My 3 take-aways from watching "Emergency."
I must say, at first, that I was crazy about this show. I watched it every week for as many years as it was on the air. It was the early CHIPS. It was what probably inspired many people to become paramedics. Perhaps it inspired me to play one on TV (as a background actor, but I'm counting it).
It was awesome.
They would respond to all the sticky situations, the injured dock workers, the man stuck up in a tree, etc. They would patch them up for the ambulance to get them to the hospital. Every so often they would rescue and patch up the people who were stuck in apartment fires.
I learned three basic truths from this show
One: There are a whole bunch of people who were never sick a day in their life.
Invariably, a loved one or a neighbor would meet the paramedics as they arrived. The questions: "has he been sick lately?" and "Is he taking medications?" seemed to be the first communication. The answer was usually, "No, he's never been sick a day in his life."
So, I was young at this time. Maybe 6 or 7 years old. I remember feeling so bad that I had a multitude of colds and even the chicken pox by this time, maybe some tonsillitis, and at least a half dozen stomach aches. I thought, "If that man made it to his fifties - just like the last guy, and the dozens before, without being sick, I must be a mess." Then I came to this conclusion which is lesson number 2.
Two: People lie.
I realized that I knew no one, personally, who had never been sick. And on Little House On The Prairie, Pa often had to take a horse ride into town to get some meds. These people are just lying to the nice fireman. I was right. Since then, I have met many people who literally tell me they "never" get sick. Usually this is about a week (sometimes less) before they come down with a hum-dinger of a cold or stomach flu.
We often run into families who take their children to church events or field trips and such, who are sick. They are coughing and smearing their nose drippings all over their hands and touching everything and everyone. Yet, they say that they are "over it" or not sick. People lie.
Three: Everyone gets an IV with D5-W.
I didn't know what that elixir was, but it was good stuff. I since have discovered that D5 is a 5% dextrose solution. Below, I include a link to a medical description.
TV was heroic back then.
There was a sense that what we need is to see people doing good for their community. I realize that this was toward the tail end of the Vietnam War. People were scrapping it out in the streets and trying to get Republicans to quit whatever they were doing.
In times when a man is dangling by his shoe lace from a telephone pole, we don't even go there. We don't ask if he is a Republican, or if he supports subsidizing electric cars. We simply reassure him that he's going to be alright and help is here.
I hope we still have people who are able to help their fellow man, woman, child, lizard person. because, even though people lie, we all need help every now and then, and we all can help when the time comes.