Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Proposal

"Sir! Sir, can you hear me. Open your eyes for me." I have to shout for my voice to carry over the roaring of the generator.

"Leavesss me alone! I'mmmm ffffine."

The overpowering smell of alcohol pours out of his mouth and assaults my nostrils. I have to turn my head to gasp for a fresh breath of air before I heave. After a few deep breaths, I lean down to fit my head, helmet and flashlight under the bed of the truck.

"Sir, you just flipped your truck like a pancake and now you are pinned underneath. Does anything hurt?"

"Hellll no. I'mm sdrunk asss, assssss... you know. Datsss amnimal."

"Right. I can tell. We are going to get you out of here as soon as we can? What's your name?

"Isssss... itsssss, Shawn."

"Okay Shawn. I'm Bernice. I'm going to put some oxygen on you until we can get you out of there." I am praying it will cut down on the amount of toxic waste coming out of his mouth as well.


"Yes, Shawn. What's wrong? Does anything hurt now? Are you feeling nauseated or light-headed?"


"Okay. Are you sure? Do you need something? Are you cold?"

"No. I wantss sto know ifff youssis marry me. Yous is perty,"

I hear Eddie cough in a vain attempt to cover his laughter.

"No Shawn. I can't. I'm already married. In fact, my husband is the one cutting apart your truck."

My polite decline is rewarded with a string of profanity that would make my Marine brother blush. His tirade also brings forth another cloud of staink. I gasp for another breath of air only to find diesel fumes have permeated my clean air. Great, which is better diesel, or alcoholic gingivitis face?

I spend the next ten minutes asking all the pertinent questions and getting nowhere. I feel like a dog when chasing it's own tail - it is fun, but pointless. I get the nod from the firefighters that we are ready to slide him out. Thankfully, Shawn has decided to put a belt on this morning. At least he has done something to make this easier for me. Greg grabs hold of c-spine and Eddie grabs his shoulders. We rhythmically count and anticipate a smooth transition to the back board. On three we all pull, but nothing happens. I look under the truck to find his hands neatly folded together on his chest.

"What is he stuck on?"

Three men in black and reflective tape army crawl under the bed of the truck to find me an answer.

"Nothing. He's free. Go ahead."

We count again and again are met with resistance.

"What the hell?" Now I'm getting pissed. "Jeremy, get under there and tell me what he is stuck on."

"He's not stuck on anything Bernice. You are clear."

This time we don't count out loud. And low and behold, he moves. That is until he gets a hold of the bed of the overturned truck.

You dirty little rat! "Shawn! Let go!"

"I ain't goinnng to no hoschpitalll."

"You really don't have any choice Shawn. We can do this my way, or the hard way. And trust me, you don't want to do it the hard way."

"Itscch okay. I like itsch rou-tough. Rough? Tough? Yeschh, pleasche hurt me."

By this time, Eddie is in a full blown laughing fit. And so it half the department.

Thankfully, Shawn was far too amused with himself to remember he was trying to stay under his broken Dodge as long as possible and with one swift motion he was removed from the twisted metal. He decided to behave himself for the remainder of the call thanks to the man with the shiny star on his chest looming over him.

Sometimes being an EMT is scary but this has put a whole new deinition to the term. But hey, at least I know I make turnout gear look good, even if it is through beer goggles.

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