101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Thursday, April 30

...for the heart attack/Violator...


The caller knows what's up. She cut right to the chase. No BS, no chief complaint, Richie Rich's wife knows exactly what's wrong with her late 30s husband: Heart Attack. The Violator part, that's me.

THE EMERGENCY

A man in his late thirties is having trouble breathing.

THE ACTION

Back in the swanky part of town for the day, we're sent to the street we look at from below. The houses are actually like mansions and I always expect a servant to answer the door and walk me into a giant velvet clad room with a roaring fire.
These days it's recessed light, TV loud enough to drown out the toddlers and the matter of fact wife.
Her tone reminds me of when Mrs Happy Medic is upset I went to poker night with the Cop and the Fire Commissioner without a weeks notice.

"Hi, do you have an.." I start as we enter the living room.
"It's a heart attack." She says and leaves the room, likely hurrying back to the toddlers in one of the rooms we can't see.
I introduce myself to a clearly stressed out man lying on the couch. He's tired, stressed and speaks very softly. When prompted he describes chest pain, but shakes his head on all the important stuff. Everything is coming back normal, except the look in his eyes. He looks how I feel after a long night at Medic 99.
I'm not thinking cardiac, but can't rule it out so I'm covering the basics waiting for the ambulance Paramedic to chime in since he's the one that will have to follow whatever road I head down.
"Have you given him aspirin yet?" The wife is circling through the room, winding her way around the toys the toddlers have scattered.
"What?" I ask looking up from the monitor.
"The 911 said to give him aspirin, but we don't have any." Well wadda you know. Our call takers have better guidelines than I do.
Before I can think of a response, she's gone again and the ambulance crew has arrived. After a brief report the medic looks at me and says, "Dude needs a week off, but the closest thing we have to that is chest pain protocol."
I give him the aspirin and got the nitro out as I went into my speach about side effects.

"What does it do?" He asked softly.

I could have had a smart response, even the book answer would have done nicely, but I made the mistake of letting my mind wander for a brief moment and Dr Freud made an appearance.

"It violates the vessels...wait a minute...it dialates the vessels around your heart, but in all honesty, it does kind of violate them," I turned to the others, "Am I right?"

silence. Little s silence.

"OK, well, let us know if you feel any better or worse..."

We got him loaded and when they pulled away the enine crew let me have it. In true firehouse form I was called the "Violator" the rest of the night. Which, luckily for me, didn't last very long.

1 comment:

medicblog999 said...

I can just see the moment now when everything goes silent!
I was once working with a technician who was attending to a diabetic one day, the patient asked him to explain how glucagon works - his relpy was:
"well it sort of gets these cells and goes zip, zap, zappety zip and your sugar goes up"
No lie or exageration - I just sat and stared for a little bit, and everything went silent!