101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Thursday, June 25

Round 2 - the Struggle

Round 1 seemed normal enough, at least as normal as things get in the big scary City some nights.

Round 2 begins as I'm assisting Bubba down the stairs and he decides an elbow to my face would make his night better.
Luckily, I watch a lot of movies. Not fighting movies or martial arts movies, Happy is a lover, not a fighter, but I enjoy a good strategy and tactics film when I can.

I had 3 options as Bubba took his first of many swings.
Option 1 - Let him hit me. Um, no.
Option 2 - Try to duck or dodge out of the way. I'm not one for choosing the direction of an assault and I figured I had a 1 in 3 chance of moving the correct way.
Option 3 - Close the range to target.

What came to my mind in a flash was the Hunt for Red October. When he turns into the path of the torpedo before it can arm itself. My reasoning after the fact seems perfect, in the moment I just needed him to chill.

The bottom of the stairs had along it's side a large wrought iron ornamental security gate, the kind we have to force open most days.

As Bubba moved with the elbow, I forced my shoulder into his, jamming him into the gate. My right leg got up under him to throw him off balance while my left hand dropped the computer and squeezed Bubba against that gate. I knew if he got me off balance and I went to the ground I was going to get hurt.

My partner was already on the radio screaming for police assistance. She had to scream to be heard over the screaming of, in ascending order of volume, Me, Bubba, the girlfriend...and mom, who's voice had found new heights.

Bubba was my height and had at least 20 pounds on me. I was tired and sober, he was drunk and rested. My only hope was to keep him against that gate until the cavalry arrived. All I wanted to hear was the screaming of the police sirens.

I was able to get his right hand into mine and forced behind his back, now near my waist. His left arm, the one that swung the first time was pinned between him and the gate, not moving for now.

The scene from Pulp Fiction when Julius is telling Honey Bunny to be cool was playing over and over in my head and I'm sure lines from the scene were coming out of my mouth. All I remember is wanting to keep his 230 pound frame off balance and against the gate which was almost more than my one leg could do.

After what seemed like hours of holding him he began to calm and still no sirens filling the night air, only screaming. He promised he was "OK," and I reminded him that I had no problem keeping him there all night if I had to, a thought my leg would most certainly disagree with.

I decided, possibly foolishly, to let him back down to the ground, partly for a rest and partly because he had indeed calmed. I kept his right hand behind him and made a reach for the left wrist, controlling both rather well considering the circumstances, I thought, and we slowly made the drunken, angry stumble towards the ambulance, feeling him squirming and trying to get free the whole time.

There in the middle of the street, mother still screaming and us now screaming at her to go back inside, Bubba sees an opportunity to try knocking me down again. He's got one leg up on the rear step of the ambulance and one hand on the rail to climb in when, I'm told later by my partner, Bubba takes a swing. All I recall was seeing him shift his weight and losing my cheerful disposition.

He quickly found himself flat on the cot as I tackled him into the ambulance, landing one leg on his hip and one arm on his chest. I'm not entirely sure it was one maneuver but I would have loved to see the video.

As we're struggling now in the ambulance, as if by stealth, a sea of blue rushes the back and there are no less than 3 boys in blue saying and doing things that I can not. They have him four pointed and are able to clearly shout over the rest of the commotion outside where I can make out at lest 2 more officers dealing with mom and the girlfriend.

I look at my partner and share a look of, "Holy s*it, did that just happen?"

I took off my duty jacket and took a deep breath throwing it to the bench seat in frustration, suddenly feeling the strain in my shoulders and legs from holding him for what turned out to be 4 minutes against that gate.

The officer looked to me and told me he was impressed I didn't fight back. What I had taken as staggering towards the ambulance, they had seen from afar as him struggling and swinging elbows, all while I'm walking behind him.

The final part of our tale, Round 3, will be covered tomorrow morning, Friday as a perfect You Make the Call.

7 comments:

Duke said...

So far as we await for dispatch 3, it seems that you come out ok in this. Does your department offer any self defense training? I know it is part of the standard training here for the Big City Department. Or as some of the MEDICS here say, when in doubt the O2 tank is always a multi-purpose tool. CLANG!

MotorCop said...

I'm gonna jump the gun on You Make the Call...beat his ass. :)

Anonymous said...

Ditto
I'd have punched him so hard in the back of the head he'd need a c-collar and backboard !
If being drunk is his excuse, then being Irish is mine :).
DaveO

Capt. Schmoe said...

Duuuuuude!! Isn't it amazing how much better your calls are when alcohol is involved? If I didn't like beer so much, I would push to have it banned. Of course, we wouldn't need so many medics, cops and firefighters and I would likely be out of a job.

I can't wait until round 3 hits the net. I'll bet it involves complaints and lawyers!!!!!

Ckemtp said...

Hope you're all ok Happy. Fightin with the street crowd seems to be getting harder on us old medics (or young medics that just feel old)

One of my first "real" jobs was as a hospital security guard. We had the regional trauma center, the regional lockdown adult and adolescent psyche center, and a detox facility. We were fighting every shift. That's where I learned that I wasn't as tough as I thought I was, and that getting punched hurts, and that talking patients down while holding pressure points is much easier than swingin fists. It was good training for the rig.

medicblog999 said...

Couple of points here HM.
1) Glad you are ok!!!
2) Where can we see the dashboard camera from the patrol car approaching the scene, I fancy a giggle!
3) Why oh why oh why, couldnt you have kept this patient till I was out there with you, with the BBC. That would have made some good TV.
4) Bet part 3 is all about whether to press charges or not.......

However, back to point 1 - Im glad we are all laughing at this one, instead of reading what could have been a whole different story.

Stay safe!

Little Girl said...

I am glad you are safe now!!

These are my thoughts as I was reading this post .....

CODE 200 coming ... I see I CODE 200 right around the corner (A code 200 means paramedic being assaulted - life could be at risk --> for dispatch that means, once its been called over the radio, get an immediate status update, get on the horn the police and get them there NOW to help, send another transport unit to look after the potentially injured medics, and get a supervisor there) ((another side note, do you wear a knife/bullet proof vest??)) ....

And then the drop of the EPCR and the call for help -- finally the unwanted Code 200, that we know was just around the corner.

Why did you believe that the patient when you were restraining him against the gate - remember patients lie, they lie all the time.

And then you had to struggle with the patient in the back of the ambulance.

I know when you are waiting for the police to arrive, it seems like FOREVER; try sitting up at dispatch staring at the CAD screen, and the radio praying that the medics who are in trouble are not laying on the cold concrete in a puddle of their own blood.

I am glad the boyz in blue came running in to help you!

It scares the sh*t out of me when my medics are in trouble and I can do nothing more for them over and above getting police, and more medics to help them.

I am very possessive of my medics - I am their life line when they are out on the streets.