Coming up on HM’s Anniversary I thought I’d share a post from long, long ago. For you new folks, that little fire engine means I was on the engine when we had the call (clever, I know.) We used to divide our calls into the Emergency (Why they called) and The Action (What really happened).
Enjoy “20 Years of Drunkenness” – OK, not really, that’s just the title of the post.
20 Years of Drunkenness
I’m not referring to myself in the title, but to two women I met hours apart who may actually be the same person in some strange time twisting episode of the Twilight Zone. At any moment Rod Serling could have popped out and I would have accepted his version of events as truth.
THE EMERGENCY Part TWO
A caller reports a woman unconscious on the street corner.
THE ACTION Part TWO
This call comes in hours after Part ONE, but we’ll be going in age order, not chronological order. The engine is waved down in a nice part of town just after closing time at the bars and we see a well dressed young lady in the usual too drunk for consciousness pose. A quick assessment rules out the usual alcohol look alikes of stroke, hypoglycemia and trauma, so we get more back story.
Our callers, a middle aged couple out walking a restless new puppy, saw the woman staggering and having trouble walking from a half block away. As they followed her, mildly concerned, they saw a car pull up next to her and a young man try to help her. “How nice,” they thought until they noticed her try to walk away ever so clumbsy-like. As they approached, calling out to the young man that they could help, he let her down and made a run for it, speeding off before they had their wits to get the license plate.
The ambulance has no choice but to take her sobbing vodka laden body to the local non-ER resource for observation.
The young woman will awake in the local sobering center amongst some of the most odorous persons in existence and hopefully understand how lucky she was and to control her drinking. Otherwise, she might end up like our patient in Part ONE.
THE EMERGENCY Part ONE
The front desk of a hotel is describing a woman who has fallen and hit her head.
THE ACTION Part ONE
This call came in a good 6-7 hours before our friend above.
One of our dynamically deployed ambulances was switching posts and happened to be nearby, beating us to the scene. As I approach the front door, the EMT comes running past me offering only a quick “Hey.”
Ahead of us in the lobby, I see a pair of legs flailing from around a corner and a string of expletives that would get this blog an X rating for sure. I’m a fan of using quotations in my reports when folks get verbally abusive, not only to better recall the event, but to paint the picture accurately should the case go to court. I would have hesitated to use half this language.
The flailing legs belong to a woman in her late 40s who took a swing at a stranger exiting an elevator, fell and struck her head on the marble floor, leaving a puddle of blood and quite a large bloody mess in the general area. I found this out as I rounded the corner to see the Paramedic partner of the EMT wrestling with the woman who was throwing blood covered fists and arms in all directions.
As we jumped onto the legs to help our friend, the EMT returned with restraints, a board and a collar. It is truly laughable that we are required to C-spine these types of people. All the while we were restraining her limbs she would make eye contact with one of us and say something so remarkably vile that even the cast of the Jackass movies would ask her to tone it down a bit.
Finally bandaged, tied and boarded we carry her to the awaiting cot while the husband and a few friends try to tell us she is normally a perfectly nice person, but she has been drinking too much. I firmly believe that enough alcohol will let the real you out of your skin and we met the real her.
The excitement has left the little lobby and only the bloody mess remains. Then Rod Serling steps out, lit cigarette in hand.
“Picture a woman who has no control over her emotions and allows excessive intoxication to control her life. Had she only recognized the destructive forces of alcohol 20 years earlier, regardless of how legal it might be, she may not have fallen and been hurt. Then none of the emergency workers would have heard language that should be reserved…for the Twilight Zone.”