Death & BBQ

In my line of work you never know what the next chirp of the radio will bring. Usually it’s minor, but by no means trivial, especially to the person we respond to.  Rarely is it a real life threatening emergency, or rather the patient is stable enough that I make very few interventions, and instead we usually “treat them with diesel”. Half of the job involves what are called “granny totes”, transporting stable patients from hospital to nursing home, home, or hospice.

But sometimes I get an OOT, an out of town granny tote. These are trips 90 miles or more from the city center. They can eat up a lot of a shift, especially if you take your time and give the smoothest ride possible. So today my partner and I were stoked to hear the radio squawk,”Head for E_____ for an out of town.”  We practically cheered when we found out it was a 4 hour trip one way.

Upon arrival at the scene we found our patient with her husband in a hospital room with a ton of stuff in clear plastic bags, mostly clothes and things the hospital issued, charged for and did not use. But there was also a garbage bag full of soda cans.

My partner is simply not a patient man. He has a lot of good points, but lets just say he makes me look very broadminded and leave it at that. I knew the cans were gonna be a problem.  So I start trying to think of tactful ways to leave the cans to avoid a scene where my partner embarrasses the patient. A patient I should add, who was going to home hospice. Frail, pale, incredibly weak, she looked like she could go at any minute. Her spouse had several health problems all his own, and a small lunchbox full of meds to prove it.

We loaded her onto our stretcher and she was barely skin and bones. Then we began to load their belongings. I decided to just let my partner discover the cans.  When he did, the patient’s husband said,”she’ll kill me if I leave all that money.”

1 garbage bag of uncrushed aluminum cans. Barely a dollar even in a sellers market. Maybe 2. Its been a long time since I watched aluminum prices trying to anticipate the peak. I should be more thankful for that, in all honesty.

And I forgot my partner is a Haitian man. He didn’t bat an eye, just loaded them on the back of the stretcher as though it were a Louis Vitton filled with silks. I did say he has a lot of positives, right?

We got her where she was going. I drove this time, because I won the beginning of shift coin toss. And her husband and I talked about the things country men talk about. She was in pain, but would not complain. We stopped at one point for him to help her with a prescribed palliative. (Pain relief is far outside our scope of practise.) And we were off again.

At our destination, after we had her in her bed and my partner was finishing her paperwork, I asked the husband to recommend a restuarant, like I always do. I have amassed a knowledge of GA’s best holes in the wall this way.

She chirped, while he was thinking,”Send ’em to Keith-a-cue!” And then this woman who had been racked with pain, can’t eat but through a Dobhoff (nasogastric feeding tube) began to shine. Her eyes lit up and she smiled as she bragged on the local smoked pork. And the hamburger. Especially.the. hamburger.

So we said goodbye and I promised to pray for her (and I would ask you to as well, just call her Sally.)

So off we went to Keith-a-cue. Patient reccomendations on food are hit or miss. THIS WAS A BIG HIT! With both me and my partner. Brunswick stew just like Uncle Brownie’s. Oak smoked country ribs (which aren’t actually ribs, BTW.) Sweet tea that wouldn’t trigger hyperglycemia. The tater salad was a little bland, the sauces a little too thin, but you can’t have everything.

Since I can’t share pictures of this couple I just met, and love so much, I will instead leave you with an image of the fruit of that love.
image

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2 comments
  1. S. Murphy said:

    This reminds me of Mark’s Grace is Dark Matter theme. Thanks for sharing it.

    • I am not sure what higher praise would sound like. You are far kinder than I deserve.

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