Short Trip

"Rescue 1, Respond to 323 Dudley Street for a fifty year old female with difficulty breathing, visiting nurse on scene."

323 Dudley Street is across the street from the ER. This is the line in the sand, the moment of truth, the opportunity I've been waiting for.

"Let's go."

I'm focused enroute. The abuse will stop. Visiting nurses are notorious for turfing their patients  on us, barely giving a report and off to the next one, or home. Not today. I've had it. All the way there I prepare my speech. I'm taking this one to the top if need be. The abuse of the 911 system will stop. Today.

We arrive in front of the apartment building. A car is running in front. The Nurse's.

The truck isn't fully stopped when I open my door and step out, ready to do battle. I strut into the open door of the apartment, no equipment but plenty of attitude.

On the couch is the patient, just as I expected. The nurse stands nearby, inter-agency report ready and starts speaking. I hold up my hand to stop her.

"The ER is across the street!"

She looks at me, dumbfounded. I look at the patient. Then I see her.

She's fifty. End stage breast cancer. The cancer has spread to her lungs, liver and brain. Her lungs are full of fluid. She's struggling. The nurse comes every day and drains the fluid from her lungs, and visits with her, and administers pain meds, and actually cares about her well-being.

The patient is cold, and shivering. Thank god one of us who responded has half a brain, Brian shows up, blankets and the 02 bottle, along with the Blue Bag on top of the stretcher.

We bundle her up, administer some oxygen and take her across the street. One hundred feet or one hundred miles, it made no difference to her, she needed us.

It shouldn't have made a difference to me. Next time it won't.

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