Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Overtime

Eleven hours in to a shift in the city, my phone rings. I glance at the face. "SUPERVISOR JIM." Hmmm. They've been paging for a night shift, more and more frantically. I thumb the green key.

"No."

"Hear me out!"

"No. I'm not working a twenty-four."

"Dammit, just ... listen, okay? It's a sweet deal."

"... okay."

"There are two medics on the car already. The problem is, neither of them is a lead medic. But they're both checked off. And one is in the lead training program. You just need to be THERE, to keep an eye on things. They'll do all the work."

"... no charts?"

"You can sleep in back all night, and just wake up for calls! Come on, man."

I take a deep breath.

"Let me check to make sure the wife doesn't mind."

"You da MAN!"

"And I want movie tickets."

"Done."

* * * *

Three in the morning. I'm horizontal on the bench seat, strapped down against the bumps and turns of post moves. The radio is clipped to the stretcher next to me. I've just, finally dozed off when the tones blare. Damn Motorola. I swear, every time they go off, a year drops off my life.

I try and sit up. Too bad I'm still strapped in. Coughing, I pop the belts and make my way to the jumpseat. We're already moving.

I rub my eyes and address the cab of the ambulance as a whole. "What tomfoolery are we off to now?"

"A stabbing."

"... what?"

"See?" The MDC is turned to face me.

ENTRY: STARTING MED, SAYS SUBJ HERE IS STABBED IN BACK, REFUSING TO ANSWER OTHER QUESTIONS. POLICE ENRT. MED TO STG.


"Huh."

My partner scrolls down.

UPDATE: SOMEONE IN BACKGROUND YELLING, "THE COPS ARE COMING, HIDE THE WEED, HIDE THE WEED!" H/U ON ME. NO ANS ON CALLBACK.


I lean back against the airway seat. "Okay. This is probably BS. Don't stage too close."

We find a spot about ten blocks away and nose up to a curb, shutting the lights off. I close my eyes, and instantly start to drift aw--

*shwzooom!*

The whole ambulance rocks.

"What th' f-"

*shwmm!*
       *fwmmm!*
             *zmmmm!*


This time I can see the lights, as three more cops rocket past us, in full afterburner, doing somewhere upwards of Mach 2. I look out the back windows as five or six more police cruisers blow past, stacked up in a line, lit up like Christmas trees, and apparently headed for hyperspace.

"Hmmm. Guess they think it's real."

A few minutes later the tac channel crackles. "Per police onscene, medical is cleared to come in."

We zip around the corner, down the street, thread our way through shoals of white police cars, and pull up in front of a house surrounded by uniforms. A man is laying on the porch. I blink and rub my eyes again.

"Okay," I tell the front of the ambulance. "I'm just gonna walk up. If he's truly stabbed, we'll just put him on the gurney and bounce."

As I approach the porch, four cops enter the house with guns drawn. "Police!" they shout. Definitely a secure scene. The man is sprawled on the porch, moaning and holding his side.

"Well?" I ask one of the cops. "Stabbed?"

He nods. "In the back."

I fish my flashlight out, and roll the man slightly to his side. Sho' nuff, there's a neat 4cm puncture wound in his mid-back, thankfully well away from his spine.

I'm already stepping off the porch as my partners and the fire crew approach. "Put him on the gurney," I tell my crew. "No c-spine. I'll be in the bus."

As I climb back in the rig, I spin the dial on my radio all the way to the end, from FIRE DISPATCH, past TAC A and B and C, through EMS OPS, to TRAUMA.

I try to suppress a yawn and key the mike. "Trauma, Medic Six with a system entry..."

* * * *

At the hospital, as the trauma team pokes and prods and ultrasounds and ponders, I chat with a cop and a surgical resident.

"So," the doc asks, "any idea who did this?"

The cop shrugs. "Maybe a domestic. It's not really clear."

Chuckling, the resident suggests, "Was he Standing On A Corner, Minding His Own Business? Was it Sumdood? Or Those Three Guys?" Clearly he's not new to taking care of the Knife & Gun Club.

The cop snickers. "Yeah, probably Sumdood. That guy is always causing trouble."

I wave at the cop. "Well, what are you doing here? Get the f*ck out of here! Go catch him!"

* * * *

Later, in the ambulance, I compose a text message to my supervisor.

Stabbing interrupted my nap. Actually had to work. Damn you!

2 comments:

The MacMedic said...

You're cheap man! I usually held out for double time or a comp day later in the week in addition to the movie tickets and some sleep.

The MacMedic
http://www.themacmedic.org

Faking Patience said...

Just dropping you a message, letting you know I am following your blog. I just found it today, and started reading through all the entries, all the way to the beginning. I really like your writing style, and the way you describe the calls you go on!

btw, word verification: pothead