Lets see if I remember how to do this.
Its late Sunday night- the terror is in bed and finally asleep. Case and I are in various states of collapse around the house. Sometimes it amazes me how much things have fallen into place. It really amazes me when I look back at how our whole relationship began.
Tomorrow's my 'office day.' I'm not officially on duty- but it seems to be the only time to get the paperwork done. I'm glad to say that the program's finally stabilizing. We've been rotating our motormedics between districts- trying to keep from burning out.
Burn out is a real problem. Right now we've managed to keep about 5 more trainees than we have slots. When a person starts burning out now we can cycle them back to the trucks- or a vacation. They're threatening me with a vacation if I keep up like this, but I've worked too hard to keep get the program where it is today to give up now.
Let me tell you, it wasn't easy gaining the acceptance we needed. Now, people are used to us-- they even expect us, but there were times when people seemed dead set against the program- until they needed it.
It's amazing how many converts we get when we make the difference.
I remember one call- I was the responder- a stabbing in the Ork underground. It was one of my more memorable calls. I mean- there I was, the only non-Ork, weighing in at 57kg soaking wet- trying to deal with a thrashing patient twice my size. At one point I had to literally sit on the man to keep him down. It was touch and go for a while and I actually had one woman ready to clobber me because she thought I was hurting her friend.
Thing was- by the time the ambulance came, I had him stabilized. As a matter of fact I ended up in the hospital longer than my patient.
I managed to pull or tear a few ligaments. I was so sure I'd screwed up the whole thing- I mean our first responsibility is to secure the scene, make sure we aren't going to make things worse by adding ourselves to the list of injured.
Of course- the problem was a semi conscious patient who was, in his mind, still fighting who ever had attacked him. But in the end- I ended up with an accommodation - and two new recruits for the program- Dwight and Huey, my patient's nephews.
Its funny the way things work out.
Files, paperwork- press packets, tabulating statistics: its not my idea of fun but someone's got to do it, and I'm one of the few that knows and understands the effects and importance of the program. We've done wonders- but we have to find ways to improve our results.
We can't just say, "we've made a difference ,"and leave it at that. We made a difference three years ago. Two years ago we made a serious difference- but now that we've improved response time we need to find ways of increasing the service.
Personally if we could prevent people from doing some of the stupid things they do we'd all be better off. But no one's managed to find the secret to that. Until they do, we just need to be there when people's luck turns sour.
Since I wasn't on duty today I had the terror with me.
Bri is at the stage where she know's she's cute and she abuses the hell out of it. She's a happy child and everybody at Citywide knows her. She seems to have the ability to worm her way into the toughest of hearts- and make them smile about it.
At the police station it isn't much different. Her 'aunts' and 'uncles' in records and missing persons and robbery/homicide all adore her. I don't get to see them as much as I used to but I do stop by from time to time. These days its more of a social visit than anything.
We now circulate the missing persons and BOLO's to our people during briefings and anything out of the ordinary- we pass on to the Star.
Sometimes I wonder how things would be for Bri if Case and I led more normal lives- but I look at her and I can tell she's having the time of her life.
Night Shift - Downtown
As senior medic and director of the program, I have my pick of shifts and postings. But I still like taking third shift, and with Bri it means that Case and I can stagger our shifts and spend more time with her.
Lets face it, there are enough times where we have to impose on the members of her extended family to watch out for her. Times when Case and I are both called in. Fortunately those times have been few and far between. There was a forest fire about a year ago where everybody was called out. That and a few crashes at SeaTac.
Mario was there each time. I'm fairly certain he'd been listening to the scanners and knew that we'd both be out for several days.
I don't know how we'd do it without our friends. Mario says Bri's a delightful guest, but from the hints he's been leaving Trina, I'd say he's looking for a granddaughter of his own.
Third shift you get more party related calls- drunks, fights, overdoses- people hurting themselves in search of a good time. You see more of the 'odd' calls too. Things that I used to wonder about and now just scream "You don't want to know!"
I still end up trying to find out- but I have learned which ones stand to be investigated and which I should turn over to someone better qualified to deal with it. I'm getting better at dodging those concentric circles, but their always out there looking for me.
Sometimes there's nothing you can do- you're in the middle of it whether you want to be or not. I've picked up Case's greatest fear about those. I'm fine- but I will not have it touching my home.
Home is safe, or at least it should be- especially with Bri, and sometimes Ethan being there. I don't want any of this coming back on them. Sometimes they're what keep me going- well, them and Case.
I got home almost two hours late this morning. Case was just getting ready to call Mario when I called him and told him that I was on my way home. Bri was still asleep, but that didn't last long- it never does.
I got a two hour nap before she woke up and then it was the usual activities of breakfast, reading time and then a trip to daycare for Bri and a nap for me.
I was in the shower when Case got home with the terror. We had dinner and then I was on my way to work and Bri was on her way to bed.
Like I said- its hectic, but we do what we can to make it work.
Okay- it seems hectic, but in comparison to work... Never mind: it's still hectic! I got into work around 19:30, checked in with Ray and reviewed the day's call log. It had been hectic and judging by the police scanner it was going to stay that way.
Three calls later and I knew it was going to be a long night, long but active.
I actually had someone try and run me off the road when I was heading back to the station after one call. I was trying to give the driver the benefit of the doubt when the Star caught up to her.
She claimed that she had seen me and that she thought I was following her. She felt threatened so she tried to 'scare me off.' - me being a big bad mean biker and all. When I arrived on the scene she nearly jumped out of her skin telling the police that I was the biker that had threatened her.
I I.D.'d her car and they took the film from my front and rear cameras. That was my idea- cameras on the bikes. The Star's been doing it for years. That way we can review where things go wrong. It also comes in handy when someone claims we did something we shouldn't have.
Another thing I've learned since I've gotten here. How to protect your medics from litigation happy idiots. Sometimes its really good to be a medic.
The one thing I hate about night shifts- that's when all the weird things tend to happen. Well, not all, but the majority of them of them do.
There have been some interesting cases during the day- an armored car heist in broad daylight. Someone used a drone for that. They had a mage supplying the fireworks. It made page two of the holofax, but that was about it. They were too flashy- made too many mistakes and were caught within an hour of the caper.
But at night- we get 'ghost calls' from dispatchers that don't exist; cases involving security breaches- the occasional runner having a coronary on their way over a 15 meter fence- things that used to drive me crazy when I first came here.
Now third shift has a betting pool going on how many of these calls we get a night. Strange how things change.
It was a relatively quiet night- three ghost dispatches, a few accidents... Nothing to really write home about.
And that is something I've taken to doing these days: writing home. Its mostly just social stuff, asking about the family-- telling them how things are going. Jennifer and I exchange more than anybody else. I really don't have anything in common with the others.
Mom and Jen came out to see Bri when she was born. Dad just gave me a heart to heart lecture about being there for my child and how one of us (Case or I) had to get a normal job so that she'd be cared for and not left to raise herself.
This from the man who... no, I'm not going back to that. Lets just say it's a bit ludicrous.
The ghost dispatches are getting interesting, we seem to get four or five a night-- always when things are quiet. Its never the same place, or the same type of call. They've been increasing lately, and one of the ones I heard tonight-- I swear it was my voice.
Never a dull moment I guess.
On most shifts, I feel like I'm pretty much earning my keep-- the Friday night - Saturday morning shift-- I know I am, and then some.
That's when the party animals are out. You start off early with a few cases of DWI, add in some alcohol poisonings, a few 'erratic behavior' calls. Unless there's a Monday night game, it's the least sane shift in the world.
There's a reasons Mondays are my 'desk' days.
But of course, this wasn't a 'typical' Friday-Saturday shift-- oh no, this was the 'let's see how many problems we can cause with fireworks' shift.
The Fourth of July -- Independence day, and for all too many, a vacation from common sense. We had about 7 unscheduled fireworks displays, 14 injured in one, one case of home made fireworks setting a block on fire and a few people who decided to skip the fireworks and move directly ahead into arson.
Oh, and one break in at Star headquarters to pick up supplies for an unscheduled light show. Four light bars were stolen, but only 3 were used in the display. The fourth was used to help redirect a late night prison transfer.
That one never made it to the holofax. At least there's one thing I've learned in my time here-- it's just typical Friday night in Seattle.
Well, I had planned a nice quiet day at home but Bri and the cats had other ideas. Okay-- to be fair, I'm fairly certain that the cats had a nice quiet day planned as well, but Bri had plans for them-- and they figured that if they weren't safe, then neither was I.
Case finally managed to get everyone under control and I was finally starting to drift off when the phone rang. It was dispatch-- Dwight's bike was in an accident. Not Dwight... his bike. Some yahoo didn't see it parked at the accident scene and was too busy rubbernecking to realize what he was doing until it was too late.
I'm just glad Dwight wasn't on it. I hear they have a really nice video of it happening though...
The real problem is the fact that we only have two Harleys that are big enough for our larger medics to use. That left working with one less motor medic, or assigning someone on one of the regular bikes.
Lacking anybody else to pick on-- I took the shift. I could have pulled rank, but I figure I'll save that for when I really need it.
I got my afternoon's sleep and headed over to the station around 1900. Since I was working a different area downtown, I wanted to make sure I remembered the area. Fortunately, it was a rather uneventful night. The most excitement came after a call in the Ork Underground. The call wasn't all that exciting-- unconscious man. He was all right-- just passed out on his way home. The ambulance took him in just to be sure.
Afterwards, I broke for lunch.
I picked a local diner, and placed my order based on the pictures on the menu. I honestly don't know what it was. I know that several of the folks behind the counter were amazed that I was there, and that I ate it. It tasted great, but I knew better than to ask what it was. There are just some things you're best off not knowing.
Copyright 2000 M.T. Decker