4.21.2008

Help yourself!

After a plea for prompts, Maggie May asked "Have you ever NOT wanted to help someone?"
Thank you for this prompt! It's a wonderful question :)

It's about seven thirty as I'm dragging myself out of the comfort, if you can call it that, of my bunk. I don't bother lacing my boots as I walk out to the medic--I'm not driving, so I'll just get them en route.
Groggily, I wipe the sleep out of my eyes as I take a look at the run report. Syncope. "Hmmph," I acknowledge as I start lacing up one boot.
"What?"
"Fainting at 7:30. They could have avoided that if they had just stayed asleep." I wink as I try to suppress a yawn, and my partner shakes his head.
"You college students...you know, the world does start well before the crack of noon. People still eat breakfast before work."
"Whoa, wait, what is this 'breakfast' you speak of?" He shakes his head and laughs as I change the siren from a wail to a yelp. My head pounds, so as soon as we clear the intersection, it's back to the wail.
The address we find is under construction. It's literally the frame of a house. I'm a bit confused until I realize that it's a house that's being built, and we're being called for one of the construction workers.
"I fainted." I look around and see a man in his early twenties sitting on the curb, yawning uninterestedly. He looks down at his fingernails and picks some dirt out of them absentmindedly.
"Oh, umm, okay," I say as I pull out the blood pressure cuff, "do you remember what happened?"
"Yeah, I was conscious, and then I wasn't." I look up at him and roll my eyes.
"I mean, do you know what you were doing when it happened?"
"Standing over there." He points using the arm I'm taking his blood pressure in. Great.
"Right, but were you doing anything?"
"...Standing." He looks me over from head to toe and makes an approving nod towards my partner.
"Hey buddy, do you have any history of this kind of thing?" I silently thank my partner for not acknowledging his immaturity.
"Naw, never passed out before."
"Did anyone see it happen?"
"Nope."
"Did you hit your head or anything?"
"Nope."
His blood pressure is great and his pulse is wonderful too. I wish I could be that healthy.
"Did you have breakfast this morning," I ask him as I get out the glucometer.
"Yep." God, he's so helpful.
"This might sting," I warn, jabbing the lancet into his finger lazily. His sugar is great--not hypoglycemic at all.
"Christ, did you have to do that?" I look at him with a raised eyebrow.
"Yes sir, had to make sure that your sugar was okay."
"I told you I had breakfast."
"Alright, do you want to go to the hospital with us?"
"Yep."
"Climb in," my partner says, gesturing to the ambulance.
After he gets in the patient compartment, he leans over and says, "thank god for you guys. I really didn't work today." I cough, a little taken aback.
"I'm sorry?"
"I really didn't want to work, but I've called in sick too much, so I figured that if something happened on the job, then I'd get a day or two off, and free medical care. Workman's comp and all that." My jaw literally drops, but I do nothing to stop it. I can see my partner turning redder by the second, and I pray to the Gods of EMS that he doesn't explode. I know I'm not getting paid, but I like this position.
"So, you mean to tell me," he starts, "that you're using 911--an emergency service to get you out of work?"
"Well, yeah."
"And do you realize that while we're sitting here with you, taking your non-emergent..." he stops as he thinks of how not to insult the patient, "as we take you to the hospital, there could be a real emergency? A real emergency where someone could die because we can't respond."
"There are other paramedics."
"Are there really?"
"Well, yeah."
"Last time I checked, my partner and I were the last ones in the county because the other ones were doing stand-by at a race. Next time a call comes out, they're going to have to page out the next county over. So I really hope nobody close to you needs emergency care, because it's going to be a while coming to them."
The patient, obviously unphased by this realizes he left his cell phone in his truck.
"Aw hell, I'll be right back."
"Oh yeah, no problem," my partner replies, "you're not keeping an ambulance out of service or anything."
"Can we uh...can't we report him or something?"
"No. You call, we haul."
"Yeah." He sees the patient returning from his truck, and puts his head in his hands.
"Fuck, Sam." The anguish is visible in his eyes. This isn't why we got into this job. We wanted to help.
"I'll tech this one," I say softly.
"I...Thanks."
The whole drive to the hospital, we sat in silence, and I heard the entire conversation echoing back in my head. I was disgusted.
"So you say that you didn't actually pass out, right?"
"Yeah."
He knows the doctors can't tell his boss. On the PPCR, I take care to write down every detail. I'm not going to let this scumbag get away with this, I think to myself.
I later realized though, that the second we marked up en route to the hospital, he already had.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is absolute B.S. I can not believe that someone would call 911 just to get out of work. What an ass.

~Kate

AnniforsciA said...

Wow. That's....upsetting? I don't know. I would be irate.

<3Anni

Witness said...

I wish I was in any way surprised. I really do.

Stretcher Jockey said...

And the hits just keep on coming...

Epijunky said...

To whoever Witness is...

I couldn't agree more... I wish I was in any way surprised.