By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
I pick this guy up at the OC mental-health facility to take him to a mental ward. This guy's going through all the books of the Bible in his head, quoting this and that, and finally he asks me, "What's your favorite passage from the Bible?" I decide I'm gonna fuck with him, and I quote Richard III: "No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity. But I know none, and therefore am no beast." So he goes in his mind and I hear him mumble through the books of the Bible. Finally he gets to Revelations and says, "Dude! It's not in the Bible!" And I'm like, "Holy shit!" So I lean over to him and say, "Yes, it is!" And he says, "No, it's not. Unless I'm missing something . . . It's not in Apocrypha, is it?"
A DAY IN THE LIFE
We got called to transport a guy from the hospital to his house. This guy's like 75 years old, big strapping guy, we could barely fit him on our gurney. He was like 220 pounds and really quiet. Didn't say much. We pulled him out—he had been in the hospital for pneumonia, some bullshit—we picked him up, threw him on the gurney, jacked him into the back of the ambulance and took him to his residence, which is way the fuck up in the middle of nowhere. He lives in one of those homes in Laguna Hills where they park their cars down at the bottom of the hill. Their house is up this path, at a 65-, 70-degree angle, and there's stones all over the area. An accident waiting to happen. We just grabbed him and picked his ass up and started to carry him. As we're carrying him up, we can hear the radio go off about this guy who impaled himself on some rebar. We're like, "OH FUCK! THAT'S OUR CALL!" So the bitch is, we've gotta run this guy up to his house, carry him up all this shit, to get to the rebar guy. I kind of enjoy the blood and guts [laughs]. Not as much as when I first started, but everybody loves trauma. So we finally get the guy all the way up to his house and his wife's standing up at the top of the stairs. She says, "Okay. You've gotta take him in. His bedroom's all the way in the back." We finally set him down, right in the entryway to their home, and one of us goes to take a look to see what the layout's like, and the guy goes, "No, no. I'm good from here." He stands up, spry as anything, and just walks into the friggin' bedroom. We're like, "Son of a bitch." The guy could have walked up the whole time. We're like, "All right, let's get the fuck out of here and see if we can jump that call." By the time we got there, another unit was already on the scene and they had ended up calling for Mercy Air. The dispatchers sent us to the landing zone, to have us help out with the offloading. So we're like, "Yeah!" Stoked. Now, this is all I want to do: I want to be a flight medic. So I've got this boner, dude, and I'm all stoked. We put the ambulance in park as soon as they touch down, and we're looking at them, all mesmerized. This is like the greatest day now. The door to the helicopter pops open. The nurse pops out. The paramedic pops out. They come running up to the sides of our ambulance, and we're like, "What the fuck was that?" They throw open the back of the ambulance and shout, "WHERE'S THE PATIENT?!" The patient's down at the bottom of the hill. The other EMTs are still stabilizing him, and we're sitting here tripping, going, "Whoa. Helicopters!"
911 FOR DUMMIES
I got called for a fucking bleeding hangnail. He wanted me to transport him. I'm like, "Got a Band-Aid?"
THE WORST CALL EVER
The one story that really hurt happened last Halloween. We got called to one of Tustin's barrios, where this girl was having abdominal pains. They thought it was no big deal, said she had some spotting, some cramping, but they didn't see anything abnormal. I get there, and she looks like she has a little belly. She's maybe 15 years old. I ask if there's any chance of her being pregnant, and she denies it. She looks at least five months pregnant. She's wearing a plaid skirt, like a Catholic schoolgirl skirt, and there's like a ton of blood. She's not just spotting anymore. We expose her and it looks like she's got a pad on, but it turns out it's the fetus's back. It was at about 18 weeks gestation. There was nothing they could do for it.
LIVE AND LEARN
I just ran into an old lady, an African-American lady, and I couldn't understand why she knew all the medical terms. She was like 80-odd years old. If you want to go stereotypical, you think, "Okay. Old lady. Probably been a homemaker all her life." I asked her if she'd had any previous injuries, and she told me she had once hurt herself dancing. I asked her how she knew all these medical terms and what the paramedics were going to do, and she told me, "Hey. I went to med school back East for I don't know how many years and dropped out to become a dancer in New York City. I was in the Cotton Club for a little while." I was stunned, because I had wanted to put her in a little category here, and she just blew that apart—told me what I was gonna do next and what was insurance-related and what was B.S.