The children outside are curious, playing but in a sense of studied nonchalance. Not that any of them look old enough to know the nuance of the word, but innate in them as in all of us lays the gist of the word’s implication
The fire apparatus is already curbside ahead of us, lights silently announcing to anyone watching that activity is happening within this building, this day. My partner takes the cardiac monitor from me and I keep the jump bag over my right shoulder. Dropping their pretense of play, the children fall still, openly checking out our accoutrements. One brave boy calls out, “hey, whatcha got there? What’s that big bag for?” My partner returns, “helping people”. Simplified, yet valid.
Inside, a middle aged man with an air of importance around him meets us, gives us a short layman’s report. It is remarkably succinct, and with nearly all necessary components I could’ve asked for if making a list. We continue on in the direction indicated, where ahead a small group of people can be seen gathered in the cafeteria. It’s after hours, at this school, and yet the gathering is modest. I see fire ahead, and a slight woman with grey hair barely visible in the middle of the navy shirts, suspenders attached to turnout pants, and male muscles.
I greet the lieutenant by name and make my way around the far end of the cafeteria tables arranged in neat rows. The patient has the gathering of firemen around her as well as a couple elderly ladies and amidst all of these, a few more assorted small humans, watching with grave interest. The lieutenant was a new fireman when I was a new medic and he gives report after greeting me by name.
“Patient was getting up, caught her sneaker” <I remember thinking, “Jimmy said sneaker, who says sneaker? Have to tease him later on at some point”> “on the bench and fell, hitting her head. She did lose consciousness. Her blood pressure is low; she was very pale when we got here. Her heart rate is very slow, blood sugar is 92.”
>> Click to read more of the story..."Standby for Tones" is a blog written by Crystal Wallin, a La Crosse paramedic. Her stories, written from real life events, bring to light the human experience in having an EMS career and work life.
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