15 August 2007

Dear Citizens

15 August 2007

"Dear Citizens"

I had a buddy of mine send me this letter via Myspace and I found it strong enough to post...so here it is.

Dear citizens of (and visitors to) Multnomah County,

By and large, you're a good bunch. I enjoy providing you with the help you need when you call 911. You make my workdays (and nights) interesting. However, from time to time, I notice a few small issues -- perhaps we can call them gaps in your knowledge? -- that make my job a little bit more frustrating. Herein I offer a few simple pieces of advice to help make everyone's emergency experience more satisfying.

1. When I ask you questions, please strive to tell me the full and complete truth. There's no badge or gun on me. I'm not going to get you in trouble for being high on drugs, but I really would like to know what exactly you did. You're not fooling anyone. Likewise, I don't care who you were having sex with, where, with what exciting accessories, and what your respective spouses will think, but if it's contributed to your condition you should probably bring it up.

2. I regret to inform you life is not like TV. We do not run from the ambulance to the patient, we do not drive everyone to the hospital with lights and sirens, and most dead people stay dead despite our best efforts. On the other hand, we are not just a fancy taxi ride. I can start an IV (in your arm or leg or neck), put a breathing tube down your throat, do an EKG to see if you're having a heart attack, shock your heart if it's in a bad rhythm, and give about thirty different drugs for different medical conditions. I can do more in the short term than most nurses. I had to go to school for years. Respect me and I'll respect you.

3. In a related vein, if you could keep the drama to a bare minimum when your parent/sibling/spouse/friend/neighbor/coworker is hurt or sick, it will help everyone immensely. I understand that the situation is upsetting, and I respect your feelings, but the best thing you can do for the patient, me, and even yourself is try to remain as calm as possible. Shouting at me to do something or hurry up will not help. Yelling in general is not, in fact, helpful. Trying to keep out of our way, answering the questions we ask in a succinct and informative manner, and keeping your dramatic tendencies restrained are the absolute best thing you can do.

4. However, if it is your young child who is badly hurt or critically ill, you are allowed all the drama you want.

5. If I am trying to help you and this makes you upset for some reason, please do not try and hit me. I may not be as big and beefy as some of my coworkers. I make up for it in dirty tricks. If you do decide you'd like to tussle, I'd like to point out that you get ONE swing and it is never free. I have giant zip-ties, sedatives, and a radio that can call a whole lot of cops, who aren't nearly as nice as me.

6. If you are driving and happen to see my big vehicle with all the blinkies and woo-woos, please get the hell out of the way. Specifically, pull ALL THE WAY to the right of the street and STOP YOUR CAR. You don't know where I'm going and when I'll need to turn. Unless you're driving a Hummer I've probably got more weight than you, and if you do something stupid that I can't avoid and we stack it up, things won't come out well for you. Also I'll lose my job.

7. Finally, exercise a modicum of common sense about when to call 911.

Examples of when 911 is IS appropriate: Traffic accidents with injuries. Chest pain. Trouble breathing. Lack of breathing. Serious bleeding. Unconsciousness. Seizures. Strokes.

Examples of when 911 may NOT be appropriate: Blisters. Small cuts. Dissatisfaction with your fast food order. Needing a prescription refill. Colds. Minor problem (sore leg, stomachache) which has been going on for three days.

Bearing all that in mind, it's a pleasure to serve you, and hopefully I won't be showing up at your doorstep, street corner, or car door anytime soon.

One of Your Many Hardworking (If Underpaid) County Paramedics.

"Riviting..."      -Life as a Paramedic

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


11 August 2007

So you want to be an EMT Part II

11 Aug 2007

"So You Want To Be An EMT Part II"

When we last left our super heroes....

You know, to me, there are different levels of stupidity that one strives to reach.

There are those who are so arrogant and self centered, that their actual reality gets skewed and they think that their own perfection should be listed as one of the ten commandments.  Here is a commandment for you:  Thou shall get a friggin' clue.  So you went to an ivy league school. So you make 6 or seven figures a year. So your car cost more than I will make in 10 years. At least I am not gallivanting around town with my nose so high, I can smell what they are serving for dinner on the space shuttle.  You all think you brought sexy back. Well Sexy is back..and they have a receipt. They feel they were cheated.

Next, there are those who are stupid by nature. These people can't help themselves and a great deal of empathy and remorse goes out to them.  No, I am not talking about those who are mentally retarted Because the mentally retarded will learn from their mistakes.  They aren't stupid, they are just slow.  I am talking about the ones who will, for instance, date someone who will physically and mentally demean them knowing full well that they are getting used, yet will stay with this person because they have absolutely NO self confidence and they think that this person is the one.  Hello!!!!  Wake the fuck up and smell the military style black coffee.  If your ass hurts when you sit, it is because reality just placed its big ole boot print half way up your rectum.  If you chose to go back and endure most pain, don't tell me it hurts when I hit you upside the head as hard as I can and tell you "dumbass, I told you so."  Blue zone parking is over there.

But, the ones who take the cake, are those who are stupid for absolutely no reason.  Maybe there is a faulty valve in the world's oxygen dispenser and they are suffering from a little bit of anoxia.  Or maybe, they have to make an appointment with their own brain to have a complete thought.  Nevertheless, these are the ones that you need to watch out for. These are the ones that you end up doing double takes on. These are the ones that keep me employed.

Case in point.  Remember that "crunch" that I mentioned at the end of the last entry.  For those of you who have deducted that a traffic accident had just happened, give yourself five points. For those of you who guessed that the segway in has to deal with someone of a lesser mental capacity for common sense, chalk up another twenty points.  Now, here is where we incorporate the honor system.  I will tell you what happened next, if you guessed it, give yourself the points, if you didn't, well don't feel too bad, I wouldn't have gotten it either.

1215 Hours

Now, I am quite familiar with snap, crackle, and pop.  (Yeah...just add milk).

But last time I checked, Crunch wasn't part of their forte. Maybe he was the straight brother that is in prison or something like that.

Looking up, I see the rest of flying metal and what seems to be the remains of a minivan.

 (Yes, I know what they look like, just stick with me here.)

The front end was somewhere in the trees, the bumper was just beyond the driver's door laying in the middle of the road, and the occupants that sat in their seats seemed to be unharmed trying to gather their thoughts.

Normally, this is where I would insert compassion and my aggressiveness to take control of the situation. But, I didn't. Nope, nothing from me. No hurrying to get the jump bag, no screaming over the radio to get the fire department, no sprinting across the wreckage to determine the severity of injury.  Close your mouths, I haven't lost my compassion, nor have I lost my determination and skill.  What I have failed to revive is my tolerance to stupidity and sheer ignorance.  Fine, raise your hand if you think I am being too hard on these patients.  Now let me tell you why I am being a little salty with them.

The mini-van in question hit a semi truck....

A Bright Green Semi Truck...

That was Parked.....

Okay, who guessed this?  For all of you who raised your hands....You are all a bunch of liars....but give yourself the points anyway.

Looking at Bill, I pointed to the light bar and started to stroll over to the spill of stupidity watching where I stepped. I didn't want to get any moron fluid all over my polished boots.  Coming up to the passenger side, I began to assess for damages and injuries. Inside, there was a mother and her young daughter, both wearing their seat belts, both crying, both wondering what happened.

"Ma'am, are you okay?" I asked with a sarcastic undertone.

"I think I am, I don't know" she said gulping air in between tears as if someone had just sucker punched her in the gut.

"Are you sure, because you just drove into a parked truck!" I matter-of-factly told her while pointing to the obvious.

"What? I didn't see the truck there?" She told me trying to rationallizing her lack of brain function.

I know how this can go though. You are just driving along the back country roads, listening to the music way too loud, feeling the breeze coming through your windows,  Sunglasses reflecting the harmful UV rays that cause havoc to your retina, just loving life in all its colors and senses when, out of no where, a BIG GREEN NEON SEMI TRUCK pops out of the woods and parks its trailer right in front of you smack dab in the middle of the road causing you to break from your 15 MPH speed and slam full force (at around 10 MPH now) face first into the bumper bending the polished chrome slightly while your vehicle is now a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.  God damn Peterbuilts.

Surveying the scene and chatting it up with the police chief who was the officer on scene, Bill, Danielle, and I gathered our necesary information, asked if anyone wanted a trip to the hospital knowing everyone involved would decline, and headed back to the station so that we could grill our lunch in peace and quiet away from those who have their IQ under the mental Mendoza Line (baseball reference...look it up).

Or so we thought.....

Apparently, in the country, when one goes stupid, it carries with the breeze and begins to contaminate the general population by some osmosis process that absorbs into the skin and goes directly to the central nervous system causing all those idiots to seizure out into the streets and flood the realm of all sanity with its overwhemingly urge to infect others.

Another, case in point...

There is nothing more that I love about cooking than getting to cook out on the grill with my friends despite the simple fact that I am at work. The smell of the hickory imminating through the air replenshes my proverbial dismal mood from the close contact of those who are less fortunate in the department of brain cells.  Bill had the grill lit in very little time as Danielle prepared the burgers that I had just purchased so that we can enjoy a fine prepared meal within the confines of our close living quarters. 

Do you smell it???

No, not the food.

I see idiot on radar....

 (Con..Sonar...unidentified stupidity bearing 180, heading toward us at 2 knots)

Before I could close the garage door and put up the closed sign, Idiot number two comes up to the bay door pulling up his sleeve to display is self made tattoo with the simple phrase "I Love Sharon".  Sit down, here comes the stupidity.

"Hey, is there any way to get this off my arm?" He asked in a serious tone.

Now, Have you ever seen "The Mind of Mencia"?  It stars Carlos Mencia and he is a comic who tells it like it is. The funniest shit ever. Anyway, he does a bit as an Indian shop owner where he ends up telling different breeds of people as to what he thinks.

 (This is the best I could do).

Looking at Dr. Einstein, I couldn't help but to take this fastball and hit it out of the park.

"So...um...where is Sharon?" I asked coyly watching Danielle in my peripheral vision disappear into the crew room and spit up her Lipton Iced Tea, Lemon, in the glass bottle all over the dining table.

With a stupid (that's the theme here) smile on his face, he replied "well...."

"Well, Alex, I'll take 'stupid things I have done that will never come off my body' for $200."  I chimed.

Bill thought it was funny, the moron didn't get it.

"It is there forever, that isn't coming off." Bill told him slowly so that he would understand.

"Never?!?!?" Captain Obvious asked.

"Well,no. There IS three things you can do.."I told him giving false hope.

As he looked intently for the answers, I began to label off  some ideas.

"First, you could start wearing long sleeves and if you have sex with a different girl, just tell her that you have a rare skin disease and have to keep your shirt on. Sure she won't have sex with you then but in the end, you will be doing all of us a great service."

"Second, you could just cut off your arm. If you want, I can call the fire department, they have just the tool."

"Finally, you can go and kiss Sharon's ass and hope that she will take you back. Look on the bright side, you didn't find a girl named Jordananna. That would have REALLY sucked."

Deflating his balloon of hope, he turned and walked away dejected...and still with Sharon's affection pasted on his arm...for life.

God, I love my job!!!

We did end up going on a call later that day which is a whole story in itself, but noting that I felt noteworthy of blogging about. 

To move ahead a little, Danielle DID come back to ride again, and I don't think she could have picked a better day. She got the expirience of a lifetime.

You want to know what happened???

Well, keep anticipating...I will tell you soon.

School starts in January to become an EMT.

See ya there...

Rounding Third and Heading Home,