Thursday, May 7, 2009

Of paranoia and... paranormal?

So we get a routine call for a 60 y/o male with a nosebleed (that's epistaxis if you wanna sound real smart). He's on blood thinners. We mosey on up there at our own pace, because I have yet, in 15 years, to have a patient die of a nosebleed. As we're arriving at the apartment complex, dispatch lets us know that the nosebleed may be due to a home invasion and possible assault. They then let us know that police have cleared the scene for us to come in.

We walk in and see an obviously stoned-looking guy, sitting on the couch, dabbing his nose. It has, indeed, been bleeding - but by the looks of the bloody towels strewn about the filthy apartment and the lack of blood I see now - the worst is behind him. He's telling the cops about the intruders as we are setting our stuff down and getting a look around. Every surface in the tiny apartment is covered in junk, and dust, and cigarette ashes. Pill bottles are strewn everywhere in the kitchen, as well as dirty dishes and food in various stages of decay and odor.

The cops have already checked every room, finding no intruder. The guy claims he came home to a few small-statured people, dressed in costumes and masks, with painted faces. They whispered to each other so softly he couldn't hear them, he said. Though, he said, it was weird that his place was still deadbolted when he came home, and he had to unlock the deadbolt to get in. Of course, "they booked" right before the police and we arrived. As he's relating this story, one cop who is taking a casual look around the place holds up a gigantic bong and waves it around behind the guy's head. We roll our eyes. A daughter confirms on the phone that the patient has an extensive drug history, as if we hadn't already figured it out ourselves.

His story suddenly changes to something more plausible: his nose spontaneously started bleeding as he sat on the couch watching the game. Ok. That sounds good. We're back to reality here.

Then, suddenly, a wooden wall hanging of 3 interconnected crosses comes flying, literally out of thin air, and beans the younger cop in the shoulder. We all stand there with our mouths hanging open, the patient included.
"Who else is here?", the cop demanded, putting his hand on his holster and advancing toward what he thought was the empty bedroom.
The patient, for his part, just sat there on the couch, shaking his head knowingly and mumbling, "See? That's the kind of shit that happens here all the time!"

We retreated outside until the police cleared the residence a second time; it's not the medics' job to put themselves in harm's way if it can be avoided. Some one needs to be alive to treat the injured if something bad goes down. Of course, there is nobody else in the apartment. There is nothing on the wall on which the crosses could have hung, and no vantage point above us where we could see evidence they had been. Nobody even remembers seeing it before it came flying toward us. Weird, we agreed.

"It wouldn't have freaked me out so much", said the boyish-looking young irish cop, "if it hadn't been fucking CROSSES flying at me."

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