Monday, February 16, 2009

Home on the Range

We get an ambulance containing the 88 year old gentleman from a local Alzheimer's warehouse. He has had a bloody nose off and on for the last 2 hours; not hypertensive, and not on coumadin, and also not bleeding when he hit the door.

He had quite a pronounced Scottish burr. And was quite delightful.

He was wearing well worn jeans and a really nice pair of Nike shoes, and began quietly and continously singing "Home on the Range" in a lovely sweet (mostly) in tune tenor voice. Over and over and over.

I wanted him to sing "Loch Lomond", but the Brit paramedic reminded me that it is a song about death, so it probably wasn't such a good idea. I didn't mind, really. He was singing pretty quietly as I said and minding his own.

The doc stuck some adrenaline up his nose with a piece of cotton and went about his business, only to come back and find the cotton...gone. He gestured frantically; "I need you to babysit him, I don't know where the cotton is"

"Do you think he swallowed it, aspirated it, or pocketed it?" I asked unhelpfully.

"Dunno. Can you just squeeze his nose for 10 minutes?"


Squeezing his nose for 10 minutes was no hardship for me, but it did keep him from singing "Home on the Range". He had switched to "Let Me Call You Sweetheart".

The gentleman calmly allowed me to squeeze. Every so often he would say (I thought), "I've been a carny all my life". As in carnival, perhaps.

Well. "So what kind of work did you do there?".

"Oh, cars, all sorts of engines".

What I realized was that he had been a mechanic all his life.

The doc comes back after 20 minutes or so, finishes up and my little man was ready for his ambulance ride back to the Alzheimers warehouse. I was sorry to see him go, although he did start to wander around a bit and was fascinated by the blanket warmer in his room.

Oh, and I found the missing piece of cotton on top of the thermostat.
"Home, home on the range....."