You again

Code 3 for chest pain. It’s the same general area where Tony calls from twice a day, and we know it’s him. We drive Code 2.

As usual he has managed to rope some poor schmuck walking by into calling 911 for him. Rumor is once upon a time he’d call 911 from his own phone and disappear, over and over again. One day after going out on him for the 8th or 9th time, someone finally tracked his ass down, and then his phone, um, stopped working. To this day I have no idea if this is true or just a good story that gets passed around at the hospital.

We have already transported him twice today. I love making it very clear to the callers that we pick Tony up every day without pointing any fingers. Just to entertain ourselves. The callers always apologize anyway, but I don’t want them to because they don’t know and it’s not their fault.

I don’t really care that frequent flyers call all the time, but Tony is an absolute dickhead drunk, never polite, always verbally abusive. I learned this from the very first time we met. How stupid I feel now for being a little too nice to him that first time. Plenty of regulars over the years have managed to be nice, and I’m nice back. They are people too. But Tony, every single time, he insults crews, the crews’ mothers, says disgusting things to female responders. Not to mention he’s going to the ED twice a day for no reason and being a complete pig to the ED staff too before they kick him out. He can kiss my ass.

I step out and hold my arms out like I have a rhetorical question. I then ask a rhetorical question.

“Tony! Didn’t we just take you to the hospital?”

“You again?” He actually says to me. I have never heard this before from any regular. The fucking nerve of him.

“No, no, no, no, no. YOU do not get to say that to me, asshole. Get in the rig.”

We don’t really care what your name is*

Code 2 for sick person.

An elderly woman with dementia is bed-bound, unable to provide information. Her adult daughter called because she had a fever.

“What’s her first name?”

“Alicia.”

“Hi Alicia, how are you doing?”

She turns her head but doesn’t say anything.

Some time later I’m inspecting her medications. The bottles don’t say “Alicia.” They say “Lydia.”

“Ma’am, what did you say your mother’s name was?”

“Her name? It’s Lydia.”

name

“So who’s Alicia?”

“I’m Alicia.”

“I see. I wasn’t asking for your name, you know…”

*At least not until someone needs to contact next-of-kin

My dog was epileptic

When I was a kid, we had a dog that was epileptic. He was a great dog and we kept him until he died years later.

The first time he had a seizure, it was quite frightening, for both adults and children alike.

After that, every few months or so, we’d be watching TV or something, he’d walk across the room without a care in the world, and then all of a sudden stop, seize up, rear up like a horse, fall over and shake uncontrollably for a minute. Most of the times he’d pee himself. We’d let him be and make sure he didn’t crash through the glass door or conk his head on the table leg. When he’d stop, he’d lie there for a minute or so before scrambling to his feet and stumbling around for another minute or so. Then he’d be fine and walk off like nothing happened. We’d clean the floor up. And then him.

I’m telling you this story because I thought of it after going to yet another epileptic who had a seizure. It’s a quick story about us living with and caring for a family member, which our dog very much was, who is epileptic. I am in no way comparing anyone to a dog per se, so spare me your outrage. As usual, this person’s family called 911, even though he’d had plenty of seizures before because he’s epileptic. As usual, by the time he got to the ED, his mind clearer, he lamented, “I didn’t want to come to the hospital. Why do they keep calling you?”

Obviously, call us for status seizures or never-ever-before seizures. But seriously, for epileptic seizures, the CDC and other organizations are quite OK with you not immediately calling 911 at all. You won’t find the EDs disagreeing either. Just because an epileptic is compliant with medications doesn’t mean s/he’ll never have another seizure. This is a long-term problem much better managed by a long-term provider, not whoever happens to be on duty.

For those of you who use MPDS, if you’ve ever wondered, this is why non-active seizure calls are Alphas.

Touché, sir. Touché.

Code 3 for female unconscious in a cab.

“M17, RP is reporting that he does not want to wake the subject up.”

“Well, why the hell not?”

So a young woman is drunk and asleep in the back of the cab in front of her residence. We wake her up and send her inside with her family.

“So why didn’t you just wake her up?”

“I don’t want her to say tomorrow that I touched her.”

I got nothing.

No one can argue with that.

You call, we haul. Now get in the friggin' ambulance.

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