No, my name isn't Tom Bodett but sometimes I feel like my ambulance could double as a Motel 6. This is my first EMS Taxi post so let me take a moment to introduce myself. I've been a volunteer EMT-B for about 8 years, I'm currently studying to become an EMT-Enhanced which just means I'll get to start IVs and give a few more medications. I volunteer in a small town next to a big interstate.
The interstate is where I ended up yesterday during my shift. Things have been really quiet in our county lately so when I heard the printer start whirring I couldn't help but jump up from the couch in excitement. This excitement left my rookie very confused because he hadn't heard the printer and I'm pretty sure he thought I had finally gone around the bend. I grabbed the "rip and tear" and headed out to where my driver was already sitting in the ambulance. A medical call on the interstate, the patient is having stomach pain, is sweating and is shakey.
Our first due area on the interstate is about a 12 mile stretch and the patient was just on the edge, almost into the next county so it took us a few minutes to get there. Upon arrival I note that the patient has vomited a few times, is very pale, sweaty and says he is having a hard time breathing. Due to our location on the shoulder I had the engine company shut down a lane so that we could get him into the ambulance quickly. As soon as we are in the unit I asked my driver to get a baseline set of vitals because dispatch wanted to know if ALS was needed. The first set looked good so I told them no, we would just go ahead and transport. (At that time we would have had to wait approximately 20 minutes to get an ALS unit there, about the time it would take us to get to the ER.) The patient said he was having no trouble breathing at all, his stomach was fine and he just didn't feel well.
The rookie hopped up in the back with me as we began making our way to the ER, he has only been on a few EMS calls so he is still getting the hang of it all. I asked the patient a question to which I received no reply. I asked my question again and the patient didn't move. Just as I am about to switch from "easy ride" to "get me there!" mode I noticed him pushing his pulse ox off of his finger very slowly. I asked him another question, this time even louder, and he opened one eye, looked at me and said "I am very sensitive to noise, would you shut up?"
The rookie looks at me with "WTF?" written across his face. I tell the patient I will talk quietly to him but that I need him to answer my questions. I ask medical history and I am told he is "sensitive to light, noise, smells temperature and people in general." He asked me to turn off the light, he told me the oxygen smelled horrible (we'll look past the fact that he probably hadn't showered in a few days...) he told me I talked way too loud, even when I whispered, and that the ambulance was too bumpy. Then he fell asleep and started to snore. In our 20 minute ride he woke up every few minutes to complain about the light, the smell, the bumps, the weather, the color of my hair (yes the color of my hair), the Redskins game, the fact that we wouldn't go an extra 20 minutes to his favorite hospital, and the equipment I had on him. If I asked him a question he would tell me that talking required too much effort but if I said nothing he would complain about one of the above. He would remove the cord from the blood pressure cuff that was hooked to our Lifepak 12, then he would remove his pulse ox every time I put it back on and he would do this without ever opening his eyes.
When we transferred him into the hospital bed he curled up into the fetal position, told the nurse to go away and then asked her to bring him water first. When the nurse asked him what exactly was wrong he said "my back hurts and I'm tired. I just need sleep. Can't I just sleep and you come back in a few hours?" He never told me his back hurt (even after I asked specifically) and told her he never had nausea/vomiting and that I was just rude. The nurse and I smiled at each other, you know the smile of "I'm sorry, I can't help who calls 911 and isn't he a fun patient?" I went back in to his room about 10 minutes later to drop off the cigarettes he had left in our ambulance, there he was snoring loudly. The nurse told me he said he just needed a place to sleep. The worst part? He was only 3 miles from home when he called 911.
Motel 6, we'll leave the light on for ya!
2 years ago