I was sound asleep when the tones went off. I cracked open one eye and listened to the dispatcher give out the call. 24 year old male. Abdominal pain. Great.
I get up, put my uniform shirt on and make my way to the truck. My partner was right behind me. We drove out to the middle of nowhere to a single wide trailer with crap laying everywhere all around it. Up the rickety steps, inside the house and we see our patient. A rescue squad member that I knew was trying unsuccessfully to get a blood pressure on the guy, yelling at him to sit still.
It wasn't working. Our patient was rolling around on the couch yelling. At first I couldn't understand what he was saying, then it came clear.
"My belly button is gonna fall out!"
I tried to keep from snickering and took a look at my partner and saw that he was trying to do the same. I made my way through the trash heap that was the living room to the guy. Then started in on my assessment.
He was indeed a 24 year old male that said he was having abdominal pain. He had went to the local hospital earlier that day with the same complaint and was sent home. He had been having this pain for 2 months, non-stop, with no relief. I started to ask him the pain scale thing and didn't even get 2 words out of my mouth before he screamed 12! 12! it's a 12! I took it that he had heard that question before. Wonderful. No other medical problems and no medications. At least none that were prescribed by a physician. Although he did have some laying on the table next to the couch that must have been prescribed by the local ABC store and his trusty neighborhood chemist. There was a definite odor of alcohol around him and his beard, mustache, nose hairs and eyebrows were singed.
As we started to get him up and make our way to the stretcher he stated something that I hadn't heard before.
"I think I swallowed a monkey and he is trying to eat his way out of my stomach!"
What? I must have heard that wrong. Nope. I heard it right. He kept saying it all 18 minutes of the transport. He wasn't sure how he swallowed the monkey or even when this supposedly happened. But that was his story and he was sticking to it.
Now before you, dear reader, get your panties in a bunch, I did do a full assessment. As much as he would allow. I could find nothing else wrong with him. All his vitals were fine, ECG looked good and there was no pain when I palpated his abdomen. Further evaluation revealed...well...nothing.
Then I began with further questioning. Like, have you been to any foreign countries where monkeys are native? What about the zoo? Have you fed the monkey in your belly lately? What does he like to eat? Is it male or a female monkey? (I was worried that maybe the primate inside his abdomen could be pregnant). What type of monkey was it? I mean I had to know what we were dealing with. Was it a small cute one, or a big hairy orangutan? Important questions that a thorough Paramedic like myself needs to know.
Needless to say that he didn't know any of the answers to the important questions. He didn't know what type/size it was, how it got in there or what it liked to eat, since he hadn't eaten in 3 days. All he knew was that it was inside of him and wanted to get out. That is what was causing his pain and he wanted help.
For my part, I took him to the hospital to get him that help. Although I didn't think they had a veterinarian on call.
The nurses all groaned when they saw him. They remembered him. But I lifted their spirits when I told them of his new complaint.
That's one thing I love about this job, you never know who you're gonna meet and what they are gonna say. Till next time...