It Was a Simple Transfer

caw“I looked through the small window in the door at the woman lying on the bed. Thick leather restraints held her arms and legs firmly in place. She didn’t look ferocious.

The memory that I used to be a cat-person flashed through my mind. That is, until one of my cats went berserk and used my legs, crotch, arms, chest, back and head like a catnip-filled scratching post. I’m a dog-person now.

It’s funny how your brain equates things. The daydream ended and I focused on the tiny little Asian lady I was staring at. She was no taller than five feet and couldn’t weigh more than one hundred pounds soaking wet.

security guardI turned and looked at the two huge Hawaiian security guard standing there behind me. “That little thing beat up five cops?”

Both hospital security guards smiled and one said, “That’s how many it took to bring her into the Emergency Room.” He pressed his torn breast pocket into his chest and added, “Don’t let her size fool you. she packs a big punch.”

My ambulance partner leaned into me and peered through the window, “She looks relaxed now.”

The other guard was fingering a rip in his uniform and said, “Sure, after the E.R. Doc hit her with some downers. Before that, she was like a pissed-off wet cat.” I winced at the analogy. My partner asked, “Does she know we’re taking her to the State Hospital?”

padded doorThe guard pulled out a ring of keys and began unlocking the door. “She’s been there before so I’m sure she does.” The door swung open and I stepped into the room.

The lady looked up at us and calmly said, “Hello, are you taking me to the other hospital?”

I said, “Yes Ma’am, are you feeling ok?” She nodded so I went on, “My name is Mike and this is my partner Colin. I’d really like for us to get along. I’m going to be in the back of the ambulance with you. I want to make an agreement with you. If you are calm and in control and act appropriately, if you act like a lady – then we’ll act like gentlemen.”

gurney restraintsI remember one time when I volunteered to be a patient while teaching a class of future medics. They tied me to a gurney and left me for two hours. It sucked.

I continued talking to her, “I’d like to see if I could get you out of those restraints and have you walk out to the ambulance nice and calm and with dignity. But we can’t have anything like we had when the police brought you in. Do you agree to be calm and not violent?” She smiled and nodded her head, “I would like that very much, thank you.”

I said, “Good, I also want your word that you won’t try and run away from us.” She gave me the sweetest smile and nodded, “Absolutely, Mike.”

That and the fact that I knew she was loaded to the gills with medications were good enough for me, so I unlocked the restraints. She stood up, straightened her clothes and said, “I’m ready.”

We had her surrounded.

All four of us walked her out of the room and headed down the hall. My partner was in front of her, the two security guards were on either side of her and I brought up the rear. We had her surrounded.

As we were walking I asked her, “Now you don’t feel violent do you?” She turned her head to look back at me and said, “What am I going to do with four big guys like you all around me?” I shrugged my shoulders and thought to myself, “Yeah, what can she do? Nothing, that’s what.”

kfI was wrong. Out of the blue, this little four-foot-ten-inch tall, itsy-bitsy tiny little woman abruptly stopped and pivoted on her heel. She squatted down in a kung fu-like stance and in a flash of lightning shot a right hook directly into my chest. Right in the breadbasket. She followed this with an immediate left upper cut to my nut sack.

It happened so fast that it was amazing. All you’re left with is the thought, “How could that happen so fast?” Although I do remember thinking that I was very impressed with the accuracy of her punches.

I let out a tremendously high-pitched, “whoooooo,” and immediately dropped to my knees clutching my chest. I not so much felt, but heard every molecule of air in my lungs suddenly and forcefully exit my chest cavity. Even the last one quart of reserve air that never leaves your lungs was forced out with hurricane speed.

One of my hands dropped down and felt around the front of my pants. I couldn’t find my testicles!

I let out a tremendously high-pitched, “whoooooo…”

My mouth opened and I heard a sound come out that I had only heard once before, it was from a 97-year-old man that had just taken his last breath and died.

With my chest caved in and one of my arms encircling my ribs and the other frantically searching for my testicles, I was looking her straight in the eyes. I was on my knees and totally defenseless.

She cocked her right arm back to take another punch at me and I thought, “Ah, sh*t.”

Luckily for me, she suddenly disappeared from sight as both the security guards and my partner pig-piled on top of her. Round One of Emergency Room Wrestling was off to a good start.

dog cat fightIt reminded me of one of those cartoons of a dog and cat fighting. All you see is a cloud of dust and a hand sticking out here, a foot coming out there, maybe a shoe flying off and a bunch of stars encircling the melee.

I teetered there on my knees pleading for air to return to my lungs. The only sound I could make was a very high-pitched wheezing, “Hiyee, hiyee, hiyee, hiyee.”

I was in a vacuum. “Space, the final frontier. Where no lungs have gone before. My five-second mission was to seek out new air and pure oxygen. To boldly try to breathe again.”

The jumble of bodies fighting on the floor in front of me drew most of the doctors and nurses from the emergency room. One of the nurses came up to me, bent down and examined my blue face, “Are you alright? Can you breathe?”

breatheMy eyeballs popped out of my head and slapped her in the face with a wet “thwap” sound. In my head I was screaming at her, “Is bright blue the normal color of skin? Does it look like I’m getting oxygen to my brain? For God’s sake do something to help me breathe!” But all I could manage was a shrill sound that sounded like a monkey…

I’ve seen asthma patients in this situation; when someone asks a remarkably stupid question like, “Can you breathe? Can you take a deep breath for me?”

They reach inside your throat, grab your tonsils like a necktie, pull them out of your mouth and pull you close. Then squeak, “I… need… air!”

Since everyone else was sprawled out on the floor, I felt obliged to join them. My vision was already blurred but then a wall of gray closed in around me as I began to lose consciousness.

I fell over sideways and lay there spread-eagle thinking how nice the cold tile floor felt against my face. For a moment, the gray head-to-toe tingling world I was in made me forget about the excruciating pain from my balls. I had found my semi-conscious happy place.

floorBy this time the three big men had the 94-pound woman pinned to the floor and restrained. She could have made a million dollars on the pro wrestling circuit. My partner, out of breath and with a bleeding scratch on his face, crawled over to me and said, “We got her man!”

I was just starting to receive very small gasps of air and managed, “I… so… glad… wish… could… breathe.” He pressed his face on the floor next to mine and said, “She got you pretty good, huh?”

I rolled my head over and spoke in the general direction of his voice, “You… f***… off.” He chuckled, “Yeah, ok man,” and crawled back over to the pile of bodies.

Our gurney materialized and four people, one on each arm and leg, plopped the woman down on it and rapidly applied leather restraints to all her extremities.

The two security guards came over and lifted me off the floor. One of them said with a smile, “What did I tell you? Small person, big bang! She got you pretty good, huh?”

My head flopped over to his side and I drooled on my shoulder, then sputtered, “Me… breathe… you… f***… off.” He laughed at me and said, “You got snot coming out of your nose.”

I didn’t feel I needed to justify his comment with an answer, so I just let them continue dragging me out to our ambulance. I was too busy trying to regain consciousness.

“You got snot coming out of your nose.”

They dumped me on the cement and helped my partner load the gurney and bundle of joy into the back of the ambulance. Then they laid me on the bench seat next to her. My partner stuck his head in and said, “You going to be ok, Mike?” I murmured, “Yes… good… air… drive… fast… get… rid… of… woman.”

Throughout the transport, I didn’t look at her and I don’t think she looked at me. We had nothing to chitchat about so we just laid there staring at the lights on the ceiling of the ambulance.

I did at one point think about getting up and letting her out of her restraints so we could have it out right there. No surprise punches, let’s just duke it out, man to midget. But then I thought of a bee in a glass jar that you have just shaken, so I continued to lay there with what little dignity and manhood I had left.

amboWhen we got to the hospital, we unloaded the gurney, rolled it up to the locked doors and rang the bell. Someone who was watching us on a closed-circuit TV monitor buzzed the door and we walked in.

Two short, but gigantically muscled orderlies met us. One of them looked down at our patient and said, “Well, hello again, back so soon?” She smiled beautifully and in a daintily deceptive voice said, “Hello, I remember you.” He smiled back and said, “I’m sure you do.”

I asked him, “Frequent flyer?” He nodded, “Oh yeah, a couple of times. Did she give you any trouble?” He had an extremely knowing smile on his face.

My partner rose to the occasion, “Hell yeah, she gave us a problem. Look at my face. And you should have seen the punch that set Mike here on his ass.” I gave him my dirtiest “shut-the-hell-up” look and started pushing the gurney down the hallway.

Both orderlies chuckled and one said, “Last month when she was here, we had a staff member who about six-foot-seven. When they stood facing each other she was staring straight at his crotch. I guess she felt it was an opportunity she just couldn’t pass up, so she started doing a Mohammed Ali on his balls.”

The other orderly put his fists above his head and started punching the air, making a ba-dada, ba-dada, ba-dada sound effect. His partner lamented, “Poor guy still can’t stand completely straight.”

I felt a wave of nausea hit me and a sharp pain shot up my left groin. I looked down at the woman and she had a dreamy satisfied grin on her face, like she was remembering a beautiful sunset or a picnic in the park.

“Poor guy still can’t stand completely straight.”

We turned into a small room with nothing but a square bed in the middle of the floor. We lowered the gurney down to bed height and began the process of transferring her to the bed.

While one person firmly held one arm down, another person removes our restraint and applies theirs. So it went with all her extremities until we lifted her over to the bed and she was securely fastened to it. Throughout the process she was very relaxed and pleasant.

As I was leaving the room, I looked back at her and she gave me a chameleon smile and said sweetly, “Bye bye.” I rubbed my chest and turned away.

A few days after the incident, I was in a supermarket shopping for dinner. I was standing in the cashier’s line when I noticed a small girl in front of me. She was maybe nine or ten-years-old.

I started to get a queasy feeling in my stomach. Just then, the little girl whirled around, squatted in a kung fu-like stance and cocked her right arm back.

I went berserk. I wasn’t going to get beat up by another tiny little female. I dropped the frozen TV dinner and beer I was holding and ran from the store screaming like a woman.

The little girl, with her arm cocked back, shot her hand out and grabbed a pack of bubble gum from the rack next to where I had been standing.

To guys reading this that might think I sound a little on the scaredy-cat side of things, I have this to say: Until you’ve had your testicles punched up into your belly by a tiny Asian midget lady and blacked out in my shoes for a mile, don’t judge me too harshly. I’ve been hit by bigger chicks than you, buddy.

I’ve been hit by bigger chicks than you, buddy.

mike cyraMike Cyra is a writer, scrimshaw artist and educator with over 20 years experience working in Emergency Medicine and Surgery. He worked as an Emergency Medical Technician on ambulances in Hawaii and Washington. And that’s only the beginning.

“Emergency Laughter: It Wasn’t Funny When It Happened… But it is Now!” is available on for Kindle on Amazon.com.

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