The Night of Insanity, Part Two!

I return from the previous call to a firehouse full of people. This includes a couple who live in town who are interested in volunteering. I have invited them down to check the place out. All they see is a chaos of people, fire trucks and ambulances rushing in and out. Herself is serving out chili to any takers and spirits are high.

I dash out my paperwork from the last call and go into the kitchen. The ladle is poised over the bowl, ready to deploy a spoonful of chili deliciousness when the bell rings again.


27 year old male with chest pains. 27? with chest pains? Whatever, off we go. I've got Poster Girl driving and Sky Captain in the back as my trainee.

Oh, yeah, and all the medics in the area are busy. I'm on my own. Great!

The guy was driving his tow truck when he began to feel funny, we respond back to the same Major Interstate about 200 yards away from the previous accident of the night and pull in front of a flatbed tow truck. I get my gear on and get out. As I do so, there is an EMS supervisor walking my patient to the ambulance. Okeydoke. In you go!

I'm interviewing the guy and he's actually complaining of a strange feeling in his chest like his heart is skipping a beat. I feel his pulse and, sure enough, he's got an extra beat in there every now and then. I turn to the EMS supervisor,

"You got a Lifepak 12 in your truck?"

He looks at me surprised, "Um, yeah."

"Thanks!" I say. He looks at me again and then heads off to his truck.

Back with the Lifepak, I pull out leads, hook up my patient and print out a strip. (don't have a copy, sorry.) Sure enough! He's got some early ectopic (unusual) heart complexes on the readout. I call them Perfusing Premature Junctional Contractions. The QRS complex is a bit too narrow for me to call them ventricular. All the same, my patient is hemodynamically stable (has and maintains good blood pressure and is heart is adequately moving blood and O2 around his body), has a good mental status (knows where he is, who he is and what day it is) and is mostly just scared.

"You coming?" I ask the supervisor.

"No, and you can't take that either." He replies, indicating the Lifepak. He gives me a smile. We introduce ourselves to each other and shake hands.

Off I go to the hospital. My patient is nervous and chatty. I tell him everything that I'm doing and why. He seems really interested and I go a bit deeper into the science. He's eating it up. My lecture on the functions and dysfunctions of the heart carry us all the way to the hospital. We ended up going to another one further away than the last but it had the attractive feature of being open to receive patients.

My patient takes no meds, has no allergies and has no history of cardiac problems. His father, however, has high blood pressure, a 4 way bypass and takes lots of meds for his ticker. Okeydoke. My patient's blood pressure is also 222/118. That's pretty high for 27 years old.

At the ER entrance there's a man waiting who looks a bit like my patient. He's wearing a guardedly anxious look on his face.

"Are you Dad?" I ask. He nods.

"C'mon." I say, indicating him to follow us into the ER.

In the ER, the charge nurse asks for and expects a full report. She listens carefully to my entire report and even asks a few questions for clarification. It's nice to be appreciated! We transfer my patient to a bed, make a few jokes, pat him on the back and get ready to leave. On my way out, Dad stops me and shakes my hand.

"Thank you very much." he says, solemnly.

"Thank you, Sir. I trust you won't take offense if I say I hope I never see you like this again."

This seems to relax Dad and he gives me a smile.

Back at the firehouse by 10:20pm. Paperwork done by 10:25. Bowl in hand, chili on ladle at 10:26. Bell rings at 10:27. I'm running to the ambulance, eating really tasty chili. Poster Girl gives me a look when I get into the ambulance, shoveling chili and rice down my gullet.

"I'm hungry!"

Coming up:

I respond to the house of one friend while the house of another burns across the street! 14 year old with chest pain!

Hometown EMS, Yoikes!

Stay tuned!


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