I was browsing through the blogs of BabsRN, AD, MonkeyGirl, ERNursey, and the other medical professionals who drop by here, and the answer to a decade-old puzzle suddenly appeared.
'Bout ten years or so back, I was standing outside the ER of an Amarillo hospital, when a lovely nurse gave me one hell of a hug, kissed my cheek and said, "Thank you."
The ER was jumping that night with everyone doing forty things at once, and I didn't want to distract her, so I never got to ask why. I had thought of going back when they weren't busy, but she was wearing a wedding band -- and I don't poach -- so I chalked it up as a pleasant little mystery and moved on out.
The mystery has been solved.
An hour or so before the incident in question, the S.O. got a panicky 911 call from a house occupied by an elderly couple. The call was from the wife, and entirely unintelligible, so I head thataway.
When I get there, I find her husband sitting in a chair, clutching his chest and panting. He's chalk-white, soaked with sweat, and cussing his angina.
Seeing a small brown vial open on the table beside his chair, I ask how many of the nitro pills he's taken, and he says, "Four" further opining that "The damned things are out of date, because they ain't working" as he massages his left shoulder and jaw. The scrip had been filled three months previous.
I broke two Olympic records and a porcelain vase on the sprint for my cruiser where the radio and AED were located.
I'm slapping the leads on his chest, when all of a sudden the house is full of volunteer firemen, EMTs and deputies. One of the many reasons why I love living in a small town.
The big unit goes on, and it's firmly decided that the gentleman is on his way to the 'Rillo. His wife is determined to accompany, but the paramedic takes me aside and whispers that more than likely they're going to be doing some pretty dramatic things before getting to Amarillo, and it would probably be best if she wasn't sitting up front to watch them jumping up and down on her husband's chest.
Nae problemo, sayeth I, I'm 15 minutes from End of Shift, I'll take her in the Super Scooter. Things Go Rodeo, she's with me and doesn't have to see it.
All well and good.
Even better is when we pull up behind the ambulance at Amarillo, they're off-loading her husband -- and he's grouching about it.
Nonetheless, he goes in at the head of the line. And a long line it is, too. That place was swamped. Folks piled up in the lobby, beds lined up in the halls, nurses hither and thither, looked about like Grand Central Station, only with more crying people.
Gentleman goes into a alcove, I follow behind with his wife, get her settled, ask if there's anything else we can do, and get set to leave.
As I exit the alcove, a pretty nurse comes out of the next door alcove with that walk ladies get when they really want to stomp, but they're not going to, muttering a steady stream of cuss words under her breath and she ricochets right off of me.
I tip my hat, pick her up and she slaps my hands and snarls, "I suppose you want Vicodin, too!" before stalking her way to the front.
I shrug, a little nonplussed, but write it off to stress, turn to leave and happen to glance through the not-pulled-quite-shut curtain into the alcove she just left.
There's Two-Step. Laying on the cot, left arm over his eyes, legs crossed, finger of his right hand drumming on the mattress.
Two-Step had (probably still has, if he's still alive) a rap sheet longer than I am tall for Theft, Burglary and Possession of Controlled Substances.
And there's warrant for his arrest on a burglary charge sitting on my desk.
My day is looking up.
I walk into the alcove to make sure that the body laying on the table is, indeed, my suspect, and when I do, I brush the curtain with my shoulder.
The noise causes the perfectly relaxed Two-Step to utter the most heart-rending, pitiful, hammy, fakest groan I have ever, in my life, heard -- followed by, "Oh, Gawd, I can't take the pain! I'm gonna lose my mind if I don't get some relief from this pain!"
I really can't think of anything to add to that, and I'm for a phone as Two-Step continues, "My back! I've got to have something for the pain! And a pillow, because my doctor said ... Mr. 'Dog?!"
"Hello, Two-Step," sez I, pretty much figuring he's stupid or desperate enough to think I can't touch him outside of Bugscuffle County, "You okay?"
"Oh, Mr. 'Dog, it's the pain. I just can't take it!"
"I hear you, Two-Step. Listen, I just brought Mrs. Humphrey over to tend to her husband and I've got to get back to Bugscuffle. You take care now, you hear?"
"Yes, sir, Mr. 'Dog."
I slip out of the alcove and drift down to the Nurse's Desk, whistling a jaunty tune, before asking the duty nurse behind the desk for a phone, then happily dialling the office number.
"Bugscuffle County Sheriff's Office."
"Earlene, it's 'Dog. Listen, I need you to run a local check for Critter, Jody, a/k/a Two-Step."
"Lordy, what's that boy done now ... I swear, he's going to be the death of his momma ... here it is. One valid warrant for burglary."
"Thanks, Earlene, tell the boss I'm still in Amarillo, and I'll be back as soon as I hook-up Two-Step and find a local to take custody of him."
"All right, 'Dog."
I hand the phone back to the duty nurse -- who is regarding me with disbelief -- give her a beatific smile and trot back down to Two-Steps alcove ...
... where the little bugsnipe has apparently developed some smarts and legged it out the door.
Oh, well. Catch some, lose some. I'll get him next time.
So, I'm just outside the ER door, heading for the Super Scooter and idly wondering if I'm hungry enough to stop at the Waffle House, when the nurse who bounced off me earlier comes out of the door and gives me the hug and kiss mentioned above.
It wasn't until today that I discovered that Two-Step's pitiful attempt at scoring dope is apparently very common, very widespread and a major pain-in-the-neck to ER staff everywhere, with addicts tying up desperately needed ER space while trying to game the system for narcotics.
Glad I could help, in a small way.