The Queen

A long, narrow room in an old house. The paneled walls are lined with old photographs and cross-stitch work. A flat screen television seems the only nod to the 21st century. We pass a small kitchen, straight out of the 1950’s and just large enough to spin around inside. An oxygen hose snakes out of it and disappears into a throng of firefighters, policemen, and nursing aides.

As we follow the hose, the crowd parts, and there she is, queen of all she surveys, sitting regally on her recliner at the far end of the room. Everyone I pass offers some insight or important detail about her medical condition, but I’m going to get as much as I can from the Queen herself.

I approach and drop to one knee, as is appropriate for addressing both seated patients and royalty. “Good evening, Mrs. Smith. I’m Mack505, one of the paramedics. This is my partner, RP. (Nodding behind me to where RP awaits with the stair chair.) What seems to be the problem tonight?”

“What’s with the mustache?”

Think quick, medic! “It keeps my lip warm, and my wife likes it.”

“Oh. You’d look much better without it.”

Oh, I think I’m going to like you!

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