Radio Waves In Canarsie

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It’s been an irritating morning on the ambulance with Bronson. He’s been criticizing me on everything from my choice of breakfast to my paperback novel. “Cut it out,” I warn him.

“No,” he says, as we get a call for an EDP – an emotionally disturbed person – in Canarsie. According to the computer, a woman called 911 and said she has a device implanted in her nose that the police are using to listen to and control her thoughts. “Excellent!” Bronson exclaims.

We arrive at the same time as the cops, knock, and the door is opened by a thin woman, about 40, hair neatly combed, wearing a blouse and shorts. In clear diction and perfect grammar, she tells us she was at Methodist Hospital last week where the doctors implanted a device in her nose that they are using to control her thoughts via remote radio waves. “I thought it was the police,” I say.

She blinks. “They’re in cahoots.”

We engage her in conversation, trying to judge her state of mind, and convince her to go to the hospital to be seen by a psychiatrist. She insists that she’s fine, and doesn’t want to go to a hospital. “But you called 911,” I say. She asks if I want to feel the device. “Put on gloves and feel right here -,” she says. “It’s alright,” I say. “I believe you.”

“You dialed 911,” a cop says. “The ambulance is here. You have to go.”

“I’m not going anywhere!” She tries to slam the door.

“Let’s just go to Kings County,” I say.

She presses her body against the door. “No! They’ll try to control my mind!”

“Kings County doesn’t do that,” I say.

Bronson agrees. “They’re not that good a hospital.”

The woman thinks about this. “Well, Methodist does it really well.” She presses a finger to the bridge of her nose, like in “The Sting.” “They’re trying to control me right now.”

The cops push their way in, and the woman springs onto the couch. “We can do this two ways,” the cop says. “You can come with us, or we can handcuff you.”

“You don’t have a warrant!” she shouts. “All I was trying to do was make a report!”

I look at Bronson. “She doesn’t want to go.”

Bronson wonders, “Does she have a psych history? Is she violent?” If she’s no harm to herself, or anyone else, if she wants to think there are radio waves in her head, that’s her prerogative. No harm, no foul.

She shouts, “No I don’t have a psych history, and do I look violent?” She’s standing on the back of the sofa, pressed up against the wall. Definitely unstable. And she did call 911, using emergency resources.The cops say she does this whenever her meds run out, and that they’ve had enough. They grab her and handcuff her while she screams, “Racist pigs! All I want to do is make a report!”

On the coffee table, I spot a three-page handwritten letter explaining how the doctor at Methodist implanted the mind-controlling device in her nose.

Bronson says, “She needs her meds.” And we take her, kicking and screaming, to the G-Building.

Back in the ambulance, Bronson says, “Buckle up.”

I start to fasten my seatbelt, but stop and place a finger alongside my nose. “Stop controlling my mind,” I say.

Ms. Klopsis is an emergency medical technician on an ambulance in Brooklyn. This column details her observations and experiences. Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of patients.

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