Monday, May 22, 2017


Where was I? Oh yeah, I'd just passed out at the bar. I wasn't drunk. I felt it coming on and warned the bartender that I may go down. What I can piece together from the people who kept  me from sliding to the floor was that when I started to go down they rushed over and propped me back up in my chair. I wasn't out long. Just long enough to call 911.

    First on the scene were two guys from the firehouse right next door. Every bar should have a firehouse close by. They took my pulse and blood pressure as the woman down the bar said it was diabetes or heart attack. She repeated her diagnosis as I sat drenched in sweat and got some water in me. Passing out is not a pleasant experience, but it is interesting. There's a strange calming after effect, like a good clip of coming attractions. The firemen agreed I was OK, but they had already called the Paramedics so they waited around until they showed. And here's where a simple loss of consciousness becomes an economic issue.
    I don't have insurance and felt  since I requested (while conscious) that my unconsciousness be taken in stride, I had not ordered any medical assistance. Now i also understand the bartender not wanting an unconscious man driving away customers. I guess I should have put a time limit on it, or wear a badge "If unconscious for over 5 mins. call 911" or "Do not bill unless called." So after the paramedics in their blue uniforms went through just what the firemen went through out came the paper work. Name? Address? Ph.#? Sign here. I looked at the checked boxes refusing service and was conscious enough to realize that by signing it they could bill me. I refused. They both looked at me like I was crazy.  The guy smiled and repeated, "No. You have to sign." By then I was not only  regaining consciousness, my litigious nature also was returning with my rosy cheeks. "All due respect." I informed my medics "I don't have to sign anything." They both sighed and the bartender signed. I did not go to the hospital.
    Today I got my bill. It came faster than the paramedics. It was for services rendered: $200. No here's the question. Does one have a right to public unconsciousness? Every time I pass out, is it going to cost me $200? I don't want to be an asshole, but neither do I want to set a precedent. This very probably won't be the last time I nod in public. So I wrote a little letter. I told the company that sent out the pulse and blood pressure takers that I appreciated the gesture, but I did not order what they were delivering, and was under no obligation to pay for it. That said, I think it is worth something, so I offered to pay $100 if they would bill me accordingly. Passing out should not cost so much. The woman at the end of the bar told me for my own good one more time. " may have the diabetes.....or a heart attack."


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