30 January 2006
"The Sunday Stroll"
You know, no matter where in the country you are in EMS, there is the simplicity of knowing that some things never change. A chest pain in the city is a chest pain in the country. Abdominal pain is abdominal pain. And it is just as easy to wreck your car in the counrty as it is in the city.
Now, the severity as to "nature of call" varies somewhat, no matter where you go, those calls will always come.
Then there is that one paticular type of patient that no matter where you go and how rural you are, they seem to follow suit and violate your air space disrupting all that is in their paths.
We call them psych patients.
It is a given, almost a science, that these people whom, staticically come from the bigger cities, tend to migrate into the desolate, yet more personable areas of habitiat known as the small town. Every so often, it is required in EMS to play cowboy and wrestle up the one who gets away from the herd and send them back to a place that is more suitable for their needs.
I think I may need a cowboy hat for this one.
In EMS, there are certain gifts that are donned upon us from time to time. Getting to eat a full meal uninterupted, finishing a whole movie from start to finish without interuption, and sleeping more than 4 hours in a row. Things like this makes you wonder what you have done right and if you can do them again for similar results.
Rolling over, I pulled the blanket a little more snuggly as the unseasonably warm weather that graced us earlier in the day had fallen back to the norm for this time of year.
Dreaming of....um.....well, I don't remember what I was dreaming of, I was met by a UFO which awoke me from my sleep. Turning over, I identified the object that had nailed me squarely in the head. It was Dar's pillow, and boy, does she have good aim.
Thinking I may have fallen too deep asleep and started to snore, I apologized to her in the only language that I speak at this time of night. Mumble.
"Get up, we have a call" she told me sitting in the chair at our table putting her boots on and stealing a piece of my gum that I left on the table.
Rolling over, I looked at the clock to see a bunch of zeros with a six in front of them. This call was timed perfectly in the wee hours of the morning. Perfectly to short me 30 minutes of sleep that I had the alarm set for.
Wiping the sleep from my body and eyes, I got dressed while Dar went upstairs to get the address information as to where we were going.
Making my way out to the truck, I was tossed a portable radio and the destination of our call...the police station.
Not that going on a call at six in the morning was outstanding, but it was one of the only places that I knew how to get to, so I drove.
Calling en route, Dar told me the "nature of the call" I had to replay what she had said in my head. Psych patient? Here in the country? Wow...I thought I had escaped the brash world of pyscosis when I moved down to the country. Nope.
Walking in to the cop shop that was just around the corner (literally), there were three people there. Two of them were cops. So, I guess by process of elimination, it was easy to depict which person was going for a ride.
In front of me was an older female sitting in a chair with the distinct look of disgust on her face. Dar went with the cop to find out the deal, I was left to make friends with the weary traveler.
"So, how you doing this morning?" I asked trying to be polite.
"I hate all these damn cops, why don't they just leave me alone." She grimiced out.
Could you blame her.
"Are you hurt anywhere?" I asked.
"My feet hurt." She replied.
"From what?" I shot back.
"All this walking." She told me.
"How long have you been walking?" Curiosity starting to get to me.
"For two days." She said without missing a beat.
Okay...walking for two days.....QUICK....first thing that comes to your mind...don't think...just blurt it out.....
Yep folks...... Run Forrest....Run.
Like you didn't either!!!!!!
"Where did you start out ma'am?" I inquired.
"Oberlin" She told me.
"Well, where you trying to get to?" I asked.
"Home" she replied.
"Well, where do you live?" I inquired.
"40th and Chestnut." She told me.
"In Cleveland?!?!?" asking in suprise.
"No, in Elyria." Telling me like I was dumb.
"You mean 40 Chestnut?" I asked trying to correct her.
"Yeah, that's it" she stated.
Now, to everyone else in the room, this was just a normal address that seems legit. To me, I knew a little more than they did. The address she gave is a halfway house for one of the local crisis centers that deal with mental illness.
Also, at this point, I am really trying to hold it together and not laugh out loud at the misfortunes of direction for this woman.
Let me paint you a picture here.
The Blue is where the patient started from.
The Green is where she was going.
The Red is where she ended up.
Really trying to keep my composure, I looked at her and asked,
"You DO know that you walked 20 miles in the wrong direction?" I snickered.
If looks could kill, I think I would be zipped in a bag right now.
Getting pulled aside, it was brought to my attention that this young lady had been at the mental illness treatment center getting treatment when she just left. A known psych patient, she had not been on her meds for quite sometime. Making her imbalanced and somewhat snotty.
This went on for another five minutes or so until it was time to go.
Convincing her (a polite way of lying to her) she needed to go to the hospital to get looked at for the soreness in her feet, we coaxed her out to the parking lot and to the squad. Half way through the parking lot, she decided to look up and see our squad.
"I ain't going in that" she screamed at the top of her voice.
Lady, what did you think I was going to come in?
"Well, unless you want to get into a police car and go somewhere you don't really want to be in, I suggest that you get in and go along with the program." I told her.
Speaking the early morning language of mumble (see, I am not the only one who knows it) she got into the truck and sat on the bench seat.
I looked at Dar and told her to drive fast...I knew this was going to be a eventful ride.
The conversation and small talk were very limited and really uneventful...until we got inside the hospital.
Placing her in a room, I walked out to finish my report and in came the registration girl asking some basic questions, which started to create a scene.
By this point, I have lot my patience with her. I got up too early, My shift was almost up, and I have not had coffee.
Walking into her room, she seem more aggitated than before, so I laid the law down for her.
"Listen, did you know sound travels at over 600 MPH? She is 6 feet from you. She can hear you, so you don't have to scream. You need to calm down and let them do their jobs. The faster you get with it, the faster you get out of here (I had my fingers crossed at this time.) Now, don't give them a hard time and they won't give you one."
She sat there...dejected.
Gathering my stuff, we made it back to the squad and onto the station where we could get our stuff and get out of Dodge before the next migration hit.
It never ceases to amaze me. The things that you find in EMS. Like the saying goes "wherever you go, there you are". It doesn't matter if your call volume is 1 call a day or 100 calls a day, the people are always going to challenge us and our ability to adapt to the enviornment around where we are.
It's more than a way of life...it is an absolution.
Rounding Third and Heading Home,