Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Mother's Death and Me At the Crossroads

I was working a rare morning shift when we received a call for a cardiac arrest, CPR being performed by the victim's daughter. Lights and sirens screaming we pull up to the building in no more than 2 minutes. We hustle up to the apartment where the door is open. We walk inside. I look to my left into the bedroom and see a woman on the floor on her back. Doing chest compressions is a girl approximately 12 years hold. I gently take the girl by the arm and move her out of the way and as I do I see 5 children probably between 5 and 10 years old looking on, mouths agape and eyes stretched open. I look down at the woman, do a quick check and immediately see that the woman was obviously dead and no matter of CPR was bringing her back. Now we had the right to pronounce the patient dead right there and not working her up but there was no way I was leaving her there dead in from of her six children. So we started going through the motions of performing CPR. Just then I looked up and saw a female police officer moving the children into the next room. In an instant I was overcome by an emotion that literally shook me. It took a moment to realize but what it was, was at this exact moment the lives of these children would change for ever. Their mother, their protector was now gone and their lives would be changed forever. They were standing at the crossroads of a certain past and uncertain future. AN I WAS THERE!. I was part of the whole thing. I was part of this gigantic whole that would change these poor children's lives forever.

It was one of the most soul shaking events of my life and after 20 years I can still feel it at times when the children are asleep and the house is quiet: What happened to those kids? Do they remember me? Over and over these thoughts still run through my head.

A Call For Cunnilingus

Work as a medic for any length of time in a particular place and undoubtly there's a good chance you'll see some of the same people almost every night. The majority are drunk and call for God knows what. There's one particular lady that stands out in my mind. She lived on 141 street and Seventh Ave and every night the call would go like this:
"Manhattan to 18 Young"
"18 Young" I'd reply
"Take it over to 141 and 7th for the difficulty breather"
Me and my partner would look at each other shaking our heads in disgust because we knew just who it was. We walk up to the door, pause a moment and knock
"EMS", my partner yells through the door
The familiar answer comes from the other side
"EMS! EAT MY PUSSY! EAT MY PUSSY". The door swings open and there she is. I will call her Delores. She's an African American woman, tall and heavy set, dressed in a stained house dress and reeking of alcohol.
"Hi Delores, what's the problem tonight" I ask at least mildly irritated
"I can't breath. Take me to the hospital"
My partner pipes in "Delores we took you last night, what happened?"
"I don't give a fuck what happened last night, take me to the hospital" she demands
I look at my partner "let's just get her the fuck out of here and go on our way"
"Come on Delores"I say "put your coat on and lets go"
"Wait a fucking minute" she yells at me
She goes in the back, grabs a ratty old coat, walks out the door without even taking a moment to look it. In the back of the ambulance she goes and off we go to the hospital for the umpteenth time.
Now you see this wasn't the first nor the last time we would see Delores. She would call every night and since she was in our area we would get her most of the time. After a while she really started to get annoying. So I would come up with ways to try to mess with her to get her to stop calling. One night we showed up to her apartment and when she turned a moment I picked up her phone and called "970-FUCK", one of those services where it would cost $5.95 per minute to talk sex with someone. I left the phone off the hook and we left. Another time we showed up and I went and pulled out all the plugs on her appliances. Still no good, she called again the next night.
One night I was in a really bad mood. It was an extremely warm summer night, the dispatcher was holding a page of legit jobs including confirmed shootings, jumpers, stabbings and who do we get? Delores again! Enough was enough. We go up to her door, knock, her the familiar refrain of "EAT MY PUSSY! EAT MY PUSSY?". I was really pissed off and was going to put a stop to this lady. Now this was the time before cell phones, even before cordless phones. All home phones had a wire that went through each room to each phone. Like I said I had enough and said "fuck it" and went around the house and cut her all her phone lines. Every damned single one! Done, we got her readied up and transported her to the hospital.
A wondrous thing happened! Delores didn't call the next night, nor the night after that and the night after that. In fact she didn't call in so long I actually forgot about her. Then one night, months later I'm working the late shift and get a call:
"Manhattan to 18 Young"
"18 Young" I answer
"Take it over to 141 street and 7th Ave for the diff breather"
"10-4 central. Send it over"
We proceed over to the address and are about to walk through the door when the dispatcher breaks through the silence:
"Manhattan to 18 Young with the priority!"
"18 Young. Go"
"18 Young wait for police backup. The patient says she is going to cut up EMS when they walk through the door"
I look at my partner Al, he looks at me and we both have the look on our faces that read "What the Hell did we do?"
Over the radio comes the next transmission
"18 Charlie, we're 2 blocks away. Put us on the back of 18 Young"
"Manhattan to 18 Charlie that's a 10-4. Use caution".
Within a minute or two 18 Charlie pulls up and out comes Lil Willy, a small, heavy set Puerto Rican gentleman.
"Rocco", he comes walking over to me, "you know this lady"
"I know this lady?" I reply quizzically trying to search my mind for a forgotten memory.
"Of course you do? He walks up to the door and bangs hard, "EMS" he yells. Without a moments pause comes the reply" EAT MY PUSSY! EAT MY PUSSY!" Delores swings open the door, see me and says "You motherfucker, you cut my phone lines!"
I don't know what came over me, I don't know what came over the rest of us but we rushed past her and entered her apartment and began to ransack it. We pulled out all her dresser drawers and dumped everything out. We overturned her refrigerator, we through mounds of crap in her toilet and flushed overflowing it. I went into her bedroom where her phone was. I tried to pull it out but the cord was caught in the television so I picked up the television with the phone attached and threw it through her back window into the basement. We then turned and left, leaving her behind in an apartment that looked like it was hit by a tornado. We proceeded back to our ambulances, not saying a word to each other, no laughing or joking. Nothing. I sat back behind the console:
"18 Young to Central"
"Manhattan to 18 Young" came the reply
"Manhattan put us an 18 Charlie available. Patient was not armed and refused transport to the hospital"
"10-4 Young. Get ready I have a confirmed shoot for you and PD is screaming for an ETA"
"10-4 Central. Send it over". Off we go!