Just another day

Once in a while, a shift sucks more than usual. And this is coming from someone who likes the work.

I’m totally used to running stupid calls, and as long as patients are reasonably nice, I’m happy to oblige. I don’t care; I’ll gladly drive you to the hospital as long as you’re not a dick. Nice gets you nice. What really bothers me is all the whining from people who have no business whining. I realize I’m really just a babysitter, but c’mon, at least try to act like an adult.

A few minutes after we go in service, we get an assault on a street corner clear across town. We eventually get canceled for a closer unit.

Then we go code 2 across town again for an abscess in the mouth. This 20-year-old woman is screaming obscenities at me about her toothache like it’s my fault. I look in her mouth, and I ask out loud if she’s brushed her teeth at all in the past century.

“You know, there are no dentists at the hospital.”

Some dude outside the house tells her the same thing. He may be the only thinking person on this block. She screams at him too.

“Get the fuck out of here! I didn’t ask you!”

Her dumbass mother is screaming at her to go to the hospital anyway, and of course, with all this screaming, the 3-year-old daughter is upset and screaming as well.

“You gotta go! Your baby is crying because you’re in pain!”

“Err… how about the two of you try something new and stop screaming at each other, like right now?”

Surprisingly, they don’t yell at me for that. After a 10-minute talk on dental remedies until the dentist goes to work tomorrow, I’m ready to leave. Not that I didn’t mentally check out the moment I saw her.

“I’m delusional! I’m in pain.”

“Are you coming with us or not?”

“I’m staying home.”

Unbelievably, she does not call us again. I think her little girl’s going to turn out just fine. Yup.

Another assault on a street corner. Canceled again.

We go to an abdominal pain in the same neighborhood. Fire meets us outside with the patient, who climbs into the ambulance. She says her family’s poisoning her with crack. One more mentally-stable, productive and self-sufficient member of society. I bet I know why she’s outside with fire and her family’s inside. Then she doesn’t answer questions on purpose and pretends to be unresponsive. I don’t care if people don’t answer questions or play possum, but when I ask for a name or something basic so I can spend more time on paperwork than actual patient care, don’t waste my time.

She scoots herself over to the hospital gurney and goes back to not answering questions. Hey, no one really wants to talk to you anyway. Silent patients are the best.

We go to a payphone for chest pain. Some drunk homeless asshole says his chest hurts.

“Why you askin’ me so many damn questions?”

“How the fuck would I know what’s wrong with you if I don’t ask you anything?”

We go to a headache. After all these years, it’s still kind of funny to go to someone’s residence for a 911 call to see a patient sitting on her bed while a couple of other people are cooking breakfast. This woman is thrashing around saying she has migraines. Her daughter is not really concerned, but she’s a really nice person nonetheless.

A half hour later we’re waiting for a bed, and this woman starts thrashing around again, making the gurney bounce and making a scene. The triage nurse pops her head around the corner.

“Hey! I know you’re hurtin’ but you can’t be hollerin’ like that! There are other sick people here!”

“Why is this takin’ so long? My head hurts! Take me to a different hospital!”

“Uh… no.”

“I’m callin’ my daughter to get me so she’ll take me somewhere else.”

“Don’t call her.”

“Where’s my phone?”

“You’re probably sitting on it.”

I don’t help her get her phone. She finds it. She calls, and after a minute, I snatch the phone from her.

“Hey, I’m sorry. I tried to keep her from calling.”

As expected, the daughter is not buying her mother’s bullshit.

“It’s OK. Just let her finish her tantrum and she should calm down. I told her she’d have to wait in line. There are other people ahead of her.”

“Have a good day.”

Do you know how full of shit you are when your own family tells you to pipe down and wait your turn?

We go code 3 to some guy with suicidal ideation. Says he’s depressed because he crashed his bicycle a few weeks ago. I stopped paying attention when the call came in.

We get a code 2 for an “anxiety attack” with PD. Christ, can the quality of calls be any worse?

We approach and see PD. Another unit gets dispatched to half a block down for a stabbing. I can see the stabbing down on the sidewalk. One officer tells us to take the stabbing instead and he’ll get someone else for the anxiety attack. The calls are related. I tell dispatch to swap calls. Thank God for that; I fucking hate anxiety attacks. Then again, does anyone like them? By the way, the best treatment for anxiety/hyperventilation? Sit in the jumpseat and don’t say a single word to them. Don’t bring any riders. Turn all the lights off. They’ll be fine by the time you get to the ED. Guaranteed.

Anyway, decent stabbing. The guy is cool too. Finally, something legit and someone nice.

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