Sunday, January 25, 2009

Back in the day...

As you know I was once a Medic. In fact, my start in EMS was in the days of Ambulance drivers, attendants, and funeral home rigs. When I started all you needed was a Red Cross Advanced First Aid and CPR card.

The events I talked about yesterday and a post in Too Old to Work, Too Young to Retire's "Tales from the 'Blance me to take a trip down memory lane to one of my favorite "rookie" stories.

It was a nice summer Saturday afternoon. The kind of day to be sitting on a blanket at the lake watching the volleyball games, seeing and being seen. At the time I was a young "attendant" with Eternal Rest Mortuary and Ambulance Service. We were dispatched to a possible OD in one of the nicer parts of town. On arrival at a pleasant suburban ranch house, we were met by an angry father and a distraught mother. It seems the eldest daughter was made to babysit her siblings whilst Mom and Dad went to the club for a game of tennis.

Little Miss was apparently in a snit because she missed out on her day at the lake and decided to punish M & D by downing whatever she could find in the medicine chest and washing it down with some of Dad's 18 year old single malt. We followed them into the living room where a very beautiful, but obviously angst ridden 16 year old girl was sprawled on the coach with a large glass of water. She was alert and oriented, but very sullen and non communicative. I introduced myself and told her we were going to take her to St. Joe's (Hospital) so the doctor's could check her out and make sure everything was okay. With out a word, she finished the glass of water, got up and sat her self on the cot.

As we rolled her out the front door, her mother, who was going with us in the rig, mentioned that she had called their pediatrician who had advised her to give Little Miss ipecac syrup and a big glass of water...the water she had just finished...but nothing had happened yet. "No problem", I said, "I'll give her a basin if she needs it. She'll be just fine". We put her in the back of the Caddy and I climbed in with her while Mike A. got Mom situated up front.

I raised the head of the cot as much as I could, draped a big bath towel over her like a bib and gave Little Miss a surgical basin as Mike pulled away from the curb."Okay Honey. Do you feel like you need to throw up?" She just shook her head, no. Since her head was up I was sitting on the attendant chair that faced her with my back to the rear door (The old low top Cadillacs had two chairs that faced each other and folded into the floor).

In a few minutes she started that peculiar half hiccup/ half spasm that signals imminent evacuation of the stomach contents. I put a damp washcloth on her forehead and said "It's okay sweetheart. It's just the Ipecac. Go ahead and throw up in the bowl. You'll feel better." She just looked at me. The spasms increased in frequency and she was obviously about to spew.

I leaned forward to help her with the bowl when she turned, leaned over, and puked right in my lap!As soon as her stomach was empty she wiped her lips with the back of her hand, looked me right in the eyes, and with the sweetest smile you can imagine said, "F*&k you, a#$hole!"


TOTWTYTR said...

Ouch. In the days when we gave Ipecac, now mercifully gone, the most important thing was to time is so that the patient would start vomiting AFTER arrival at the ER. If it was a hospital we didn't like, we'd try to time it so that the patient did it at triage.

"Housekeeping to triage, with a mop." used to make us smile.

Tanya said...

I found your blog through MDOD, and reminds me of the stories my husband likes to share about being an EMT back in the day-he was one of the first trained EMT's in California, and yes he rode many a mile in the back of a Caddy ambulance. I read several of your previous posts, enjoyed all of them, keep posting, especially stories like this one!

Southern IL said...


Similar to my story of the highly intoxicated, NPO, Gi Bleeder, who repeatedly kept demanding to be fed. He continued to torment me for 11 hours, as I continued to patiently explain his NPO status. Thirty minutes before the end of my 12 hour shift, he decided to take his demands to a "higher court" by standing in the middle of the hallway ... buck naked... screaming, "GET ME FOOD B**CH'!! My 12 hour shift turned into 14!!!

Just keep repeating....

I Love My Job, I Love My Job, I Love My Job!!!