Monday, November 14, 2005

An Hour Late

Driving slowly down Main Street with a patient in the back on a nonpriority, a car in the oncoming lane turns across traffic well in front of me, the car slows as it turns. The driver is wearing a gray uniform. He looks like a state trooper. He gives me the finger.


I’m wheeling a patient down the hall in nursing home, looking at the paintings on the wall. A lot of nursing homes have some really crappy art work, the kind of big prints of rich people having picnics in top hats or girls in nightgowns playing with kittens that are sold in crappy five and dime stores for $15 each. That would be my idea of hell, ending up having to spend my last years looking at those prints. This nursing home has a Van Gogh – blue irises. I could handle a nursing home with a good collection of impressionist prints. I think if I could have any painting I would want a Renoir – the one of the guy and the girl dancing. I could stare at that painting and remember what it was like to hold a woman in my arms. Though I suppose when I am in a nursing home I may be a little demented. I could ask for prints of Munch’s The Scream, and some Goya. Some twisted visions of hell. I guess those would scare the visitors and families looking to place their loved ones.


Did a dialysis transfer, a woman with Alzheimer’s acting more confused than normal according to the nurse’s aide, a woman with bloody stools, a homeless man with hip and back pain from sleeping in his wheelchair, a girl who gashed her forearm when her hand went through glass when she was trying to open a door, and a transfer back to a nursing home following a stay for a PE.


Staring at myself in the ambulance window, my reflection illuminated by the light of the laptop screen, I am starting to look like a younger version of my grandfather when I first knew him.


Last call of the day -- just when we are ready to get called in -- is for a woman with abd pain and high blood sugar, vomiting all day. She is an IV drug abuser. I go for the IV. She says she has no veins. I find a little tiny one. She says its scar tissue. No, it isn't. She is angry at me for trying, but I know this is a good vein, although a tiny one. I put in a 24 and run 150 cc in before we get to the hospital. Not a lot of fluid, but better than nothing. Just before we wheel her into the room, she pukes all over our stretcher and the floor.

We get out an hour late.