Why did you call us again?

"Sam, you're teching this one," Drew says to me sleepily. I check my watch--it's 4:20 am, and my head is throbbing from the tones that just went off.
"Yeah, I've got it." The call went out as "pain," so I'm thinking it's either fibro or some other general pain from the flu.
The drive out is uneventful; there's no one on the road. As Eric drives, I lean my head against the window and try to sleep. Turns out the trailer is right down the street, so I don't have much time at all.
As we pull in, I see a man looking out the window and waving us in. He disappears inside, and I pull on some gloves as we head in.
"Hello? EMS," Drew yells into the house as he knocks on the door. It seems like the two of them never let me be first in at night; I love them for it.
Nobody answers. I hear some muffled noises, but nothing distinguishable. The door creaks open a bit from Drew's knocking, and he yells again.
"Uhhhgh, yeah, come on in!" I look in the living room and no one's there. We head towards the bedroom still seeing no one. Finally, I see Drew stop at a door that I assume is the laundry room.
The door is wide open, and before I can realize that it is actually a bathroom, I'm looking right at him.
"Oh I'm so glad to see you guys," he says, looking out at me as he leans back. I turn away quickly and head back into the living room. Drew is visibly trying to contain his laughter.
The man finished peeing and comes back out to join us.
"Um, hello, can you tell me what's going on this morning?" I try my best to avoid Drew's gaze because I know we'll both be reduced to laughter.
The man has very few teeth in his mouth and weighs about as much as I do, only a foot taller.
"Oh I know what's wrong."
"Alright, sir, what's that?"
"I need to go to detox for these damned pills." At this point, I'm concerned. Did he accidentally overdose? Do I need to call ALS?
"Which pills, sir?"
"These tylenol with codeine pills." I see a big bottle sitting on the table next to him, nearly full.
"How long have you been taking these?"
"10 years." Now I'm just confused.
"Sir, did you call us because you have an addiction or because you took too many tonight?"
"I've gone to detox twice, and I can tell I need to go again. 10 years I've been taking these pills." I take that as the former.
"Okay, sir, we can take you to Clearview Regional or Sacred Heart. Where would you like to go?"
"Oh I don't want to go to the hospital." Drew is literally turned around laughing in little fits, and Eric looks at me with an incredulous stare.
"Then where do you want us to take you?"
"Southside. They have a great detox facility."
"Okay, sir, we can only go to Clearview or Sacred Heart. We aren't a transport service, we're an emergency service--we transport to emergency rooms. Now, we'll be more than happy to take you to one of those, but other than that, there's not much else we can do for you."
Drew's getting a blood pressure while he holds his breath to contain the laughter. His vitals are great--textbook, even: blood pressure is 124/82, pulse ox of 99, heart rate of 74.
"Well I don't want to go to the hospital. I just want to detox."
Eric pulls out a refusal form and explains it to him as I put away our equipment. Heading back out to the medic, we're all a little upset.
"So you wake up the duty crew at four-something in the morning for a problem you've had for 10 years!?" Drew is both livid and disbelieving.
"I know."
"I just don't know who would think that's okay," he says.
"He's an old, lonely man," I shrug, shaking my head, "I know it's BS, but we're here for that too."
The drive back is quiet, and I try to keep my eyes open. Surprisingly, I have trouble falling back to sleep, and I can hear Drew mumbling sleepily in his bed.
Some time later, he rolls over and angrily exclaims, "fucking detox." I'm not sure if he's awake or not, but I giggle to myself as I turn towards the wall.


Anonymous said...

I had one like those last night... gotta love em!


Scott said...

People are stupid. I learned that with some of the BS calls I got in the middle of the night as an on call locksmith. I feel your pain.

Epijunky said...


His vitals are better than mine. My BP certainly would have been even higher after taking that run.

Doc Don said...

Frustrating. Exasperating. Frivolous. Maddening.

Those are the emotions I experience too when these people actually end up showing up for care.

Sorry your sleep was so rudely interrupted.

Lonliness is not a medical diagnosis nor is it a valid reason to call EMS.

Doc Don said...


Fyremandoug said...

We called those a code BROWN