101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Friday, August 21

20 years of drunkenness

I'm not referring to myself in the title, but to two women I met hours apart who may actually be the same person in some strange time twisting episode of the Twilight Zone. At any moment Rod Serling could have popped out and I would have accepted his version of events as truth.

THE EMERGENCY Part TWO

A caller reports a woman unconscious on the street corner.

THE ACTION Part TWO

This call comes in hours after Part ONE, but we'll be going in age order, not chronological order. The engine is waved down in a nice part of town just after closing time at the bars and we see a well dressed young lady in the usual too drunk for consciousness pose. A quick assessment rules out the usual alcohol look alikes of stroke, hypoglycemia and trauma, so we get more back story.

Our callers, a middle aged couple out walking a restless new puppy, saw the woman staggering and having trouble walking from a half block away. As they followed her, mildly concerned, they saw a car pull up next to her and a young man try to help her. "How nice," they thought until they noticed her try to walk away ever so clumbsy-like. As they approached, calling out to the young man that they could help, he let her down and made a run for it, speeding off before they had their wits to get the license plate.

The ambulance has no choice but to take her sobbing vodka laden body to the local non-ER resource for observation.
The young woman will awake in the local sobering center amongst some of the most odorous persons in existence and hopefully understand how lucky she was and to control her drinking. Otherwise, she might end up like our patient in Part ONE.

THE EMERGENCY Part ONE

The front desk of a hotel is describing a woman who has fallen and hit her head.

THE ACTION Part ONE

This call came in a good 6-7 hours before our friend above.
One of our dynamically deployed ambulances was switching posts and happened to be nearby, beating us to the scene. As I approach the front door, the EMT comes running past me offering only a quick "Hey."

Ahead of us in the lobby, I see a pair of legs flailing from around a corner and a string of expletives that would get this blog an X rating for sure. I'm a fan of using quotations in my reports when folks get verbally abusive, not only to better recall the event, but to paint the picture accurately should the case go to court. I would have hesitated to use half this language.

The flailing legs belong to a woman in her late 40s who took a swing at a stranger exiting an elevator, fell and struck her head on the marble floor, leaving a puddle of blood and quite a large bloody mess in the general area. I found this out as I rounded the corner to see the Paramedic partner of the EMT wrestling with the woman who was throwing blood covered fists and arms in all directions.

As we jumped onto the legs to help our friend, the EMT returned with restraints, a board and a collar. It is truly laughable that we are required to C-spine these types of people. All the while we were restraining her limbs she would make eye contact with one of us and say something so remarkably vile that even the cast of the Jackass movies would ask her to tone it down a bit.

Finally bandaged, tied and boarded we carry her to the awaiting cot while the husband and a few friends try to tell us she is normally a perfectly nice person, but she has been drinking too much. I firmly believe that enough alcohol will let the real you out of your skin and we met the real her.

The excitement has left the little lobby and only the bloody mess remains. Then Rod Serling steps out, lit cigarette in hand.
"Picture a woman who has no control over her emotions and allows excessive intoxication to control her life. Had she only recognized the destructive forces of alcohol 20 years earlier, regardless of how legal it might be, she may not have fallen and been hurt. Then none of the emergency workers would have heard language that should be reserved...for the Twilight Zone."

4 comments:

TOTWTYTR said...

"The young woman will awake in the local sobering center amongst some of the most odorous persons in existence and hopefully understand how lucky she was and to control her drinking."

She won't, but look on the bright side, it's job security.

As to C-Spining patient #1, we probably wouldn't have to, as long as we documented it. She's sort of self cleared herself, notwithstanding imaginary horror stories from EMT instructors everywhere.

LadyHavoc said...

Love, love, love the blog. I found it through MC's blog, which I found through MSN. As a respiratory therapist who has done a few ride alongs to see if she likes it, I feel your pain. I also know what it's like from the other side. I don't know how many pt's I've gotten from EMS that I've rolled my eyes and muttered under my breath about flippin' EMTs that can't do pt evals.
A blog like this reminds me that I don't know the whole story and that I may (ok, will) remember that the EMT folks are short handed and overworked and do they best they can.
Thanks for the reminder and the laughs.
Keep up the good work.

911 and the Randomness.. said...

Love the comparison with the Twilight zone! Sometimes the job feels like that.. :)

Ckemtp said...

How come public displays of affection are banned in most workplaces but public displays of contempt are protected free speech?

I wonder if the first lady blogs, it would be a good post I think: "So I woke up in a odiferous drunk tank" is an awesome title.