The turkey bowl diaries

(In honor of the return of the Turkey Bowl at WaWa…a post from last year)


1830: I arrive at the station about 30 minutes before shift change. I try get there early to put my gear on the truck, check over my equipment, make sure things are good to go for the night. My partner, Betty, usually gets there about 10 minutes after I do. But I want to have all the drugs signed and things done so we can run out and get some food.

1840: Betty arrives. First thing she says is, “I need some coffee. Stat.”

1850: The off going crew hands over their radios, pagers and keys and bids us a good evening. Betty and I head out to the truck to zip over to Wawa. For those of you not familiar with WaWa, it’s a convenience store that makes great subs and, around this time of year, a turkey bowl. It’s just what it sounds like. A bowl full of mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce. It’s become my autumn tradition. When I’m on night shift, I try to get one. It’s comfort food to the nth degree.

1852: dispatched to a 55-year-old complaining of chest pain. Turkey bowl will have to wait.

1925: cleared from the hospital following a transport of a patient with no real complaint. She was a bit hypertensive, so I drew bloods, started a lock and rode in. Back on the turkey bowl hunt.

1935: arrived at WaWa. Walk in to the delicious scent of fresh brewed coffee and turkey goodness.

1936: dispatched to an overdose.

1945: canceled by BLS unit. Apparently this overdose wasn’t. Back to the WaWa.

1952: arrive back at the WaWa. Placed my order, received my food, paid the bill and out to the truck.

2007: arrive back at the station. Take a seat in front of the TV, take the top off my turkey bowl…

2008: dispatched to motor vehicle accident with ejection and entrapment. They’re sending a helicopter, too. This might be good, turkey bowl must wait.

2025: Arrive on scene to find teenager ejected from the vehicle and the car on top of him. He’s pinned, but conscious and oriented. Not complaining of anything other than some leg pain. Luckily the car flipped over in a farmer’s field with freshly plowed soft dirt. Patient extricated, placed on a longboard and moved to the ambulance. Canceled the helicopter. While doing a secondary assessment, my stomach grumbled so loudly that the EMTs could hear it. Thought longingly of turkey bowl waiting at the station.

2125: clear the hospital and back en route to the station. My turkey bowl is probably cold now. I don’t care.

2133: pager goes off again. Chest pain. Are you fucking kidding me?

2205: clearing the hospital, got to try to get back to the station. Damn! We need fuel first, got to stop and get it before I can shove my face into my now undoubtedly ice cold turkey bowl.

2216: getting fuel.

2219: pager goes off again. This time, seizures.

2220: I groan and resign myself to the fact that I am going to starve tonight. I might possibly waste away to nothing. I would sell my soul for a package of saltines.

2230: canceled by BLS. Quickly make a U-turn and point the truck in the direction of the station.

2245. Back at Station, sitting in front of the TV, kicked back in the recliner with a cold turkey bowl in my lap…

2246: I have a bite… pure sublime joy.

2247: pager goes off yet again. Altered mental status at a nearby nursing home.

Yeah… I ate that turkey bowl about 1:30 this morning. And you know what? It was freaking outstanding.

I’m back on night shift tonight. I don’t think I’m going to get a turkey bowl. Sandwiches are safer, they don’t make the pager go off.


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Rob Walker

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