Saturday, May 19, 2007

- Ditch Witch

After a long grueling day in the unit, there's nothing I want to do more then to get home, get cleaned up, and go to bed, usually so I can do it all over again the next day. We work an odd three person schedule that I'm not impressed with, but Management hasn't seen fit to put me in charge of everything yet, so I'm going to have to put on my Big Boy pants and stick it out.

Anyway, I was driving down Country Road and was startled to see a Metropolitan Adjacent Area VFD Rescue rig approaching with light and sirens in my rear view mirror. As I work out of the Metropolitan Adjacent Area Station and we had only gotten off shift about five minutes ago, I was curious as to where they might be headed. I gunned my weak Japanese Import SUV into line behind the rig and continued on down Country Road, mindful not to put on my Hazard lights. I don't have red flashers on my vehicle and those two little blinking orange things do not an emergency vehicle make.

I arrived on scene about a minute behind the rig. The deputy excitedly waves them though. There is nary a Company Ambulance to be seen, making me the first Company EMT on scene. Woohoo, Incident Command! I start to drudge up our triage information in the back of my head as my imagination clouds over with flashbulbs, cheering crowds, and a bright, shiny medal. He saved our lives! says an attractive, large busomed redhead. If he were here, I could just kiss him! (I have a thing for Redheads.)

The Dep turns around as I roll past his prowl car and gives me a mean look, shattering my delusions of grandeur. I roll down my window as he trudges up to my vehicle. There is a sour expression on his red, mustachioed puss.

"What the hell are you doing? Can't you see the flashing lights? The road is blocked. Turn around, you idiot!" Spittle from his mouth lands on my shoulder. He looks into the car and sees me wearing my uniform.

I hand him my name tag. "I'm with XXXX, do they need-"

"Oh, shit, sorry, yeah, go on through!" He tosses my ID back to me and waves me in. I call the dispatcher and let him know that I'm on scene. He tells me the company unit is about 4 minutes out. I put my car (I'm not calling that thing an SUV, it doesn't deserve the title) in park and NOW I put my hazard lights on. Take a lesson, first responders.

I grab a pair of gloves from the vehicle. The MAA VFD chief is talking into his radio and digging in a compartment. He comes up with a c-collar. I got to know this guy pretty well and he has been on several car accidents and emergencies with me. The portion of interstate that runs though the town is a high incident area and when I get on scene and see him there I usually relax a little. He turns around to see me and waves. There's puzzlement on his face as he looks around for my unit.

"I was on my way home."

"Oh. OK. One car accident, guy was on his way home, ran off the road, hit the culvert and was ejected. He sitting down over there in the ditch. They need this c-collar." He hands it to me.

I cross around the front of the fire truck and get a look at the vic's car. It's on its roof, and there is damage to the everywhere. Debris is scattered across both lanes of Country Road. This is interesting. I walk down into the ditch and get a good look at the guy, courtesy of the large scene lights on top of the rescue. It's lit up like day time and I see dried mud coating his forehead, cheek, and shirt.

"Hey man, my name is MedicMarch with XXXX. I need to put this on you to protect your neck. How are you doing? " I inquire as I apply the c-collar.

"I'm Drunky McGee, and not too well," he answers back. "My arm hurts." I feel my BAC going up just from breathing the same air as this guy.

Good, I am thinking. He's awake and alert, although drunk, and can tell me what's wrong.

"What happened?" I ask.

His eyes look around at the fire truck and back at me. A confused look crosses his face.

"What do you mean?"

Uh oh.

"Why are you sitting in this ditch, buddy? How'd you get here?"

He tries to look around but cannot as one of the VFFs has his head in a neutrality death grip.

"I don't know."

Turds.

"You were in a car accident, man. Looks like you were ejected. Was there anyone else riding with you?"

"I don't know. What happened, now?"

Double Turds.

"You were in a car accident. Let me see that arm that's bothering you." He has a small avulsion at the elbow that's oozing but that's pretty much it. All his neuros are intact. I'm more concerned about how all this streaked dried mud got here. It is all over his shirt. It seems far fetched but I'm betting he was ejected and slid along the muck at the bottom of the ditch. Then he waited here until someone came along and saw his auto flipped in the middle of Country Road. I tell him that we need to put him on a spine board and get some vital signs, and tell the VFFs to cut off his shirt, which they do with gusto.

I leave him in their capable, trauma shear and BP cuff welding hands, and walk back up to the Chief, who is digging in a soft black bag that looks to me like it holds a really expensive camera.

"He doesn't know what happened and he's not sure if there was anyone else in the vehicle. We need to lo-"

"I'm on it. Check this out. We got it last week." Chief is holding what looks like a tiny television with a camcorder glued on the end. I realize, from paging though Galls a few too many times, is an IR peeping box. These can detect the heat from foot prints , so finding some warm drunky lying in a cold grass field should be easier then getting an LSU sorority girl to drop her panties.

Unless, of course, that warm drunky was seriously injured and is no longer playing records because he AAT'd - Assumed Ambient Temperature. And if it was me trying to get that LSU sorority girl to drop her panties.

He turns it on, and in the gleam of the monitor I see childish glee on his face. I think this is funny until I remember the look that was on my face when I got my Ipod (which was later stolen.) I bury my snarky comment and watch as he starts to scan the fields. I suddenly remember what I came up here for, a spine board. About this team I see my buddy Long Haul (he and I both drive over an hour to get to our respective shifts) and his partner Bugsy (he looks like a giant praying mantis) walk over with bemused look on their faces - they had last seen me 15 minutes ago, leaving the station.

I give them the story thus far and give them the spine board I had grabbed. I climb in the back of the Company Unit and set up two large bore IVs and grab some paper towels and water. We're going to need them to clean him up. I walk back outside to the chief who has now scanned about a hundred yards in all directions with the IR peeper box.

"Nothing?"

"Not a thing!" He says. "Did you smell the guy?"

"Did I. I'm not even sure if it's legal for me to drive home now. Here they come."

Long Haul and Bugs are wheeling the patient to the back of their unit. We load him up and I check his pupils now that I have a penlight. They are normal. I continue with the full exam, and the only thing wrong with this guy is his arm. Good breath sounds, stable vitals, no broken bones.

"What happened? Where am I?"

Oh yeah, and that.

I leave him in the capable hands of Long Haul after we establish an IV (Who are you? What are you sticking in me) and walk back out of the back of the unit. I take a look back at the ditch, and incredibly, in the mud , I can see a small valley about the width of the guys shoulders - I was right. He slid down the bottom of the ditch we he was ejected, about 15 yards. I point this out to the Fire Chief. He takes a closer look. What are the odds he would've been eject at just the right angle from his flipping vehicle and into a soft, grassy, muddy ditch. He had to go in at a high enough angle to avoid a concrete culvert but low enough so that he didn't over shoot the ditch completely.

"God protects drunks and children, doesn't He?" The Chief asks me.

I flashback to my own car wreck.

"Sure 'nuff, Chief. Take 'er easy. I'm heading back."

I shake his hand and walk back to my car. I step through the debris, and see a plastic jug of vodka lying in the road, still intact, still half-full. I consider bringing it home and having a party, but the fact I work tomorrow and that I also don't want to stand trial for removing evidence from the scene of a crime convinces me to leave it be. I hop back into my car and head home.

Epilogue: The guy was found to have a brain contusion and that's it. A few stiches went onto his arm. Long Haul told me he came around as they pulled up to Metropolitan Area General and was discharged after some X-Rays and CTs.

-MM

2 comments:

Ambulance Driver said...

LOL...good story.

I like your sense of humor. ;)

Holly said...

I liked the phrase "damage to the everywhere."