Here are a couple of stories from when I was on an engine company…..
One night we got a called to forced entry on a residence to gain access to a patient in a diabetic emergency. When we got there we could see an elderly lady through the front windows. She literally looked like a fish out of water flipping and flopping. Knocking over furniture. Injuring herself. Making a sound I can’t even begin describe.
One of my firefighters wanted to force the door but I said there was no sense in damaging it. I busted out a small pane of glass in the grid of the front window. I reached in, unlocked, and opened it. I then used my cat-like skills to climb through the window. I only took out a table lamp when I fell in.
I immediately made my way to the door to unlock it for the medics to come in. I turned around and the lady was suddenly on me like white on rice, pulling me to the ground with her. Strong. As. Hell.
We had to hold her down while the medic started an IV. Have you ever tried to hold down an elderly lady? It was awful because her thin skin was tearing. But once the IV started she immediately came around. At first asking us to kill her. Then asking what happened. Then saying how embarrassed she was.
Bless her heart, she was so sweet and so horrified. But we tried to make her feel better about it. We lied and told her she had just been “rolling around some”. I’m not sure she bought it.
One day we responded to a party having “difficulty breathing”. Lord have mercy. When we rolled up she was already coming out the door. And I couldn’t. stop. staring.
She had very clearly gotten a face lift the day before. And when she woke up that morning…..holy shit!!!! Her face was green and yellow with infection and so swollen that the staples all around her face where ripping out. Her mouth was so taut that she could barely speak and I thought for sure the sides of her mouth would split all the way to her ears.
She was terrified. I was trying not to look terrified.
She sat on the firetruck tailboard while we waited for the ambulance. It was so hard not to stare. She was trying to tell me something. I’m not sure what. It came out mostly as drool. Then she passed out.
I cried for her later that night.
It. Was. Awful.