Ole Spidey and I had stopped at Metropolitan Area Hospital to grab a bite to eat, because the franchise restaurant in the hospital was open late and I had the munchies. Of course, in accordance with EMS law the moment we get our food we receive a page. Luckily, it's for a transfer from the very hospital we're inhabiting so we choke it down and walk upstairs. Apparently this guy had been released from the hospital for heart surgery a week before but now he had developed a pretty bad Staph infection. He's going to the hospital where he had the surgery so his cardiologist can take care of him.
As I look at the paperwork the first thing that jumps out at me was the address of the patient. It's in a local area famed for it's rampant drug use, violence, and abuse of EMS units and personnel. I try to force this from my mind as I fill out our forms and get the nurse to approve everything. Our patient had come into the ER tachycardic and elevated body temperature that resolved after about 15 minutes w/o Tylenol being administered. Did I mention that this guy has a past hx of IV drug abuse? I'm not going to mention what drug it is, but I'll give you a hint - The Bolivians use it to march. This guy is getting off after having surgery not more than two weeks ago. Genius. I guess this is the part where I feel bad for him and rail at the hospital for not getting him proper substance abuse counseling. Wait a minute? He has insurance? Oh. State Insurance. My Money. Jerk.
Look, I've seen people who have state insurance who truly need it - I've transported them in my ambulance - people who without the state insurance would be screwed so hard they'd make a porn film about it. But I've also seen people who have no business having a state card, who abuse the service, and who don't deserve it. Know what some medics call having Medicare and State Insurance? Platinum and Gold Cards.
Yeah, so as you can see I'm going into this with a positive mindset already. Despite my choler (thanks, word-a-day calender!) I professional up and walk into the room, where Spidey is waiting with the stretcher. I introduce myself to the patient, who glares at us with a tough guy face. "I don't like ambulances. They're bumpy." He's restless in the hospital bed, tapping feet, playing with his pulse ox, etc.
The patient's girlfriend is with him - she's not so bad, I suppose, but also seems jittery. "Can we go now?" asks the patient? "We've been here for an hour already, and I need to see MY doctor!"
Oh, fabulous. An entitled jerk drug addict. Ladies, too bad this guy is already off the market.
We load him and his girlfriend up and get underway. "Full speed, 20 knots. Depth, 200 meters. Make it so!" I yell to Spidey through gap. We get on the road.
We are on the road for exactly 5 minutes (I took the guy's pulse and I happened to be looking at my watch again when he pipped up) when the bitching starts. "It's cold in here. Turn off the A/C!"
Silence for another 5 minutes or so. "Damn, it's hot, turn that A/C back on!"
Again I comply. "I'm cold, turn it off!"
I had the patient an extra blanket and tell him, politely, that I'm going to leave it on
"This chair is uncomfortable!" Says his girlfriend, fidgeting on the bench seat.
It slips out before I can stop it. "They're on back order!"
"What's on back order?" she questions, unsure of where this is going.
"The Lay-z-boy bench seats. We should be getting them next month."
The patient on the stretcher BRAYS with laughter, and I'm reminded of Super Troopers, where Farva tells Rabbit "I got you, you fucker!"
After he calms down he asks me for some ice chips. The fridge, I tell him, is with the Lay-z-boy seats.
I go over his medical history with him. He tells me about the surgery and everything, and I'm thinking to myself "Why didn't they sedate him? If he's coked out he's got to have a big chance of aggravating his already unstable cardiac condition!"
"Oh," he remembers. "Also, I got two hernias, one in my belly, and one in my nut-sack, hurrrr."
The next forty five minutes of a whirlwind of excited talk between the two of them regarding her upcoming birthday. If you're unfamiliar with how two coked out individuals discuss something, it's like eight 12 year old girls jabbering at one another in your den - Dennis Leary nails it in his No Cure for Cancer routine. The gaps are filled in with them bitching about the ride and asking for other favors.
I tried to cut my wrists with my ID card and when that didn't work I just stuck it out and took vitals every 15 minutes.
Some battles, I learned that day, are unwinnable.
Please welcome Detail Medic's Life In A Fire House to the link love list! She's pretty funny, and she loves hotdogs!
Also welcome Strings! He's a pirate! With a permission slip! C'mon people, it doesn't get any better then that! A marauder of the high seas who's ALLOWED TO DO IT! Like Sir Francis Drake. Uh-huh. Didn't think I'd go all history book on ya, did ya!