It’s about 11:45pm when I lean back with my feet up on a table that we use for meetings, trying to sleep because it seemed every few hours the rescue squad and hospital I worked for were either going out on calls or transporting people. So anyway I was leaning back in a chair with my feet on the table, still in my EMT outfit, with my right arm over my eyes, when all of a sudden I hear the EMT pager go off. “Aw, shit.” My friend BJ and I mutter under our breathes at the same time. Reagan, another girl and BJ’s sister, comes in and says, “We got a car wreck on 13th street near the old warehouse.”. The color drains from my face as soon as she says, “13th street and warehouse” because the only other person that uses that way is my boyfriend Zane.
Shakily I ask Reagan, “I-is th-the t-t-truck a ’08 Ch-chevy Silverado?”. She says, “Yeah, but how…” BJ stops her midsentence and asks me, “Its Zane isn’t it? That’s the way he comes to work here?”. I nod. Then suddenly Sadie, Zane’s 16 year old sister comes running through the doors. “Cassie! Cassie!”. “Sadie, what’s wrong?” her mom, Regina asks. Even though her name’s Regina we call her Gina. “Gina, Zane was in a wreck and we need to get there, NOW!”. I don’t even wait for the rescue squad/ambulance to leave, I ask Sadie, “You drive here?”. She nods.
“You wanna be an EMT, Sadie?”. Sadie looks at me funny then she becomes serious when I hand her an EMT bag and tell her mom to load a stretcher in the back seat of my truck. Gina shakes her head and says, “A stretcher won’t fit.”. It’s been at least five minutes since the call went off. “BJ, get me 200 cc’s of Valium IV and 150 cc’s of Amytal IV. Sadie’s coming with me since she’ll probably be able to keep him calm enough.” I say. BJ comes back and hands me the two IV bags, then he says, “There’s two extra bags already in your truck. GO!”. Sadie and I run outside and get ready to leave when BJ comes out and attaches a set of bar lights to the top of my truck. I nod in silence and floor it. I flip a switch and the lights and a siren comes on.
We arrive about two minutes later. All hell has broken loose; The police are trying to keep the onlookers back, and there’s still no sign of the ambulance. I walk up to the police officer and start to walk past him. He stops me and says, “Sorry ma’am, no…” he stops midsentence when he sees my outfit and the vehicle I came from. He then says, “Everyone move back, the ‘medics are here!”.
Sadie and I rush to Zane’s truck and its hell. I hear Sadie gag at least twice before I hand her my combat knife.
She looks at me funny before I hand it to her, so I make a cutting motion with the sheath still on. She cuts Zane’s seatbelt and eases her brother’s seat back after she uses it open the door, while I bust the window of the passenger door with my elbow. I work fast enough to get Zane out my side. I shout at no one in particular, “I NEED A BLANKET TO LAY HIM DOWN ON!”. About five people bring me blankets, and Sadie lays them on the ground. I check Zane’s pulse which is strong but it’s getting weaker.
I start the Amytal IV for his nerves and patch him up. Two bystanders come up to me and one of them asks, “Do you need help?”.
I ask, “What are your names?”.
“Jaycee and Jane.”.
“Jaycee, I need you to help clear a path to my truck. Jane, use your ring finger to hang this IV bag on.”.
Jane asks, “Do you want me to keep watching the drips? I have RN certification.”.
As soon as I hear Jane say she has RN certification I recognize her and say, “Nurse Jane.”. She nods as Sadie and I each put one of Zane’s arms around our necks and carry him to my truck. Sadie lets Jane take over for her so she can help me get Zane settled. I look at the clock…12:01 am…February 14th…Valentine’s Day.
I shake my head as if I’m shaking water off me. “Cassie?” I hear Sadie ask.
“Sadie, I need you to drive. Jane, Jaycee, I need both of you to come. Jaycee, ever work a CB radio?” Jaycee nods, then I continue, “Jane, I need you to flip that switch and stay back here with me to help me monitor Zane.”.
Jane asks, “Do you want me to hang the IV bag on that hook?”. I nod, then I say to Jane, “Have Jaycee hold the IV bag.”. Jaycee comes back and holds the IV bag, Jane helps me move Zane out her side for a few seconds.
I tell Sadie, “See that button marked “Bed”.” She nods and I continue, “Hit it so the back seat can change.”. I jump back as soon as Sadie hits the button.
Jane and Jaycee star in awe as the back seat slides down into a bed. I help Jane get Zane back in the truck. I sit down before I pull Zane the rest of the way in, letting his head rest on my lap. Jane starts to question about a neck injury, but I say, “No upper bones are broken.”. About five minutes later I’m sitting there in the emergency room’s waiting room with Sadie as Regina begins to berate me about not following protocols. I lean my head back and pinch the bridge of my nose trying to make this headache I’ve had since this shift started go away.
I finally snap, “IF IT WASN’T FOR ME ZANE WOULD BE DEAD RIGHT NOW! WE WE’RE STILL TALKING ABOUT HOW TO PROCEDE WITH THE CALL WHEN I LEFT TO HELP HIM! NOW YOU WANT TO BERATE ME ON HOW I ACTED DURING THE CALL. DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT TODAY IS , REGINA?”. Before Regina can answer I go to somewhere I never thought I go again; A designated smoking area. I see BJ there with a cigarette in his hand. When he turns to me he notices I’m pissed and hands me one then hands me his lighter. BJ asks, “Thought you quick this shit two months ago?”.
“Did. Old habits die hard. Right now don’t give a shit. Really pissed off. Regina.” I say in between blowing smoke. “Whoa, whoa. WHAT HAPPENED WITH REGINA?” he nearly yells. “I got pissed off after like thirty minutes of her berating me for leaving without you guys and the ambulance, yelling at me for not having “proper equipment”, and anything else she felt was my fault. She doesn’t even realize today.”.
BJ doesn’t question me further but lets his cigarette fall out of his mouth when he sees Regina walking towards use. I drop mine and stomp both mine and BJ’s out and say, “I’ll see ya, B.”. B is BJ’s nickname. “What?” I growl. I hear Regina ask BJ, “What’s her problem?”. The only other people still in the waiting room besides Sadie are Jaycee and Jane. I lay on one of the “couches” and try to sleep.
About “thirty minutes” later I hear “Cassie” and feel Sadie tap my shoulder. Groggily I say, “What. I’m asleep.”. Sadie says, “You’ve been asleep for an hour. You missed “breakfast”. BJ wants his lighter back and my mom wants to talk to you.”.
I say, “Okay. Okay. Here BJ. Um what’s the word I’m looking for the last one…ah yes…um NO.”.