2.02.2008

Difficulty Breathing

It's 10pm on a Friday night and I'm fast asleep on the couch, laptop whirring busily on my legs as my two female partners talk about their children. I hear something about a daughter selling Ritalin in school, and I roll over in my sleep. The other mother mentions something about how her son is going into professional baseball. I rub my eyes, sit up wearily and ask myself if this is the seven year old son I met last year. I shake my head and stretch, hating the fact that it's not even close to midnight on a Friday and I can't keep my eyes open. I'm in college for heaven's sake, I think, and I shake my head with disappointment.
The tones drop and I hear a call for difficulty breathing--one of our most frequent calls. I stand up and grab my coat, imagining one of the little old ladies we pick up bi-weekly for the same complaint. But no, as I head for the door, I hear the dispatcher mention that our patient is five months old. Everybody stiffens at this news, and I can visibly see a change in how we're treating this call. It's a shame, I think, that we've become so jaded to difficulty breathing calls that it takes a child to shock us back into the reality of our jobs.
Everyone is silent as we race down the highway. I quiz myself on a child's airway. It gets narrower at the bottom...children have a proportionately larger tongue...respirations are increased. I sigh, wishing I remembered more, as I imagine a five month old gasping for air in her mother's arms.
We arrive on scene to find two police officers already there. We walk into the room, and I balk at the oppressive haze of cigarette smoke that tumbles out the door. Without realizing it, I roll my eyes as I notice five children lying on the floor watching TV and eating twizzlers. One of the youngest girls looks up to me and says "why everyone wearing blue!?" She turns to her brother and whispers something, and they both laugh loudly.
I turn my attention to the mother sitting on the floor, baby sitting up happily in her lap. She has chill bumps, which is understandable, as she is wearing nothing but a thin t-shirt in the freezing house. She looks up with me with big gorgeous eyes, coos happily, and sneezes violently. Snot running down her face, she giggles and reaches for the mizpah coin hanging around my neck.
According to her mother, she does this monthly. She gets a cold, sneezes, and freaks everyone out around her. The young girl on the floor stands up and says "it's true! She sneezes on me sometimes, and I say 'Tezia, that's gross!'" I find it hard to keep from laughing, so I turn towards the jump bag on the floor, pretending I'm looking for something.

Predictably, we get a refusal.

8 comments:

emergencyem said...

Aww!

Scott said...

I am so glad the baby girl was fine! Though it sounds like that might be a rough place to grow up in. What is a "mizpah coin"?

EE said...

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NEW URL!

Chris said...

Ahhhh I had just left the station when you caught that one lol. :)

JD said...

It makes me sick to think you got a bogus call for that. I hate to think someone really needed you and you are tied up with this bunch. I had to make that call once, my son spent almost three days in the hospital getting tested. The medics that came were great and got him there safe and sound and all worked out. As I said, I would hate to think they could not come cause they are tied up on some BS call when my kid really was having breathing problems at 4 months. . .

Odie said...

scott,

a mizpeh coin is one of those "heart split in two" things youcan wear around your neck or carry in a wallet. Its intended to keep the bearers close in heart even though they may be separated by great distances.

I have one with my best friend of 20 years who is over in afghanistan right now

RevMedic said...

Sounds like an intervention from your equivalent of Child Protective Services might be in order. Some people should not be allowed to reproduce.

Scott said...

Thank you Odie. So who is the special person who has the other half, Sam?