27 September 2004

Bringing out the Dead

27 September 2004

"Bringing out the Dead"


Okay America (and Canada too), Here is your assignment.

You want to know what it is really like to be an EMT or Paramedic. This is as close as it comes with the reality of being burnt out, getting all the calls no one wants, and most of all, being awake at zero dark thirty.

I am off to work almost 48 straight starting off at the fire department and finishing up with the EMS station.


While I am gone, I would highly recommend watching this movie. With an all star line-up in it, I would portray this as a dark comedy/drama.  It may not be suitable for younger children, so there is your disclaimer.

I cannot speak for Scott (Stories from my Ambulance) or Kasey (The Return of Kaseypalooza), but, for me, this is as close as it comes...to the mind of a paramedic.

Watch and take notes...there may be a quiz.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


25 September 2004

Damnest Thing I Ever Saw

24 September 2004

"Damnest Thing I Ever Saw"


Ahh..I remember it like it was yesterday...okay, maybe like it was last week, but nevertheless, a memorable year that had spawned me into what I am today.

Eighteen, full of life, and a diploma in my hands, the ink was still wet when I went and decided to spend my summer in school instead of vacationing before I left for college.  Having an almost certainty as to what I wanted to do with my life, (Okay, not TOTALLY certain, but come on..I am 18) I had enrolled in an EMT program to get certified before the summer was over.  A month or so later, I was registered as an EMT. This would be the best summer job that I could ever have.

Twelve years later.....I am still doing it.

A Paramedic now, I cannot see me doing anything different (unless I win the lottery, then I see myself sipping mai tai's on the beach enjoying the sun..but with my luck, someone will probably drown and I will have to resuscitate them.)

One of the most frequent questions that I, or anyone in the EMS field (Scott, Kasey, Donna...you can all attest to this) is:

"I bet you have seen some stuff, haven't you?"

Yes. I have seen "stuff"!!!

I have seen things such as abuse, that makes one so angry, it takes every ounce of self restraint to hold yourself back in order to not kick the living snot (PG-13 version) out of the person that you KNOW is doing the abuse. It is a good thing EMS doesn't carry hand guns.

I have seen things that will make one cry. Peoples who's loved ones have suddenly passed away and as they look on to you as their only shred of sheer hope, the tears in their eyes collect and it is impossible to make eye contact with...because you know that you will cry too...and to say "I'm sorry" just doesn't seem good enough.

Then, there are those incidents that stand out from all the others.  The ones we realize that this iswhy we do the job. The ones where everyone pays attention to you when you tell the story.

Those are the ones that we say "Now THAT was weird???"

Oh yeah..saving lives is great too.

But let's not get away from the "war stories." Everyone in EMS has them, and everyone in EMS loves to share them.

Today is one of those days.

Grab an Orange Juice, get a pillow, pull out your carpet square. It is story time here...on "Life as a Paramedic."

I had to check the calender to make sure that the moon was not full here because the volume of the calls we were getting and the nature of those calls, far exceeded what should be considered "normal" for a Wednesday.  But, in all the chaos that the day brought, there were two calls in memory that stood out above all the rest.

1600 hours.

"91, MVA with injuries, car vs. parked semi."

Parked semi???

Wow, I hate those. These calls are the worse.  You are driving along the road, minding your own business, jamming to the radio as you sing over the voice thinking to yourself "I should be the next American Idol" when all of a sudden, out of the blue, a semi truck pops out of the bushes and goes "BOO!!" startling you where you swerve to avoid the trailer and at that split second, gravity increases and the magnetisim of the truck pulls you closer, causing an unfortunate meeting with the semi.  I mean, how else could you NOT see a 60 foot semi that was not moving on the side of the road??

I jump into the passenger seat and Shawn, my partner for a couple hours, begins to drive to the call.  Passing cars while going to the scene, I had ranked Shawn's driving ability in one of the 3 standard emergency driving categories.

First, there is the "speed limit ambulance driver". These are the ones that, even WITH lights and sirens, they travel the posted speed limit to the scene. The phrase "Time is of the essence" is super-ceded by "Safety first."

Next, there is your normal "Due Regard" drivers.  These are the ones that drive slightly over the speed limit, are very cautious when passing or crossing an intersection, and are very aware of the road and the traffic ahead.

Then, there is Shawn's category. The "if you drive any faster, you'll go back in time" driving.  I didn't know that an ambulance could ever break the sound barrier, until then. Any faster and we would have gotten to the scene before the accident happened.

Good thing my seat belt works.

We arrived on scene to find two cars and a semi (parked) with pretty moderate damage.  Walking to the first car, I noticed an elderly gentleman with a cut on his head denying pain of any sorts and refusing medical care.

Okay, no problem, that is less work for me. 

Walking up to the second vehicle, I came up to the passenger side of a 2000 or so Ford Ranger pick-up. It was moderately damaged to the right rear and inside I found a passenger and another elderly gentleman sitting in the back of the cab where the extended cab seats were located. 

The front passenger, who suffered from mental retardation, seemed to be alright and stated that "only my head hurts" opened the door for us to assess the rear seat passenger who happened to be his father.

During our interview, we find that the patient in the rear was actually the driver of the truck who got thrown into the back of the cab.  Not complaining of any pain, he asked us if we could get him out of the back of the truck as he was stuck in between the seats.

Okay, a reasonable request...until we opened the driver's side door.

Going around to the door on the driver's side, I was et by an officer who came to assist us in anyway that we needed. I reached for the handle of the truck, opened the door, and both of us jumped straight back.

There on the floorboard of the truck was something that neither of us suspected, something that took us both by suprise, something that I don't think I ever saw in my career.

There on the floor, laid the patient's leg...not attached to anything.

WHOA BOY!!!!  This is not good.

Thinking to myself that we would have to fly this person out because of the loss of his limb and that the patient was in obvious trauma because of the sheer fact that he complained of NO pain, I noticed something about the leg.


There was no blood.

Why no blood?

Because it was a prostethic leg.

Apparently, the injury caused it to come loose and laft it hanging there for us to see and go into cardiac arrest from it.  The cop and I shared a chuckle, then we pulled him out of the truck.

I sure hope he doesn't have to go to court...because I don't think he will have a leg to stand on. ( I know..I know..I couldn't resist).

0730 Hours

"91, you are going to GCI (the medium security prision) for an inmate who swallowed a razor blade and is having abdominal pain."

Okay. Correct me if I am wrong, but does "swallowed" and "razorblade" belong in the same sentence???

Getting into the truck, I could not even BEGIN to rationalize as to how or, for lack of a better question, WHY this had happened.  Maybe the inmate needed the iron in his body?

Getting there, I find the patient sitting up in a moderate distress and very eager to see us. (I don't know why, it is not like I was gonna pull a magnet out of my bag and retract the blades back out instantly curing him.) I am still processing "swallowed" and "razorblades".

Getting him onto the cot, we loaded him and took off for the hospital.  Vitals were normal, IV started, curiosity building.

Okay...I had to ask.

His response:

"I had three razor blades and I was going to cut my wrist. I had put the first two inbetween my teeth to hold them and I was unfolding the third one. I bent it too far and it snapped in half. It made me flinch and I swallowed them. I didn't intend to do that."

.................   <----  represents a blank stare.

Did I really need to label this inmate with the stupidity award. No, he did that on his own. 

Welcome to my squad, sir..here is your sign.

So, to answer the question that most people arise with bing "you must have seen it all",  the answer is "no" I haven't..there is always someone out there that impresses me, and that I add to the collection.

Good thing I use an electric razor.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,





20 September 2004

"Do you have a band-aid?"

20 Sept 2004

"Do you have a band-aid?"


Where boredom was created at.  It is that fine line that separates the sanity from the insanity. It is like going to your favorite restaurant and being put on the wait list.  The longer you anticipate, the worse it makes you. After 20 minutes there, you see people getting sat that you recognize as walkin gin right before you. The anticipation grows. The frustration lingers. Are we going or aren't we? 

For those first daters, this is even worse because the feeling intensifies by like 15.  There is only so much small talk that you can do before you start that inner voice saying "c'mon man, sit us please..I am dying here!!"

You know what I mean.

Posting is like that.

Posting consist of driving our truck to a designated location and are put on a "stand-by" because all other units are out on traffic.  In the event that another emergency may come in, you will take the call from your designated posting station. (Kind of like Maverick from "Top Gun" sitting on the aircraft carrier waiting to go up in the end of the movie...and if you haven't seen the movie..where the Hell have you been???).

Posting can last as long as 30 seconds when you are cancelled en route to the location up to hours depending on how busy it is and how much your dispatcher likes you.

Anyway, to make a long story short (too late..I know), Posting sucks.

1200 hours.

Sipping on some Gatorade and indulging in some Snickers Almonds, Kim and I sit in the parking lot of a gas station, posting for the other district who got their butts handed to them when they received six 9-1-1 calls within four minutes.

The sun is shining bright bouncing the cool lake breeze down the main stretch of road giving a nice yet refreshing accent to a rather pleasant afternoon.  Looking at the MDT in our truck, it looked as if the city we were covering was just getting back on its feet. Looks like we were going back to the station soon.  Looking out the front window of the squad, we notice traffic is backing up which is not uncommon seeing we are parked right next to theon ramp for the highway.  Passing it off to normal traffic, a mini van slowly makes its way into the gas station. By passing the pumps, the driver of the vehicle pulls along side the squad and rolls her window down.

Doing the same, I witness a young mother who had just gotten out of church by the way she was dressed with a very calm and rather pleasant voice conferring a question to Kim and myself.

"Excuse me, I hate to bother you, but would you happen to have a band-aid?" she asked us.

Thinking it may be for one of her children, I got out and went into the back of the squad to retrieve the item that she requested.

"Here you go ma'am, is this for your child?" Curiosity was getting me.

"No, there is a gentleman that was involved in a fender bender just over the bridge there and he has a cut on his head. I was going to take this to him." She replied.

A fender bender..hmmmm.

I told the young mother that we would run over and check it out to make sure everyone was okay.

Getting into the squad, I told Kim what was up and we etched out into traffic proceeding over the bridge...and into another EMS district.

Crossing over the bridge, we found the car, just like the lady told us, only there was something that she failed to mention.

The fender bender was a high speed fender bender and in all reality, the car didn't have a fender anymore.

In the middle of the road, what was once a small vehicle, laid there missing most of the front end and had extreme damage to the sides and the windows.  Glass scattered the road for roughly 50 feet and shards of metal planted the roads.

Parking in a space to block traffic (because no one stops in Ohio and will whiz by you within 3 feet of you), I got out to observe the damage..and the drive, who laid unconscious in the front seat.

Opening the door to assess the patient, I was quickly met with a pool of blood that came from the running board and quickly filled the area around my boots. The windshield of the car was starred and pushed outward where the unrestraint driver went into it and pushed it out about 8 inches. The rear view mirror inside was broken off by his head and inthe seat, he laid unconscious and barely moving.

Kim got on the radio and called for help. I started to immoblize the patient as best as we could.  Seeing we were in another service area hosted by our rival EMS company, help would take a little longer than normal to get.  I hope it comes soon, this guy is bad.

As Kim and I began to see what had happened, a sound of sirens came out of the traffic and started to get louder. Help was almost here...or was it?

Looking up, I see a pick up truck with a blue light in the front of it, pull out and move to the shoulder.  Out of the cab comes a lone person in plain clothes walking down the road toward us as if he were Fabio in some sort of cheesy love scene with the sunglasses on and in slow motion. Approaching us, Don Juan ( who I thought looked more like Juan Valdez) decided that he was gonna TRY to run the show.

"I am a fireman here in this city." He stated like he was God.


"Good, can you stop traffic for us, the cars are still coming way too close." I asked him.

"I don't stop traffic, I work for the FIRE department" his cockiness tried to spell it out for me.

You know me..I am lit up by now.

"Listen here, Backdraft.  Do you see a fire? Is there a cat in a tree here?  You have no gear, no equipment, and honestly, no use to me in your Dodge pick-up that you have decked out brighter than a dance club.  You have two options right now. Pay attention, I will talk slow for you." I was ready to throw him over the edge of the bridge.

"You can either A) redirect the traffic until the police arrive, or B) go find a brass pole and practice sliding down it. Either way, I am not going to tell you again." I made it clear to him that he rubbed me the wrong way. It is a good thing I had my coffee this morning.

Disgruntled, yet defeated, he walked away and got back to his truck and seemed like he was on the radio talking to someone.  I didn't care. He was out of my hair and out of my way.  Back to business.

Kim and I extricated the gentleman and found him to have a very large cut to the back of the head. I suspect that is where all the blood came from and I was sure that there were other things that were going on with him.

Placing him on the backboard, I saw the neighboring EMS coming up the ramp. A supervisor and a squad was led by a highway patrol officer which positioned themselves to stop traffic too.

The supervisor approached us and Kim was talking to him, the walked away, while she was in mid sentence.

Apparently, he wasn't too keen on us playing in his briar patch and boasted his chest too. He kept quiet...good thing for him.  The crew from the squad were extremely helpful and helped Kim load up the patient into our squad which they had no trouble letting us take..no paperwork for them then.  They asked us if we needed anything and then went back to their squad. Thanking them, I got in the front and began our trip to the hospital.

Running lights and sirens, it took up only a few minutes to arrive to the hospital which was a smaller one that had only a 8 bed ER. Usually staffed with a nurse, tech, and a doctor, the Emergency room was not used to major trauma as it is set in a smaller community. Well kids, get your trauma books out, time to go to school.

Entering the hospital, we were directed by the nurse to a bed, unloading the patient, Kim gave her a quick heads up as to what happened.  The nurse helping us move the patient called for the doctor who came in...to say what has to be the most idiotic thing I think I have ever heard a doctor say.

"What is this?  This man needs to be at a medical facility?"


Did I turn somewhere wrong????

I swear the sign up front read HOSPITAL in beg red letters.

"You have GOT to be kidding?" Kim asked him.

I didn't need to get angry, Kim was there for both of us.

Good, because I was still besides myself.

Dropping off the patient and transferring care, I heard the nurse immediately call for Life Flight to come and get the patient.

I made the cot, Kim made a phone call.  This was one wild ride.

To be honest with you all, I have not seen or heard from that doctor again after the call we took there and I was very leary to use that place as a primary care center because of that incident.  I do know now they are a little more equipted to handle something like. I sure hope so, I don't want to go through that again.

The driver took a flight to Cleveland where the level 1 trauma center is and I guess made a full recovery.

He needed a bit more than a band-aid...I think he needed two.

Rounding third and heading home,


15 September 2004

15 Minutes of Fame

14 Sept 2004

"15 Minutes of Fame"

Got a letter today from AOL. Apparently I have made one of their sites as a feature. A game site, but nevertheless, I am popular.

For a sneak peek as to what I look like, the link and letter are below.

Hello Gamers!   You're getting this e-mail because you're a featured member at AOL Games: Find a Game Partner.  Thank you for your participation!   Good gaming.  :)     DebbieS0
Team Coordinator
AOL Community Staff
Games Community
  Rounding Third and Heading Home, M-

11 September 2004

Gone, but not Forgotten

11 Sept 2004

"Gone, but not Forgotten"

Three years ago, a coward fortook an evil rage that has enveloped this country as a whole. 

Three years ago, a wound was opened that will never ever heal.

Three years ago, families were ripped apart for no explaination given.

Three years ago, we watched, as history would alter our course of living and the way that we survive..as a nation.

Below is a link that sums it all up. It may take a bit to download, but it will be worth the wait.

Please remember, never forget.


Rounding Third and heading home,


09 September 2004

Ten Things to Remember is EMS

09 Sept 2004

"Ten Things to Remember in EMS"

Tonight marks the beginning of 36 straight hours of EMS.  In a few hours I will put my navy blue on and trek down to the EMS station where I will enter...the Twilight Zone.....de de de de.....de de de de....de de de de.

So, until I get back, I thought I would give you the 10 "Murphy's Rules" of EMS.

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go.

10.   ETD + 5=EMS Run. This is pretty simple and common place. ETD is your time of departure, or your off duty time. The 5 represents minutes before your ETD is achieved..and when you get that last EMS run.

So, if you are off at 8:30 AM. Chances are that your next EMS run will be at 8:25. The odds increase by 4 times if you have an appointment to be somewhere.  It is irrelavent if someone comes in for you too...the time will still be 5 minutes before they arrive...Been there done that.

9.  The vunerable four.  There are four individual places that one feels safe. And these four places that someone has it in for you with by giving you that call.  These places are:

-The bedroom...about 2 minutes after you fall asleep.

- The bathroom...sitting on the throne is for sure to get you a call, especially when you are ridding yourself of that enchalada meal from the night before.

- The shower. Forget it...just stay disgusting...you are about to get puked on anyways.

- The dining room.  They call it a value meal for a reason...because you can value when you will actually get to eat it.

8.  The stroke of midnight. 12:oo AM. The start of a new day. 12:01 AM.  Everybody needs the ambulance.  For the other 16 hours of the day, everyone has perfect breathing, are pain free, and know how to drive properly. Once the calendar day changes, the tides of chance change out and the drama begins.

"I have had this pain since early this morning. I thought it would go away on its own."  Hmm...pain for over 16 hours...Here's a dollar...buy a clue.

7. The Checklist. This one is a no brainer. In the morning, you are "supposed" to check on the truck and make sure that all your stuff is there.  "The truck is all good" comng from the crew before may be true, but it always seems that the EMS nomes will steal that exact item that you need.

"Grab me the glucometer" EMT one says.

"Ummmm....." EMT two replies.

See what I mean.

6. If it is big and red, and holds lots of water, it will block your path.  Fire department guys where I work are the best. They work well with us and always lend a hand if needed.


Trying to back into a driveway where the fire truck has stopped in front of the house, is nearly impossible.

Guys, I have an ambulance, not a Yugo.  It corners like the Titanic, is quiet as a rock concert, and has more blind spots than a painting by Stevie Wonder.  Can you give me just a BIT more room than the 6 inches you left.

5.  Anyone call for a cab?  The letters on the front read AMBULANCE.

"I am not that sick, but I called a cab and they said 20 minutes so I didn't want to wait."

You want a ride? OOOOkkkkkay.....your 5 dollar cab ride just turned into $500.  I know that your stubbed toe requires immediate medical attention and that you really cannot wait for an ambulance, but...oh, who cares...no one is listening anyways.

4.  Mood variable partners. No matter how bad of a mood you may be in and how much you really want to relax, the more uptight and cranky you are, the more likely of a chance you will get teamed up with the FNG (friggin' new guy).  He or she is the one wearing the bat belt with everything on it to builda small shelter if needed. You know the ones who I am talking about, their shirts are so startched that they wouldn't need a bullet proof vest, boots are like solar reflectors, and they are the ones sitting right next to the phone waiting for it to ring with a call.

Friggin' newbies.  (I love all of you who are new to the field..I really do)

3. Climate Control. The warmer or colder it gets outside, the longer you have to work in that climate.

For instance, if it is minus 10 degrees outside, your motor vehicle accident patients will need to be cut out. If the same accident happened in 70 degree weather with sun, they would be walking around when you got there. If it is 95 degrees out, you will have to climb Mount Everest to get your patient.  65 Degrees, his co-workers will bring him to you.


2. It's always the top floor.  No matter where you are, the higher you have to climb in a building or home to get to a patient, the more severe they are.

"What room is the patient in ma'am?

"She is in 1215 on the twelfth floor...the elevators aren't working though."

This is why I don't go to the gym.

1. John Wayne time.  No matter where you are and how bad it is, when you call for back up, there is none available.

"We need assistance right now."

"Fire is on a house fire, we will get someone out there as soon as we can."


"Police are in a shift change right now...they will be there when the can."

Well, either the patient or myself will be dead by then..but thanks anyways.

Time to head on out to happy Acres.

Rounding Third and heading Home.




05 September 2004

A Picture Tells a 1000 Words

05 Sept 2004

"A Picture Tells a 1000 Words"

I thought I would give you something to ponder and try different.

I give you the picture, now you tell ME the story.

Hope you have fun with this...Be creative..I like a challenge..lol

And the Team awaits the kickoff (For you Ali Brat),


04 September 2004

A Friendly Reminder

03 Sept 2004

"A Friendly Reminder"

There really is no need to lecture again about drinking and driving OR wearing a seat belt.  I am beyond words and rather stressed as to educating the general public on the importance of it.  In reality, it is really your choice. You can drink, you can drive, you may make it, you may not.  I really don't want you to find out.

Please folks.....PLEASE.

Get a designated driver and always always ALWAYS wear you safety belt.

A drunk driver plowed into the back of one of our squads after the crew just dropped the patient off.  It was their last call of the day and they were on their way home.  The truck flipped 4 times landing on its roof. The crew left the squad with only minor injuries....because they had seat belts on.

Highway patrol said had they not been restraint, they would have been ejected and died...without question.

The choice is yours.

Rounding Third and heading home,


02 September 2004

The Long Drive Home

01 September 2004

"The Long Drive Home"

Wednesday morning. 

The soft sun gleamed from its eastern position illuminating the dew off the soy field just out of view.  A mild temperature in the high 50's was illutriated with a gentle, yet comfortable breeze that really radiates the senses.  The birds chirped their morning songs and children stood in brand new clothing awaiting thier school bus that will carry them to another school year.

Feeling the late summer breeze come through my window, I stood in front of the mirror buttoning up the last button on my dress uniform.  Making sure my patches were pressed, my boots were shined, and my pants free of debris, I took a very big sigh and left for the station.

The ride to work took less than 10 minutes...I did it in silence.  Around me, a plethra of police vehicles ranging from all over the state of Ohio cruised the streets fully shined as if they were fresh off the assembly line.  They were prestine, clean, and remarkable.

They were here for a reason, they were here to gather, they were here to pay tribute...and bury a friend.

On Friday, an off duty police officer was working at a local hall seting up for his steak fry that was to take place in a few hours. The weather started to turn rough so this officer decided to start home as he rode in on a motorcycle and did not want to get wet, exchange for his car and come back to help more.  His girlfriend followed in tow in her police cruiser, as they worked on the same department, to offer him a ride back. Playing it safe, they continued into the city.

At the southern limits, the officer decelerated to the new posted limits and began to enter the town like he has done all so many times. Turning left down the curve, it was only a few short minutes till he was safely in his driveway, avoiding all rain.

Two blocks in town, a drunk driver ran a stop sign, colliding with the motorcycle, dragging the officer for just under a hundred feet.  Lying motionless in the road, hisgirlfriend called for help.

Two minutes later, the squad showed up. The paramedic on board knew the officer as we work in the same city.  That paramedic was this officers best friend. 

Working on the downed cop, obvious signs of death were present. Massive trauma to the chest caused instant death.  The medic tried to revive him, if only for the grief of the fellow patrolmen who watched.

30 minutes later, the officer was pronounced dead.

Arriving at work, everyone milled around in their dress outfits cleaning and scrubbing the squads. By request of the family, two of the units were to be in the processional. One was to remain behind.

I would be staying at the station.

With lightbars shining and chrome glistening, the squads left to join the other officers who have travelled a great length to accompany thier fellow officer to his final resting place.

The procession was to come and travel right in front of our station as the police department was located on the same street. We prepared for the procession to drive pass, we all had heavy hearts.

I went and placed our flag at half mast and stood in the front of the building with the remaining crew that stayed to honor their fallen comrade.

Looking down the street, I can see the multi-colored lights well in the distance. The processional was coming...we all had lumps in our throats. No one said a word...everyone lined up...it was the least we could do.

I ran to all the squads and turned their emergency lights on as they stood there on the bay apron awaiting to go in action.  The ambulances gleamed, the lights illuminated the area, it was a sign of respect. It was a way of saying thank you and you will be missed.

The lead cars approached in front of the station. All of the crew members watched in silence with thier hands behind their backs.  The car carrying the fallen officer approached.

All seven of us saluted.

Trailing the officer was an SUV carrying the family of the fallen officer. A window rolled down in tha back and a head appeared in the window.  It was the mother of the officer...she wiped away a tear...and mouthed the words "Thank You" into our direction.  I held it in as long as I could...A tear rolled from beneath my sunglasses.

The rest of us stood in line until the last car departed. I counted 74 police cruisers which stemmed for around 2 miles.

In the processional were the man's paulbearers. Each had a part of his life with them..Each rode their motorcycle...honoring their co-worker, their family member, and their friend.

Nothing was spoken after the procession. The service lasted for 3 hours.  A tragic end to a new day.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

 numbers 6:24-26

Rounding third and heading home,