| It is eight o’clock in the morning and it is my first day back to work. I am so happy to be back. Salim has called me and he requested for me to bring Zeus with me to work. Salim says that Zeus should not be home alone. I think Salim just wants some company for he is alone for twelve hours in his office. Zeus is excited to be going for a car ride, Zeus does not care where he goes as long as he gets to go, I think that he is just happy to be getting out of the house and going on an adventure. You mention the word ‘car’ and Zeus will sit by the door until we are ready to go and this makes me smile but I have learned that I need to spell the word car.
Salim says that Zeus is very cute, very handsome, and that he is extremely smart. I blush for it confirms that I am raising Zeus right. Salim wants me to train Zeus so he can be a therapy dog. If I do this Zeus will be able to come out onto the ambulances if there is any type of child abuse cases. A child, who has been abused, will tell you where the dog hurts before they will ever tell you where they hurt. I think this is a great idea and I decide on the spot that I am going to train Zeus to be a therapy dog. I think Zeus would be awesome at doing this. I just have to look for therapy classes for him. I think it would be great bonding time for Zeus and I as well.
Kane and my first case comes over the air. It is a psych patient and this patient is claiming that he is suicidal with no plan of action. I do not like cases like this for the patient can be extremely violent. Kane races to the scene and we find the man standing outside of his apartment building. The patient appears to be in no distress. He is calm, cool, and collected. I do not trust this man though, my gut is telling me that there is more to this man than meets the eye, and I whisper this information to Kane. Kane nods his head as if he were saying that he understood and that he was thinking the same way about this patient.
Kane will be in the back of the ambulance with this man who refuses to give us his name. He is now refusing to go to the hospital. The man says he changed his mind and he does not need the hospital. We would give him a refusal form to sign but this man threatened suicide so we are unable to give him this form to sign. The man is now saying that it is his right to change his mind on whether he goes to the hospital or not. He says that he feels better and he is stating that he does not need an evaluation nor does he need to see an emergency therapist.
I think this man, our patient, is full of complete shit. I explain that he must go because he stated that he wanted to commit suicide. Kane forcefully says he has to go to the hospital and that he has no choice. The man starts yelling at Kane and I have had enough of all this bullshit. I have had it with this man since we arrived on scene for he has been arguing with us the whole time. I decide that Kane and I have spent enough time on the scene.
In a firm tone of voice I say, “You have one of two choices here sir. You get on the stretcher willingly or we will call the police and they will force you onto that stretcher.”
The man replies, “You’re bluffing.”
Kane warns the man, “My partner is right you know and she doesn’t bluff man. Trust me you don’t want to piss her off.”
The man is terrified at the moment that I might be stating the truth so he climbs onto the stretcher and we fasten him to the stretcher with belts that remind me of seat belts. We put him into the ambulance as carefully as we can. Kane looks at me and he smiles. Kane knows I take no bullshit from anybody and I have always been this way. I have a heart of gold most of the time but I am not stupid either. Kane climbs into the back of the ambulance with our unwilling patient. I slam the doors shut and I drive us to the hospital, with no lights or sirens, and the hospital is only twelve minutes away. During the transport to the hospital, Kane is having difficulty with the nameless man, and Kane is forced to restrain him to the stretcher. The man begins to curse and struggle against the restraints. The man is going to hurt himself if he keeps it up. The man’s voice is getting louder and louder to the point where I cannot even hear myself think. My head starts to throb and I know I must put an end to all of this.
I yell at the patient, “Cut the shit or I will tell the hospital staff to keep you restrained the entire time you are at the hospital. Do you understand me?”
The man says, “You wouldn’t dare do that.”
My voice deepens as I speak, “Don’t tempt me asshole.”
The man calms down and he does not yell again. This man is nervous with me for he does not know what I am capable of. When we arrive at the hospital Kane states to one of the three nurses that have come over to us and Kane says that he had to restrain the patient because he became physically violent. The man curses Kane loudly, the patient is not happy with Kane at the moment, and the man threatens to kill Kane. Wrong thing to say in the hospital and there are several security guards nearby. I know that the doctors, nurses, and security will act upon this threat. This is a stupid thing for the man to say in a hospital setting. I simply shake my head as security approaches us. The patient sees security and he panics. At the top of his lungs he screams that they are coming to kill him and I roll my eyes. This man is out of control but I figure that he is only attention seeking.
The nurse in charge orders to keep the man restrained. The man starts to yell at the top of his lungs, again. The man says I promised he would not be restrained at the hospital. I say if he was good then he would not be restrained but he is not helping himself at the moment. I really do not like handling psych patients for they are so unpredictable. The nurse says to security that he must stay with this man until he is transferred to a psychiatric hospital or that he is released to go home. Security orders the man to quiet down but the man yelps a few more times before he decides to quiet down.
Kane and I clear ourselves from the hospital. We are now ready for another case. I pray that we do not have another psych patient today for our last patient was completely draining. Plus I really do not like dealing with psych patients. Dispatch gets back to us and he gives us a GSW, a gunshot wound, and it is in the Plain Street Cemetery. To my experience a GSW usually means death.
GSW’s or gunshot wounds are never good and I have never had a GSW survive in the whole time as a paramedic. Damn it all to hell, another death? I do not think I can handle this. Another death will just push me over the edge at the moment. I am still attempting to get over Logan’s death. We respond to the cemetery with lights and sirens. Five minutes later we are on the scene. A police officer is off in a corner of the scene vomiting his brains out.
As Kane and I climb out of the ambulance we are on high alert. The police that are on scene are supposed to secure the scene but that does not mean that the scene is safe. This patient is mine for Kane had the last call. Kane and I take turns with the patients so we do not get overwhelmed or burned out during the day. I have my medical kit in hand and I approach the man that is seated in the driver’s seat of his car. I take notice of the fresh roses on two different graves. On one grave pink roses were placed on top of the head stone and I notice that it is the grave of a young girl who was only twenty-five years old when she passed away. On the second grave deep red roses are placed on top of the headstone and it is of a woman that was sixty-eight when she passed away. The young girl must have been his daughter and the older woman was probably his wife. I feel for the man but suicide is never the answer or so I think.
I am at the car now smelling gun powder and my nostrils burn with the smell. The gun is resting at the man’s side, the gun is still in his right hand, and his good eye is a milky blue. Half of the man’s face is blown off and there is blood and brain matter everywhere that I look which disturbs me but I steel myself and I have to do what I have to do. I reach into the car to feel for a pulse and I think to myself that this is pointless. A gunshot like this usually means no survivors, it means death, and that life is lost. Surprisingly enough the man has an extremely weak pulse. I shout to Kane that we have a live one.
Kane looks at me for a brief moment, Kane is as stunned as I am, and then Kane is in gear. This man, our patient, is clinging onto life. This man is a fighter, a survivor of sorts I think to myself. I bandage the man’s head the best that I can and I am saying to myself that this man is not going to survive the transport to the hospital. If he makes it to the hospital I will be very surprised. How can he survive? Half this man’s head is blown apart and he has gray brain matter all over the driver’s side of the car.
Kane and I load the man into the ambulance and I jump into the back of the ambulance. I slap on leads, I take his blood pressure which is incredibly low, I start an IV line, and I order Kane to respond with lights and sirens. I keep adding bandages to the man’s head for blood keeps soaking the bandages at a rapid pace.
We are only eight minutes away from the hospital but this man may not have eight minutes to live so lights and sirens is a must. I do not know how this man is still alive after what he has been through. Why the hell did this man shoot himself? Was he grief stricken? Did he see no way out of the misery that he was in? Suicide, in my opinion, is the coward’s way out of life when the going gets rough. I hate to be so judgmental but it is what it is. I have been doing this job for more than twenty years and I have seen enough tragedy to make some judgments.
Kane and I arrive at the hospital and I give my report to the doctor himself who is waiting for us with his staff. I say that this man’s blood pressure is dangerously low and his pulse is only in the high thirties. This man has lost a lot of blood. I also state that there was a lot of gray matter on the driver’s side of the car. I state that I am in awe that he is still alive. This man has also lost all control over his bodily functions as well. The doctor nods his head as he sees the big picture.
The doctor rushes the man into an open operating room. I pray that this man passes away peacefully. I hope that this man has not suffered more than he has had to. I do not like to think that somebody is suffering. This man, if he survives, will have machines keeping him alive for the rest of his life and that is no way to live. I pray that this man is not feeling any pain at all. It will be a blessing if this man passes away for he will be at peace and he will be with his loved ones. If he should survive he will have many complications and he does not need that. I highly doubt he will survive or so my gut is saying.
I tell Kane that I am going to wait for results on this poor soul and Kane thinks I am absolutely crazy. Kane thinks that it is a waste of my time and it may sound a little crazy but I am invested in my patients and I truly care. I stand outside of the operating room waiting for the results on this poor man. Finally the surgeon comes out of the operating room, the doctor is covered in dark red blood and brain tissue, and this doctor appears to be exhausted.
The surgeon asks, “Jace Banks?”
I respond, “Yes, sir.”
The doctor says, “You did a superb job helping that man stay alive as long as you did. I am not sure how you did it for the man had been extremely frail.”
I reply, “I really don’t know what I did.”
The doctor says, “You were fighting a losing battle though. During this fight you have exceeded my expectations. You put your whole heart into this case and I can see that.”
“Thank you. Actually as I was standing here I was hoping that he would pass away and be at peace.”
The doctor says, “We also fought for him, Jace. We did do our best but he just was not strong enough.”
I ask, “So he did pass away?”
The doctor responds, “Yes he did, about twenty minutes ago, I am sorry to say this.”
I reply, “I am okay with that. It is understandable. The man was meant to die when he shot himself. This case was not as bad as Logan’s case.”
“Logan was young, just a teenager, when it is children it is always harder for all of us to deal with but it does get easier.”
I say, “I don’t think losing a child will ever get any easier for me.”
It is three o’clock in the afternoon and it is time for us to finally go home. I climb behind the wheel of the ambulance as Kane clears us from this case. Kane and I are walking to the time clock when Salim stops us. Salim wonders how we are handling our last case and I express we are doing quite well. Salim looks at me and he asks how I am dealing with the case and I assure him that I am doing really well. I am not having any flashbacks or anything like that. Salim nods his head and he is happy to hear that. Kane and I swipe our identifications at the time clock and it is three thirty in the afternoon.
Finally Kane and I can go home and just relax. I cannot wait to take a nice cool shower and really clean myself from the day. I feel so dirty and sweaty and I would not be surprised if I smelled like rotten fish. My first day back to work was very busy and my body aches all over. I ask Kane if he can drive home for I am so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open. As Kane drives as my eyes roll in my head and I keep nodding off.
When we get to our apartment with Zeus, Kane takes him to the field, and I head to the bathroom. As soon as I finish my shower I bolt to the bedroom and I change into my nightgown. When Kane comes back with Zeus, I am lying on the bed surfing the channels on the television, and the puppy races into the bedroom. Zeus, my little stunt devil, takes a flying leap into the air and onto the bed. I hug Zeus and wrestle with him for a few minutes. Zeus calms down within a few minutes and then he snuggles up to me as I finally settle on a comedy sitcom.