One of the things I love…LOVE…about being a Paramedic is the ability to spot Trouble from across the room. That’s a capital T in Trouble, saved for those who need me to put a spring in my step and toss by bag and monitor strategically as I approach a person in need of immediate intervention.
That was last week. haven’t seen an IVR with pulses that slow in years…but that’s another story.
This story is almost a call up from the past, back in the days of Medic 38, running 20+ calls in a shift.
3 calls are already running when a crew calls in that a person has collapsed not far away and are requesting an additional response. Out the door I go knowing the local ambulance company will be flexed or delayed considering how many of their rigs are already on the property.
Usually it is the chronically inebriated who participate in my witty banter, not so this time.
Sitting in a chair, brand new T shirt for an out of town walk a thon, brand new simple black pants and brand new simple plastic flip flops. This is the Shelter starter pack. When folks goto some shelters, they get the dignity of a shower and some clean clothes. For some it is enough to get through a rough patch, while for others it is simply a revolving door, similar to the ones very close by.
She sees me approach from behind the Policemen and her body language changes immediately. Because I entered from behind the seating area I saw someone maintaining posture, moving hands and arms in concert with head movements and adjusting eyeglasses. In short – everything is close to just fine.
As I approach she is suddenly slouching to one side, breathing at over 30 a minute and shaking her hands in the way only seen in TV shows and right there right then.
Our back and forth was swift because we have both had ample chance to practice. Her chief complaint is severe, but vague, knowing what I can and can not assess.
My questions seem distracting and catching her off guard a few times, making eye contact, her frustration breaking the tachnypnea, just as I hoped.
When offered options suddenly a family was waiting for her, but she can’t keep straight witch family members it is. Mom, a son, a sick son (yes a different one) then a sister.
In the end she finally caved and admitted she felt fine but simply had no place to stay, to eat or the get help. My feelings of victory were met equally with my compassion to help. We don’t always push a medication to help someone recover, sometimes we have to grease the wheels of the system to make sure someone who wants a chance to break the cycle can do so.
She ended up going to the hospital, simply because there was no other way to ensure she arrived at step one of her healing process, but she gave me a run for my money alright.