27 April 2005

By Request

27 April 2005

"By Request"

While sitting at work today, trying to pass some time, I was contemplating as to what to write about and how I was going to present it.

My first choice was the "Road Code" where someone had the big one while walking down the middle of the street.

Next was the "Luxury sedan seizure" where a man was having grand mal seizures in his Cadillac in his garage.

Or, finally, there was my "New frequent flyer". A whiny guy who seems to be a hypochrondriac and demands immediate attention at the snap of a finger.

So, going through my options, I received an IM from one of my faithful with the simple request.

         "What is the puke story that Donna told me to ask you about?"

Well, I am glad you asked.

For those of you who have clicked on some of the other journals that I have in the right column of my blog here, you will see one that says Behind the Headset floating in there somewhere. These are Donna's stories as told from the 9-1-1 operator point of view.

Donna, also used to be one of my partners for like 4 months while my actual partner was out on rehab for a bad back.

And let me say, it was never a dull moment...as I am about to share the "puke" story with you.

23 February 2003                                                                                                   

Every year, the fire department that I work for has a steak fry in order to raise funds for equipment and training of the present personnel. It is one of the biggest and most successful in the county and usually sells out within a day or so of tickets going on sale.

400 plus people pour into a rented gymansium in order to dine on steak, potatoes, salad, bread,a nd other various vegetables.

Oh yeah, it is allthe beer you can drink too...included in the price.

A DJ is hired to play music and within an hour or so, it is the equivelent to being at a wedding reception, only casual clothing. Oh, and we have some gambling too.

People from all over the county come to partake in our meager little event ranging from grandma and grandpa to all the civil service personnel such as county commisioners, police, fire, 9-1-1, and so forth.

It doesn't take long for the party to come out of the players, and when that time comes, someone has to play babysitter (for lack of a better term is all, I am not stating that anyone is a baby.)

This time, I drew the short straw. Oh well, it is for a good cause.

2245 Hours (later in that evening)

The dance floor was packed to capacity with the crowd that had come to eat, drink, and be merry.  Hanging out with the 9-1-1 crew, we began to do our best John Travolta's and mingle with the emergency room nurses on the hardwood.  Despite being frigid cold outside, the party was cooking inside. Intensifying the effects of the beer that was provided.

Kurt, a buddy of mine from 9-1-1 who is a dispatcher, brought jello shots to the shin-dig to enhance the evenings activities.

300 jello shots.

At 2245 Hours, there were 6 left.

That is right folks, between eight people, over 280 jello shots were consumed.

Oh yeah, Kurt decided to NOT add water and double up on the alcohol.

It was a DUI in a dixie cup.

Chatting about something, I felt a tug at my shoulder and felt two hands encompass my body. I felt my center of gravity suddenly shift and my knees begin to lock in place so that I would not fall down.  It was Donna, who could barely stand up. I know this because I quickly became her leaning post.

Donna presented with a smile and elation that could only be fueled by everyone's three favorite wisemen.

Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, and Johnny Walker.

"Are you having a good time, Donna?" Kurt and I laughed as I asked her already knowing the answer.

"Oh, I am having a wonderful time, thank you very much." she smiled and raised her glass up in the air.

Sharing in the laughter of the moment, the smile on Donna's face quickly turned to determination and business. 

Something was wrong, and we all knew it. Some one would have to pitch in and help alievate the problem at hand, someone was going to have to become something that they didn't want to be.

A chaperone.

I lost in rock, paper, sissors.  Should have picked paper.

"Okay Donna, let's go." I chuckled as she grabbed my arm and I escorted her to the entrance of the facilities.

Even drunk, Donna walked with grace.

So I waited....

and waited....

and waited....

and waited....(You see where this is going?!)

Fifteen minutes went by. Donna never came back out. (And don't even THINK for a second that I am going after her.)

Getting a little concerned, Kurt came up to me and asked where Donna was. Pointing to the entrance of the bathroom, Kurt gave a stunned "WHAT???" look upon his face.

Now it was time to regroup and get a game plan. Was Donna okay? Had she passed out in there? Kurt wanted to do rock, paper, sissiors again. I decided against it.

Approaching us was Kim. ( You remember Kim, my old partner in crime) Kim came to say hello, we quickly recruited her for our mission.  Kim accepted...then went in.

The clock is now ticking. The longer she was in there, the bigger I knew the problem was going to be.

Kim came back out. Her face was white as a ghost.

"Did you find her?" we asked?

"Um...well....yeah, but..." Kim managed to get out.

But???  Never a good word.  My mind began to race thinking exactly what was going on in the eighth wonder of the world (the ladies room).

Then what Kim told us knocked me out of my stance. I know I wasn't ready for this and I know that I didn't want to hear what I had heard.

What did Kim say to us that made us drop our jaws?

Come back tomorrow and find out.

To be continued......

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


24 April 2005

Back to Work

24 April 2005

"Back to Work"

Okay Folks. I want to thank you all for your kind letters and such in my "funk" that has been luring over me.  I have somewhat rejuvenated myself and have decided to try to return to the form that I was once in. 

A lot of you have given me some great advice and I think that I am going to take it and get down with my bad self.

So...Without further a due...Let's get back into the game.

There is one thing in EMS that we have absolutely NO control over and no matter how much you study and how much you prepare. A variable that also controls emotion and state of mind. It is something that we just learn to live with.

This thing....

Mother Nature.

It is LATE April here in the midwest and as I look outside, what do I see???

Three inches of snow (yes, that white precipitation that USUALLY falls from November to February and is classified in a season called "winter".)

Okay, so I know that there is an occasional "snow" (I hate that word) storm in the later months of the spring and normally, I could deal with that. A few flakes here and there just to remind you of the misery that you prevailed over the course of the last few months.


Last weeks high temp.

(You better sit down..I know I am)


Yes, I had the windows down AND the air conditioner cranked in the squad living life with my sunglasses on and jamming to the tunes on the radio.

Good thing I left my snow brush in the car.

Right now, the temp is 33 degrees. It is still snowing and accumulating on the ground or anything else it touches.



This is why I always keep a coat in the car...even in July.


Enough of the sob story. Let's get to the reason that you came here. To hear stories of the people I meet and what goes on behind the scenes in EMS.

1940 Hours.

Did I mention that I hate snow?  I mean, this is spring. Rain I can deal with. Wind I can handle. A combination of the two I can even stomach. But snow...

Walking in from the back garage, I found a towel suitable to my needs and began to dry my saturated uniform that I had gotten drenched in. 

My glasses fogged with the sudden change in temperature and and I looked like a drowned rat that had poked uf from the sewer after a wave of water crashed down.

Normally, I would just shrug it off and change into my back-up uniform, only there was one problem to this.

I was already IN my back up uniform.

The dryer had not finished with my first uniform that had to be washed from the MVA that I got all muddy on earlier and it looked like about another hour till it would be ready for action again.

Dry clothes are overrated anyways.

Grabbing my computer, it was time to get caught up on the runs that had eluded me through the day and try to make it to bed at a realitively decent hour.

Then of course...

The phone rings.

Another call.....

To The Bat Cave, Robin

Throwing my coat around my shoulders, I quickly scrambled into the squad to prepare for our next mission.

Somewhere in the city, a woman is defeated with chest pain and has requested use of the bat signal.

 (That's me on the ledge..I look hot and sexy when it is dark out and no one can see me.)

Pulling out onto the street, a flip of the light panel had us cataputing into action.

Feeling the thrust of the jet engine (Actually, it is the diesel turbo), I am whisked into my seat donning the rest of my gear (a pair of rubber gloves) to prepare for action as the scene of the incident approaches with every second passing.

Cars being tossed to the sides as the squad plows through like a hot knife through butter.  The lights are only that of a warning as the siren pierces the senses announcing the warning of our coming.  Hang on fair citizen...help is on the way.

A quick left, a hard right, we became a running back heading for the end zone. Amidst, the goal was just within reach.

One last turn and the destination had been reached. (I know this because there was a big red fire truck in front of the house). 

Pulling in, I jumped out to grab my gear when from across the yard, my attention was focused to one person, one soul, one being.

It was my arch nemisis staring me down as if an icon was about to fall.  He knew me...and I knew him. I moved in closer only to be shadowed by his every move.

It was inevitable, I had to face him...and I had to do it now.

There in front of me, he stood. Eyes locked and focused. He had me dead to rights.

Who is this evil villian of our world whom strikes fear and unrest throughout our civil commuity? Who breaks our peace and calmness with sheer presence.

It is no other than.....

Scanner Bill. (BTW, he IS a real person)

Everyone in the EMS community has one of him. They are the ones that go to Radio Shack, they pony up like a hundred dollars, and walk out with a hand held scanner, batteries, and the frequency book.  In just 30 short minutes, they are showing up on calls that you are going on. At first, it is something that you just forget about, until EVERY call is graced with their presence.

Then, of course, they have the boldness to come up to you as if to inform you as to the situation.

"Hey, I heard this on the scanner." The proclaim above everyone's voice.

"Yeah, so??" I usually tell them.

"So what is going on?" They play reporter.

"Did you get the page for this call?" I aske them.

"No." They answer as if I am going to give them the information.

"Well, then I guess it is none of your damn business then."

That was an actual conversation I have had with one of our Public Service trackers.


Waiting for him to say something stupid, he proceeded to move out of the way and let me pass. Hmm...what is up with that.

No sooner than I thought that, I saw thathe began to follow the crew....into the house.

"Whoa, hold up there Sparky. Where do you think you are going?" I asked him holding my hand out to stop his motion.

"Inside, this is my house."

Talk about "into the lion's den".

It, indeed, was his house and the call was for his mother who apparently was having chest pain.

The house was not kept up well with the walls showing the original paint colors on it stained with smoke and grime that has collected over the decades. Hair from pets have accumulated on the carpet and the furniture, and lighting was sub par with minimal brightness. 

Turning back to winter, there IS one thing that I am grateful for that is given to me from the season. 

The common cold..which I had.

Not being able to breathe or smell, I was fortunate enough to not have to be eneveloped with the smell of urine and wet cat that I guess ambiated throughout the house. 

How did I know this? 

The Firemen took turns going outside to get fresh air.

Now...back to the patient.

In a chair sat a female in her late sixties who seemed pretty oblivious to anything....and I mean anything.

I already knew where this interview was going to go..but for all intents and purposes, I asked the questions.

"Ma'am, what seems to be the problem?" I asked.

"I dunno." (Yes, that is what she answered)

"You don't know?"

"No" she said.

Already wanting to pull out my hair, I knew that I was going to have to pull some teeth to get some information.

"Are you hurt anywhere?"

"Yes. In my chest" She answered.

Did I NOT ask if she was hurt anywhere?!

"Okay, with one finger, I want you to point to where it hurts." I told her. I though the instructions were simple enough.

Taking her WHOLE hand, she placed it mid chest and moved it in big circles covering half her chest.

"Right there" she told me.

Grinding my teeth, I moved on to the next question.

"How long has this been going on?"

"I don't know, right after I fell."

Fell? Fell!!!

"Okay, you fell. Do you hurt anywhere else?"

"I don't know." Again.

Looking around, I could see the fire guys start to choke on the stentch. I decided to move her to the cot and just load her into the truck.  I needed the time to regroup my thoughts anyway.

Getting her into the squad, I began to try to re-evaluate the situation.

"Ma'am, does your chest hurt?" I asked.

"Yes, for about a half hour"

Now we were getting somewhere.

"Okay, ma'am. Listen. If zero is no pain at all and 10 is the worst that you have ever had, what would you rate this pain in your chest?" I asked wondering where this would go.

"A nine I think." She answered in a voice that was subtle and non-distressed as if everyday was that excruicating.

"Nine? That is pretty severe." I double checked with her.

"Okay, maybe an eight? Does that seem right?"

Well how am I supposed to know?!?!?!?!

"Ma'am, this isn't a right or wrong question." I informed her,

"Then it is an eight." As if that were her final answer.

Moving on...

"Do you have any cardiac or heart history."

"No, none."

Now we were getting somewhere.

Pulling her shirt down to put the monitor patches on, I noticed something that startedme back over the edge.

The patient had a scar that went from stem to stern.

"What is this scar from?" I asked with a little attitude (do you blame me?)

"From my surgery" She said non shalantly

"WHAT SURGERY?!?!" I asked in short, firm words.

"My heart surgery" She told me in a "duh, like you didn't know" voice.

Literally slapping my head, I began to explain what relevant information was.

"Ma'am I asked if you had any history. you told me 'no'. Guess what....THIS (pointing to the scar) is history. Now, I can't help you effectively unless you answer the questions I pose to you correctly....the first time."

She gave me a blank stare.

I looked for the gun to shoot myself.  I must have left it in the other utility belt.

The trip, for some reason under Heaven, was rather uneventful which was good.  I never had to kill someone for their own stupidity (yes folks, I am saying she was not the sharpest tool in the shed) and I really didn't want to start here.

The IV I got in the thumb gave me a little satisfaction. (For all you civil rights junkies out there, she had no veins and that was all I could find so before you go on the "OMG that is so mean of you. You have no consideration and you abuse your job. I think you are horrible." Well, you all can slow your roll. Besides..this is my journal and I can tell it the way I want to.

The snow had let up some which was good, Being a Saturday night, I kinda had that feeling that it was about to pick up.

So, back to the bat cave to recharge and dry off.  I am sure the commisioner would call again really soon.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,




19 April 2005

Writer's Block

19 April 2005

"Writer's Block"

This is sad.

I have had so many really good runs here as of late and yet, when I sit here to write about it, I just can't put it down in the words that I want or in a way to make it interesting.

Sure, I could create some fabrication as I have in the past just so you all have something to read, yet I feel that this would be unfair and unjust. 

I have been relatively dedicated to writing as I find it soothing and a place to vent about my day. But here I am...stuck.

Partly, and to be honest, I don't take critisim very well and the piece that I did entitled "10 reasons not to call the ambulance" hit a nerve withs some people and had thrown me into some sort of funk that I have not yet recovered from.

I know that I have to have the bad with the good, and I really am struggling as to find my groove once again, but I sit here still in a slump without my nerve that connects the creative part of my mind to the fingers that type you the stories.

So, I am hoping to recover from this soon as the weather has finally broken here and blue skies are yet again.  I will try not to keep you all in the dark for very much longer and I know that you are watching....and I thank you for that.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


11 April 2005

Opening Day

11 April 2005

"Opening Day"

Christmas, Halloween, Independence Day. 

Some of our favorite holidays.  Is it because of the presents that we are consumed with? Is it the gathering of family and friends that allow us to kick our shoes off and just be ourselves? Is it the ungodly amount of sugar that we will consume in which allows our dentist to put his kids through college?

Everyone has their own favorite.

Mine is opening day of baseball.

0830 Hours

Waking up early this morning, I had the energy of a child knowing they are going to Disneyland for the very first time.  I hardly slept due to all the excitement that had been brewing for seven long months.

You see, for me, winter is defined as the period of inactivity from the end of the World Series to the beginning of Spring Training.  This time seemed to last forever...but now it was finally here.

It was time for another season of Major League Baseball. (Yeah..this guy).

Looking outside, I had redlined my happiness by getting blessed with the great weather I had witnessed. 

Opening the door, I could feel the fresh, spring breeze whirl around me.  The sun was in rare form shining bright and warming the ambiant air into the high 50's. It was a perfect day for April baseball. It was the beginning of a new year.

Ventilating the house, I began to rifle through the closet figuring out what exactly I was going to wear. (Of course, I had already decided like three months ago but I thought I would look anyways.)

Finishing up our final touches, Bev and I geared up to finish our "trip to church."

Bev wore her alternate home jersey


While I decided to go with the tradional one.

Set for the weather, we ventured out to the big city...to begin our summer in the sun.

Hitting the highway, I could see that others were also on their way to the same place that we were going.  The same look of excitement in their eyes, the same passion for the game.  What had been anticipated for months has now come to a reality, and that reality is called baseball.

Walking through the concourse, the hallway filled with fans sporting their red, white, and blue on their way to pay respects to their pasttime.  As the door got closer, the emotions grew bigger.  I felt my heart racing. My stride grew faster, my intensity enveloped me tighter. We were almost there, just one more turn.....

And there it was...

Click Here to Begin the Journey

There it was.....Jacob's Field.

Home of the Cleveland Indians.

Today, it is  VS. in game one of 81 at the ball park.

Walking through the turn styles, we were immediately tranquilized by the smells that imminated from the park.

Hot pretzels, steamy hot dogs, Ice cold beer.

But there was one smell that overtook them all. The smell that I will never forget and could recognize it from miles away.

The smell of fresh, cut grass.

Taking a moment to get reacquainted with my surroundings, the park took on the theme of a cathedral.  High, Mighty walls, pristine interior, electricity felt in the air.  This is where I come to relax, this is where I come to pray. 

Hail all ye baseball Gods. May you provide a bounty of fair calls, warm weather, clear skies, and bountiful offense.  We come to you with thanks and praise and may you bless us with hope, glory, and love of your game. With this we ask...Amen.

Walking through the park, the feeling of family replaced the animosity of being just a face in the crowd.  In here, everyone is equal. Everyone is the same.  We all come from all distances to bond in a likeness that far surpasses anything that can ever be taught.

Walking through the concourse, we found our section amounst the many souviener shops and food stands all displaying what had been missing for a long, gray winter.  Coming out the corridor, we were basked in the vibrant colors that had  seemed all more than perfect.  Fire-engine reds, vivid royal blues, soft, cool greens.  The colors were amazing. It was something that even Crayola would have to splender over.

All around the park, people chatted with each other as if they had known them for years despite being a first time encounter. Families were holding their children on their laps pointing out different points of interest. Vendors, in their bright yellow jerseys, relay thier products in a verbal, yet unique tone that is audible from afar.

This to me is what it was all about. This is what I waited for. This is why I love summer.

Partaking in the opening day ceremonies, the time had come to clear the field. It was time for business to get underway. it was time to start the summer. All we needed were two little words. Two words that have such a strong meaning for such a short phrase. Two words I waited months for.

Those words....

Play Ball.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


05 April 2005

THe Lighter SIde III

05 April 2005

"The Lighter Side III"



I couldn't pass this all up...


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Rounding Third and Heading Home,