The Streets Ran Red
by Morgan Lawrence BS MS MA CIT CISM NTT PA
(Palm Beach, Florida)
It was just after 6 a.m. and the sun was just beginning to rise. The air was still and the quiet calm of the suburban street had a peaceful look about it. The only sound that could be heard at all was two sprinkler systems operating on adjacent lawns. With there rhythmic dispersal of water, it almost appeared as if they were talking to each other.
A small brown dog was enjoying the peace and quiet just lying on the lawn. Suddenly, the dog jerked his head to the right as if someone called him, but still no sound was audible. Slowly the warbling sound of the siren grew closer and as it did a couple of the residents of the street looked out the front door to see what all the noise was about. Now the sound was almost deafening as the noise grew closer. As it topped the small hill it was now visible.
It was a large green and white Ford Bronco with a horizontal green stripe around its middle. The large Silver Star on the door indicated that the vehicle belonged to the Sheriff’s dept. The word Paramedics was on each of the front fenders. It had small red and blue round lights on each of its rear corners and a bar shaped light on the roof of the cab. It went by with great dispatch and as quickly as it came it was gone.
The people went in, the sprinklers continued and the dog went back to sleep. Meanwhile, inside the medic unit, a form of controlled pandemonium was taking place. The driver was watching traffic while carrying on conversations with his partner and the dispatcher on the radio. The driver was a 25-year-old paramedic, named David Owen Cameron but those who knew him well just referred to him as DOC. It was a nickname that had reluctantly stuck since his days in Vietnam. His partner was sitting across a console made of two radios and a couple of dozen toggle switches. Even the crew was not quite sure what all of the switches were for. Luis Paul Vellegio was his partner; a product of an Italian-Spanish family was carefully looking at a lap chart and calling out directions.
“Left at the next corner" he called out over the noise from outside.
Both the men decided to leave the windows open because the air conditioning in the front of the truck was defeated by the extra multitude of electronics and radios added to the cab. As they continued on the radio scratched: “516, what’s your ETA?" 516 was the vehicle number which the dispatcher used to call them but on occasion when things were in chaos she would just refer to them as Med 5.
Doc picked up the mic and responded: “Two minutes dispatch, what's the Nature of the call?"
The voice on the radio said, "Women trapped is all we have at this time."
Doc looked at Lou and they both just shrugged as if to say God only knows what we have here. This is not because of the dispatcher but because the public rarely gives enough information to help the dispatcher.
As they turned the corner, the crew saw a nervous young man in his twenties waiving at them. As the unit stopped Doc grabbed the mic to advise: "16 is 97".
This meant that the unit was on scene. Already the young man had opened the cab of the med unit and was escorting Lou into the building. Doc grabbed the Lifpak 2 and trauma kit, and followed the other two into the apartment. As they rounded the second floor landing Doc heard Lou say, "She's caught where?" and he moved closer to his partner. Both Doc and Lou entered the bathroom at almost the same moment to see a beautiful young girl wearing only a smile and a sheet.
As the men looked down to see the girl’s large toe was stuck in the spigot. She raised her right hand and wiggled her fingers saying, "Hi, guys".
As they took a second survey of the scene, they saw that she had been soaking in the tub and was playing with the faucet with her big toe. After a period of time, her toe became swollen and she could not get it out.
Lou broke a long silence by asking, "Are you in any pain?"
”No “she replied. "Does embarrassment count?"
"Ah honey, its OK," her husband volunteered through a somewhat squeaky voice. ”We have the rest of our lives together; this has to have happened to someone else, sometime?"
Louie's smile never changed as he shook his head in agreement. Doc said scratching his head,"I think this is the third time this week that this has happened."
From a trauma kit Lou removed a squeeze bottle of yellow fluid.
"We never thought of using mustard to remove my toe," the girl volunteered.
Doc smiled and said, "This is yellow 77, not mustard and extremely slippery."
After coating the toe and possible forcing some of the fluid up into the spigot they were ready to try and removed the toe. This was not to be, for after several position changes the toe would not budge. Doc and Lou looked at each other and decided the next move was the K-12 saw.
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