The door rolls up as I approach, and I hear the Powerstroke cough to life. I'm not on the clock for another ten minutes, but I'll do the right thing and relieve the overnight crew. Regular Partner arrives as I take the reins, and we are off into the crisp fall morning. "Medic 9, be… Continue reading Bert


 "Medic 9, respond for the unresponsive male. . ." A BLS ambulance arrives before us and begins doing their thing. He has a pulse but isn't breathing. Oxygen and a BVM will take care of that for the moment. His environment suggests heroin overdose; his pinpoint pupils and track marks scream it. The Narcan performs its… Continue reading Tired


Two police cruisers idle in the cul-de-sac, lights off, projecting calm authority. Nothing to see here. Move along. An apologetic looking sergeant steps from his air conditioned refuge as we arrive. "She's off her medications again," he tells us. "I've spoken to her doctor, and the paperwork is on its way."But of course it isn't… Continue reading Intermission

Rain delay

A mild summer afternoon has turned to a muggy evening. The June storms have arrived, bringing a paradoxical increase in the temperature. We stand in the open garage bay facing south as lightning illuminates the clouds above, each flash forming shadow images on the horizon.The minor league ball game across the street has called a… Continue reading Rain delay

Pear shaped

Just another Sunday afternoon. Average. We'd seen a few patients, none too sick; I can't remember what was for dinner. The fire tones dropped for a box alarm at a high rise.It was no big deal. The engines go there multiple times a week, usually for burnt food. The timing was right for a well-done… Continue reading Pear shaped


Birds. I usually don't notice them. Spring has suddenly returned, though, and I hear them everywhere. Shore birds populate the trees and dunes behind me, the occasional gull swoops past, and a pair of cormorants bob peacefully in the channel. Small waves lap gently at the shore while the river gurgles past the jetties. I… Continue reading Birds


My company stresses appearances.This is not necessarily a bad thing. I drive a large ambulance with bright stripes, lots of flashing lights, and a two-foot high corporate logo on the side. It's a rolling billboard. Everything I do in it reflects on me and my coworkers. No matter how pure our motives, if we look… Continue reading Billboards

Heaven or hell?

"Medic 9 respond, 10 High St for the unresponsive patient."My partner groans. It's a Known Address; a rooming house. In fire inspector parlance it's a Single Room Occupancy or SRO. Each 'apartment' consists of one room large enough for a bed, a television, and maybe a microwave. Everyone shares a kitchen at one end of… Continue reading Heaven or hell?