29 May 2004

Out with the Old, In with the New

29 May 2004

"Out with the Old, In with the New"

Good Morning (or whatever time of day it is where you hang your hat). ANother 24 is in the books. The shift was long, it was brutal, it was challenging, it is over.

I am not sure as to what I want to tell  you all today.

Do I start with the double roll over on the Turnpike where three were flown from scene?

Do I start with the man who went into cardiac arrest on top of his roof while fixing a hole there?

Do I start with the 3 month old who I did rescue breathing on and brought back to life?

Which one you ask to start with???

None of them.

Because they never happened. 

Today was ALL transports. and all BLS (basic life support) transports at that too...for 24 hours...sigh.

Not one person went to the ER last night on my squad (a first) which means I am either doing something right..or something dreadfully wrong.

The only news of the day was the retirement of 92. Today, it goes into the back garage for its new assignment as back up truck. 

A new truck was ordered months aga and is supposedly ready to be in service today.

92 will bring many memories for me. It is the first truck I started out on here at my company and I have had many a great calls on that truck.

So, ladies and gentlemen..please raise your glasses..and toast with me..

To 92, you were a great warrior, a great hero, a great friend. You will be missed but never forgotten (until one of the other trucks breaks down and we need to use you).

Salute`

I thought I would take this entry and answer any questions you mave have posed about my job or anything outside the squad. If you get them to me in enough time, my next entry will be the answers to your questions.

I hope to get many and answer them all with efficiency and diligence.

Until then,

If you don't know the color of it, don't eat it.

Rounding third and heading home,

M-

 

26 May 2004

Back to the Grind

26 May 2004

"Back to the Grind"

Ah...Back to work. Time to cash your chips out, tip the valet, turn in your hotel key, grab your bags, wait in line for security, get randomly selected for a check, get frisked and scanned, get....well, you get the idea. The honeymoon is over...it is time to get back to work.

Yes my friends, it is business as usual. The common cold here, a fall there, throw in a shortness of breath and you have the mundane reality of my job. Sigh. God, I miss the sun.

Today was the first time in like eight years it didn't rain (okay, so I am exaggerating...it has been 7 years) so the sun shown down drying up the reminince of what was the wettest spring to date. Even Noah is like "WOW, this is wicked."

Getting back onto my game, I was both suprised pleasantly and minorly dissapointed that the morning led to a very slow day.  I know this is supposed to be a good thing but when you have been out of the game for a bit, you kinda need to be reintroduced with tragedy and despair. (God, that sounds bad..I sound like.....a......lawyer.)

Today was Marissa's (my daughter) T-ball pictures and I have been asked to get my picture with her as a coach.  Awww....my first noteriety other than being on the wall of the post office (I am kidding).

Pictures were at 6:00 so all I had to do was hope for no calls from 5:00 to 6:00.

<whistles here>

Hmmm....5:45. Getting into the truck, the trip didn't take long to get to the photo shoot. I was very happy as to not get a call while hoping that the tones wouldn't dropped, I met with the coach, changed into my coaching shirt, and stood for my picture. All the children were so cute in thier little uniforms with thier innocence present within their smiles.  Here comes the picture...one...two...three....

Yeah, like that really happened.

Anyways....

5:20 PM

The phone rings.

"92, respond to Griswold Road for a Man who fell in the bus stop and is bleeding from the head."

Sigh..just my luck.

Pulling Kim, I ran to the truck determined to make this picture gig after all. Easy enough, grab him, throw him in the truck, haul ass to the hospital, race to the field, and become a Kodak moment.

Driving like I stole it, the dispatcher's voice came over the radio.

"92, be advised that employees from the medical center next door are on scene and report the patient is not breathing. This is a possible full arrest. Fire is responding now. 1724."

Oh for the love of God!!! 

Shaking my head, I looked at Kim with her saying "I guess you won't get your picture now."

Not letting off the gas, Kim looked at me and the intensity on my face.

"You still plan on making it don't you?" She asked me.

"That's the plan." I told her.

Start the clock.

Navigating through the mall traffic, it didn't take long to get to the scene where fire was at already.

The fire department wasn't running and moving with a mission so I assumed the patient was breathing.  I assumed right.

Getting out of the squad, I was met by a young female wearing scrubs with a stethescope around her neck.

"He wasn't breathing before and I think had a seizure" She told me.

You THINK???

Did you actually see him flopping like a fish out of water or did you just finish that chapter in your first aid book? And breathing. Maybe it was that rock next to him that you saw not breathing because it looked like he was doing a fine job on his own. I think your phone is ringing..why not go answer it.

The fire department startedto take cervical spine precautions and Kim and I grabbed our gear out of the truck.  The lieutenaunt on the engine company already had his info and handed it over to me while Kim and the other two guys packaged him up.

Yep, I knew him. I have picked him up before....at the same place....for the same thing....One year ago. At least he is consistent.

Starting my survey, I found that this guy was only responding to painful stimuli and not much else. Hmm...intriguing.

There was no smell of alcohol (which doesn't mean anything seeing his weapon of choice is usually vodka) and no signs of an assault. Okay, I will assume he DID have a seizure even though he is not displaying many signs of that.

The fire guys did a great job packaging him up as they always do and moved him to the squad for us.  I thanked them, closed the doors, and began to play detective with the patient.

My first step was to try to get a better level of response from him.  He was now opening his eyes when we asked and really not much more.  Kim hooked him up to the monitor and I got vitals and started an IV on this guy.

His sugar was normal which ruled out diabetic reaction and his heart rhythm was fast but no big things to look for.  I told Kim to start heading out as I wanted to make this picture engagement still. Kim moved up front and we headed to the hospital.

En route, my patient seemed to be coming around a bit more and moaning which was a good sign.

"Sir, so you know where you are?"

"mmmmmmm...yes.."

"Where are you?"

"Yes.."

Okay, he failed that question.

"Sir, where do you hurt?"

"Hurt? I don't hurt. But my head hurts."

Failed that one too.

"Sir, how much have you had to drink today?"

"mmmmm..I don't drink....but I had a few to drink."

I think I can get more out of my six year old.

We pulled into the hospital and as we wheeled in, I can hear the other two trucks leaving on calls over the radio.

Damn it..I am up again.

I registered the patient and scurried to the field to see if I can still make it. It was 6:10.

Pulling in, I can see the team playing around and I began my trek from the lot to the field. The distance was about 100 yards so I picked up my pace slightly. Halfway through it, I saw Marissa who made eye contact with me and started to run for me. It was a Kodak moment. Picking her up, I carried her the rest of the way. I was met with a barroge of little tikes in red shirts and greeted with a warm hello from the coach. It felt good to be wanted like this.

Then the tones went off.

A call for a 48 year old female with chest pains.

Handing my shirt over, I saw the crushed look of a six year old gazing with tears at me knowing I had to go. I bent down, hugged her, and started running for the squad. She understood...I would make it up to her.

Okay, when I was in high school, I used to be in track. I ran like a gazelle. I was fast, able to accelerate quickly, and outrun my opponents with ease. 100 yards will be a quick sprint.

That was 12 years ago.

Running to the squad, my biggest fear (other than dropping dead) was falling in front of everyone. THAT would be more embarrassing that having the big one right there.

I made it to the truck, sucked a whole bottle of oxygen to myself down, and was shortly on our way to the next call.

The call was actually a pretty routine call and we alieveated the patients pain by the time we got to the hospital.

Nothing major to really report on that.

Later that night, we went back to the ER and I hunted down the nurse who was taking care of our "fall/seizure" patient and out of sheer curiousity, asked what his blood alcohol level was.

Anyone want to Wager what it was?

Take a guess before toggling down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was .48

This is 6 times the legal limit in the state of Ohio. I guess he bit throgh his IV tubing and they moved him to a more secure room because of that.

It's a wonder he is still alive.

I have added a picture of Marissa so you know who I am talking about.

Well, that is it in a nutshell. Nothing really to feed you all with. Maybe next time will be better.

I hope you all stay safe and I will talk to you all soon.

Rounding third and heading home

M-

 

 

 

23 May 2004

Pomp and Circumstances

23 May 2004

"Pomp and Circumstances"

The road is long, but the light at the end of the tunnel is now shining down upon me through the windows of the squad.  The warmth of the rays radiate a natural blanket of security amidst my face and body.  The rough texture of the road is replaced with a silk-like glide as if one was floating on air. The knowledge within my mind has increased and my learning capacity is maxed out.  The air that I breathe has more of a cooler, crisp feeling aleveiating my overworked lungs.  Life seems better, life seems easier.

Today..I gratuated.

What seemed comparable to a boot camp as to expectations that were incur. I can recall that cool November morning, sitting for the first time in class reviewing a schedule as to what was going to be covered and when.  Thumbing through the pages, looking for the final date, it seemed as an eternity when I spotted the late May end date.  I felt as if I were living a prision term without parole. I knew I had my work cut out for me and that there was no easy way to hit it except head on.

Thirty weeks later, I am handed my diploma.  Six-hundred and Eighty-eight hours of training, countless hours of Emeregency room clinicals. Long, hard hours of riding third person on a squad on top of hours worked on it already. Memorizing cardiac algorhythms and endless drugs regimens..the work is finally over.

Today, I am a paramedic (barring I pass my national test).

I have met the requirements that the state has mandated to practice paramedicine in the prehospital setting.  This is an achievement that many set forth to do but fail to achieve. I have come a long way.

In two weeks, I take my national registry test. This is the equivelent of the Bar exam for Lawyers and Nurses and the Boards for Doctors. Not only will this legally and officially qualify me to run alone, but will let me run in other states also with minimal transition.  The final sprint in the race.

With this,  I am going to end this paticular entry. My head is pounding and I am off for some R&R ( actually going to bed). I hope all is well with you and look forward to hearing from you. You my readers, are a valueable part of my life and increase my everyday support. I thank you for all you have offered and the kind words you have provided.

Next entry will be back to the grind. I hope to keep you intrigued.

BTW..Congrats to Kasey whom allso gratuated today and Erin who did a few weeks ago.. Kudos to you both today.

Rounding third and heading home

M-

18 May 2004

The Showdown at the OK Corral Part II

18 May 2004

"The Showdown at the OK Corral Part II"

And, on with the countdown.

Every year we get a group of people from the Netherlands that spend a week with us. Our owners are Dutch..hence the visitors.

Pulling into the ER, I found the dutchmen...all three of them...with video cameras strapped to their faces like Papparazzi on a Britney Spears tour. 

So much for privacy.

Unloading the patient, we were instructed to the decon room, a small area just before entering the ER.  The patient was feeling better, I was covered in whatever chemical it was, and the boss decides that he wants to take over.

Hello?!?!?!  We are AT the ER all ready. Here's a quarter..go buy a clue.

You want to help me? Go get me a sandwich.

Instead, Mr. "I am right and you are wrong" attitude decides he wants to lecture me...in front of everyone.

Umm...I don't think so.

I really don't care WHO you are, you don't start to yell at me in front of people that I work with in the hospital. It has taken me years to establish a repor. And if you are wrong (which is not uncommon) then you embarrass yourself.

Cutting him off in mid stream reminding him as to where we were, he immediately stopped knowing that the timing was wrong and inappropriate.  My fuel was lit.

Fast forwarding a bit, Kim and I ended up going right to the fire station to see if we actually DID do something wrong. Conferring with the guys there, they actually told us that there was not a whole lot they would have changed and told us that we did a good job.

Then a voice came over the radio. It was him....requesting us to his office.

Whoa boy...here we go.

Driving over to the offices which are also located within our city, My partner and I devised a game plan as to what was going to be said and done.

I wonder if you get unemployment if you get fired.

Walking into the offices, I can hear both the beat of my heart and the march of Darth Vader within my conscience. Here we go..the point of no return.

The boss sits behind his desk with his skin flushed and the vein popping out of his head. He was ready to blow..and I am sure I will probably set him off.

Knight to King's 5..my move

Rook to Queen's 6..his move

Bishop to King's 4....check

(This is not what really happened, but the convo is 'R' rated and I don't want to get in trouble.)

Standing in front of the desk, I retorted with a comment...this knocked the lid off the pressure cooker....Women and children to the life boats...we are going down.

The boss immediately got up started yelling at the top of his lungs....then it happened...

The end of his sentence reffering to me met with a very expiciate comment. The mother of all bad words. Something I would never call my worst enemy...but got tagged with the bomb.

The room was quiet.

Kim stood in disbelief.

The boss was within 6 inches of my face.

I was within 6 inches of taking a life.

The stare down continued. He knew that he crossed the line. He also knew that I knew that he did it too.

In the lowest possible voice I could muster, teeth clenched, I got out, "I suggest you take a step back."

If he had continued to spout off, the only thing that would have beat him to the hospital would have been the front of the ambulance.

The rest of the conversation was really irrelevent and to be honest, I have no clue as to whatwas said.  My fury was being contained and defused by my partner taking some heat.

10 minutes later, the conversation was over.  Walking out, the boss tried to say something smart, and I reminded him of his comment.

He apologized.

I kept walking.

Back in the squad, Kim was ready to cry. Staring at me for comfort, we took a moment of silence..then I blurted out...

"That went well."

Kim was laughing and crying at the same time.

Moment over, I just got my ace in the hole.

I was thinking about writing about the doc who thinks he is on an NBC primetime drama, but i think I am going to end it here. Tomorrow is another day and I am back on the truck. Hopefully I will be refreshed and ready to go after a brief but lucrative vacation.

Buckle up.

Be safe.

Rounding third and heading home,

M-

 

 

17 May 2004

The Showdown at the OK Corral

16 May 2004

"The Showdown at the OK corral"

When we last left our superheroes....

6PM

"92, you have a call at Mayan Industries (not the real name) for a male sprayed with a chemical to the face. Unknown type of chemical and unknown if the hazard is contained. Fire is responding."

A HAZ-MAT scene.  This is way different than any other type scene we encounter.  There is a series of, well, rather checkpoints we must meet before we can establish patient contact.  Is the scene safe? Are we in the hot zone?  What sort of chemical are we dealing with? How many patients?  All critical questions that are made before entering our scene. Pretty text book...too bad the call wasn't.

We pulled out and turned the corner. In the rear view mirror, I saw the fire department in the mirror within two blocks. Cool. They will be there when I get there. This should be easy.

If it were easy, would I really write about it?!?!

We pulled up to see a man waving us into the facility with some panic on his face.

Pulling up next to him, he keep creeping us closer to the site of the accident. Throttle down there, Skippy.

First of all, this guy was still alive so it must not be THAT bad. Second, there is no smoke or fire...kinda good thing there. FInally, fire is right behind us..no worries.

"He's in the back, c'mon hurry!" He rushed us through.

"Hold on there. What is the chemical we are dealing with? I am not gonna go in there and become a vapor trail for you guys." I told him.

He handed me a MSDS which gives all the chemical breakdown of the toxin and how to handle it both medically and supressively.

This is where we threw the protocol book out of the window.

Looking over the MSDS, I noticed that the patient was at the bumper of the truck already.

Uhhhhhh.......

By now, we have obtained patient care without leaving the truck.  If he was contaminated, he has passed his gift onto us.  Great, I can illuminate a room now just by walking into it.

The patient was saturated with water and had obvious irritation burns on his face and chest. The man is in obvious distress respiratory wise and needs immediate care.

"Has he been deconed(decontaminated)?" I asked before coming close to him.

"Yes, we hosed him, flushed his eyes, and changed his clothes."

Wow!! More than I expected.  We took the cot on and put him on. A firefighter came over to help load him up. Kim immediately told him to ride with us so he hopped in the back and closed the doors. I quickly conferred with the Fire Captain on scene and he cleared us to go.

Here is where the fun REALLY begins.

Our boss, was on his way to the scene. I would have cancelled him but he would come anyways. You see, our supervisor is kind of a glory hound. The VP of the company, he is very knowledgeable as to how things run in the business aspect of things and how to keep us with the competitive edge. In the field, he really hasn't much of a clue. Despite having a paramedic license, he seems to think that sometimes we cannot handle the job efficiently and needs to be there to not supervise, but babysit our actions. In essence, he is not part of the solution, but part of the problem sometimes.

Pulling out of the facility, I radioed ahead through dispatch and had them prepare the decontamination room as this is protocol. My supervisior gets on the radio and starts asking me questions. Um, Hello??? I am driving.  When I don't give him the answer he wants, he gets more aggressive.

You know, I don't have the time or the patients for this right now. My job is to drive and confer with dispatch and them only. He doesn't like it, he can go to the hospital and wait....which he did.

The chemical ended up being like some sort of organophosphate which can cause acute pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) and can become very fatal. The normal treatment for this is Atropine which had a chemical agent in it that stops the receptor cells of the poision. Atropine also increases the heart rate.  His was 130 beats per minute. I don't think I wanna increase it anymore..

What I saw next REALLY put the fly in my ointment....Oh, it was ON now...

Stay tuned.

M-

14 May 2004

To be continued....

14 May 2004

"To Be Continued...."

Well all, I am off on a vacation that is WELL needed after today.  The shift is not over yet, however, I have so much to tell.

Preview?

Well....A HAZ-MAT scene, the boss in my face, and an ER doc who thinks he is Gerorge Clooney but looks more like George of the Jungle (the ugly version).

I will be back Sunday where I will type the shift up for you all...

Take care and see you all later

M-

11 May 2004

Chosing Difficult on Your Game Settings

10 May 2004

"Chosing Difficult on Your Game Setting"

For all you gamers out there, this title really will sell itself. For those who have little or no clue as to what I am talking about, I will give you a little insight as to what I am talking about.

In the video game realm that is widespread, the games that entertain us has multiple skill levels in order to increase gameplay. For instance, in you typical shooter games, an easy setting may let you get shot 5 times before you die, where in a harder setting, it is one and done. Timed games may have less actual time on the clock increasing the urgency of completeing the objective. You get the picture.

Now, take said explanation and apply to real life.

8:15 AM

Pager goes off.

Sipping my bottle of water at the red light, I pulled my pager from my holster and pulled the message that had come over the display.

"Still looking for a Medic or EMT for full 24 in Elyria. If interested, call Station 1."

Oh damn it!!!

Still???

This means that more than one attempt has been made to find a replacement for one of crew that has called off.

What does this mean for me?  Well, let me break it down.

Three trucks run EMS for the city and the contracted area.  Three trucks for 68,000 people in 30 square miles. That is one EMT on duty for every 11,333 people roughly and one for every 5 square miles. Now, if youlose one person, you actually lose two because you can't run a squad with one person.

So, we are down a truck. Here are the new numbers. One EMT for every 17,000 people and every 15 square miles. Eww..

Here is a better perspective, those of you who have been to a sporting event. Fill a football stadium (professional football) to capacity, then pull outfour seats. Those four seats are responsible for the entire EMS system within that stadium.

Bottom line, we are treading water today. If it gets busy, we're screwed.

Someone one changed the setting to difficult.

8:40 AM

The phone rings.

"Station one" I answered.

"92...(a sigh heard on the phone)..you aren't gonna like this one."

Heeeeeere we go!!!!!

We got called to post for the neighboring city who was also running the gauntlet. Well, 2 minutes into our trip, the tones dropped. A call for a low blood pressure at a nursing home...a nursing home that is 8 miles away.

Sigh!!!

We got to the home to find a male who was having difficulty breathing and had a pressure of "60/40" per staff.  As I took the blood pressure, I got a reading of "110/70".  Yeah...REAL low.

Anyways, we got the patient in the truck and took him to the hospital. I was hoping that was the end of it.  Apparently, they have found someone to come in so the butt-kickings can be distributed approprately. whew!!!

Ahh, the bliss of relaxation.  Adding a truck, decreases the workload.  Basking in the warmth of the sun. Drinking iced tea, watching the kids in their cars playing way too much bass thinking they are in The Fast and the Furious drive up and down the street.  All six of us were having a great time. The only other thing on our mind was what to have for dinner. The most IMPORTANT decision of the day.

"Hey guys, I'll see you later." The part-timer said getting up and getting his things.

What? Wait!!! Where you going. It is only 6, the next person doesn't come in till 8:30. This can only mean one thing. Oh no!!!! not again!!!

Yes.....we are down a truck again.

By this time, the clouds have darkened, the lightning decended from the heavens, the ground shook, the waters boiled, people ran in sheer terror.  I felt the flooding of the seas coming.

Here it is..down a truck again.

I heard the part-timers car start up, shift into gear and start to move. Watching him escape the Hell that had succomb the station and the Armageddon slated by his departure. As his car became only a shadow within the horizon...the phone rang.

Curses!!!!

An MVA eleven blocks from the station. Well, gotta take this now seeing we are down a truck.

Getting on scene, we had a car and a truck on two separate corners of the street. Kim took one car, I took the other.

My patient was complaining of head pain. No other injuries and I thought she just got her bell rung.  While talking to her, the officer comes up to the car.  Acting class is activated. The tears began to pour.  GIMMIE A BREAK!!!

"The award for most fake performance at an accident scene goes to..."

I went back to the truck to download the computer in order to sign her off. While inside the truck, I saw the fire dept. pull up..OH NO!!!  Fire department = transport.  Seems the fire guys have a way of packaging the patient, TELLING them they need to go, then leaving us to do all the work.  How nice. Grrr.

I went back over to see the patient with a c-collar on and her cell phone to her ear..Damn it!!!  I don't take a garden hose to your house fires, don't touch my patients....please.

I ended up calling another squad seeing the patient from the other truck was getting transported and I didn't want to put people from the different cars in the same squad. Good thing 93 was around the corner. We handed patient care to the other squad and started for the hospital. 

On our way there, dispatch comes over the radio...figures,

"92?"

"92, go."

"Will you be able to take another call once you hit the doors there?"

Let the ass kickings begin!!!

Of course we are gonna take the call. If we didn't, it would not make for a great journal entry.

Dropping off the patient, we travelled cross town to a neighboring township for a female with a laceration on her head.  This was at a park so it could be bad...or nothing at all.

We made it there rather quickly and found our patient to be a 10 year old female with a "cut" on her head. When I say "cut" what I really mean is a scratch that has no bleeding and actually took me a while to find. Her..I released to parent.  I think the park ranger flipped a lid.  Leaving the scene, the tones dropped.

And they're off....

I don't really remember what the last call was for..it is all a blur.

Fast forwarding again (I have to grocery shop), we got someone in but yet it really didn't slow down much.  I ran my little butt all night long and morning.

The storms are starting to come in so I am gonna leave you now. The fire department I work for will probably call and I need to rest a bit before that happens.

I hope you all stay safe and I am sure if I get something I will put it in.

Take care and be safe.

Rounding third and heading home.

M-

 

 

 

08 May 2004

The Trilogy

08 May 2004

"The Trilogy"

Ahhh..the power of three.

As far as time can tell, there have been great triple packages that have become part of our everyday lives.

Wishes, The Chipmunks, The Triple Crown, Primary colors, the Star Wars movies (yes, I know there are six, but there are only 3 original classics).

The number three has incorporated itself within the EMS world also.

Three stacked shocks, 3 miligrams Lidocaine maximum dose (okay, that is per kilogram),3 degrees of burns, 3 response codes.

Please..let's take a moment of silence and praise the number three.

"Can I get a witness from the congregation?!?!?"

Okay...Seasame Street is now over...put your carpet squares away.

Today, I have utilized my number three..Today, I got married...for the third time.

Now, before you get your old prom dresses out and clip on your cumberbuns, this is not the legal kind.  No, I didn't stroll down the isle, I didn't exchange vows, and I didn't get to kiss the bride. (God, if I did, Kelly would Kill me....then there would be 3 days of mourning.)

I got a full time partner...Kim...for my third tour with her.

Kim is a 5-year paramedic in whom I have had as a partner on and off for just over a year. We have done everything from run a code to run into police cruisers (don't ask).  I think very, very highly of Kim and as a new medic, I would not want anyone else to assist me in my rookie year.

Well, seeing we didn't need to get aquainted, we logged into the truck and gave a quick look at the truck handed over to us from a busy morning.

It didn't take long, until the ringdown ruined our somber rest with a female having an ashtma attack.

Here we go...the next chapter has begun.

We arrived on scene to find a female sitting on the couch without any signs of distress. The fire department had arrived well before us seeing they were right next door.  Apparently, this female had been recently diagnosed with the asthma and had a rescue inhaler but didn't know how to use it.  We assessed the patient and found her vitals to be good. She seemed to have gotten over her attack.  While educating her as to how to use the inhalers and when to use it, she did the unthinkable.

"Do you know where 93 is with Brad and Chris (not their real names)?'

Kim and I looked at each other stunned.

"Why?"

"Well, if I need to go in later, can I call them?"

Hmmm..by request EMS. You don't want to get ME up in the middle of the night? You want THEM to come and get you? Well now...

"They work in the morning." I told her.

"So I can call them then?"

"Well, if you need us tonight, you call US tonight, don't wait until the morning." I gave her the legal disclaimer...then I gave her the off camera response.

"But, yes, they will be there after 9:00 tomorrow. You can call them then." I tried to say without laughing.

"Okay, I will call then."

OOOOooookay..what just happened???

It is quite apparent that this patient has some mental challenges but we made very sure that she was in no distress. She wasn't. So we left, hoping she will call the next crew tomorrow....heh heh heh heh heh.

The rest of the night was pretty uneventful....until early morning.

6AM

"92, I need you to respond to Kentucky Ave. for a man down. Unknown medical. Fire is responding."

Oh man. Man down.  This can be a variety of things. Maybe a diabetic with a low blood sugar that is not really coming around. Maybe someone that has fallen and can't get up (don't laugh). Or the worse..the full arrest.

I am praying for one of the first two. At 6 AM, my mind takes a little bit of time before it catches up with me. There is really little room for error in this field so the less I have to think, the better.

Within minutes, we were racing down the street attempting to beat the critical hour, a very crutial time in which we have from the time of incident to the time they get into an operating room.

We pulled into the residence with people standing outside guiding us to the patient who laid motionless next to her house. Going up to the patient, I checked her pulse.

Stop the clock. She is gone.

It appears to look as if the patient had collasped while doing yard work the day before. A lawn tool laid next to her and there seems to be no sign of any foul play.  There was nothing we could do, but call the police.

The woman who called 9-1-1 was outside still with her phone in her hand. At first, she was just a bystandard that was trying to help, but as we waited for the police, she became more annoying.

In a scene like this, even ruling out foul play, it becomes a crime scene. We, as EMT's are trained as to how to handle this and how to limit the traffic area around the patient as to not disturb the scene. We were doing a great job, this lady was not.

She kept walking up to the body and although we had told her not to, she acted as if she ran the scene. You know my temper..and you know what I am like in the morning.

"Ma'am, if you come over here again, I am gonna have you removed and charged."

"For what?" she asked me calling my bluff.

"For interference with a crime scene."

"Ha, you can't do that!!!" she acted as if she has seen every episode of Law and Order.

"Actually ma'am, he can."  A voice came from behind her making her flip around and then present with a disgusted look on her face.

It was the police, I was vindicated.

She then proceeded to walk around, mumbling something, with the phone STILL in her hand. Every resident that came out to see what was going on was met by her. I figured she was the gossip queen of the block. She had to be something, because she had the face for radio.

The police took over the scene and released us to our quarters.

Time to go home.

An hour later, I was on my way to my house. The shift was over and I had a T-ball game to coach.

Well, all. This is the end of this entry. Sorry there is not a whole lot of substance to it but now that I am re-married, I am POSITIVE the stories will get better.

Become an Organ donor.

Rounding third (see...three again) and heading home.

M-

06 May 2004

On the Lighter Side

06 May 2004

"On the Lighter Side"

This entry really has nothing to do with my day on the job, but rather a phone call I received from a representitive of a rival ambulance company in regards to a transport.  This is the audasity of some people and where or, lack of where, they get their info.

I got home a little bit ago and retrieved my messages. There was only one on the voicemail so I picked it up. The recorded voice was that of someone of very heavy hispanic decent. My guess is Columbian or maybe Venezualian..either way, he is hard to understand.

I know the routine. "Marissa, it is VERY (stressed that he did) important that you return my call."

VERY Important, eh? Okay...I'll return the call if it is "very important."

I called the number and went through that annoying computerized "Press this number for Joe Shmoe" kind of reception.  Within about a minute or less, I am connected to a human. (Why can't the phone company be as efficient).

"Hi, I am calling in regards to Marissa."

A stern "I'm about to lecture you" voice came on the other end.

"Before I tell you what I need, I need some information!!!" with such a tough, manly voice he said. I bet he was 5'2" tall.

Okay, I though. What harm can some common knowledge info hurt.

He asked for the phone number as to where I was living and I gave it to him.

"Are you sure this is the number Marissa lives at?"

What?!?!?  Hey Moron!!! you called me, remember?!?!  I know you need at least a third grade education to try to match the number I gave you with the number you have listed, but try to keep up. Maybe I should talk s-l-o-w-e-r. (please say that really slow).

"I am quite positive. Is there a problem?"

"Whom am I speaking with" he tried to ruffle my feathers.

Okay, by now, I am beyond patient. I have been really nice up to this point. Time to turn on the 3AM, EMS, You-got-me-out-of-bed-for-this attitude.

"You got to ask your question, sir, now you have to answer mine." I took the higher ground and told him.

C'mon folks..it is only fair.

"Marissa is in default for an ambulance ride she took to Cleveland. He accoount has been turned over to us (a collection agency) and we must recover payment or we will be forced to litigate this matter. I have made several attempts to contact her and she has neglected to return my calls." Mr. "I'm King of the World" tells me.

Marissa had a seizure of unknown origin in the winter time without any residual effects. She was shipped by ground to a bigger Children's hospital for overnight observation.  Nothing was found and there has not been any other effects.

But here is where it gets good.

<cracks knuckles here>

I am really hoping this is recorded and that he is training someone or he is on speaker phone showing "how to get it done" because it is my turn here.

You better sit down.

"Her account is up for default?" I asked.

"Yes, we need payment immediately or she will be prosecuted."

"Sir, I have one question for you first." I retorted.

"Go ahead" he said as if I was wasting his time.

"Do you have her personal info in front of you?" I asked getting ready to hit it out of the park.

"No" He shouted, "I do not need that. I already HAVE her social security number." This is the guy who couldn't match a phone number.

"Well, do you normally prosecute six year olds?" I asked putting my hands up in the air scoring the three pointer.

Marissa is six..I forgot to tell you that..lol

There was an absolute silence on the other line.

"Uhh..she is six?"

Did I studder?

"Yes, which means that you attempted to prosecute a minor for violating a 'contract' that she could not possibly comphrehend because she can't even read yet. Therefore, your information you have is based solely on a 9 digit number without proper verification. In other words, sir. I do not have to relinquish ANY further info to you until at least 2 letters have been sent to the proper channel (meaning her mother or I) in an attempt to collect." I educated him..I probably lost him at "she's six".

To make a long story short, the call ended.

What a moron.

Be safe.

Rounding third and heading home,

M-

05 May 2004

A Shot of Reality

05 May 2004

"A Shot of Reality"

Before you read this link listed below, I want you to take a moment and examine your own personal lives. I want you to think about things that you take for granted each day, the mundane chores and errands that are run, and the commonwealth of our children and their presence.

I want you to ask yourself, when was the last time you actually thought to yourself, "things will never happen to me."

Think about it...it only takes a second.

 http://chronicletelegram.com/Daily%20Pages/Front/Html/Head1.html

Be safe!

 

Rounding third and heading home.

M-

 

02 May 2004

"You want to go WHERE?!"

01 May 2004

"You Want to Go WHERE?!?"

There are certain components in EMS that separate the goods ones from the great ones.  Beyond the anatomical knowledge of the patient, the actions and reactions of pharmacutical agents, and the proper rederation of care in which we provide for each individual that calls the rescue squad, there is a deeper, more personable level in which separates an EMT that is great and a great EMT.  The level of compassion, the willingness to do the extras that can help alieviate the tension, on the heads up communication to inform family members as to what is going on.

Unfortunately, there are those who don't appreciate what it is we do and would rather "tell" you what you are going to do instead of consulting with us.

People, no matter how mundane you MAY think that our job is, we ARE there for the benifit of the patient. We ARE theie advocate. We WILL do what's best.

Apparently, that isn't good enough....

2AM

The phone rings.

Attempting to reorient myself within the darkness of our quarters, I managed to pick up the phone and I think I said hello..at 2AM the memory is fuzzy.

"92, I need you to go to (specified location) for a female with a fractured hip."

Eww..that's gotta suck.

Those are quite painful and very delicate handling will be a must.

I went to get my partner who was beyond a comatose state.  Light snores echoed through the room. Calling his name several times, I noticed that he was not budging. Hmm..time for extreme measures..the clock WAS ticking.

I threw the light on, shook the bed with a viloent motion, and began to scream for him.  Waking up like he did, you would have thought the Iraqi's dropped the big one on the ground just feet from him. I could se his retinas from 20 feet, his eyes opened so far.

Wow...I just wanted you to get up.

We made it to the squad and clicked "En Route."

The bars were letting out so the traffic was slightly busier than normal for that time of night. I remember approcahing a light getting ready to pass a party goer (who didn't move to the right..must have not gottem my memo) when a message came over our MDT.

"Per family, this patient is to go to SJWS."

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!

This is ten miles out of the way, it is 2AM, and if she is TRULY in pain, this is gonna be more of a hinder for the patient.  Maybe it is just a "request." I would find out soon, that we were in the military..or at least had a family member that once was.

We got to the scene and went into the patient's room (an independant living facility) and saw the patient laying there in obvious pain and sheer discomfort on the bed...Her son was in tow..oh boy, here we go.

At first, her son was very pleasant and informing us of certain questions, then he played "Three strikes" with me.

While asking the patient a question as to her pain, the son interjected with "Don't talk mom, I will answer for you."

Did YOOOOOOOOOU break your hip? No???? Then don't answer for her!!! You don't know her pain, so don't act like you do. Strike one.

He then proceeded to tell me "I am director of Security here" he said with a commanding attitude.  Well good for you. I know there must be a lot of gang traffic here in a nursing home. I can see why they need you with all the residence rumbling over the final tapioca pudding or guns drawn and a shoot out going on because Elmer got BINGO before Ted did and Doris smiled...C'mon man..you should KNOW that Doris is Elmer's girl..you better break that up!!!

Strike Two.

He then proceeded to tell me that his mother was GOING to go (without argument) SJWS hospital.  This is where I tried to explain to him that it is most uncomfortable for her to go 10 extra miles down a poorly paved road to facilitate his request with a patient that is in severe pain.  This is where he pulled me outside...this is where he got Strike Three.

He proceeded to tell me that is mother has dementia (although she was sharp as a nail when we got there.) That is mother has not taken any of her meds. (moron..it is 2AM) and that he didn't think she needed pain meds before the doctor saw her because all her films were at that facility.

Well, you highness, she wasn't going to get any meds. Here is why.

The hospital that we will be going to, is not only in a different city, but a different county also so the protocols are different. Protocols that do not recognize our service as going there often, so, and not to blame them, they really don't trust us or know us.

I explained to the son the difficulties of going to this hospital and what might incur as far as pain and how I strongly disagreed with this. He brushed me off and proceeded to tell me about being head of security again. (Thanks there Captain rent-a-cop...I got it).

I bit my lip, loaded the patient and jumped up front to drive.

I took the ride a little slower than normal because the road surface was horrendous and very VERY bumpy. I can hear the patient screaming with pain in the back. My heart went out to her.

If we would have went to the regular hospital we normally go to, the ride would have taken 5 minutes..this ride took 18 minutes. 

When we got there, the hospital was rather receptive (for a change..they usually divert us to another hospital and if we DO make it there, they are rather rude) so we transferred care, got our stuff and left.

Getting a signature from the son, he began to thank us as we left. My partner acknowledge this faintly..I kept walking away. I know that this irritated him because he yelled it louder. He KNEW I was upset and what I was upset about.

I kept walking.

This trip that would have taken 40 minutes door to door took over an hour and a half now. Hmm...Took one in the arm for this one.

People, here is a question that I have for you. If your films are at a different hosptial and your doctor is too, would you rather me take you to that facility if you are in tremendous pain where I can give you something to ease your discomfort, or would you rather I trek cross county to go where your X-rays are?  You know, we CAN stabilize you and transfer you if you have to stay.

Your choice.

Well all, EMT's and Paramedics do more than just treat and transport. We are a very strong patient advocate as to what we feel is in the best interest of you the patient. I promise you that I will provide the highest standard of care to you and make sure that you have the most comfortable trip possible in a very strenuous situation. I promise you that I will hold your hand if neeeded, share a laugh, and most important, I will never make you feel alone. Just let me do my job..and that is to take care of you.

Drive Safe and Wear Your Seatbelt.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,

M-