Denial, pt. 1

"So, short of heading to the beach with a bucket of Corona's and a lime, this really isn't a bad place to have lunch, really. If you can actually call what you're eating lunch."

"Screw you, McHottie, don't mock my bag of Gardetto's. They are so tasty." And they're cheap. They're very cheap.

We're parked in a Metropark, overlooking a playground, an open field, and a heavily wooded area. If there's one thing I absolutely love about the city of Toledo it's the metroparks. You're never more than ten minutes away from a beautiful space, and they're completely free. We're in the one park I've never been to. And it's beautiful. And I have my camera.

Now, if the boards will only stay quiet...

We sit and listen to Jack Johnson on the Ipod and enjoy the beautiful weather. Neither of us really notice when the car pulled up. It was when the occupant got out that we first started paying attention.

"Epi? What's she doing?"

We both simultaneously tip our heads slightly to the right. Like maybe that will help us understand what it is we're witnessing.

"I'm not sure. Dancing? Maybe it's a really good song on the radio."

McHottie decides he must find out. He braves the 90 degree plus heat and rolls the window down and strains to hear what could be inspiring such a... joyful display.

"I don't hear anything."

I don't hear anything either, of course over the sound of the diesel engine and the a/c roaring at a temperature that could keep a side of beef frozen...

Now she's stomping her feet and tossing her hands in the air while she spins around slowly in circles.

"Wow." For the first time since I've met McHottie about six months back, he is absolutely speachless.

I continue to munch on lunch, but it's as if I'm watching a train wreck. I just can't look away. "She's... she's... she's absolutely fantastic."

"She's pink slip material," he laughs. "Hey... Epi..." He's pointing at a picnic table where a male couple are watching our subject with equal interest.

"I'd sell my soul for a video camera," I start. "No one is going to believe this. It's like... performance art." We've been watching her for a good five minutes straight. "It's like God knew exactly what I needed and for once gave it to me."

Our subject starts heading back towards her car and retreives what I can only describe as an article of jewelry formerly owned by Mr. T. A thick gold chain so large that we can clearly see it from across the parking lot. She puts the chain on and it hangs down to her belly button. Then she reaches back in the car and pulls out a green lawn chair.

McHottie is clearly deflated. "Damn, she's done."

"Base to Unit 120" Neither one of us want to pick up the mic, but like those student loan bill collectors, dispatch isn't going to forget we're here if we don't answer.

I key the mic up, "Unit 120... go"

"You have a 2pm pick up at BFE Nursing Home. Do you need directions?"

"Not necessary Ma'am, we're clear on BFE and en route." I check my pager to see if we know the patient we're picking up. "Hey, " I ask McHottie, who is still staring at our potential pink slip subject, "That dude we picked up last week from dialysis... the one who should have gone by 'lette... What was his name?"

"Carlos...Carlos... I don't remember his last name." McHottie picks up his pager and checks the run. "VILLEGAS! That's him. Screw that, he can go by wheelchair..." He picks up his cell phone and calls dispatch while our favorite subject ever shakes it like a Polaroid picture.

McHottie finds out from dispatch that there are no ambulette's available, so we can either take Mr. Villegas to an Oncology appointment, or we can take our pick of the two bariatric runs that are on the board. The call is ours. We choose Carlos. McHottie says the sun shines out of his ass... Today I believe him. Hey, my back hurts.

**********

We make our way out to BFE Nursing home and grumble all the way to our patient's room. Yes, sometimes even the most perky of the transfer EMT's can be cranky. I just wasn't on my A game today.

When we walk into Carlos's room I stop immediately. "Whoa. What happened?"

The Carlos "laying supine in bed" is not the Carlos we know from last week. Plain and simple he looks like shit. He's pale, he's staring at the ceiling, and he's not talking to us.

I approach his bed slowly. Is he breathing? Is he alive?

McHottie mumbles under his breath, "I guess this is why he's going by squad..."

"Carlos?" I put my hand on his arm. "Carlos? You ready to go?"

He turns his head slowly to face me... There's very little behind his blank stare. I'm absolutely without words. How can someone deteriorate so much in such a short period of time? It hasn't even been a week...

McHottie notices that his lunch tray has been untouched. "Carlos? Do you want to finish your lunch? You have time to eat if you would like." Carlos slowly nods. "OK Carlos, we're going to leave you to eat, we'll be back in a few minutes."

We regroup in the hallway. I speak first, "He looks really bad."

"Yeah, I know." McHottie lowers the cot down to a level closer to a park bench and we sit. And we wait for Carlos to eat. Okay, so we know he's probably not eating... we wait for a Nurse to make an appearance and hope that he's eating. Thirty seconds later our conscious gets the best of us and I get up and go track a Nurse down.

**********
His nurse is flipping through the drugs in the medcart when I find her. "He's really deteriorated in the last few days. Apparently it's a very aggresive cancer."

Oh Jesus.

4 comments:

kvegas911 said...

I would have loved to have seen that! LOL! Cancer is a tool of the devil...that's the only reason I have ever been able to come up with for it to exist.

Evil Lunch Lady said...

Poor Carlos! But that lady? That's just odd......

Hammer said...

It's scary how people can waste away so quickly from cancer.

emily said...

We go from one extreme to another don't we? Shear pleasure to gut wrenching sadness.

Amazing that we deal with it as well as we do.