As in all businesses and services, the judgment of “the powers that be” is‑sometimes met with bewilderment. Such was the case‑at EMS. It was bad enough that we were saddled with Deffendum, because even though he was useless, he was manageable and not considered dangerous. At least he‑didn’t endanger‑the partners he was shuffled back and forth between. Every service needs a scapegoat, and unfortunately for Deffendum, he was it. In a way, it is good to have someone like him because you know exactly what you’ve got, and you deal with it. It is almost like an insurance policy, in that since we were cursed with one dumb oddball, the possibility of our being saddled with another was, we considered, remote. How wrong we were.
The new street nurse that we inherited on night shift was like having a bomb dropped on us. No one could believe it. They hired a nun!‑ Good Lord.‑ We were so appalled that we could hardly believe our ears, and when she appeared, we could hardly believe our eyes! How could they be so stupid as to hire a nun?‑ And why in heaven’s name would a nun want to work the streets at night?‑ Well, she was out to save the world. Our EMS service was her “project”. We thought that the language alone would make short work of her, because, as you can imagine, the cursing and carrying-on was routine. We did not make runs on nice pretty people.‑She was immediately considered a danger‑to us, as she was not street-wise, nor could she be trained to be so.‑‑No one wanted her, and wouldn’t you know it, Mick and I got saddled with doing her orientation. Mick was in a rant. I was more than annoyed. We would have to watch everything we said or did. Whatta curse.
I no longer remember her name, as she was quickly dubbed, “Sistermarysaveacherry.”
It was spoken in one breath like a long name. She was horrible…a bleeding heart who believed everyone was a child of God and it was up to her, personally,‑to bring out their better side, and save them to Jesus.‑‑Not only had she been protected in the confines of a nursing home, she had never been exposed to anything close to what‑could be encountered on the dangerous streets!
On our first night with her, we parked her in the jump seat in the back of the ambulance. Mick gave her a list of 10 codes to study. We hoped that we could keep her at bay and not involved in anything serious. Not only did we have to protect ourselves every time we cleared the barn for the night,‑now we had an albatross to protect, as she knew nothing of street life. Trying to be polite was superficial, and we could almost hear her back there rattling her beads and praying for us.
One run was a “man down”.‑ As I have mentioned to you, a man down can mean anything, or nothing. This was a drunk who was laid out on the grass, and was an obvious fake. You can tell a lot‑about a person by his color. If he has normal color you know you can‑immediately rule out a host of problems. This guy was of normal color but‑filthy.‑ There were empty bottles of Old Irish Rose lying about…always a dead giveaway.
Sistermarysaveacherry hurried to him and bent over him sympathetically. He whined that he could not use his arms. He told her that he had lost the use of them and thought he was paralyzed. Mick and I rolled our eyes, as Sistermarysaveacherry‑methodically‑examined him. We stood back and let her take the lead.‑ After checking him out, she decided that he did, indeed, have paralysis of the arms. Mick and I moaned. This guy was the biggest fake, and it was obvious he just wanted to get a ride to the hospital, which was common. Who knows why they want to ride to the hospital?‑ They just do. It adds some excitement to their otherwise miserable boring existence. So, resigned, Mick unloaded the stretcher and we piled Mr. Numb Arms onto it and shoved him into the ambulance. Sistermarysaveacherry was in the back with him and I rode up front with Mick.‑ The conversation we heard in the back was one of the funniest‑exchanges I have ever heard. Mick and I were dying. Sistermarysaveacherry was so intent on helping this poor man with the numb arms that she never considered that she was being duped.‑ It went like this:‑ “Sister-Ma’am, I have to pee real bad.”‑ Sister told him that he would have to wait just a little bit. ‑He whined, “But Sister-‑ma’am, I will pee in my pants, I have to go so bad. I can’t lift my arms because they are paralyzed. Pleeeeze‑help me.” Well, of course Sistermarysaveacherry was so touched that she saw an opportunity to assist one of the downtrodden of the city.‑ She searched about and found nothing to use as a urinal, so she dumped out a bottle of Normal Saline and handed him the empty bottle. “Ma’am, Sister, I can’t use my arms, can you help me?”‑ So…Sistermarysaveacherry unzipped his pants, took out his member, and guided it into the bottle, where he relieved himself. He was ever so grateful and expressed undying gratitude. I could just see her beaming with pleasure, as she had done God’s work for a poor unfortunate soul. When his “Johnson” was tucked back in his pants and‑she had him‑zipped up, he sat up, reached out his arms and hugged her, telling her she was sent by God, Himself, and he was ever so grateful. Why, she had performed a miracle and saved his arms, he declared, in his slobbering, slurred‑voice.‑We heard a shriek‑from a horrified nun who knew she had been played the fool. Mick and I laughed so hard we almost died. It was one of the funniest experiences we ever had. We dropped the drunk off at University Hospital and handed Sistermarysaveacherry the clipboard and had her fill out the run sheet. It was with great satisfaction that we cleared University and headed for the next run. ‑She lasted about‑two weeks,then filled out her papers of resignation. The shift-change “exchange of information” may have done her in. Apparently she found some other place to save souls. I’m sure Sistermarysaveacherry is in some nice clean safe place never to venture to the streets again. Thank a kind God. Miracles happen.‑
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