The Guards

This is the story of “The Guards.” It started out as an innocuous call, or so I thought.

We were dispatched to an urgent cardiac event at the Naval Base. Ready to beat feet, I looked at partner and said, “to the Naval Base! Isn’t the Naval base defunct?” Partner says, “defunct?” I say, “yeah, you know. Shut down. Out of commission. No more.” Partner shrugs and we carried on.

I’m flying down the streets, lights flashing and sirens wailing, and suddenly my mind turns to the dark and twisty. I said, “what if this defunct Naval Base is now being used for espionage, or illegal experiments, or maybe it’s used to house captured creatures from space!”

Work partner is cracking up as I continue. “What if it’s the president, or maybe the vice president has shot somebody else and they called us to come whisk him off, and pump him full of morphine so he won’t talk? Or what if we go in there and see those men in black and we’re never seen again because we know who did it?”

As we pulled up to the assumed defunct Naval base, we are cracking up. I figure they’ll think we’re too goofy to be a threat…or maybe that would be a perfect disguise for a couple of spies. Who knows?

I saw a little building and stopped. A little door opens just as I noticed a guard standing in front of the ambulance, holding a gun that was bigger than either of us.

The man in the little house looked at us, then looked at the man with a gun, and motioned for him to open the gate. The man in little house also had a big gun. He didn’t smile, or ask us why we were there. He didn’t even look in the back of the ambulance.

Driving on, I mention to partner…”that was weird. He didn’t even ask for our badge numbers or anything. How does he know that we weren’t hi-jacked down the street and someone else put on our uniforms?”

Literally, at every turn, a man with a gun was standing, directing us where to go.

We finally came to the end of the road, and were met by men with guns, standing on either side of the ambulance. They walked with us to the back, and watched us take out the stretcher and medical bags. They didn’t even offer to help! Chivalry is dead.

When we got into the base itself, there were guards everywhere. We were halted until four guards met us and escorted us to this huge elevator. They were like the queens’ guards. They didn’t smile, nod or speak. They just kept their eyes focused on us like they were thinking, “go ahead. Make my day.” I thought it was hilarious.

Being me, once the doors closed, I looked at one of them and said, “so, how ’bout them Mets?” Talk about the evil stink-eye! Let’s just say nobody was amused and thankfully, nobody was shot.

The man we were picking up was some sort of Rear Admiral General or something. With no clothes on, to me, he looked like any ordinary man, and he was a bit friendlier. He didn’t appear to be having a cardiac event, so I don’t know what the deal was. At least he answered the important questions like, “what’s up? What’s happening? Who’s your daddy?”

Getting him out to the ambulance was the same. Guard escorts with big guns everywhere. One of them even rode to the hospital with us…with his big gun. We never could find anything irregular about the patient, which leads me to think….maybe he was from outer space.

My Little Monk

At the suggestion of the fabulous Brian Lageose over there at Bonnywood Manor…this is the story of my encounter with a little Monk…but first….

When I was running EMS, everyone knew that there was monastery about thirty or so miles from the big city. I knew and that’s about all I knew.

One day, my work partner and I had just dropped a patient off at the nearby hospital and since we didn’t have another call, she said, “want to go to an old cemetery?”

I was all in. I loved walking through cemeteries, even though it was always sad. Seeing the tiny little graves of children who never had a chance at life, and noticing that length of years was not a blessing for a lot of those born in the late 17, 18, and 1900’s.

Weaving my way through the graves, all of a sudden I looked down and couldn’t believe my eyes. I yelled….”look! Here are the graves of Clare Boothe Luce and Henry!” She asked, “who the hell is Clare and Henry?” After mumbling to myself, my gaze wandered upward.

There was this hill that had to be two stories high, if not more. “What’s up there?” I queried. “Somewhere you don’t want to be,” she said. Being the obedient person I was, I started climbing, despite her constant warnings. I knew it couldn’t be Ft. Knox…that was in Kentucky. I knew it couldn’t be area 51…that was in Nevada. So, what was there?

When I finally crested the hill, she yelled, “you better get down!”

What I didn’t know was that I was peering down at the monastery. After a quick glance and fear of my everlasting soul being damned to Hell for having invaded such a sacred place, I slid back down the hill.

Flash forward a few years.

My first work partner drifted off into the world of anything besides EMS, and my new work partner arrived. One day, we got a strange call. Go to the hospital and pick up a “special” patient. Hmm. We got a little excited. Maybe it was a movie star. We had done “stand-bys” for things like “the great American race,” and several movies had been filmed around there.

We got to the hospital and were guided to a room, where a cute little old man was sitting in the bed, eating Jello. I introduced myself and my partner, while he dutifully continued eating his snack.

The nurse came in and asked us to step outside with her for a minute. She told us that he was a Monk, and we would be taking him to the Monastery. “Now,” she said, “you will not be allowed to go any further than the entrance, but someone will be there to receive him.” I asked if whoever “received” him would have the authority to sign the disposition. (There always had to be someone to accept a patient, who had an equal or superior level of medical training, or we could be charged with abandonment.) She assured me that there would be no problem.

After introducing myself, I told him that I would have to remove his catheter, and asked if it was okay. (You have to ask the patient to let you touch them. Otherwise, it’s assault.) He smiled, threw back the covers and said, “okay. Here it is.” I told him that I would hold his hooter in one hand and pull the cath out with the other. His eyes got real wide and I smiled as I said, “hey. This doesn’t mean we’re engaged.”

We got him loaded and out to the ambulance. I asked if it was okay for me to put the BP cuff on him, so I could monitor his blood pressure on the way. After all the formalities were taken care of, I started talking to him. Obviously, he hadn’t taken a vow of silence, or he would have had an interpreter.

I always talked to my patients, unless they were…well…dying, or pulling my hair, or spitting on me, or calling me everything but a child of God, or telling me where to go.

I asked him if he had always had the calling to be a Monk or if at some point in his life he had an epiphany. He said he had been in the Navy for years. I asked, “did you have a girl in every port of call?” He smiled and said, “there were a few, yes.” He said that after years of living “that kind of life,” he decided to become a monk. When I asked if he every regretted leaving the world behind, he said, “no. I never have.” He was a delightful man and I enjoyed every minute with him in the back of that ambulance.

When we got to the monastery, we were met with what looked like a medical team, but when I opened the back doors, he waved them off and told them that we were coming in. WOW! We were going into the monastery.

We rolled him down a dark hallway, passing a few monks on the way, who nodded rather that spoke. After we got him in his bed, he told the other monk in the room to take us down to the “shop.”

I knew the monks raised chickens and sold the eggs, but I didn’t know much else. I did, however, know that the monastery had been endowed by Clare Boothe and Henry Luce. (Guess that’s why they’re buried there.)

My partner and I hadn’t had time to eat anything that day, and we were starving. My little monk instructed the other monk to make sure he gave us some fudge. Fudge. That was right up my alley.

We took the fudge and my partner was driving while I filled out the paper work. I tore into that fudge and handed her a big piece and I was chomping on my own. Suddenly, I realized that the paper work seemed to be fuzzy. Before I could say anything, my work partner said, “I think I’m drunk!” We were so crazed with hunger, neither of us noticed the pungent smell of Jack Daniels.

Yep. We were both probably drunk on fudge, made with Jack Daniels…from a monastery.

I took the fudge home and not even the ex would eat it.

The motto of the story is…beware of monks bearing gifts of fudge.

Oh, and to Brian. You mentioned “brownies.” That wasn’t brownies….but do I have a story about brownies! LOL