Code 2 for high blood pressure. On the side of the freeway. Yes, on the side of the freeway. Worse yet, less than an eighth of a mile from an on-ramp. That, by itself, can be an entirely separate post.
“Yes, I want to stop here on the side of the freeway, where cars are flying by at 80, 90 miles an hour. It seems safe here. No one will hit me.”
I hate freeway calls. Hate wrecks. Hate non-wrecks. Just don’t want to be on the freeway. Anyway, cops are there already with this car that’s stopped on the shoulder, with a guy standing against his car. He looks fine to me.
“What does this guy want?”
“He said his blood pressure’s up, and he wants to be checked out.”
“Are you fucking kidding me? Here? He can’t stop at a gas station like everyone else who calls for bullshit?”
We walk up to the patient, and conduct an exam as usual. He still looks fine. No remarkable findings.
“I left work because I wasn’t feeling good, and then when I was driving, I felt like I was going to pass out. I felt like I couldn’t drive anymore, and I felt this urgent need to call 911.”
“Alright, let’s go to the hospital then. Which one?”
“Well, I feel fine now. Do I have to go? Can’t I just drive home?”
(Imagine me speaking with a very polite but firm tone.)
“That’s what everybody says after the event. We’re concerned about the part when you DIDN’T feel good. Remember that part? Besides, the only reason we’re out here is you said you couldn’t drive anymore and chose to stop HERE, here on the side of the freeway, of ALL the places in the world to stop. How am I supposed to handle this? No crew in their right minds would agree to let you drive now, after you stopped your car here and called us. Do you know how many people are going to lose their jobs if you crash your car after we let you go, especially after you just said you stopped and called us because you felt so bad that you couldn’t drive?”
(Answer, in order of likelihood: 1 firefighter/medic, 1 medic, 2 cops, 1 fire captain, 1 EMT, 1 firefighter, 1 engineer.)
“Can I just sit down for a minute?”
“Why don’t you sit on this gurney? It’s not like you called us out here for something totally unrelated like a cut finger. You specifically said you felt like passing out and you couldn’t drive anymore. Do you seriously expect us to let you keep driving? Besides, nearly passing out is serious enough to go with the ambulance anyway. So, let just go and get evaluated.”