I’ve been busy preparing for the premiere of the Chronicles of EMS and haven’t been sleeping well. When I do sleep, it is shallow, poor sleep, at least at work. At home Mrs HM tells me I sleep like a baby rock log.
But a few days ago at the table after a long night at work I had to ask the firefighter on the engine, “Did I get in trouble last night?”
As I remember it, we were running back and forth on our usual compliment of folks unclear on the concept of an emergency. The engine was dispatched to a reported motor vehicle versus pedestrian. At 4 AM it could be bad, so we were ready to work when we arrived at the intersection to find a man laying on his back between 2 parked cars.
A quick approach shows no damage to the vehicles around him and no fluid on the ground. As we approach we see his feet crossed and he wipes his chin with a dirty hand.
“Sir!” I call out as we arrive at his side.
“Ah, you made it. Man, I need a place to sleep, this is killing me.” He replies as he rises looking past me to the engine. “Where’s the ambulance? I asked for an ambulance.” No distress, no problems.
I assessed his clean clothes and unstained shoelaces, a clear sign he has not been on the streets long. He told us all about how he was a local and grew up in the neighborhood, but couldn’t name the school he went to or what street he lived on.
We get a lot of folks coming to town thinking it’s all wine and roses on the streets of the big City. Many other cities appear to be using us as their dropping point for folks they choose not to help.
This guy clearly expects an ambulance to take him in. As we confirm he is not injured, I spot a $20 in his pocket.
“You have cab fare, just call a cab if you want shelter.” I tell him as the boss code 2s the ambulance.
“You can’t tell me what to do, now call me an ambulance and go away.” He said laying back down between the cars.
I lost control for the briefest of moments and threw the BP cuff at him from a short distance. I was fuming, rage kept deep for so long bubbling up to the surface and I know I have to leave. Across the street I walk and sit down.
“What the hell are you doing?” The boss calls out to me.
“I’m done with him. Call the EMS Supervisor and the BC, I’m not coming back over there, I might do something more stupid than I just did.”
Hours later I’m sitting at the kitchen table, sipping coffee, still angry. The firefighter is pondering my earlier question, clearly thinking about it.
“No, I don’t think so. Did you kill someone while I wasn’t looking?” He answers, looking back to the metro section.
“Did I throw a BP cuff at that guy in the street?”
His head looks up and he smiles. “Threw a WHAT? Are you feeling alright? Have you thrown anything, like, ever? No you didn’t get in trouble last night. We didn’t run a guy in the street.”
The boss has heard the tail end of the conversation and chimes in, “Bad dreams huh?” and he offers to fill my coffee.
Bad dreams indeed.