Barn Lady

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Barn Lady – A Mongo Memoir

Hello readers, today I would like you to meet Barn Lady. My story about Barn Lady comes up quite often when people ask me about encounters that leave you shaking your head and asking yourself “did that really just happen“?

I met Barn Lady on a 911 call numerous years ago. Working late into a shift I was obviously tired and well past “over it” when my crew was sent to a location for a female patient with breathing problems – 🤦‍♂️

So, my partner and I ripped across town, lights and sirens blasting, waking the dead, to help Barn Lady with her breathing problem. As I recall, it wasn’t a long trip so we must have been pretty close by.

Turns out, Barn Lady liked her cigarettes more than she liked oxygen – surprise, surprise. The house smelled like an ashtray mixed with the aroma of a simmering toilet nearby. I greeted Barn Lady who proclaimed “I can’t breathe” while she extinguished her Marlboro Menthol (100s no less). At that point, I (Mongo)was already pegging the annoyance richter scale at a 10.

Being the professional and people loving person I am, I suppress my disgust with Barn Lady and try to do my best to assure her that she is going to be OK and will not die – at least not in this habitat she calls home; simply because I am going to do everything in my power NOT to linger here longer than I have to.

I assess Barn Lady, who at this point begins to cough uncontrollably, making sounds I have never heard a human being make, nor ever dreamed could make short of having five gallons of mucous stuck in her bronchioles. Have another cigarette Barn Lady 🙂

We slap on some complimentary oxygen, check her vital signs, and prepare our cot for the short trip to our waiting chariot. As we are lifting Barn Lady out of her house atop the 100 pound cot (luckily she was not a large lady), she begins to cough in even more dramatic fashion while proclaiming “I have to spit”. I inform her that I have nothing for her to spit in and that she will have to wait just a few seconds until we are in the ambulance where I will be glad to get her something to spit in.

Barn Lady is loaded into the ambulance as quickly as we can, all the while complaining that she needs to spit. Do I really need to mention Barn Lady is really not short of breath or having trouble breathing? I know, shocker right. My encounter with Barn Lady goes down hill from this point on, and it is one of those crazy interactions that I will remember always. It went like this:

My partner asks “Do you need anything”? I reply “No” and Barn Lady yells “I still need to spit”.  The doors slam shut and we begin to move. As I prepare equipment in the ambulance as we begin moving, I say to Barn Lady “I’ll get you something to spit in in just a second, we cannot have equipment sitting out while moving and I have to secure your safety belts”. Barn Lady begins to cough and gag in even more dramatic fashion than before. I secure the last piece of equipment and reach for her safety harness as we begin to move slowly down the road towards the lucky hospital that will receive Barn Lady. She proclaims angrily one last time “I have to spit”. Then, out of nowhere, Barn Lady leans over the side of the cot and spits the most disgusting loogie I have ever seen on the floor of the ambulance, narrowly missing my boot.

I lose all sense of compassion for Barn Lady and loudly yell “Were you born in a barn or what”? Barn Lady looks at me surprised, clears her throat loudly and says to me “Is that any way to talk to a lady”?


Yep, she went there.

Needless to say, the rest of the ride was quite peaceful – not a cough or complaint and no spit………

My partner cleaned up the loogie 🙂


Midwest Bliss 

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