Sunday, July 11, 2010


So I heard this one from a nurse who heard it from a member of the family involved: The family had needed a "non-emergent transport" to take a member for some specialized care. As the family member was basically comatose an ambulance transport was called for. The ambulance arrived and pulled up in the driveway. The two medics jumped down from the cab, went to the back, opened the doors, and found... no stretcher. OOPS. They use those big yellow ruggedized pram things and you wouldn't THINK you could overlook one, especially since at the end of the prior run they put it BACK IN THE AMBULANCE, but I suppose one could get busy and forget. Anyhow the ambulance had to return to base and get a stretcher. There is a certain slight swagger that goes with being an EMT or paramedic, but I imagine that was lacking the second time they arrived at the house.

There is a time for stupendous silliness in hospice work as I have mentioned before. Some days are beyond stressful for any number of reasons, and a good belly laugh is the best way to release some of that. I was sitting at a nurses' station calling a mortuary to arrange a pickup on one such day, late in the afternoon. The somewhat disinterested answering service operator was droning throught the necessary questions. As she asked, "Name of the pronouncing doc?" I heard a sound and looked up to behold exactly that doc, white coat and all, being rolled past the nursing station in a wheeled Geri-chair (a kind of recliner) by one of the nurses. The doc was reclined back, gazing straight ahead, legs extended and feet crossed at the ankle. I am sure that the answering service operator wondered why I snorted in such an undignified way before answering the question; it was all I could do not to laugh out loud. The nurse had been rolling the chair to put it away, and the doc had apparently popped into it; this nurse, who has a marvelous deadpan, simply kept on going.