She wants the lesser disposition

Code 3 for “nervous breakdown” on a bus. You read that right – this was actually how it was dispatched. Apparently you can call 911 for anything. It was a very careful drive to the call, if you get my drift.

Nothing legitimate ever happens on a bus.

It’s near the university.

Everyone is off the bus, like 30 of them. No one looks pleased. The cops look at us and point to the door. They shrug. The bus driver looks at me and I look at him. He looks annoyed.

“She get on at the train station?”

“Yeah. She was fine. Then all of a sudden she starts crying and being hysterical.”

We get on.

A well-dressed woman in her 50s is sitting in the first row. She is crying. There is clearly no emergency here. As per usual.

“It’s my first day teaching here,” referring to the university.

“So why are you crying?”

“I don’t know. I have anxiety.”

“Well, how can we help you calm down so you can be on your way and get to your appointment? I assume you don’t want to miss the first day at your new job.*”

I barely finish this sentence before she starts wailing again.

“Stop talking! I can’t think! I don’t know what to do!”**

I can’t even hear myself now.

“Ma’am, all we’re interested in is how to help you get on with your day…”***

<More wailing and blubbering>

Fucking never mind.****

“Get up. Sit on the gurney.”

*Unless she wants to spend it at the ED where she’ll sit there while the entire staff wonders why she’s there taking up valuable bed space, pretty much the most inappropriate place for this particular call. After all, I have done my fair share of patient coaching to help folks avoid the ED.
**This seems to be consistently ironic on these calls – patients complaining about the extra stimuli but always being the ones who chose to involve other people in the first place. The words “attention” and “seeking” often come to mind.
***Seriously. Patient advocacy. If she’s even interested, that is. That, and helping the dozens of people get on with their day that she interrupted.
****Obviously not interested.

3 thoughts on “She wants the lesser disposition”

  1. This has nothing to do with this post, but…

    I just saw a piece on Captain Chair Confessions mentioning your post on the book “Traffic.” I bought the book on the basis of your recommendation, and meant to thank you, but I had forgotten where I had seen it. So here is a very belated thank you.

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