and shook his head. “You sure know how to pick ’em!”

 

 

*RFN=Right Fucking Now

 

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.