Sunday, August 30, 2009

- Catcher's Mitt

The call notes pop-up on our laptop as we're trying to cross the river to get back home.

Notification - Caller can see head of baby.


Luckily, we're not the first unit going to the scene. Izzy guns it down the highway. We skirt across a gravel road that crosses a cane field, kicking up a rooster-tail of dust into the sky. I grab a pair of gloves and walk in as Izzy parks. Country and Floats are rolling the patient out from a back bedroom. Country looks like a piece of modern art: there is blood from his neck down to knees, a large smear going down his gown. Floats is sweating, her hair plastered to her forehead, and we load the patient and the patent's sister in the back.

I get the story from Country - apparently, the woman had an explosive delivery and tore her her self all the way down to her balloon knot. She's bleeding pretty good. The baby has pinked up, he says, and has a solid Apgar of around 9 now. I poke mom and get an IV running, and we pad up her tear. We are hot dogging it to the hospital.

Mom is 19 and is now G-4 P-4 (that is, for the uninitiated, 4 pregnancies resulting in 4 live births). She is missing all 4 front upper teeth. She gives off a distinct smell of unwashed body and birth shits. After the man with Melting Mouth, though, I've been immunized.

I ask her if she had medical insurance. She produces the state card, and I copy the number down. The sister of the patient has a huge grin on her face, and I see she has no more teeth then her sister. She says something unintelligible - "I'm At Ought Gen!"

I ask her to repeat herself, and again she says it - "I'm At Ought Gen"!

I look at Country. His eyebrow is cocked, and he looks at me and shakes his head.

"What did you say, Ma'am?" I ask the sister again.

She rolls her eyes and yells, as if speaking to a deaf, developmentally disabled puppy who has piddled on the rug - "I'M A TAUGHT UH GIN!" Finally I get it - "I'm a taunt again" - that is, "I'm an aunt again", for those of you still scratching your heads.

"Oh. You're an Aunt again!"

She nods and looks down with excitement at the baby. Now that I'm tuned into her patios, I can understand her a little better as she says "I wonder if mine gonna look like that!" Taking a look at her, I realize she too is pregnant, somewhere between 5 or 7 months along, depending on how much she eats.

"Maybe so!" I say. "Do you and your sister look alike as children?"

"Well, kinda. But I think they gon look alike cuz they got the same dadday."

"Oh." I say. "Maybe!"

* * *
Later I'm finishing up Country's paperwork as he cleans up. I ask about the smear on his smock. He looks around and lowers his voice. "Dude, there was blood and shit everywhere. That baby was greasy as fuck, and it slipped out my hands. I didn't understand until I looked around. Apparently mom had greased her works with Astroglide before the kid came out. It was all-fucking-over."

"You dropped the kid?" I ask him.

"Yeah, and then I picked it up. No one saw, and I was kneeling down, so basically the baby just slid down to the carpet. Do you think it's going to end up retarded or something?"

I look in at the toothless women. Combine their ages and they're not over 36, but they are only a few months away from having 5 babies between them. I turn back to Country.

"Naw man, I don't think it'd make a difference either way."

I slap him on the back and walk outside.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

- Wash Your Mouth Out

Izzy and I are sweating. It is HOT outside, and the sun is beating me down like I'm a red-headed step child.

"I's sorry I said you wasn't my real pop, Mr Sun! Please stop a-beatin' me!"

Izzy looks at me sidelong from the driver's seat in the unit. Whoops. Must remember to keep internal monolouge internal.

We are on our way to a call in Backwater, a call for a 50 year old vomiting blood. I grab a pair of gloves and we haul out stretcher to the front door. The new power models are heavier, but going up and down stairs is a breeze. I complain a lot about working at XXXX but this thing sure is nice. They do take care of us.


We walk into the front and there is a skeletal, geriatric looking man staring blankly at us from a chair in the living room. Dispatch must've gotten the age wrong. He has the smell of someone who has not bathed in several days. I run through an exam. He has been vomiting for several days, and states he hasn't stopped drinking since he was 18. His stomach and throat hurt. I a little worried about the possibility of varicies. He states he is 52. I can't believe it. He is so emaciated, and looks like a concentration camp survivor.

I am kneeling, attaching wires and when I look up, Izzy's eyes are crossed and she is stepping back from the patient. She had been grabbing a BP for me.

She is quickly turning green, and as I ask another question and look at the man, I get a blast of his breath.

I thought I've smelled stank before. I've been around decomposing bodies. I've smelled a thousand nursing home rooms. I even smelled my own belly button, once.

But I've never smelled anything like this.

It makes my eyes tear up, and I come the closest I've been to puking while on a call in my whole EMT career.

Words can't describe the stank. They are too flimsy to encompass the enormity of the rot and gross.

I barely manage to keep my gorge from rising and shut my lips, and think to my self DONT PUKE DONT DO IT over and over again for 15 seconds.

When I raise my head, I motion to Izzy and we load the patient. After getting an IV going and running an EKG, I sit behind the patient for the trip to Metropolitan Hospital, with my face in the module window half the time to catch the fresh breeze. Normally I sit next to the patient because I think it reassures them with the added advantage that I can keep an eye on them, but the module smells like raw sewage mixed with carcasses. We transfer care upon arrival and I walk back out.

Izz is spraying down everything, top to bottom. I know we had just refilled the bottle but she is already a third of the way though.

"My God," I say to her. "That was horrible."

"Oh, I know. Worse than that poop waterfall."

"I've never seen someone's teeth actually rotting inside their skull before. Let's get the fuck out of here before they make us take him to the dentist."