A Day with the Paramedics


Yesterday was my first shift with paramedics. I was having a blast. We transported a child in anaphylactic shock to one ER, an elderly gent with angina to another, and an even older man with ‘stroke-like’ symptoms to a third ER. I even witnessed my first dead person––a woman in her nineties who appeared to have shuffled off her mortal coil during a peaceful sleep.
Then there was this: we were called to the home of a caucasian woman in her thirties. She had hung herself from the back of the bedroom door.
By the time we arrived she was unresponsive, cold to the touch, apneic, pulseless, and cyanotic, with signs of dependent lividity. The EKG showed her to be asystolic. She’d probably been dead for some time.
We left her there with the cops. Transport of the dead is not our business.
Our final visit of the day was to the home of a woman who seemed to be rapidly descending the rungs of the coma scale. A quick test showed her to have a blood sugar of 28. Not good. We shot her arm full of dextrose. A minute later she sat bolt upright. “Where’s my bedroom?” she said.
“You’re in an ambulance mam.”
Then she threw up all over us.
Life goes on.

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