Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Things that go bump in the night

Most of the time EMS is fun. Sometimes it can be sad. Sometimes it can be downright dangerous. We do things to protect ourselves, like staging for law enforcement on assaults or drug ODs or if something just doesn't sound right. (Here's my hats off to the police out there, love you guys and gals, thanks for keeping us safe!) Despite our best efforts to stay out of harms way and return to our families, things can quickly move out of our control. There have been times when for my own safety I have dropped my gear and left the scene, read that as tactical withdrawal, not ran like hell. But it does happen from time to time.

The darkness shattered for the hundredth time as lightening crackled across the late night sky. Thunder drowned out the radio in the front of the rig. Trees whipped back and forth in a frenzied dance, leaves shooting across the road. It was one of those nights that evil things happen. We were assigned to the city and en route to an assault. Domestic Violence. I hate DV with passion. I nearly get enraged by the idea of some psycho beating on his wife or girlfriend. That was how I was thinking on the way to the call. Let them pick on someone their own size, or heck they could try it on me and I'm not very big. We pull up on scene and step out into the torrential downpour and a city cop leads us over to the entryway of this low income apartment complex. The lights are out in the entry hall so I use my flashlight to talk to this crying woman in the recessed area in front of the door. The cop tells us that they believe the man left the scene and that he'd stay there to keep an eye out.
The patient's face is ruined. Not from the trauma she experienced tonight, but the years of abuse etched into her features. She's shaking and flinches like a startled rabbit when I touch her arm to take a blood pressure, even though I asked her first. Her wounds on the outside aren't bad, but I'm not sure if the wounds inside will ever heal. I'm sad for her and while my partner conducts an interview I entertain thoughts of what I'd do to this guy. Oh yeah, I'd break him. I don't care how big he is. I was in old fashioned Okinawan Shoto Kan Karate for years, used to teach it. So sometimes I give myself the license to feel tough. We are there for around ten minutes, trying to get her to go in, thinking that the social workers could get to her then but she doesn't want to go. Even with as tough as I was feeling the night was wearing on me, all the thunder, the lightening, the darkness. Things were out tonight. Bad things. As I was thinking about this, lightening suddenly flashed right above us. So close that the thunder came at the same time as the flash. Hair standing on end, ground shaking, bright as daylight. No, brighter. And with that light we were able to see the door next to us, it had a window in it the full size of the door. And there, standing on the other side of the glass, was a man that looked like a giant Charles Manson. The lightening lit him up shedding ethereal light across his evil glaring visage three inches from my face!
In the sudden eye gouging, hair pulling, crazed wrestling match to be the first out of the entryway I saw my partner take two elbows from the cop and a kick to the back from the patient.
Breathing heavily, I sprinted past the patient about a block away. "That him?" I asked her on my way by. Both of us still fleeing the scene.
"Yeah, that's him." She replied through her gasping retreat.
"Well, better hurry if you're gonna tell the cop that, he's already out ran us by a full block."

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