The 911 call for a man down came from one of the grocery stores that activated an emergency vehicle with fireman/medics to the scene.
Charles and Walt were young, handsome, excellent paramedics, and good friends. Together, they had responded to many accidents and medical crisis as well as geared up for fighting fire. The description on the dispatch had them preparing mentally for a stroke or a heart attack.
Flashing lights and sirens allowed them to park at the store entrance and roll through the electric doors with their equipment. An Assistant manager pointed them immediately to the elderly man lying on his back near the apple and orange display.
He appeared to be unaware of what was going on around him but responded when they shook him. (Shake and shout is standard procedure if they suspect someone is unconscious.)
Because he seemed somewhat alert Charles began checking the vitals signs (blood pressure, heart rate, etc) and Walt tested for mental clarity. He started by asking for verbal consent and identification.
Walt grasped the patients hand and said, “Sir, we’re here to help you. Will you tell me your name?”
“Awwww don’ kno,” was the slurred tongued response. Walt continued his questions; he was suprised to find that the patient knew what day it was, where he was, who was President, and the like. Why didn't the man know his own name?
Walt asked him again,"What is your name?"
The fellow gave the same answer. “Awwwwdon’know.”
Walt noticed that the man was getting more agitated at the continued prompting for a name.
The two paramedics felt that although there seemed to be little to indicate trauma, heart attack or stroke, there was something that was confusing the old gent. They decided to transport him to the emergency room.
They put him on the gurney and wheeled him to the ambulance. Charles took the driver’s seat and Walt jumped into the back with the patient.
“Could I remove your wallet and look at your identification?” Walt requested once the vehicle began moving.
After receiving a frustrated yes nod of the head, he pulled the worn leather from the man's overalls.
Walt opened it, searched for and found the man's Medicare card. He read the name in a clear loud voice. In the rear-view mirror the two friends eyes met and sparkled with stifled laughter. They were professionals and they would save their chortling and guffaws until after they completed their run. It would tickle the other firefighters on duty, too.
His name was just as he'd been trying to tell them: Otto Noe.