Antibiotic Cookies

Not my story, but it made me giggle.

A friend of mine went to take his practical exam. He got to the medical assessment station, finding that his patient was suffering from an allergic reaction. He asked her about her allergies. She replied, “Peanuts and penicillin.” The last thing she ate? “A cookie my friend gave me, about 10 minutes ago.”

He very seriously looked into her eyes, placed a hand on her shoulder, and said, “Was there penicillin in the cookie?”

He was joking. Guessing by the described blank stare, she didn’t think it was very funny.

Freshwater Sharks

One day, in my EMT class, our teacher went off on this scenario. He was talking about being on some rescue saving some guy in some lake in some town somewhere else. I think the point of the story was that you needed to think ahead and consider what resources you might need to call for in such an event. So he asked us what we’d need to consider before and while arriving on scene.

“Well, I’d want some sort of police protection. Or a hunter. Or fisherman,” This student said. We all sat quiet, waiting for his rationale. “Gotta watch out for those sharks, man. No sharks. Scene safety.” We all subtly looked at each other.

“…Okay. Uh…interesting thought. But it’s a lake,” The teacher replied cautiously.

“Yeah, and it’s a shark. I don’t mess around with those things. Too many teeth.”

Some “What The Hell?” Moments

Several months ago, my journey to New York State via Greyhound Bus started innocently enough. I was boarding the packed vehicle, holding my duffel bag at chest height, sort of sidestepping over limbs and baggage that had spilled over into the aisle. Near the back, I spotted an open aisle seat beside a guy, who was probably in his mid-20’s. We made eye contact, and I smiled half-apologetically. He stood up, and helped me place my duffel into the overhead compartment. I figured myself lucky, thinking I was sitting next to a pretty chivalrous gentlemen for my multi-hour trip. Little did I know, that was probably the last relatively normal moment I would have until I arrived at my destination.


ODD-BALL: So what do you do for work?

 MK: I’m an EMT. I work on an ambulance.

 OB: Really?? Wow, maybe you can help me with something?

 MK: Uh, I can try.

 OB: So I was hit by a car yesterday. Do you think I’ll be okay?

MK: Like a car accident? (wishful thinking)

OB: No, no, like a car physically HIT me. Like, I was pulled over on this road, and I was standing outside of my car, and another car just, like, hit me.

MK: Um…well…how fast was the car going?

(At this point, I’m somewhat skeptical.)

OB: I don’t know. 30 maybe? It was a small road 

MK: Did you get help? Like, call an ambulance?

OB: No! NO! I didn’t want them all up in my business, you know? So I just got up and drove home. Only reason I ask now is I’m kinda hurtin’ 

He pulls up his pant legs to show me extensive road rash, significant bruising along his ribs, and some more road rash on his hands. And I was pretty sure that his wrist was sticking out at a kind of funny angle.

MK: Uh…wow. Ok. So you need to go to a hospital.

OB: NO! Absolutely not. NO. I just want to know whether or not I’m going to be paralyzed.


OB: See, my buddy, he jumped off his roof once when he was SO stoned. I mean, REALLY stoned. Kind of my fault, but anyway, he broke his back. But we didn’t know it! Cuz he was stoned! And later, he turned green. GREEN! So then we were like, “Oh, man, you broke your back!” Cuz, you know, you turn green when you break your back. You know that. You’re an EMT. You probably see people turning green all the time. Anyway, I haven’t turned green yet, but I’m afraid I will. Is there any way you can know if you broke something before you turn green?


Wh…? Well, I suppose if you broke your back and subsequently died from said injury, and people didn’t find you for days later, I’m sure you probably would turn all sorts of colors. Green might be one of them. Other than that, not sure where he got the idea of this “turning green” business.

Then he discussed the rising cost of crack, and how it compares to that of LSD. At this point, I was trying to look as interested as I could while mentally leaving my body.



OB: So, you seem nice. We’re hittin’ it off pretty well, don’t you think? So glad you sat next to me.

 MK: Hm? Oh, yeah, yeah. Definitely. Mmhmm. Yep….

 OB: Do you want to like, get together in the hotel when we get to Medium City?

 MK (working to mask horrified expression): Uhhh…I have Hep C and HIV. Oh, and meningitis.

 (Not true, but he absolutely didn’t need to know that.)

 OB: Wow, that blows. Did you get that from working on the ambulance.

 MK: Uh…yeahhhh. Yeah. That’s how I got that. Yeah.

OB: Oh, thank God. Well then none of that’s contagious. Cuz you were doing hero’s work.

(Recognize, everyone. Dontcha know I’m a hero? And that makes me exempt from the commonly accepted theories of medicine and modes of transmission.) 

 MK: Okay. Well, I’m going to listen to music now. It’s really important you don’t interrupt anymore.

 OB: Definitely.


This all was just too weird not to share. Any interesting stories from the peanut gallery involving people asking for medical advice/”correcting” those common knowledge, well-known, well-accepted medical facts?

That Awkward Moment When…

If any of you have Facebook friends that describe themselves as “80’s” or “90’s” kids (such as myself), you’ve probably seen a couple status updates that start with “That awkward moment when…” You know what I’m talking about? They’re not those brutally embarrassing awkward moments that make you look around the room for the nearest window to dive out of, or closet to lock yourself in for a couple decades. They’re just silly awkward moments that are good for a chuckle. Since I don’t have much interesting to talk about, I figured I’d post a few “That awkward moment when…”s pertaining to EMS, experienced first hand by yours truly. And without further ado….

That Awkward Moment When…


…your 95 year old patient is on fewer medications than you are, and/or has fewer medical problems than you do.


…you accidentally read off today’s date instead of the patient’s birth date when giving a report to the nurses. And they’re far from amused.


…you realize you and your partners are not going to be strong enough to load the patient into the ambulance.


…the EMT student looks at the monitor, sighs in fascination, and goes, “Ohhh, so that’s why they call them tombstones!”


…you fail to realize that the ambulance is parked on a slope, and you sort of fall out of the door while trying to leave said ambulance


…your patient interrogates you about your “romantic endeavors.”


…everyone can hear your driver singing along to the radio, and your elderly patient grabs your hand and mumbles, “My, he’s not very good, is he?”


…your patient is a doctor, who has no problem analyzing your every move, while giving you feedback on how well you are managing his care.


…your patient asks to borrow your cell phone in order to call in a pizza delivery.


…your patient asks if you can stop in at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to the hospital.


…you trip over the blood pressure, EKG, and SPO2 cables connecting your patient to the monitor.


…you rinse off the truck at the end of a shift, and realize too late that you left the windows open.


Any other awkward moments you all would like to add to the running list?
In conclusion, Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!