Welcome back. Now TINS©, TIWFDASL ©, and we came across a figure in the gutter. Ok, we weren’t FDASL*, really. In fact, we were cruising. Now, “cruising” was verboten. It reeked of spending Da City’s hard earned fuel to lollygag about, on da streets of Da City. No, Da City, in it’s wisdom, would much rather we lollygag in quarters. But, THAT is a tale for another time.
So, this one time, we were “Touring Our District”. (There, doesn’t that sound so much better?) Indeed, our sole mission was to improve our understanding of the streets of our primary response district, in order to hasten responses, and avoid potential delays in lifesaving care!
Yeah, That’s it! That’s the ticket! We were “touring the district”! Absolutely!
So, in the course of familiarizing ourselves with the streets of Medic 8’s district (conveniently enough, we were working at Medic 8, myself, Baby Huey, and Cletus, Da Genius), we happened across a figure in, TINS ©, da gutter of Turnbuckle Avenue. Curious as to how this might have happened, we stopped, and advised dispatch of this interruption to our night.
So the night in question was raining, and therefore, unsurprisingly, our new friend was wet, muddy, and, simply to make everything just nice, intoxicated as hell. We bundled him up, in our nice, warm, and dry truck, and proceeded to The Little hospital That Thought It Could (TLHTTIC). En route, I attempted to elicit any sort of helpful information, such as allergies, medications, medical history, name, address, phone number we could call for somebody to pick his soggy self up from TLHTTIC, but he wasn’t in much of a mood for conversation. (remember THAT thought.)
I tried chafing his wrists, I tried tapping his cheeks, I tried the tried and tested “Annie! Annie! Are you all right?”, but he was not having any of it. I contented myself with vitals, and idly admiring our ceiling, en route to TLHTTIC.
Once we arrived, the ED staff informed us that they had no vacant stretchers, and we would have to wait. Cletus Da Genius set off in search of a vacant stretcher. So, there I was, Baby Huey, Mr Soggy Intoxicated, and me, with Mr. Intoxicated on an ambulance cart fully elevated.
Now, potential energy is a funny thing. Different heights allow for different durations within which gravity (“It’s not just a good idea! It’s the LAW!”) can act upon a body in flight. Given the formula v=AT, well, a falling body from, let’s say, 3 ½ feet in the air, can achieve enough velocity that, suddenly stopping on a concrete floor covered with tile, fracture something will fracture. Hips are popular in the falling populace, and among orthopedic surgeons who have children in expensive colleges, as well. So our new friend was at “The Orthopedic Height”.
With this in mind, our new friend decides to awaken. Whatever my other failings, I am not a fan of added injuries to folks who are, however briefly, my patients. So, I attempted to stop Mr. Intoxicated from launching himself over the side of the cart, and into a consult with orthopedic surgery.
At this point in my life, I was a union steward in our union. I was also an RN, having finished school and passed the boards a couple of years before. I’m not the smartest SOB, but I generally can recognize really, really dumb stuff, and avoid it.
So, OF COURSE, NOW Baby Huey bestirs himself from his coma, to provide me with an extemporaneous lecture on the medico-legal niceties and particulars of patient restraint. I had some familiarity with said niceties, and, as I tried to explain to my newly legal-beagle partner, if my choices were to “illegally”restrain this guy, or watch him fracture his hip, I wanted to be explaining my actions taken to protect the patient from harm. Baby Huey was unmoved, repeating, “Da man wants to go, you got to let him go!”
Several things passed through my mind. Foremost, I hated-truly LOATHED-rolling around in close contact with unwashed, smelly, halitosis ridden children of God. Secondly, I wondered where TLHTTIC got all those nurse-statues, because they sure as hell weren’t moving. Thirdly, where was Cletus Da Genius?
A couple of minutes of wrestling later Cletus arrived with a stretcher. Cletus, in contrast to Huey (in his newfound persona of Legal Authority on All Matters Relating to False Imprisonment and Illegal Restraint), did take direction, serenaded by Huey’s Moot Court exposition. Cletus and I managed to pivot our new friend, writhing as he now was, onto TLHTTIC’s cart, lower it to the laceration height, and secure all siderails up. As I turned to escape this clown show, I noticed said friend start to inch-worm himself to the head end of the cart, and there, I predicted, tumble headfirst onto the cement floor. Didn’t seem all that good of a plan to me, so I watched him. The nurse-statues remained immobile, and so, once I figured his center of gravity was approaching the tipping point, I slid next to him, reached beneath his arms, and controlled his descent to the floor. I then turned and moved smartly to the door. I figured that, by the time he found someplace to fall to, from the floor, I would be happily somewhere else.
Huey had apparently concluded his summation, and decided that he needed to follow me out to the truck. I was really over him and his stupid, pretentious, pompous nonsensical bullshit, but, since he was about 4 inches taller than me, and 80 pounds more obese, I didn’t figure that any conversation he and I would have, would end well for me. I tossed the cart into the back of the truck, and hit the bathroom, figuring he’d leave me in peace to do my business.
I figured wrong.
Huey had, it seemed, figured out, all by himself, that I was irritated. With this insight, he decided that this was a good time to become confrontational. Well, I did not really have to go to the bathroom all that badly, and, besides, I wanted witnesses if I had to knife him in self defense. I exited the bathroom, and went to the counter of the nurse’s station, to finish the run sheet. With how wonderful this run had been, I was gonna be writing the Great American Novel, with footnotes, illustrations, bibliography, and annotated commentary by both Johnny Gage as well as Roy DeSoto. (Foreword by Dr. Eugene Nagel).
Huey, not the smartest representative of Australopithecus, decided that he needed to know if I wanted a supervisor. Indeed, ignoring him was unhelpful, and he got louder, and closer to my personal space (and approaching the “Let’s find out what you have hiding in your peritoneum” range), bellowing, “Do you want a supervisor, Mr. StretcherApe? Well, do you?”
I paused, putting the pen on the counter, and reflected. I asked the nurse-statue posed behind the counter if I could please, borrow her phone for a moment? She said yes. I placed it upon the counter, smiled my best “The voices told me I really don’t need to take my medication every single day” smile, and sweetly invited him, “Great idea! Would you please call dispatch, and ask that they invite the shift captain to meet the on duty union steward, right stat like**, at TLHTTIC? Right about now would work just fine for me! Oh, thank you so very, very much!”
I turned back to my documentation, only to have a nurse-statue develop the powers of speech, finally.
“You know, I need your name and unit number for my incident report!”
I responded, “Of course you do. And, I’ll need the names of every staff member on duty, now, for my incident report.”
She did a double take. “What are you going to be writing an incident report about?”
“Well, besides the obvious, there is the matter of your personnel admiring my patient’s efforts to fracture his hip, without moving to stop him. That’s pretty remarkable, right there!”
“You cannot write us up in an incident report!”
“I’ll be sure to mention that. In my incident report.”
I had thought that the demons of pre hospital care could not possibly bedevil me any more. It was a nightmare shift, with nightmare “partners”, and my life truly sucked stool. Doug was off at another house, working start of the week days, and therefore soaking up sunshine and living the good life, while I was on nights, in EMS hell with Cletus and Baby Huey. Once again, I thought wrong.
So, a couple of weeks later I went up to headquarters to pick up my paycheck. Captain Raconteur was the administrative captain this schedule, and when I signed for my check, he asked, as if it was just another casual conversation, “So, you beaten up any patients lately?”
What the fuck? “Uh, pardon me, Captain?”
“I asked if you had beaten up any patients lately?”
“Uh, well, you know, I haven’t beaten anybody up at all, any time, anywhere. So, what prompts this question?”
“Well, your partner wrote a letter reporting that you had beaten a patient, and that he was so distraught that he could not keep what he had seen to himself.”
“Doug? Doug wrote a letter?”
“Oh, hell no! It was Baby Huey. He wrote a letter about you beating some poor schmuck.”
“Are you kidding? Were you gonna give me a chance to respond?”
“Do you want to respond?”
“Ok, let me dig it out of the file I placed it in.” So saying, Captain Raconteur poured his trash can onto the floor, and started to pick through the papers therein.
“Did you really shitcan a letter reporting that I had struck a patient?”
“Hell, yeah! Everybody knows Baby Huey is an idiot. You, well, you’re an RN, the union steward, and never had a single charge against you. Hell, I know you, and how you operate. If, in fact, you had smacked some fool, you would submit a lengthy letter, with names, addresses, phone numbers, and shoe sizes of a dozen honest citizens who will all testify that not only did this fool need smacking, if they had been the ones doing the smacking, they would have smacked him harder, and longer than you did. You did not submit any such letter, so therefore, Baby Huey is full of shit.” Captain Raconteur looked into the distance. “If I could buy Baby Huey for what he is in fact worth, and find somebody to buy him for what he thinks he is worth, I could retire tomorrow!”
I later crossed paths with Doug, and told him the tale. He stopped me. “Baby Huey has been running his mouth, about how he got you in trouble. Nobody, yet, has asked him how it’s clever to monumentally piss off your shift steward. We have a pool going, on when he’ll go up on charges, and see your smiling face, sitting there to represent him!”
*FDASL: Fighting Disease and Saving Lives
** “Right stat like” = “stat”, which means immediately. In medicalese, this means that there is nothing else you really need to be doing, other than this thing, and you must NOT be distracted from doing it until it is fully done.
And, to review: TINS=This is no Shit
TIWFDASL=There I was, Fighting Disease and Saving Lives