101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Friday, February 20

...for the unresponsive...


There are apparently many different definitions of "unresponsive." To me it means a person does not respond. To our new friend it means, "Grandma won't take her medicine."

THE EMERGENCY

A man called 911 saying his grandmother is on oxygen and is unresponsive.

THE ACTION

Dispatch must, of course, stop asking questions there and get us on the road ASAP. It isn't until we arrive at the scene with the ladder truck (It is assumed we will need additional man power) that we receive the additional information that the patient is alert.
OK, change of gears then.
Into the rundown apartment we go.

The carpet isn't urine soaked so much as simply hasn't been cleaned or vacuumed in maybe 20 years and since then a good deal of urine has fallen on it. The walls have a smoke demarcation line upstairs from decades of cigarette smoke. The furniture and decorations are straight out of an episode of Madmen, except they are completely ignored on cleaning day, which looks like tomorrow.
At the top of the stairs is our do-gooder, mid 20's, stylish clothes, new shoes and a fancy cell phone in his hands.

"What's the trouble?" asks my partner as we send the ladder truck back on their way.
"It's grandma, she won't respond to me."
"THE HELL I WON'T!" I had to grab the hand rail mid stairway she screamed so loud.
"She won't take her medicine, I have to go." And away he went. As I gave chase verbally, he turned sideways to pass me on the stairs.
"Slow down there, Speed Racer," he gives a blank look, "We need you to help us take care of your grandma. You can't just call us and leave."
"No, it's OK, my auntie lives a few blocks away, she'll go to the hospital later today." And away he went without a look back.
In the movie version of my story I, played by Matt Damon, have a really great monologue about caring for our families in a time of moral decay which convinces the boy to come back and do the right thing.

Me? I just blinked and he just walked away.

Back upstairs we learn that grandma has been feeling poorly the last few days and just needs someone to come by and make her lunch every now and again and that her, "no good grandson" gives her a coca-cola and leaves.
She refuses to take her medicine today because she's simply had enough and wants to "get away from it all."

Back out in the fresh air I don't blame her. All she needs is someone to pay attention.
And I get paid to pay attention.

1 comment:

MotorCop said...

Matt Damon? Really? I was thinking more along the lines of Soupy Sales.

But, good on ya for the healthy self image.