The fire department I work for serves a college campus. That being said, every shift I work that falls on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday deals predominately with alcohol.
We get sent to student housing for "possible seizure." Well, since we had already had an earlier seizure call, and our shifts tend to follow trends, we weren't surprised. So getting there we find this kid completely alert, no postictal state, nada. He also has the most bloodshot eyes I have seen in a while. Hmm, it's getting clearer.
I distract the university cop by having them help my partner haul the cot to the third floor and ask the one question that gets to the heart of the issue. "So what did you take?"
"Uh . . . nothing."
"Uh . . . pot. For the first time."
"Uh . . . liquor."
"Uh . . . Adderall."
"Ok. That's not prescribed to you is it?"
"Uh . . . No."
"Did you snort it?"
"Well . . . not the Adderall. I snorted the Oxycotin. This was about seven hours ago."
"I see, that explains a few things."
Long story short, the kid probably didn't have a seizure. What he did have was a serious need to talk and have someone listen to him. This kid had a lot going on in his life, enough to maybe want to kill himself. So my partner and I called dispatch, told them we'd be in service but remaining on the scene. Two hours later, at almost seven in the morning, we left. We left him in the custody of the university police, because he didn't really need to be alone. I hope we made a difference. I don't know. Some people need to reach for the life preserver, but you don't need to drown giving it to them. We're not qualified to give him advice or treat him in that arena; but I am qualified to listen. He needed that. We needed to listen. I hope he gets the help he needs and uses it.
Luckily the only two other calls in that two hours were the other squad's problem.
Don't think the chief didn't have something to say to us though . . . "You guys finally done with the Kumbaya and s'more session?"
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