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Misc. Reviews 

Heavy Metal Med Tent

Wednesday, Jul 12 2006
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Rock Medicine has been tending to rock 'n' roll's side effects for 31 years. The all-volunteer outfit, an arm of the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, initially formed to minister to acid casualties at Dead shows, and today includes several hundred Bay Area volunteers.

The services Rock Medicine offers are basically some kind of Scandinavian fantasy come to life. At Shoreline on Saturday, July 1, in the time it took Ozzy to ramble and kick through his Second Stage set, a person could conceivably sustain a serious mosh-wound, get sutured up for free (typically a $1,000 procedure at hospitals).

But gruesome thousand-dollar procedures and PCP freakouts are the exception, even at Ozzfest. The day's maladies were mostly of the dehydration-, scraped-knee-, and sunburn variety, with a few bloody noses thrown in for old-time's sake. To wit: an account of one hour in a heavy metal "hospital."

6:01 p.m. Patient: Older male staff member. Complaint: Thumb smashed by fans pushing metal fence. Diagnosis: Fracture. Treatment: Ace bandage, cardboard splint.

6:10 p.m. Patient: Middle-aged drunk guy. Complaint: Wants sunscreen. Treatment: Given sunscreen.

6:14 p.m. Patient: Frat boy. Complaint: Thinks he has a fever. Treatment: Taken into back room for checkup.

6:15 p.m. Patient: Crying older woman in wheelchair previously treated for sprained ankle. Complaint: Needs to pee. Treatment: Granted access to a bathroom.

6:19 p.m. Patient: Rock Medicine volunteers discuss state of contemporary jam bands. Complaint: Phish is missed; Widespread Panic is OK. Diagnosis: Pearl Jam is the superior modern jam band.

6:22 p.m. Patient: Young female staff member. Complaint: Burned arm on stove. Treatment: Burn Jel, bandage.

6:25 p.m. Patient: Young woman in wheelchair. Complaint: Asthma acting up. Treatment: Inhaler provided.

6:30 p.m. Patient: Older male. Complaint: Sinus pain; "sore nerves" in eyes. Treatment: Eye drops, which man refuses to administer himself; several Rock Med volunteers spend next half-hour struggling with man in bathroom.

6:37 p.m. Patient: SF Weekly writer. Complaint: Dr. Mike notices I contracted sunburn while watching the DragonForce set earlier in the day. Treatment: Aloe vera gel. Diagnosis: DragonForce is awesome.

6:40 p.m. Patient: All Rock Medicine walkie-talkies crackle with colleagues' ominous pleas for "help in the pit." Med team dispatched.

6:43 p.m. Patient: Frat boy. Complaint: "Drinking in the sun all day" has lead to a headache. Treatment: Advil, Gatorade.

6:54 p.m. Patient: Teenage boy rushed in on gurney, accompanied by very concerned older woman. Diagnosis: "Crowd injury." Treatment: Whisked into back room, no further info granted.

6:57 p.m. Patient: Shirtless metal dude accompanied by crying girlfriend. Complaint: Gnarly head laceration (large chunk of flesh gouged out of face; fat and muscle visible). Treatment: Bandaged and encouraged to visit an ER for sutures ASAP.

About The Author

Frances Reade

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