31 December 2004

Not Dead...yet

30 December 2004

"Not Dead...Yet"

Like any good child should do, I am just checking in with you all to let you know that I am still alive.

Since the holiday season, I have been swamped here at work AND finishing up moving two places into one so I am actually down a computer where as I can only type here at work for now.

Once settled, it shouldn't take long to get reacquainted with my journal and present you with some more stories including the actual "moving day".

A quick reminder, the new year is here and it is a time to celebrate with all your friends and family as to a new beginning is granted.

Please..I beg of you..be safe and responsible. Use your common sense when drinking whether you are driving or not.  I would love to meet all of you someday by knocking on the door to your house to have a cook out of sorts..not by knocking on the door of your car as it is wrapped around a tree.

Wear your safety belts, DO NOT drink and drive, and most importantly...don't become a statistic.

Happy New Year to all my friends and family out there.. See ya next year.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,

M-

23 December 2004

Anyone Got a Shovel?

23 December 2004

"Anyone Got a Shovel?"

Here I am...on B-Shift...waiting for a call to come in.

Normally, I work on C-Shift so my day is not till tomorrow.

So why am I here???

 

 

That is why!!!!

Above are some pictures of the storm around here and a current radar picture of the storm that had passed over us within the last 12 hours.

I woke up this morning only to find the snow was even with the window line of my car...and that was at 5 AM. 

In all, we have had close to 30 inches here on the west side of the Cleveland area and more is expected to come.

The person who was supposed to work today got snowed into her apartment which is no suprise seeing I have not seen personal plows in the are until about noon.

Going into the bank, I had to call for a rescue helicopter to come and get me (not really, I am just over dramatic). The bank had NOT been plowed and it only took me a half hour to get out of the lot.

Well, in Panama Beach, FL, it is 71 degrees right now..5 hours away in New Orleans..it is 38....Hmmm...do you see a front there?

More is expected to come and I have to go get a frozen popscile (someone shovelling snow and is having chest pain now) right now so I will talk to you all soon.

Dear Santa-

Please send me sunshine...8 straight days of it...darkness is overrated.

Rounding Third and Heading Home-

M-

 

18 December 2004

Entering the DMZ

18 December 2004

"Entering the DMZ"

Just over a year ago, half way around the world, a war started where a the people that live there wanted a revolution and decided that the dictatorship that they have lived under for so long is no longer wanted and needed. Employing in their fight, The US has taken control of this country for them and will soon be turning it back over. The road was long and hard and has not come without price.

Here in the United States, a similar evil lurks in our backyards employing a place that is controlled by ruthlessness and mercenary sensiblity. It is a place where evil grows and is soon to become rooted there as the influence that it incurs becomes mainstay in our present day society.  It is a place that consumes our lives, our souls, our well-being. A place that will change us forever...

This place.....

 

Walmart.com

 

I know everyone in their lives have shopped at Walmart. If you haven't, you are either dead, in a coma, incarcerated, or just  aren't allowed back into the store because that cute little cashier at register9 who you went out on ONE lousy date and gave you a good night kiss thinks that 20 calls to her house a day is excessive and the simple fact that you drive past her house every day, 7 times even though she lives an hour away from you goes to the courts and gets a restaining order and labelling you a "stalker"...I mean c'mon...was it really THAT bad where....oh...um....sorry.

Bev and I went to Walmart the other day on my day off to get Dog food.  I think NASA was there...because it is a whole other world.

First, let's talk parking...

There are only 3 people in existance that can get into the Walmart Parking lot.

They are...

 Jeff Gordon, John Force,

Al Unser Jr.

It is to my opinion that Nextel should sponsor the parking lot at Walmart and that they should have 2 races of the season there...one of them being during the holidays.

Drivers coming into the lot are similar to buzzards circling their prey from above waiting for that specific moment to strike. Replace the prey with the parking space and you have pretty much the same, similar senerio.

And then.....

It happens....

Someone pulls out of a space halfway up the lane....

Side note, open all sounds by right clicking then opening in new window

The showdown starts here

On the East side, a minivan has turned the corner casing the lot for the specific spot to rest their vehicle while Christmas merchandise is purchased to place under the tree. While bringing their eyes to center, the shining of turning headlights reflect off the wet glass signifying a car pulling out of the space.

The West side has a 1978 Delta 88 who is oblivious to pedestrian traffic as they just whip around the corner vying for that one position that they can parkat, having no consequences and not caring about who they take out. Between a group of holiday shoppers, a glimspe of red tail lights hits the retinas of the drivers' eyes as see the minivan making an attempt for the space with their turn signal on.

Place your Bets Folks

AND THEY'RE OFF!!!!

Mom's grocery getter has the early lead with the front wheel drive kicking in and accerating to its potential.

The land yacht leaves a rubber trail as it sees the opponent gun for the spot, it is off and running making a break for the space.

The mini van dodges right to avoid the truant driver whom left the space open leaving the Delta 88 with a comfortable lead.

The Delta 88 looks to have the advantage here but OH WAIT....Grandma in a wheelchair has pulled out in front blocking both lanes.

The Mini van recovers from its evasion and races towards the space.

The 88 remarkably maintians its position..

Its the mini van...the Delta 88...the mini van...the Delta 88....

And the winner is.......

The Delta 88.

Why? Because it is always the big car that pulls in and is too big for the space so instead of straighening it out, they leave it there and it is always YOUR car that it parks next to leaving you with need of a can opener to get inside your own vehicle.

This is why people key cars.

Bev and I park in the back 40 somewhere and take the 2 hour trek to the front door. When the lights shine bright, the flow of people increase, you are almost there..only 2 more obstacles to overcome...

First is the freeway speed traffic in front of the building. As I said, we talked about this already.

Then, trying to get past the Joe Dirt Buick that is parked in the fire lane pooluting the air with its sub grade gasoline and hasn't had a tume up since the Eisenhower era. Thick black smoke arises infiltrating the lungs of everyone around and you feel yourself choking to death.

Bev's Mind does this

Mine Sounds like this

Running through the thick black smoke, we puff on an Asthma inhaler and make it through thedouble doors.

The Sound of Victory

Our quest was not over yet...Dog food is what we came for....Dog food is what we are leaving with.

Start the Journey Here

Okay, time to find a shopping cart.

It really doesn't matter how you plan it or where you wait in line, you are bound to get that one cart that has the broken wheel on it and has more bounce than a child on a bed in a hotel room.  It is holiday shopping time..suck it up.

Entering the store, here is where National Geographic should be researching the new breed of humans that immerse to these locations...and how the multiply during the holiday season.

Gripping the cart even harder, I ran blocker for Bev as she trailed behind telling me where I needed to go.

Dodging left, and shooting right, we maneuvared around the numerous obstacles strategically placed in our path. I think they call these obstacles children.

Looking in line to my right, I am blinded by the 375 pound person who thinks that it is acceptable to wear spandex stretch pants out in public. I guess it is okay though seeing she has the matching tube top that goes with it.

My therapy bill is gonna go throught the roof...

Making it to the pet isle, we are almost to the promised land......almost.

Impeeding our path is that one person who has the motorized cart with the basket big enough to hold your credit card in it looking at two different kinds of food that they may change once they glance away and glance back.

During the holiday season, the phrase "Excuse me" does not apply as it only envelopes rage and disgust. I tried anyways....it still didn't work.

"Gee I really wish WE could get some food!!" Bev said too in that voice that was overly audible so as to give the hint.

It worked...

Glancing at us, a look that could kill showered us as if we were asking her to give up her oxygen that she breathes. Lady, it's friggin dog food...Dancing Elmo is over there. Why don't you go run some little kid down.

Obtaining our primary goal..it was off to the cashier line.....until....

"You know what would be good right now.....chocolate!!!' Bev said.

Men. Listen to me. Women need five things in their lives. Shelter, food, clothing, love and chocolate. Trying to deprive them from this sinful yet, endulging snack, is subsequent for homicide in some states. Remember the saying "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."  Remember this after you tell her no and you need something done...Also keep in mind..she is the one that packs your lunch. So, sympathize with their need. Pretend it is you...and you can't find the remote. NOW you now how lost you would be. Point taken.

Okay, Chocolate in the cart..Off to the register.

Parents. I have a question for you.  What is acceptable attire to let your child wear out of the house and even to the store with you.

Here is why I ask....in front of us in line, I see a 14 year old female with more make up on than Tammy Faye Bakker, a tight, low cut sweater showing off what God hasn't given her yet, Skin tight jean capris...and.....5 inch spike heels....

ROXANNE.....YOU DON'T HAVE TO PUT ON THE RED LIGHT...........

Sorry, I know that was mean.

The checkout is a whole other story. This is where the chorus of children are isolated in the lines that have us lined like cattle going for the slaughter, screaming at the top of their lungs because they want the pack of Nerds candy that would most likely keep them up all night. Parents..let them have it....here is what you do. Make them eat both boxes, tie a rope around them, and have them pull the car home. Imagine how much money you will save!!!!

Hey, it's just an idea.

Our cashier seemed almost robotic as no eye contact was made and the mundane and monotone volume of her voice made me feel warm in a place that I never knew I had...and still don't know about.

Cash or Charge she asked in the same voice Eeoyre has in Winnie the Pooh...

Wow...a choice...

Paying for the items, we quickly began the journey back to the car almost running with holiday glee (actually, I think it is fear) only to find that we were undercharged on the dog food.

Go back inside???

Maybe on another adventure....

Tired now...next stop is Target..I will need a squad after this...

Forward all my mail....

Rounding Third and heading home,

M-

 

13 December 2004

And the Fun Begins

13 December 2004

"And the Fun Begins"

The holiday season.

I can actually hear some of you cringe as I typed that and you read it.

Well, folks, it is like the tax man.  You hate it, you put it off as long as you can, you try to cut corners where possible, yet there is no way to avoid it....and, like the tax man, it takes all your money leaving you with nothing to show.

You gotta love the season.

Where I work, we call the holiday season "The Red Zone".

Why you may ask? (Go on....ask)

Well, from 12:01 AM the day after Thanksgiving all the way up to about 8 AM on New Year's Day, call volume in the city where I work almost triples.  Where there is a Wal-Mart, there is an injury. Where there is a mall, there is an accident.

I think you get the idea.

There is one other factor coming from the festive season of lights that also plays a vital role as to our increase of trips. 

Snow.

Okay, for those of you who think 50 degrees is time to pull your children out of school, raid the Kroger grocery store for food as if the apocalyspe was among us, and start burning every book you have (except that one Betty Crocker cook book because the pictures look so nice) to stay warm, you all need a shot of reality (Or Jim Beam...whichever you prefer).

Yes, the snow is cold and the snow is blustery (triple word score there) but for those who live in the midwest, it is an inevitable site that winter is here.

So get used to it.

Anyways, as the temperature drops, the older population drops too...on the floor, on the side walk, and so on.

There is one rule that apply with the elderly too. If you hear an ambulance going donw the street, chances are you need one too..besides, 9-1-1 is always awake, I bet EMS is too.

No matter where you are in the country, there is no exception to this rule....no where.

1900 hours

Today had been one of those days where you are better off leaving the phone off the hook and hiding in a closet because you know the next call is going to find you sooner than later.

The bays were active like the terminal at the airport. As soon as one taxi comes back, another takes off..in search of a new passenger.

The snow began to slowly pick up and the winds were gusting rather furiously taking the American flag to its fullest extention.  It was getting colder fast...and it was only a matter of time until...well

Hell Froze Over

I think you can figure it out.

Todd came in for Kim which is a good thing seeing I like Todd and we work well together...but...

Todd is a Shit magnet (pardon the French there).

Everytime I work with him, I end up having some major trauma or some serious illness that makes us think rather hard....that or people die.

And why should this be any exception. If it were, do you think I would write about it.

The phone rang (as it did ALL DAY LONG...sorry...a little cranky there) for a shortness of breath at a residence where the address was familiar.

Normally we go to this house for the female of the residence as she has had several strokes and is confined to a chair. A really nice couple, her husband always took great care of them and it was a pleasure to go to their house despite the fact that they needed the ambulance.

Today was a little different. Today, the squad was for him.

Pulling out into the avenue, the snow began to crunch under the tires of the truck. Traffic is moving at a slower pace than normal because of the frozen precipitation.

*side note. Despite living in Ohio most of their lives, people in this state drive as if they had never seen snow....and this happens EVERYTIME it rains, snows, or the sun shines the wrong way...it is a way of life out here.

Down the street, I see the ladder truck advancing to the call with a considerable lead on us. (Why they take a ladder truck to a medical call is beyond me..they used to take a pumper but closed a station down due to money problems...so let's take out the vehicle that takes the most fuel...). The strobes reflected off of the wintry sky showing where the truck was around corners.

It didn't take long to get to the call..and it was the house that I thought it was.

In the chair, our patient awaited us, sitting up and breathing at a rather fast rate.   Starting the interview, the patient explained as to how this started 10 minutes ago and so he took his Albuterol treatment only to find it was empty..so he called us.

This had been the theme all day where a drop in temperature had created a sweep across the city of shortness of breath.  A treatment given to them by us had them back on their feet in no time.

Todd gave him a treatment right off the bat while the fire guys got our cot and set it up to take him in.

Asking him as to where his wife was, he stated that she was already in the hospital after having a bout with her dementia and was taken in last shift...by Kim ironically.

Getting him ready for transport, it appeared to be what looked like a normal difficulty breathing. The patient even got up and walked himself to the cot stating that it was not necessary to pick him up and place him on it. ( I wish ALL patients told us this).  We secured him and placed him in the truck.

Have you ever had one of those feeling where you know something is just not right and it bites at you despite your findings? Kinda like Deja vu and ESP in a combined form (with less calories).  This was one of those times.

I gave the patient a second treatment as he stated he was still short of breath and that the first one really did nothing for him.  Todd began getting vitals. I listened to the lungs.

I heard almost nothing out of the ordinary but was caught off guard a little when I heard the heart sounds.

The patient was WAY Tachy (tachycardia...or above 100 beats a minute...normal is 60-100 beats a minute.)

This guy was in the 140's.

Hmmm...

I attibuted some of it to the medicine we gave him as that does have a beta effect on the heart. ( I can't explain that all that well, but Kasey and Scott are in school for this now, so it will be good practice for them.) so I wasn't overly concerned...the Todd gave a blood pressure.

180/110.

This was high...too high for our liking.

I got up front and started the journey knowing we would need to get their soon.  His pulse ox didn't get over 89%. A red flag yet, he had Emphysema so we never really gave it much thought.  Todd did the rest of his stuff on the way.

Three minutes later (we were pretty much across the street from the hospital) we arrived.

Coming around back to open the patient compartment, I noticed that in that three minutes, the patient had begun to get tired....a WAY bad sign.

We unloaded him and took him in where the care for his breathing was taken over by the staff there.

I hoped that he would make it for the simple fact that he was the sole caregiver for his wife and that he always went out of his way to say hello to us. 

The ER staff was right on him...He was going to get the help he needed.

Two hours later...he died.

  This is the bandage I needed to wrap my face after getting slapped with that info.

 This is the cold pack I used to reduce the swelling.

Apparently, this gentleman had a PE (pulmonary embolism)Read about PE's here.  Who would have thought...he had no history and showed no immediate signs. 

Well, the night grew long and dim and the hits just kept on coming....

By the time it was all said and done, I felt my body beginning to ache knowing that after a shift like this, there was only one other thing to do.

.miller genuine draft

It's Miller Time....

Rounding Third and Heading Home,

M-

10 December 2004

The New Car Smell

10 December 2004

"The New Car Smell"

Good day to you all, Sports fans.

I hope that everyone's holiday season is going well and with little or no major hang ups.

I have taken a day off of work so I really don't h ave a new entry as far as that goes other than the fact that I will be getting "divorced" at work soon because Kim, my partner of three years, found a better job somewhere and will be moving on.  I will write more about that later though.

So...what did I do on my day off?  What any other normal American would do.

No...no that!!!!

Or that either.....

I went and bought a new (well, new to me) car. And let me tell, you..it was quite and adventure.

This is a picture of my old vehicle (Rather a file picture).

The 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo.

My Jeep was Fire Engine red with a grey two tone on the bottom of it.  This was a perfect fit for me at the time. The weather was still snowy and its 4x4 capability got me to the fire station a bit quicker than when I was in my previous vehicle.

Obviously I had bought it used and loved the way it felt when I drove it.  I had equipped it with a light and a siren to serve my purpose and off I went into the night.

Oh yeah...the Jeep had 140,000 miles on it.

Not that I had any major problems with it, but small things started to go wrong and I just couldn't justify a bigger car payment AND constant repair cost on top of it...so it was time to let go.

Wiping a tear from my eye, I logged into the computer and began doing research as to what was out there for me.  I was on a mision, a new mission, to find something stronger, better, affordable, and that I could keep for a while.  I really didn't have a preference as to what kind of car I wanted (well, I didn't want a yugo or or a coffin on wheels) so I started cheking out some of the different dealerships as to see what they had to offer me.

Searching online, I ran into endless "one time low financing now..but hurry" all over the place.  My head started to hurt as the computer became the voice of a salesperson in my head.  You know, that cheesy game-show like voice staring you down with the teeth shining bright enough to blind the Hubble telescope and the pattended "Boy, do I have a car for you.." speech.

I think I was getting nausious...so it was time to try a different approach.

Einy..Miny..Miney..Moe..

Okay, I found a dealership..that was easy.

Next was the preliminary call down there to let them know I was coming.

I gave them the pertinent info on the phone as to cut time down when I got there in the event that there was something that I liked.  A list of "what to bring" was given to me and I hung the phone up.

Now...came the quest...to the dealership.

I live in Elyria, Ohio. The dealership was in Hudson, Ohio...the difference....an hour...through rush hour traffic..up hill...both ways...in eight feet of snow...bare footed.

<Smack!!!!>

Um...sorry...I needed that.

The drive was nice seeing that almost all of it was highway and the part that wasn't, was through a richer community so it was nice to see the houses decorated with their lights and properties neatly trimmed and decked for the season. Bev partook in the festivities enjoying the holiday-esque atmosphere that was provided.

I just wanted to get there.  My goal was to be in and out in under 4 hours. (Insert heavy laughing here).  We continued our drive..we continued our mission...up ahead, on the left, was our finish-line, our goal, our final destination.

In this distance, I spotted the illimunation of the parking area and show floors of the dealership. You know, where they have more lights than a pro sports stadium. Nirvana was just a few feet away.

Now...I don't know how many of you are familiar with buying a car off a big lot, but the expirience that we had was a little out of the ordinary.  From here on out, I will try to be as descriptive as possible...you are now entering...The Twillight Zone....

Dee, dee, dee, deeeeee......Dee, dee, dee, deeeeeeee.

Pulling into the visitor's parking lot (Yes, they had a visitor's lot), we were met under a veranda-like canopy by a bigger and older gentleman who was wearing one of those secret service-like ear pieces blocking the entrance way as if here were a bouncer at a trendy night club.

"Can I help you folks?" his voice asked with a calm and pleasant tone to it. I still wouldn't want to try to forge past him. He probably has a taser under his coat.

"I have an appointment with a Gold Team member for a car." I politely told him.

He moved to his right andextended an arm out showingus the way inside the facility.

"Right this way sir, I will call ahead to the team and let them know that you are here." His smile was met with a comfort warming the soul...it better..he was WAY bigger than me.

Okay, now we are inside the dealership walls.  In front of me, I have an operator to my right answering calls and directing them to the proper lines. To my right, there is a reception desk, similar to that of a fancy hotel with the two conceirges occupying that space. One of the gentlemen behind the desk spoke.

"Good Afternoon, sir, If you would go through that door to your right and have a seat, the team has been notified and will be meeting with you in a moment."

Okay, this is weird.

"The Team" I thought to myself. As in "more than one"?

Well, MoneyPenny, I guess I will be getting briefed really soon as to my next assignment.

Entering the main reception area, the room was filled with new cars, play areas for children, a cafe to quench your thirst or fill your belly, a small museum displaying NASCAR items, and TVs playing different ESPN channels throughout the area. The Room was about the size of a gymnasium and was set up close to a wedding reception banquet hall with tables everywhere and a big space in the middle to dance. (don't worry, not turning my groove thing on here tonight.) Bev and I took a seat. Within about two minutes, our sales rep came down.

We were met by a younger gentleman in his late 20's I estimated with a very pleasant demeanor who courteously greeted us and sat down to start the process.  Now, I was ready for high pressure sales and him showing us the most expensive things that he could. I was ready to say "NO"...that didn't happen.

Ironically, he looked at both of us and asked us "what is it that you are looking for and where do you want your payments to be at?"

Hmmm....Well, I want the most expensive car you have and pay $3 dollars a year. Can you do that for me?

I explained my numbers to him and he immediately nodded with a "I think we can do that for you."

Now came the fun part...the preliminary paperwork.  Fortunately, having done an application for financing on line, there was not really a whole lot that I needed to do to get this ball rolling....yet (oh yes, I will bleed out an ink pen by the time this is done.)

Doing the "Let me run this upstairs (it was only one story, I didn't know where 'upstairs' could possibly be) and see what the banks say.

This is the part where you wait...and wait...and wait...them knowing already what the outcome is, but make it look like they are vying for your best interest when in essence, they are having a smoke break.

"Okay, I think we got a bank for you."

You do????  A whole bank?  Well then, I would like 10's and 20's in non-sequential order. I want it in an unmarked bag taken to the corner and dropped in the trash container...walk away from it then go to the payphone and wait for a call....

Damn, I need to stop going to Blockbuster.

Well....the moment of truth...the moment we have all been waiting for....the test drive.

Going out into the lot, there must have been close to 150 cars of all types outside waiting to be driven.  I had a select few that were in my budget and what I was looking for.  After touring the lot, I decided to test drive one of the vehicles out of recommendation of the sales guy.

BTW..you KNOW they want you to drive the most expensive out of the few  you pick.

This is the first one...

The 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix.

Okay..THIS was a nice car. It had all the bells and whistles to it...I think this car had more than Knight Rider's KITT car.

Here is what it had on it:

Power Steering, Power Locks, ABS brakes, dual climate control w/Air Conditioning, traction control system, AM/FM CD player, leather seats, power seats, heated seated, moon roof, heads-up display, OnStar, Cruise control, radio buttons on the steering wheel, tilt steering, Bose speakers, Turbo injected, cockpit designed, power windows (Bev told me to put that in.) Pirelli Tires and a whole other bunch of stuff that I can't think of.

This car screamed to be opened up...and I obliged it.

Taking the car on the highway, I went from 0-60 in like .00045 seconds. Okay, maybe not that fast.

I had a smile on my face, Bev held on for dear life. I knew she wasn't gonna let me get this car.

The test drive ended before I really wanted it to and it was time to get down to business....time to crunch some numbers.

The sales guy left to see how much the car was. Now, if you have to leave to see how much a car is, then you probably can't afford it.

Boy, was I right.

Minuteslater, the rep showed back up hoisting a piece of paper with a price and a monthly payment.

I looked at it....I almost fell out of my chair.

The price of the car was just over what I wanted to pay for it but was still do-able.  The monthly payment was almost as high as my rent.

"Well....what do you think?"

I think I need an ambulance.

"Umm....well.....just HOW negotiable is this?"

"The bank and the guys upstairs are pretty set on this."

The guys upstairs are probably looking down salivating wondering if I will take the deal.

I took the paper..I wrote a number that I thought was fair.  The negotiations began.

He wrote another number down.

I laughed.

Bev wanted a minute to confer. Bev is my agent.

Okay, the realism of this car IF I were to get this car, with my insurance, rent, utilities, and other bills would put me at roughly $.38 cents in the positive...each month.

This car was not practical....this car was not going home with me.

The sales guy came back...I gave him the bad news.

"Okay, that is WAY out of my ball park. Here are the choices you have now. Either find me a different car with a lower payment, or we have to leave and go elsewhere."

I could see the look of defeat on his face, yet he showed an understanding as to my request.

Back to square one.

Five minutes later...he came back...with a different car.

Let's see what he has for me.

2002 Ford Taurus

Introducing the 2002 Ford Taurus.

Hmmm..a Ford on a Ford lot....who would have thought.

I didn't really need to drive it to know that this was the car I was going to get..but I did...

and...

I loved it.

It rode better and didn't have all the unnecessary items that I needed in it.

We went back to the bargaining table. It was do or die.

The numbers came back.....

Time to go to financing....I liked what they had for me.

Within an hour..I drove away with a new car (got too tired to type anymore.)

Well, I am off, I have to clean out the old and put in the new...and I have to see how much my insurance will raise.

Oh yeah..I am hungry too.

See ya all soon.

Rounding Third and heading home,

M-

05 December 2004

The 12 Days of Christmas - EMS Style

05 Decmeber 2004

"The 12 Days of Christmas - EMS Style"

On the First day of Christmas, my Dispatcher gave to me...Grandma who fell and hurt her knee...

On the Second Day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me...2 MG of Narcan for the out of work person who wants to end it all by taking her Husband's pain pills and won't tell me what she took and is feeling suicidal....and grandma who fell and hurt her knee.

On the Third day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me....Three stacked shocks for the 88 year old man who instead of paying the neighbor kid 5 bucks to shovel his driveway, decided to do it himself and have the big one in the driveway...2 Mg of Narcan for the psycho chick trying to off herself...and grandma who fell and hurt her knee..

On the Fourth day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me....4 AM in the morning I have to go to the nursing home because someone has had the flu for like 16 years and all of a sudden needs to go to the hospital....NOW,...Three Stacked shocks for the full arrested popsicle, 2 MG of Narcan for Morphine eating Momma..and Grandma who fell and hurt her knee....

On the Fifth day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me...Five minutes to eat.....4 AM shuttle call, Three stacked shocks, 2 MG of Narcan, and Grandma who fell and hurt her knee....

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me....Six run reports behind because the computer guy can't fix the system..Five Minutes to eat!!!!!!!!!!  4 AM Shuttle, 3 zaps to the chest, gonna have a stomach pumped, and grandma who fell and hurt her knee...

On the Seventh day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me...Seven car pile up while everyone was trying to beat the light so they can get into Wal Mart the day after Thanksgiving thinking there is only 4 dancing Elmo Dolls...six reports behind...Five minutes to eat.......4AM is way to early, 3 stacked shocks, 2 of Narcan Pushed, and grandma who fell and hurt her knee....

On the Eighth day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me....Eight flights of steps to walk up to get the 400 pound person who is having shortness of breath since LAST Christmas and can't walk...oh, and of course, the elevator doesn't work...7 cars a crunching, six reports a writing, Five minutes to eat. 4 AM shuttle, CPR in progress, 2 MG of Narcan, and grandma who fell and hurt her knee...

On the ninth day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me Nine blankets needed to cover up grandpa because he is freezing and we aren't even out of the house yet but thinks he will get pneumonia and die for all of the 10 seconds we are outside...Eight flights of stairs, should have stayed home and bought off of Ebay, six reporst I'm writing...Five minutes to eat.....What the Hell time is it, should have paid the kid, 2MG of Narcan, and grandma who fell and hurt her knee.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me...Ten Minutes till I can get a bed in the ER because the nurses are busy figuring out who is going to lunch next....Nine blankets needed, Hope fire department is coming, 7 cars a crunching, six reports I need to write, Five minutes to eat...Can't you wait till morning, sick a fork in him, he's done, Man I hope she shuts up..and grandma who fell and hurt her knee.

On the Eleventh day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me....Eleven times I tried to get the heat to work in the back of the truck and maintainence won't take the truck in...ten minutes waiting, Nine blankets needed, eight flights of steps to climb, Hope you have Progressive, Give me a new ink pen...Five minutes to eat....4 AM is early, 3 Leads all show he's dead, 2 MG won't touoch her..and grandma who fell and hurt her knee...

On the Twelth day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me..a 12 Gague IV needle that I put into the drunk 19 year old who tried to swing at me...it is really freezing, Hope you choke on your sandwich, 9 blankets for grandpa, How did you get up here in the first place, man your husband is gonna be pissed, six reports STILL down...five minutes to eat...Better than taking them back, Hope I recorded the code, Man, just pass out already...and grandma who fell and hit her knee...

Merry Christmas,

Rounding Third and heading home,

M-

29 November 2004

Holes in the Floor of Heaven

30 November 2004

"Holes in the Floor of Heaven"

Dear Friends and Family,

Since March of this year, I have created a site that, for all intents and purposes, have grown from a place to vent about my job and the trials and tribulations that I have encountered as my job of being a paramedic.

Since then, I have grown very close to most of you sharing in your everyday lives and letting me become part of your family. With every entry I have written, you have responded with an absolution cheering me on or holding my hand. No matter what the case was, you have supported me and my decision to do whatever it takes to provide the utmost of care to the people that I serve.

You have inspired me, made me laugh, and most of all, have been my friend through these long months. For all of this, I must thank you.

December holds a lot for me other than the holiday season and the fact that my birthday falls on the beginning of the month. For me, December holds a gray day that will live with me for eternity.

On the 2nd of December, 1997, I lost my mother to her long battle with cancer.

For years, I have endured the pain and the agony she had gone through fighting the beast and coming out ahead of the game more often than not. The fight was long and hard and no matter what it took, my mother did it...and she did it with grace.

She never let her disease slow her down and never once referred to it as a handicap of any sorts. She created an inspiration as to everyone that she had met and, in some way, had touched their lives forever.

Even with a sickness, my mother had put herself last making sure that every one was taken care of and that no one went without before any of her needs were even remotely met.

Laying up in her bed, I remember a final conversation that we had staring at me with her beautiful brown eyes as she had made her peace with God telling me "not to worry. You will be taken care of forever. I have always had the utmost in faith in what you do and I am very proud that you are my son."

Later that night..my mother died.

I remember standing at the wake of her funeral greeting people as they approached to express their condolences hearing stories about my mother and how her presence in their lives will change them forever. People that my mom had never met, never corresponded with, came from all over the state to express their sorrow for her loss...heads hanging low..quivers in their voices. It was hard for them to be there, but they felt that they owed it to my mother.

As each person passed the coffin to view her and pay their final respects, a pink carnation was placed as a tribute to her and to honor her friendship in their lives.

In all there were over 400 pink carnations placed...and three white ones..representing my father, my brother, and myself.

Placing her into her final resting place, I remember the wind being blistering and piercing. People covered their faces, wrapped in scarfs and gloves as they watched her body being lowered into the ground. I stood and watched..oblivious to the cold that what ripping at my skin, unaware of the potential for frostbite...

Everyone else left to gather in her celebration...

I stood there for an hour...to say my good-bye.

A good-bye that I prayed would never come. A good-bye that changed my life forever.

I will be taking an absence from my site here as I need the time to get away and mourn my beloved best friend. Although it has been seven years that have passed, it was an eternity that had reached the heavens.

I know she is up there watching me...I can feel it everyday.

God Bless you, mom..and I love you.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,

M-

25 November 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

25 November 2004

"Happy Thanksgiving"

Looking outside my window, I see the first blowing snow of the season begin to take effect as rooftop and lawns are covered with a white blanket relative to this time of year. 

Kids dressed in bundles of clothing play in amazement as the frozen precipitation has not been seen in months.  Their little tounges hang out attempting ot catch their first snowflake and watch it dissolve on right before their eyes.

The smell of home cooked meals radiate throughout as families arrive to residence to give thanks on this special day.  Driveways are lined with cars, Football appears on the big screen, and greetings and salutations are met..with the greatest of loves.

Thumbing through an old photo album, I partake in pictures of my brother when he was 5 years of age. Looking at the backround, I remember the house, the toys, the clothes, that he once had and all the times that we would play together inside when it was too cold to go out.  Pictures of him playing in the back yard or in a tire swing enjoying the spring.  Memories that are captured forever...in a picture.

Mark, now 26. Lives far away from me..in Texas, where he is serving in the US Army as a medic stationed in a trauma facility not knowing his outcome as to when he will go overseas. 

According to my father, My brother is elated with my licensing of Paramedicine and the fact that I finally did it. He couldn't be more proud when I talk to him. The truth is...he is the one who is MY hero for all that he has accomplished.  I wish that I could have spent more time with him as a child, but I will never downplay the fact that he is my brother..and I am proud of him...and very thankful too.

I am thankful for Beverly.  Her immense love and honor are well above the ranges of what is expected and what is deserved.  Everyday she is glad to see me as I am her, and everyday she tells me.  Beverly has become an immense addition to my life and has carried me on waves of hope and spirit when I had felt down and defeated.  Her being here just makes life a little less complicated...and a lot more secure.  Thank you Beverly.

I am thankful for my parents.  My father who gave up things that he wanted in order to make our lives better.  To this day, my father works very hard at what he does making sure that no one goes without...even if he doesn't know them.  He always wanted what was best for my brother and me, and he did a great job in molding us into who we are.

My mother who had been my inspiration since day one.  She always taught me not to give up and if I wanted something bad enough to fight for it until I was satisfied.  My best friend and mentor, my mother was my champion..where she always will be.  Even though she is no longer on this earth, my mother lives in my heart...for always.

I am thankful for my job. The immense gratification of changing ones lives for the better is unmatchable and will, by far, be the number one goal I have in this field. The encounters I have and the people I meet will help me grow as a paramedic and a person.  Touching their lives only enriches mine.

There is several other thanks that I could give out but there is only one more that I really want to mention.

A thanks to you...my readers.  If it were not for your visitation to my site, there would be no journal.  I have considered you in a higher standard of those who leave comments....but rather my friends and my family.  You have let me take part in your lives and become part of your family in your comments and your journals.  We have laughed and cried and have picked each other up when we needed it...You all have been supportive of what I do and how I do it and have never let me hit rock bottom..no matter how bad the call.  Some of you never leave a comment, which is fine. I appreciate that you are reading. But I wanted to say thank you to you also who comes by..just to visit.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is overshadowed with the beginning of the Christmas season and should be recognized no matter who you are.  So, today, tell me what you give thanks for, no matter how insignificant you may think it is. Leave a comment and let me know. Your thanks is never underappreciated...nor will it ever be.

And for those of you shopping tomorrow morning...try not to kill anyone.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Rounding Third and Heading Home-

M-

22 November 2004

Con...Sonar....The Conclusion

22 November 2004

"Con...Sonar...The Conclusion"

Okay class. Time to turn in your quizzes.

I hope you all put in a lot of thought as to the correct answer and I hope that you enjoyed reading this.

The correct answer to the quiz is....

.........

.........

........

.......

.......

.......

........

........

.......

Suspense is killing you, huh?

.......

......

......

......

......

......

......

None of the above are correct (I know that was not an option).

Nope, there was no accident.  There just wasn't anything to really wrote about.

The fog part was truth and so was going to Oberlin, but it was just to cover their area.  We slept for the rest of the night.

There will be more to come soon.with real entries.

Thanks for playing.

Dismissed.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,

M-

20 November 2004

Con...Sonar

19 November 2004

"Con...Sonar"

SONAR

Acronym for  sound navigation and ranging. A device that is used primarily for the detection and location of underwater objects by reflecting acoustic waves from them, or by the interception of acoustic waves from an underwater, surface, or above-surface acoustic source.  Note:  Sonar operates with acoustic waves in the same way that radar and radio direction-finding equipment operate with electromagnetic waves, including use of the Doppler effect, radial component of velocity measurement, and triangulation.

Have you ever seen those old Navy movies where they are inside a submarine and over the PA system you hear:

"Con...sonar. Unidentified vessel bearing 210 away at 15 knots."

Well, if you haven't,  then you need to start staying up later.

Anyways, the SONAR is a way of finding targets or objects in front of you when visibility is non existant.

Thursday night...I needed SONAR.....BAD!!!!

2300 Hours

Looking through the glass bay doors, the buildings were no longer visible with the heavy and sudden fog that had rolled in unexpectedly.  The fog was so thick that the light at the end of our short little driveway was no longer visible...and we are in the MIDDLE of the city. It was rather chilling to see this and it was only a matter of time....before it all started.

Fog + Ohio Drivers = Motor Vehicle Accidents.  This is not a relative...this is an absolution.

Sitting on the couch, Ken and I partook in "American Choppers" as we prepared to sleep for the night.  A rerun, we still watched as Paul Sr and crew created the Davis Love III bike as a gift for his birthday.  I felt my eyelids getting heavy. It was almost time to drift to sleep.

Through the door, I could hear 94 returning from a call that they had left about 40 minutes ago for.

The doors of the truck closed, footsteps grew closer...then the door opened.

It was Shawn, preparing to give us the bad news.

"91, you better get ready, Oberlin (Neighboring city) just went out on an MVA...they will be calling here soon for you to go and back them."

<insert sigh here>

Preparing to put my shoes on, I didn't make it farther than the sitting position when the phone rang. Ken answered it, then confirmed that, indeed, we were going to back them up.

Opening up the bedroom door, I woke Craig (Kim went homesick) and told him we had a run in Oberlin backing them on an MVA.  Still groggy, Craig got up and made it to the truck.

Seeing I was the one awake, I was the one who drove. Good thing  I am religious...I needed all the help I could get...just to get there.

Now, as a fireman and paramedic, I have been in fires, shot at, caught in blizzards, repelled off of bridges in excess of 100 feet with a nervousness about it that is commonplace with the situation at hand...

Driving in this fog was the worst I have ever felt as far as being scared.

Now, yes, I have driven in fog before and other inclimate weather, but when the headlight beams get lost in the fog and visibility is literally 10 feet, you would tend to relive the pucker factor.

Heading out of the city into a more rural setting, I noticed that the lights that illuminated the streets have become fewer and that the term "flying blind" became a harsh reality as to what was progressing.

Finding that the only guide was to follow the yellow paint of the road, I looked and noticed that my speed had reached only 36 MPH where the limit was 50.

At 36, I felt I was going too fast.

Slowly etching our way to the scene, the squad we were backing keyed up calling our dispatch...this is where I was praying they were going to send us home.

"525 dispatch...bring the other truck in...we have four patients. One critical. Also find out where fire is and you may want to call OSP (Ohio State Patrol) and find out an ETA."

My stomach turned sour.  Maybe this was a joke. Yeah...that's it....a joke..they were playing with us with the old "if we are up, YOU are up."  That HAS to be it.

"91, bump it up to code 3 please." Dispatch came and told us on the radio.

DAMN IT!!!!

Now......here is where it got worse...before we even got there.

Half our lights on our truck are strobes. Strobes are brighter in intensity and shine farther.  They also reflect off the fog with a greater intensity making things a little tougher to see as the crew recovers from retinal blindness as a result.

So now I had to find the correct pattern to use.  This ought to be fun.

I ended up eliminiating the corner strobes, the primary flashers (they were strobe), the wig wags (alternating high beam head lights), and was left with the side flashers and the primary light bar which is halogen lighting.

Then I bumped my speed up.....to 40 MPH.

The fog grew thicker and the accident, theoretically, wasn't too far off.  If I go faster, I would probably drive right over it hurting someone..and we can't have that.

It didn't take long to get to it and from the way debris was scattered (as I ran it over) it looked as if the fog didnt' bother someone as they drove at high speeds while a car at an intersection missed the stop sign due to the visibility. 

I followed the flares placed by the crew and grabbed a flashlight from the truck.  I could hear the diesel of the fire truck coming down the road. I just hope they saw us in time.

Following one of the crew over, he explained as to what was going on and what he needed from us.

We were out manned (again) and down resources.  The critical patient would have to go by ground seeing there was NO way anyone was going to fly in this weather.

I went to help with the critical patient.

I about passed out with what I saw.  This could only happen to me.

Here is where I am gonna let you guess what I saw and leave a comment as to what you think. Next entry will be the conclusion.

A)  Early 20's male sititng in the front seat of the car with the stop sign that was hit through the glass and impaled in his shoulder.

B)  An older couple who were "scantly dressed" and had very little on with the exception of the heavy odor of alcohol on their breath, complaining of "I can't feel my legs".

C) An Elderly Gentleman who ended up in the back seat who seems to be having seizures every so often that last no longer than a few seconds each time. Obvious Tib/Fib fracture that was opened and bleeding profusely....with tons of birthday presents in his car.

D) A 15 Year old male and his 14 year old girlfriend entrapped under the dashboard because they were unrestraint and decided to take Mom's car seeing she needed a ride home and her Dad would not come to get her. Instead of making her walk, he decided to "slip" the car out and take her home. She was unresponsive.

Good Luck...

Rounding Third and Heading Home,

M-

17 November 2004

To Go..or Not to Go..

16 November 2004

"To Go...or Not to Go..."

Everyone has choices in their lives. 

Some are as simple as "yes" or "no". Some are complex such as "green, blue, or red". Some choices have thoughtless meaning behind them such as choosing to get out of bed in the morning. A mundane task that is almost always automatic, yet, nevertheless, a choice.

Choices are made in how we lead our lives, what we do for a living, how we correlate with those around us.

Choices could have a double positive outcome or a double negative one.  You may pick a choice that is the lesser of two evils not caring for its specific outcome, but again, it is a choice.

As a paramedic, I make choices everyday. Not only pertaining to my own personal life, but to those who call me every day in their time of need. It may not always be the choice that they want, but it is the choice that will benifit their lives...and I do it in their best interest.

1941 Hours

"Uh huh...okay...I will tell them."  Ken hangs up the phone and looks at us.

"91...go on over to 6th Street and see the man who 'needs oxygen'". He informs us as I am already closing out the report I am working on.

The day had been moderate and steady and without any calls in the last two full hours, it was only a matter of time before the phone rang again...it just seems like I am the one that is always up and has to take the call.

Motioning for my partner to drive, I climbed into the passenger seat and confirmed the address with my pager. What I thought was going to be a typical call turned out to be anything but...and we hadn't even left the bay yet.

"Oh man, not him!!!  I just went to his house yesterday for the same thing..He wants some oxygen and that is it. He won't go with us." My partner, Angie told me.

"This is like the third time this week." She added with disgust.

Third time?

It was only Monday.

By now, I am in the mind set that this is one of those "I am sick, what can you do for me, but I don't want to go to the hospital because I can't afford the ambulance ride and the doctor bill." kinda calls.

I just need oxygen.

Well, time to school you a little more as to "Why to call the ambulance."

Donning on some gloves, I reached in and grabbed the jump bag and proceeded up the stairs to the top floor apartment (remember, it is ALWAYS the top floor).

Residence began to crowd the hallways in a glimpse to find out what was going on.  Rumors started and bets were made as to who it was and why we were there.

C'mon people, isn't reality TV enough for you to choke your brain cells on.

Walking inside, I set the bag down as my partner began a brief interview as to what was going on with this gentleman.

The apartment itself, was rather well kept without any cludder visible. On the stove appeared to be what was once a dinner plate with food that had been left out for about 2-3 days I estimated as the food began to harden in, what was once, a potato and a steak.

On the couch sat our patient. A gentleman in his early 50's with thinning gray hair, a bit underweight, and dressed in appropriate clothing for the climate.  Rocking back and forth in the chair, all that came from his mouth was "I need oxygen."

Angela continued the interview and I began to assess the patient physically. 

Pulling equipment from the bag, Angie pleaded with the man to go with us to the hospital doing everything she could to persuade him into taking a ride to the hospital with us.  The more she begged, the more he refused only demanding the oxygen that we carried.

Assessing him, It took me no more than a brief second to realize that there was more wrong with this individual than what he knew.  Lifting his shirt to listen to his lungs, I noticed the patient was using accessory muscles to breathe. (A VERY bad indicator that there is something wrong with his lungs.)  This is when the diaphram and the stomach muscles help by contracting to push air out of the body.

Placing the stethoscope onto his chest wall, I can hear the prodominant wheezes in his lungs...diminished...yet there.

His answers were to questions were short and broken.  He was getting really tired physically.  Just what I DIDN'T want to happen.

What does this mean to you the lay person?

Nothing.

What does it mean to us in the EMS field?

If I don't get move him soon, I am going to be in a world of hurt.

Angela begged harder. He refused harder.

Time to change tactics....my turn.

"Sir, here is the bottom line, you don't go with me right now, you WILL die.  In four hours I will be back busting your door down because you called 911 just before your heart stopped."  I took a firmer line than my partner.

He looked up with confusion on his face. My words began to sink in. His reality was skewed as to what he thought was right, and what truly WAS right.

"I have to get my car in the morning so I can't go." He tried a last-ditch effort with us.

"Well, chose then..your car or your life. I can tell you this...you car isn't much good to you if you are dead." I retorted.

That was the nail in the coffin.

Agreeing to go,we began to pick up our tools and prepared to move him to the squad.  The clock was ticking...I needed to move fast.

Standing up to walk (hey, this is what he wanted to do), a pale look came over the face of the patient and just as fast as he got up, the patient began to fall back down.

Catching him in mid air, we decided that is was best to just carry him to the squad.  Good thing he was light.

Placing him on the cot, his breathing quality decreased dramatically.

Now, the patient was tired. There was almost no visible communication from him.  The wheezes grew more prominent. His end was coming closer.

Strapping a mask on him, I administered an Albuterol treatment to help alieveate some of those wheezes and to open up those lungs of his a bit more.

Angela asked what I needed. I stared at the intubation kit.

"Pull it out and set it up. I am hoping not to need it." I instructed her.

Doing as I asked, I started my ALS procedures and told Angie to start for the hospital.  It was only 6 blocks....the longest six blocks of my life.

The total time to the hospital was under three minutes. In that time, the patient had become less responsive and is breathing had become less frequent. I grabbed a bag valve mask (picture below)

                     HUDSON RCI MANUAL RESUSCITATORS

and began to hook it up to the oxygen.  It looks like I will have to breathe for him.

Before I could get it out, Angie had the doors to the truck open.  Talk about the light at the end of the tunnel.

Wheeling him in, I told the nurse of the severity of the patient and his immediate need for help.

Ironically, the one they sent to help was the respiratory therapist who is staffed in the ER during peak hours.

I moved him over to the bed and gave report to them.  My job was done.  It was later that I found out as to my actions.

Going back in for a separate call. I saw the therapist and asked him how he was doing. This is what he told me.

"His internal CO2 (carbon dioxie) levels were 92. (Normal is 40-60) He had so much CO2 in his brain that he was suffocating himself and didn't know it.  He almost DID buy the tube here.  He is going to the unit in a bit (Intensive Care) and is doing better on a BPAP (special breathing machine)." He told us.

"So, had we left him at home..." I began to ask.

"He would have died within an hour...no doubt in my mind." The respiratory therapist assured me.

I took a sigh. I made the right choice.

Choices. We all have them, we all use them. We may not like them, but they are there..and they always will be.  Sometimes the choices we make are detrimental to our lives, sometimes they cause pain.

Sometimes, we make those choices for you.

Irregardless, these choices mold us into who we are and what we do, whether good...or bad.

I make these choices for you...so that you can stay longer..and make more choices of your own.

Rounding Third and heading home,

M-

13 November 2004

Sick

13 November 2004

"SICK"

"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay,
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash, and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more--that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue--
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke--
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb,I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is---Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!"

~Shel Silverstein~

Okay, so I am a baby. I have the Flu..grrr...I took a day off of work. Bev is sick too.  Hope to have something for you soon.

 

Rounding Third and heading Home,

M-

11 November 2004

The Pucker Factor

12 November 2004

"The Pucker Factor"

Have you ever played "telephone" when you were younger?

You know…you tell the kid next to you something in their ear, and in turn, they tell that sentence or phrase in the next person's ear and so on…and so on…and so on…and so on.

When you get to the end, the last person stands up and tells what they have heard. Nine times out of ten, there is either some altercation of the phrase or a complete deletion of information that had somewhere along the line gotten lost.

It is a game that tests children's short-term memory and also evaluates their attention to detail.

Adults play this game too, but with a lot more equipment. The results are the same though. There is one person that screws up the final message.

We call them dispatchers.

2230 Hours.

Kicking off my boots (but strategically placing them somewhere else…no on should have to smell those) I propped my feet up on the desk in our living quarters. Kim snuggled under her blanket on the couch securing warmth on what was destined to be a very cold night, I watched as she flipped through the menu screen of the satellite system, looking for something to watch.

How come, even with 800 plus channels, there is STILL nothing to watch???

Settling for a comedy that both of us have seen more than our share of times, we acquired our munchies and began to partake in "So, I Married an Axe Murderer" on Starz.

Then the phone rang…as it always does when you attempt to watch a movie.

"91, EMH L&D to Fairview Hospital. Pt is on Mag Sulfate. No other precautions." The voice on the other end told us.

Sigh…Of course. I mean, why not!!! No one EVER goes into labor during daylight hours. (Sorry Ladies).

Well, this shouldn't be too bad. First of all, traffic is light this time of night. And, anyway, Kim is in the back for this trip. (Insert evil laugh here).

Getting into the L&D (Labor and Delivery) we stepped out into a hallway filled with warm pastels and iridescent lights that lightly produced a glow upon the ceiling. Comforting to the patients that stay here giving a very homey feeling to it.

Also in the hall, was a sound that was unmistakable, bone chilling, and most of all…deafening.

Apparently, someone was in active labor (yeah, I know…"wow…on a maternity floor?!?!" so I am not the brightest crayon in the box) somewhere down the hall. Boy, I am glad I am not in there.

Looking for the room number, I saw that we were too low and had to proceeded our ascension down the hallway.

300…301…the numbers got bigger as we looked for the goal of room 305.

As the numbers got bigger, the sounds got louder. I felt the sweat starting to bead on my forehead.

302…303…304.

The echo grew louder. My heart pounded feverishly. The room approached like a slow motion take in a movie. There we were at the room. Inside was our patient…and the source of all the noise.

"Honey, its okay, the Critical Care Team is here." A frantic husband told his wife/

Critical Care???

Kim and I exchanged glances. I felt my stomach go to the bottom of my body.

There on the bed laid our patient, A young mother in obvious pain and moderate distress. An IV of Mag Sulfate actively going inside her body from the pump.

(Magnesium Sulfate is used in females who are pregnant and in active labor, to slow or even stop the contractions lead to the delivery of the baby.)

Not good…Time to find the nurse.

Kim began talking with our patient; I went hunting for her caregiver.

The floor we were on is relatively new and full of corridors making it easy to get lost. For me…it is almost a given.

The following is an actual call…on November 9th, 2004.

"Thank you for calling Onstar. This is Gina, how can I help you."

"Help me…I need to find the nurses station." My voice quivered with fear.

"Okay sir, I can help you with that. I see you are in the 300 hall, is this correct?" The voice replies with the sound of the keyboard typing in the back round.

"Yes, that is right…help me." I asked for help.

"Okay sir…go up to the second water fountain and make a left. Three doors down is a changing room, make a right at the door after that. I see the station is right there."

"Oh thank you…thank you..Thank you…there is someone there to help me."

"Is there anything else we can do for you, sir?" the pleasant voice repeats.

"No, I found the nurse. Thank you again."

"No problem…and thank you for using OnStar."

(Okay…so I didn't really call them.)

Finding the nurse, I was met with a "Wow, you are here, they were going to call us back when they acquired a crew." The nurse stated.

A Crew? A Crew!

At this juncture, I am wondering if prison would be better to go to now after I journey over to our communications center and kill our dispatcher.

The nurse went back into the room with us and gave Kim the details. Oh yeah…Kim was rather pissed at this time due to lack of information. C'mon…do you blame her.

"Okay, this 28 year old female is G-5, P-2 with history of two spontaneous abortions at 31 weeks. She has been having contractions every 2-3 minutes and the Mag Sulfate isn't doing much for her. We don't have the resources here to care for her. There is a really good chance she could bleed out if not transferred."

G = "gravida" which is Latin for "with child". P = "para" another Latin term meaning "to give"

So, for example, this female has had 5 pregnancies and have 2 LIVE children. Also, the more kids you have, the shorter the duration of your labor (I know ladies, but this is what we were told). A first birth may have a labor duration of 24 hours. The third Child may come in a matter of minutes. (Again, I know ladies…don't kill the messenger).

Can someone pick up my jaw off the floor, please?

"Why aren't you flying her then?" I asked.

"We tried to. She refuses to go by air."

OOOHHHH…so now, us, who have about 2 hours total training in emergency neonate care are gonna take her. Enter the pucker factor here.

Then…Kim asked the million dollar question.

"How far along IS she?"

"She is 31 weeks." The nurse told us.

That's it…I am done…

So, folks, let's review here.

We have a 28 year old female in ACTIVE labor with contractions of roughly 2 minutes apart who CANNOT have the child yet seeing she is high risk and needs to go to a more suitable facility for delivery and has some sort of flying fear so has to go by ground…25 miles away.

Sure…no problem.

Can someone pick up my bottle of Vodka for me?

Moving on, we loaded her up in the truck and began to transport her.

Flipping on the lights, time was more than "of the essence" here. It was problematic.

Up front with me, sat the husband who, with anymore nervous energy, could power a small country…for about a year. I think he need the alcohol more than any of us.

"Don't worry honey." He yelled in the back which I thought was sweet.

"When he gets to the highway, he is gonna let it all go and get us there."

Okay, I retract my last statement and now want to smack him.

This is an ambulance,

 not an Apache Helicopter

(see the difference)

I will get you there, but it won't be as fast as you think.

Traffic was light and I repeatedly looked in the back to see Kim looking up almost praying that we were pulling into the parking lot. I can see the anxiety in her eyes.

Popping her head up, she whispered to me, "Her contractions are about a minute now."

I squeezed the pedal a little harder.

The husband was about ready to pass out from being over anxious.

The pucker factor grew tighter.

The faster we went, the longer the drive seemed to get. My palms were sweaty, my vision was tunneled, my heart needed valium. I need Miller Time.

We arrived where we needed to go and took the patient up to the proper floor. Where the Meg Sulfate ran out…and she felt ready to give birth. Whether she did or not, I don't know. We didn't stick around to find out.

Riding back, we kept the windows down to cool off our bodies as we both probably aged 20 years. I know that I have more gray hair than I started with.

See, even in the adult world, information can be miscued and pertinent info can become lost or just plain forgotten about. It is not a science to master, but is prevelent more often than not.

Excuse me…I think I am gonna go and pass out now.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,

M-

07 November 2004

With This Ring...

07 November 2004

"With This Ring..."

There are certain things in one's lives that alter a course of action as to where their respective lives will take them and also, how it affects their time here on this Earth.

There are also certain people that you and I may encounter that will ultimately make us who we are and what we will eventually become. Whether it is for the good or for the worse, human interaction plays a vital role in our lives.

With chance meetings, there is fate. With Fate, there is destiny. With destiny, there is love.

What seems like a simple plan is everything but. However, you meet that one person in your life that changes everything for you and fits into your plans. The one person in whom you think about first when you wake up and last when you go to bed at night. These are the ones where after months and months and even years of dating and courting, you still get nervous everytime you see them. They are the ones that were with you when you were at your very best cheering you on, and they are the ones that hold you without saying a word when you are at your low and crying doesn't seem to help.

No matter what the odds, they love you for you and they always will.

2350 Hours

Walking out of the theatre, the night was rather warm for the time of night it was and the stars hazed out atop of the autumn evening clouds that had eneveloped the night horizion.

Walking to the car, my palms sweat and I reflected the emotional retraction from the movie.

Ladder 49.

A very powerful movie with very method and powerful actors.

The backdrop is a rescue gone bad in the Baltimore Fire Department in which a character gets trapped in an inferno and has no way out. As the department formulates a plan of rescue, the trapped firefighter's life is sequenced in events throughout the film.

I won't give anymore, but for those of us in the field, it is a grim reality as to what could happen..at any given call.

Walking out to the car, Bev asked me if that could really happen and the intensity of its realism.  Taking a deep sigh, I told her the truth as to how it was a very realistic possibilty however, safety is a main concern. 

As she asked, in reference to some of tools used in the film, I told her that I would take her to the fire station afterwards and let her see the tools first hand seeing that no one would be at the station at that time.  It was easier to show her than to explain I felt.

The drive didn't take long and I could feel a cold sweat coming off my brow. My heart pounded in intensement from the movie already heightening my adrenailin level.

Walking into the apparatus room, I showed her some of the tools we used and let her try them out.  Her deep interest in to their use and how to work with them showed in her bright blue eyes.  A combination look of risk and excitement filled her face as the explanation was given to her.  I think she started to get a realization as to what we, as firefighters, do.

I asked contently to her if she wanted to try the gear on and feel what it is like to be strapped with all the gear on..including the SCBA airpacks we used.

A look of hesitation elected to show in her face, but a reluctant acceptance as to the task came about and she followed me into the gear room.

Trying on my bunker pants, it was apparent as to why we wear suspenders with those...Poor Bev swam in them.

Next was the Helmet..

Putting it on to her, I had to adjust the chin strap as to fit her head. Her smaller size dwarfed her as she began to put on the fire coat.

Moment of truth time here...(I know you are asking why....just keep reading.)

Telling her that she needed to put on everything in the pockets as those were the tools we used, she reached in and took out the left glove, then the right, then......

The Ring.

Inside my fire coat, I had placed an engagement ring, knowing as to the moviewe had chosen, I had schemed as to a romantic, yet different way to propose...this is what I had thought of.

What did she say?

.....

.....

.....

.....

.....

....

....

October 22, 2005....

This is the Day we set aside.

She never made it to the air pack...

Below is a recent pic of us in September at the Airshow...

You all wanted to see what she looks like...well....there she is...My love....

Picture from Hometown

Rounding Third and Heading Home,

M-

 

 

 

 

 

01 November 2004

Choice 2004

01 November 2004

"Choice 2004"

Okay...

So..this has nothing to do with EMS or work that I have been at. But I thought seeing I use this post as a venting point, I will admit my two cents worth as to the cause.

My Topic....

The Election.

Who is better as a canidate??

Bush...or Kerry.

Kerry...or Bush.

Both have very valid points as to certain political issues.

Both have very bad fabrications that each have been challenged against.

One says one thing and the other points mistruth to that claim.

Parading around the country trying to win you over, these two men have spent countless hours and money in order to sway your vote to them.

Here is my response to the political race.

WHO CARES?!?!?!

I mean, who cares if they person you chose does or doesn't win.

You are STILL going to be an American. You are STILL going to pay taxes. You are STILL going to have a better personal freedom than almost ANY country that is on the face of the Earth.

As Americans, we have the right to chose as to whom we think and want to be our leaders, which is great...but you can't please everyone.

THAT is part of the beauty of where we live. The diversity of the choice.

I love the fall...the leaves, the colors, the coolness...but when it is littered with signs representing a campaign trail, I tend to grow eerie of it and actually become sick to my stomach.

"Vote for Kerry" signs posted every 50 feet in a field that has beauty and landscape deturing from its ability to hold someone who partakes in its splender.

"Vote for Bush" signs overtaking gorgeous manicured lawns to some of the most beautiful homes in a historic district of a city that has been blessed with beauty.

Folks..here it is..I could care less as to WHO wins.  I am still going to be here, my life is still going to continue, and I will stand by the leader of this counrty no matter who it may be,

I, however, DO believe the importance of voting. But folks...vote in something that YOU believe in..Not what CNN tells you is the best to do.

Vote for your school levies so that children can have new computers to learn and research.  Some children live in poor areas and cannot afford a computer, so school is where they go to help learn the technology to keep up with society. Help keep extra-cirricular activites in place so that your children have somewhere to go..and something to do..that is benificial to them.

Vote for your Civil Services (i.e. Police, Fire, and EMS). Yes, there is the chance that you may never need them, but what about that one time that you do. Wouldn't you have piece of mind knowing that they are there for you...24/7. No matter what.

Vote America. Don't do it for influence, don't do it because you feel you HAVE to. Do it because you WANT to...

Your voice will be heard...no matter what or who you chose.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,

M-

29 October 2004

The One That Got Away

28 October 2004

"The One That Got Away"

As I sit here and decide as to how to post, I am overwhelmed with a grief proceeded by a heavy heart from the ensuing shift and the valleys that it had left within the Emergency Services within our area.

I am not going to mention the stupidity of some that call the ambulance which is, in its own way, entertaining and thought provoking to a point.

I am not going to tell the attributes of to the people that I interact with on the day to day basis and how their presence creates a commodary despite being either good or bad.

I AM going to give you the insight as to a call that had happened here just down the block from where I live. The aspect as to what I saw...and what I thought.

0700

Plugging the truck back in, Kim came around the front and asked "Are you going back to bed?"

With only 90 minutes left in the shift, I contemplated "should I or shouldn't I?"  I mean, was it really worth it. By the time I got back in bed and comfortable, it would be time to get up.

Naw..why waste it.

I hate mornings, I really do. However, once I get going there is really no stopping me.  All I need is a swift kick out of the bed and some of Folger's finest and I am a new person. 

Well, I got the out of bed part down.

Laying down on the couch in our private living room, I decided to flip on the playstation and go a few rounds on a new game that I had purchased.  Usually. when I played a game, the time would fly past and before I knew it, I was well past the goal that I had set as to when to stop.

Boots off, I hit the red button on the system making it green and prepared to do battle on the small, yet sharp screen hanging on the wall in the room.  Time to waste an hour.

Then the phone rang...

I paused the game...and waited...

and waited....

and heard my pager go off.

I guess I was up in the rotation.

No worries, this would burn the hour that I needed and by the time I got back, I could go home where some uninterupted sleep laid dormant awaiting my arrival.

Walking to the truck, I got into the passenger seat and looked to see as to what type of call I was going on.

No need to look. To my left, I saw Ken getting into his truck.  Two squads can only mean one thing...

Motor Vehicle Accident.

Opening the door of the truck, the computer voice "Emergency Pending" filled the apparatus bays with an echo that filled the air as if it told us the urgency of getting to where we needed to go.

Kim jumped into the driver's seat.

I pushed en route. 

With a roar of the diesel engine of the truck, the strobes and flashers of the squad bounced off the dismal sky lighting the already rain stricken town casting a warning as to our coming. 

The siren came on, the garage door closed, we pulled into traffic....the unknown was a few feet closer.

"91 responding with 93 second truck for an MVA at Lowell and Murray Ridge Rd.  Police are on scene and confirm injuries...." the voice over the radio informed us.

And then...

"91, police request you expedite your response."

Expedite?? 

A trigger word.  Hearing it, started an adrenalin flow throughout my body, a game plan in my head, and an alertness of my soul.

What was I going to find? How bad were they hurt?  Is the police oversizing the scene?  My stomach started to turn into knots.  The faster we went, the longer it felt that the scene was,

A message came over the MDT.

"Police are really getting nervous.."  the computer screen told.

Hitting "OK" to clear the message, Kim came down the bridge and around the corner to a long stretch of straight road. In the distance, I saw red and blue lights along with the familiar strobes of the fire pumper that is assigned to that district.  Traffic was backed for almost a half mile on a moderately travelled road.  The scene was getting closer, the anxiety grew fierce, it was almost time to do what we were trained for...it was go time.

About a quarter mile out from the scene, I noticed the scene lights from the fire vehicle turn on, raise, and point in a field...then I witnessed what could only spell trouble...

Firefighters running....never a good sign.

Pulling onto scene, I noticed what was once an SUV sitting in its remains in the middle of the street.  Through the remains of the window, I saw two people sitting in their assigned seats. Both conscious, both alive, both lucky.  A firefighter assisted in intial immobilization by placing a collar on the patient...Then....it got worse.

Looking to my right, I noticed a car in the field. A firefighter sprinting to the passenger side of the car throwing his gloves off to the ground.

As we stopped, a cop opened the door. His face was pale and is body language anxious and excited. He pointed to the car waving his hand with a little child's  movement as to say "He did it..he did it."

"I think she may be dead..you better hurry." His voice shreaked of terror.

Pointing to the other car, I motioned for Kim to check the SUV as I ran down to the lone fireman in the field.  What I saw was not good. What I saw, heightened my, already red lined, anticipation. What I saw tunneled my thoughts.

Inside the vehicle sat a lone female still strapped in by her safety belt leaning over to the passenger seat....lifeless.

"I can't..I can't feel a pulse!!!" the firefighter yelled.

Checking for a carotid, I closed my eyes and prayed that I would feel the beat of her heart pulsating through my index finger.

Nothing.

Running back up to the truck, Kim and I updated each other.

"I got two that probably aren't going to go. What do you have??" She informed and asked.

Running right past her, I talked over my shoulder as to not get side-tracked.

"I got a possible trauma arrest..call it in!!" I said as I ran away from her with the monitor from the truck.

Hearing Kim call in the calvary on the radio, I ran down to assess the female in the car.  

Looking at her lifeless and apnec body, my head told me that there was nothing we could do. She was dead and beyond my help. My heart told me not to let go.  In 15 seconds, I was going to find out which one was right...I attached the leads to her body.

A flat line appeared....

Then......

A heartbeat.......

Then another........

and another........

The rhythm was too slow to have a pulse and for all intents and purposes, the patinet had expired in the car....

That wasn't good enough for me. For me, it was a sign of life, a sign of hope, a shred of light, and I was going to take it.

I yelled for more gear.  I was going to do whatever it took..even if it was beyond my means.

The car was flooded with a barroge of help handing equipment to help preserve the little life we had. On the driver's side, I could look out and see two firemen running with the generator used to power the Jaws of Life unit.  I needed them to cut that car...and I need them to do it now.

With a pull of the cord, the unit came to life. The extrication began. Her feet were wedged under the steering column. Her body wedged by the two foot intrusion of the door wedging her against the center console of the car.  The extrication team had their work cut out for them...the clock was ticking.

Meanwhile, we worked on our patient.  Craig came down from the other truck to help.  I asked Craig to intubate her..I needed to get a patent airway...and this was not going to be easy.

Why?

Because it was dark out, we had no light, the patient was still sitting up, and there was absolutely no room to maneuver.

Suctioning out the patient, Craig grabbed a 7.0 ET tube and went for an insertion.  Shaking his head, Craig doubted the proper insertion and placement of the tube.  Kim listened for lung sounds.  Nodding, the tube was in place. I ventilated with a bag valve mask as Craig secured it.  Alternating with chest compressions, there was no resistance to bagging. The tube was good. All I needed now to do was to get her out. Fire worked feverishly to get her out.

The seconds became minutes..An eternity overwhemled all of us as we scrambled to get everything ready for her transport. We waited for the go ahead from fire....and waited...and waited....

Minutes later, the door was free. A firefighter reached in and freed her feet. Craig and I pulled her over the console and onto our awaiting backboard.  Strapping her in, I ran up to the truck to get ready for her to be loaded. 

It felt like hours we were there. It was only 18 minutes.

Locking the cot into place, the supervisor came up to us telling us that the driver of the other car was having some chest pain and that I would not have the help of the other crew.

Pulling a firefighter that helped extricate, I asked him to go with us as we would need the help.  A paramedic also, it gave, yet one more set of hands that were needed to continue ressucitation of this woman. 

Calling to the supervisor, I told him that I needed Kim in the back with me and asked if he could drive.  Giving no hesitation to my request, he jumped up front and started the descent to the hospital.

En route, we began to get a more stable and thorough aspect as to what were up against.  Checking the monitor, there was no change in the rhythm..and no change in her condition.  Kim and the Firefighter/Medic tried for IV access while I called the hosptial.  We continued CPR..we continued breathing for her...we continued to try to save her life.

Within minutes we arrived at the hospital and moved her over to the bed. I gave report to the nursing staff.  The doctor came in. The curtain closed....

Fifteen minutes later..she was dead.

As an EMS personnel, we are trained to think "on the fly". To comphrehend a game plan and execute it within seconds.  We are sworn to preserve life and promote healing.  This was all part of my job, this is what I do.

This is not what I thought on scene.

When I looked at her for the first time, I didn't see a victim. I didn't see a lifeless body, I didn't see a casualty of a misfortune.

I saw a mother laying in bed, sound asleep keeping warm through the cold night...be disturbed by a telephone call...telling her that her daughter died.

I saw a woman who still had decades ahead of her to live her dreams and celebrate the miracle of just being alive.

I saw a family mourning the loss of a daughter, a sister, a friend.

This young lady was not drinking and driving, nor was she doing drugs. She was on her way to work..when she misjudged a stop sign.

She was only 22.

As I write this entry, I retrospect the events of the day. When I closed my eyes, I can still see her face. I can still flush sorrow through my blood.  I sit here and mourn....not only over the loss of the life, but the lives that will be changed by it...forever.

I sit here and I cry....

...for the one that got away.

 

Rounding Third and Heading Home,

M-