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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Do You Know George?


Station 51, psychiatric problem, deputy on scene requesting Code 1 response.

Every time I hear this, I get a little put-out. I am a low-level EMS provider. My EMS skill set revolves around making sure air goes in and out, and blood stays in and goes round and round. Secondary to that I make sure that it is good air going in and out. From there it is downhill with things like making sure 'owies' of all types are covered and/or immobilized. That's really all EMTs do the great majority of the time.

Where in that framework is the training to deal with psych problems?

We're going to get there, perhaps stage for PD/SO if asked to wait, then see that the patient is jacked or wigged or freaked, ensure no injuries, and wait for the medics to show up and take the patient in for an eval because they really don't know what the hell is wrong, either.

It's not that I am unsympathetic. It's just that there isn't really any purpose for us to be there unless the person needs to be wrestled with, and even that falls outside of our job training. There's rarely any real EMS problem, and the exceptions are rarely serious ones. There is not much value I bring to the scene of a psych problem.

But, we go. That's why we get paid the big bucks.

Arriving first in Engine 51, I see Deputy Harrison and the patient. He's got an apparently-cooperative patient cuffed and standing bent over with his head on the hood of a truck. Harrison is holding the patient's cuffed hands in place and standing guardedly behind him.

I pull around them, and shut down the Engine to restore the peace. Harrison merely nods as I get out. I walk in a wide circle, sizing things up since Harrison isn't talking, and so that the patient is not startled by my approach. Looks not too deadly, so I walk in.

Psych Guy: Who are you!!

Grumpy: I'm Grumpy, with the fire department. We're the good guys.

Harrison (deadpan): Hey, now. What's that supposed to mean?

GD (to PG): We're all the good guys, all of us.

Harrison silently mouthed something about my parentage. I helped his Mom once, but just burned my get out of jail free card.

GD (to PG): You're one of the good guys too, man. What's your name?

PG: Aaron. It's too late. You're too late. I can't stop them now. They won't let me save them. Do you know George?

GD: I'm not sure, Aaron. Who's George and where do you know him from?

PG: Who's Aaron? We're talking about George! He was the only one, but he can't help now, either.

GD: ........

PG: Why won't they let me save them before it's too late?

GD: Maybe I can get a hold of George to see if he can do something. Do you know George's last name?

PG: ..... uhhhh (grimace) ..... his wife is...... Jane! She's a nice lady.

GD (wild-assed inspired guess): George Jetson?

Psych Guy abruptly looks up in delight like he just found a long lost kindred spirit.

PG: YOU KNOW THEM!? You can save us all if you call George right away!

Harrison has that beautiful cop poker face thing going on, no idea what he is actually thinking but certain we're putting together a good tale for the shop later.

GD: I haven't seen George in years, Aaron. But I went to school with Elroy, and I think I still have his cell number. Let's get you checked out first, and then you can tell me what's up so Elroy can tell his dad.

PG: Who's Aaron?

The conversation continued in short spurts like this for another ten or fifteen minutes until the medics arrived to take over the dialogue. I could continue, but it was just more of the same and would get boring.

Aaron(?) was found in the garage loft by the homeowner, who had never seen him before. He had taken everything off the shelves, absolutely trashing the place, and made a pile in the middle of the floor before crawling under the pile. His ID said he lived miles and miles away. There was no car or form of transportation that we could link with him. He was hopped on something, or probably multiple somethings. I never found out what it was or what happened to him.

Anyway, I've done a lot of theater, and with it a fair amount of improv. Who knew how well those skills would serve me when driving big red trucks and seeing crazy people? Can't wait to tell George and Elroy, though. Except that it would be a HIPAA violation. Bah.

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