Um, yeah

The house sits on a corner along one of our main response routes, yet I’ve never noticed it before. The area is mostly commercial; a used car lot borders on one side, a street on the other. A brick warehouse, dark and sulking, sits across the way.

The call is for an unknown medical, so the cavalry is coming. We will be joined shortly by a police officer, a fire engine, and our shift commander. We’ve arrived first, and the house is dark and quiet; no one has seen fit to meet us or even turn on the porch light. RP and I gather our gear and begin to circle the building. We find three doors, all locked.

Back out front, a young man materializes from the warm night and approaches the firefighters. His eyes are heavy, his speech is slow, and a certain odor surrounds his clothes.

“I, uh, smoked a little tonight,” he says.

Uh-huh. We can see that. “Did you call 911?”

“Uh, yeah,” he answers heavily. I can see we’re going to have to lead this particular horse to the water. We ask the inevitable question: “Why?”

“I, uh, smoked a little tonight.” Yes, we got that part. “And?”

“And now I feel funny.”

The world stops. A car drifts quietly past in the darkness. For a brief second, eight trained emergency professionals are speechless.

Shift Commander breaks the silence. “So your *f–king* high?!” he blurts.

“Uh, yeah, I guess, maybe, kinda. . .”

“I’m done,” SC says to us, shaking his head and chuckling to himself as he walks away. We continue on with our patient, “So what would you like us to do about it?”

A long pause. “Ummmmm, hospital??” He draws the word over three seconds, ending with a large audible question mark.

Sure, why not. The night shift triage nurse at Local Suburban Hospital will get a laugh out of this.

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