“This is weird Tommy; the wound looks like it’s still fresh.”
Tommy joined me on the floor and gave it a look.
“You know what I think? I think the dog’s been licking this thing the whole time, you know trying to take care of his master.”
Made sense, I could just see the dog staying by his friend’s side and taking care of him.
“Makes sense to me Tommy. Look around the house and see if we can figure out what happened.”
I did a normal exam from head to toe. His only injury appeared to be the head wound. We needed to protect his spine as an injury like this to the head had a good chance of doing damage to his spine as well. Then my radio squawked and it was Captain Weird.
“TimO we will have the dog under control in a couple of minutes. What do you need?” he asked.
“Hey Cap, I’ll need a full spinal on this guy so can you have the medic from the ambulance bring in everything?”
Tommy returned from his search.
“Looks like he fell in the bathroom and smashed his skull on the toilet. There’s a big pool of dried blood in there and hand prints and dog tracks. Also looks like he vomited and from the smell of it and all the empty liquor bottles, I’d say he was pretty drunk whenever this happened.”
The crew from the ambulance rolled in with the gurney and the spinal gear.
“What do you need TimO?” asked Casey. Casey was one of the most seasoned paramedics in the game and I always felt a sense of relief whenever he showed up.
“We need to spinal this guy, take a look at this head wound before I cover it up.”
Casey knelt down and pulled the skin flap that was his forehead down to see the skull. He pressed lightly on the skull.
“No crepitus that I can feel or real deformity.”
“Yeah I didn’t find any and he’s moving air through his nose pretty well. He’s got some battle sign on his ears though.”
“Little basal skull fracture ya think?”
Casey eyed the blood line around all the walls.
“What do think that’s all about?”
“I’m thinking he went to puke, fell and whacked his head on the toilet and now he’s been crawling around here on his hands and knees dragging his head down all the walls.” I said.
“So he’s got a closed head injury and keeps coming to and passing back out.”
“And the dog, did you see that dog?”
“Yeah they have him in the dog catcher’s truck.” Casey nodded his head in the direction of the front yard.
“I think the dog’s been following his drunk ass around here and keeps licking the wound when he passes out, keeping it clean.”
“Cool, it’ll make it easier for the doc to stitch him up.” Casey said.
We got the guy all packaged up and loaded on the gurney for transport to the hospital.
At the hospital Casey and I were doing our reports and having snacks, all good hospitals keep a fine selection of snacks on hand for the medics and EMTs that do the transporting.
You see if there is no specific reason for a patient to go to one hospital over another, then the decision of where a person goes for treatment is in the hands of the ambulance crew.
If a hospital wants more patients they can influence our choice of destination by the kinds of treats they make available to us poor underpaid, over worked and hungry medics. We go where the food is best if we have a choice.
The ED doc came in to talk to us.
“How long did you say this guy had been down?” The Doc asked.
“I’m not sure doc, but it sounds like, by the reports of friends that he could have been there maybe three days or more.” I said between bites of fresh chocolate chip cookies.
“Well he’s one lucky dude, he’s got a basal skull fracture and a subdural, he’s going up to the OR now, nice work guys.”
“Thanks for the follow up Doc.”
Days later Casey and I were back at the same hospital with another patient and a sweet tooth.
“Let’s go see if we can find the head injury dude.” I said.
“Let’s go.” Casey and I grabbed some more snacks and found our way to the guy’s room. He was awake when we found him.
“Hey we are the medics that found you and we just wanted to stop by and see how you’re doing.” I said as we walked in his room. His head was all wrapped up in bandages and there was a blood drain resting on his shoulder.
“Yeah come in guys. Man thank you so much for saving my life.”
“To tell you the truth we didn’t do much, I’d give the credit to your dog. That dog kept your wound clean, and protected your butt. We had a hell of time getting to you with him on duty.”
“Yeah Maxi is a good dog. He didn’t bite anyone did he?”
“No he didn’t bite us, not for lack of trying though.”
“That’s good, my ex is taking care of him while I recover. I just hope I get him back.” He said.
“Oh you’ll get him back there aren’t any complaints on him by us, he was just being a good dog, no worries.” I said.
“It’s not you guys I’m worried about, it’s her, she says she’s gonna take me back to court to get the dog. She says the dog is at risk because of my drinking.”
We didn’t really know what to say at that point.
“Well I don’t know what happened and I don’t really want to know. But your drinking got you in here, almost killed you. If you ever want to talk about that, I know something about that.” I took out one of my cards and gave it to him.
“Give me a call if you want, I’m a good listener.”
Casey patted me on the back as we left, he knew.
See you tomorrow.