full of random ideas to jump-start the creative half of your brain.
I was flipping through it the other day and found this page.
"Paramedic Engine 15 and Ambulance 15, respond for the cardiac arrest…"
Dammit. I haven't even done the run sheet from the last call, I thought as I rose from my chair.
As we pulled up to the outside of a laundromat, a gathering crowd partially obscured our view. As best we could tell, there was one guy on the ground, and other kneeling next to him performing CPR. Sean hopped out and made his way over to the group while I grabbed the ALS bag and the monitor from the rear compartment.
"Come on, move out of the way… move it!"
As I approached with gear in tow, I could hear a plea for the crowd to give us some space. The bystander who was doing CPR stood up, brushed his pants off, and started fumbling through his pockets for something as Sean did a quick assessment of our patient.
As if in some surreal form of stereo, I suddenly had information coming from both sides that smashed together in my brain hard enough to stun me for a second.
CPR guy, right channel: "See, I did it right! I got my certifications right here, man!" He produced the fruits of his frantic pocket search, shoving a wallet-worn and very out-of-date American Red Cross CPR card in my face.
Sean, left channel: "Uh, this guy's got a pulse. And a good strong one, at that."
(#296 on my list of Things I Wish I Had Said to Bystanders:
"Well then you, my good sir, did not pay enough attention in class.")
The ambulance was already there, and we scooped the patient up and loaded him into the back. He wasn't breathing enough on his own, so we assisted with ventilations until I could get an IV started. It appeared to be a pretty textbook narcotic overdose, so I grabbed the Narcan* and pushed it into the IV line.
A moment later: [retch] "What the— where the hell am I?"
"You fell out, man. Looks like you took a little too much tonight, and you stopped breathing."
"That's bull, man. Why y'all lying to me? I'm a gangsta, son."
(#297: "You're right, sir. We must have put all these wires and tubes all over you by accident. Our apologies! Please continue with your recreational activities.")
This went on for a while. Ultimately, he refused all further care from us. We talked him down from just ripping all the stuff off himself, but he still wanted to leave the back of the ambulance as soon as possible.
As he stepped out, he was heckled by his friends, who by now had formed into a small social gathering that smelled faintly of malt liquor.
One of his more illustrious acquaintances, upon hearing repeated statements of how "gangsta" our patient thought himself, decided to show that she was considerably more so by pulling a large handful of bright yellow boxer shorts out above the waistline of her pants.
"You ain't nothin', man. I got Spongebob-mothaf***in'-Squarepants. What you got, huh?!"
This may or may not have been the same person who was initially rubbing loose ice cubes on the patient's genitals shortly before we arrived on scene. (Some people think that the cold shock will wake up an overdose patient, but current trends in "D.C. bystander medicine" are best saved for another post. Two words to remember: dairy products.)
The first time I flipped through that Writer's Block book, I must have been in middle or high school. I'm sure I saw the above page, but never ended up using it as a story idea. However, I sincerely believe that if I had followed the instructions at the time, it would have sounded nothing like what I've written in this blog to date.
Imagination and creativity are one thing; documenting reality is entirely another.
Oftentimes, I find the latter to be way more entertaining.