There was another call on my last shift. I haven't had the time to write about it and I really don't have the time now. But here we go:

I slept in at the station that night. I found myself to be hyper-alert to every noise from the dispatch radio that is piped over the PA system in the bunkroom. As to the bunkroom, I found a decent bunk that, combined with my sleeping bag and orthopedic pillow, allowed me to sleep nicely, once I got past the dispatch calls.

The bell woke me at 6:35am. Three single bells spaced out so that I realized it was not a 3 bell call for our truck but a single bell call for our ambulance. Old Coast Guard training took over and I was in my boots, pants and at the ambulance before I was awake.

But I didn't have a driver.

Figuring that D was slow in getting up, I went and got the run sheet and found out the call was for a woman who was diabetic and had CHF. She was breathing normally and had no pain. She merely called because she ran out of her medicine two weeks ago.

Ok, I futz around for about 30 seconds getting myself together, still no driver. I then realized that I had not figured out where D slept and was preparing to go into the darkened bunkroom and find his somnolent self. Fortunately, a volunteer who had come in early this morning had seen me wandering around stupidly, and had gone in and gotten him.

D comes out in his underwear, puts on his bunker pants and we roll. He doesn't fully wake up until we arrive on scene.

I read the address and refer to the map. Into the infamous apartment complex we go. I follow the map for access which leads us on a long foot trek to the apartment building far from the road. We get there to discover a shorter sidewalk not on our map that leads to an adjacent road. The patient greets us at door. She insists that she walk 150 yards and up about 2 flights of stairs to get to the ambulance. She insists on getting in the ambulance herself. She complains about having to go into the hospital on the stretcher and will only do so when I explain to her how much our stretcher costs. (Figure THAT one out!!!)

Fortunately for us, the ER is EMPTY and we get her a bed right away. At this point, all I can think of is coffee.

Admitting nurse asks me if she's crazy. Apparently they got from dispatch that it was a diabetic emergency and she's surprised at her evidently good condition. I give vitals and describe the patient's perfect lucidity. I also relate to the nurse the story the patient told me of how her doctor (cardiologist) couldn't reach her because her teenage daughter is always on the phone talking to "boys." Eyebrows shoot up on on the nurses face.

"You got kids?" I ask.

"Four." She says with those pursed lips and raised eyebrow. I'd hate to be on her bad side!

We share a private smile and wink. She heads back into the patient's room with a totally different attitude.

Horrible but strong coffee greets me back at the firehouse and I think that sleeping in isn't too bad. I might even do it again.


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