Bulldog and I are working a "day" shift. This means we end up with a nurse on board. There is benefit to this. Since the company only deploys a few nurses per day, we are kept in reserve for the calls that need a nurse. Furthermore, when we do get called, the patients are both challenging and interesting!
We run a few calls that morning. Really sick cardiac patients who need us to keep them from dying before they get their coronary arteries surgically opened up. Neat stuff!
Since the Nurse we're working with is not the most pleasant person in the world, Bulldog and I react by being on top of our game. Between the two of us, this nurse has not much more to do than chat up the other nurses at the sending and receiving facilities. That morning, this RedHeaded Nurse (who, coincidentally, has been referred to in this blog as the "CSC.") referred to me as a "Wheel Chock" and my partner as "useless." Two calls later, she was singing a different tune.
That afternoon, we're in a bookstore run by a friend of mine. It's me, Bulldog and The Redheaded Nurse or RHN. We're having a great time. Across the bookshelves, I hear the radio beep. Bulldog has the radio and I know we have a call. We exit our rows of books at about the same time and I see Bulldog's not feeling right.
She's concentrating really hard on her feet. It's as if she has to look carefully where she is stepping. I feel my eyebrows come closer together. My brain shifts into "observe the behaviors of the patient" mode.
"You Ok, Bulldog?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. We got a call."
"I know. You feeling alright?"
"I'm fine!" With all the emphasis that italics can convey.
"Ok, Then." I say, as we head out to our ambulance.
On our way across the sidewalk, The RHN sees Bulldog almost stumble.
"Are you ok?" She asks.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm fine." says Bulldog.
"You OK to drive?" I ask.
"Um, I think so..." Bulldog replies. Her eyes are going left and right.
Now alarm bells are going off in my head. One of the things I love the most about working with Bulldog is her complete confidence and composure with driving the Medic unit. She's got the skills to deliver me and my patient to the inner-city hospital quickly and smoothly. No small feat!
Now I hear her confidence wavering. I move myself to block her line of sight from RHN (who she doesn't really trust).
"Are you OK? Really?"
"Um, No. I'm numb all down my right side and I can't feel where my right foot is."
"C'mon." I say. I say it in that way that only medics can. There's no question. You're in trouble and I'm the one to help you. Come with me.
"I'm not getting in the cot!"
"You're not putting the monitor on me!"
"You're definitely not starting an IV on me!"
I don't but I do check her blood sugar. Way too low for having had a sugar-laden coffee drink from S***bucks just 20 minutes before.
"Which hospital do you want to go to?" I ask her.
"I'm giving you the choice. Which hospital do you want to go to?"
"Goddamit! You might as well take me to *$&^^^# Hospital!" Bulldog is not happy!
We take her there. Before we leave, I call dispatch.
"Dispatch, 229, we cannot take that call. Transporting our driver to *$&^^^# Hospital for possible CVA or TIA. Our driver is Dizzy, nauseous and suffering from right-sided paresthesia, and ataxia. Our ETA is 20 minutes. Traveling code 3 (non-emergency)."
Dispatch acknowledges but the supervisor (mentioned before) comes on the radio:
"229, can you run that cardiac call?"
"Um...229 to Dispatch. NO! (I almost drop the F-Bomb!) As I said previously, we are transporting our driver to $&^^^# Hospital for Right sided paresthesia, ataxia and dizziness. (I use the big words because I know this supervisor is in school.). We are out of service. How copy?" I speak clearly and distinctly. There is no question.
Well, that's the end of that!
Bulldog's diagnosis is non-specific. She leaves the ED with referrals to a cardiologist, a neurologist and a highly qualified chauffeur (Me!). The supervisor puts our nurse on another truck but keeps me with my partner. We leave work early and end up in a roadhouse about 35 miles from the office. We drink beers, bitch and moan.
Bulldog is angry. Her pride is hurt and she's ready to leave this place. I don't blame her.
It seems that after saving a life, I quickly left that place myself.
-more to come!!!