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Showing posts from July, 2006

Downy Oshun!

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Today I decided to find the ocean. It only took about 30 minutes of driving before the sea became an unavoidable obstacle. I was very excited, happy to prove to myself how close it really is. After dipping my feet in, I drove along most of New Hampshire’s 18 mile coastline. It was a lovely drive, I visited an adorable church, a state park, and a teeny tiny science center.
I also found a beach that has the potential for trying out surf kayaking. Almost private sandy beach, small waves, and, well that’s all really. Less people to see me mess it up, no rocks to hit my head on. I’ll put it on the “maybe later” list.

I eventually found myself in the charming town of Portsmouth. I enjoyed the ambiance here and bakery goods. I drove back home on instinct and the compass in the truck. Now, I’m waiting for the inevitable mid summer heat wave to come. It’s apparently on us tomorrow, and I know that northerners can’t handle the heat very well. Should make for an entertaining week.��…

Busy and not so busy

Thursday night allowed for no sleep. We had a call about every 2 and a half hours. For our first call we got to wander around the highway looking for a patient that didn’t exist.
We had a 14 year old mystery patient, semi-conscious for an unknown reason. Reactive pupils, clear lungs, good respiratory effort, no drug history, good blood sugar, not an alcoholic, sinus rhythm, no seizure history, well, I couldn’t figure it out, and to my satisfaction, neither could the doc. I hate mysteries that I can’t solve.
We had a quasi chest pain, that I think was actually respiratory related, a “trouble breathing” that turned out to be, well, not trouble breathing at all. Later we had a “trouble breathing” that really was trouble breathing. When we fixed him up with a little neb he decided not to go, then decided to go, then not to go, then we ran away.

On Friday I visited the Manchester mill museum. Good Lord, I’m such a nerd! It was pretty interesting, as Manchester used to produce mor…

Mini Post, aww!

I just spent 10 minutes trying to remember our first call today, turns out it was, well, forgettable. Later we had a minor car accident, which marks one of the few times I’ve used a KED (short backboardish thing that is good, albeit rarely, for extricating people from cars.)
Later we had a person who thought it might be therapeutic to carve six, two inch lines into their arm. Pretty wicked cuts that thankfully stopped bleeding easily.

Also, I got coverage for time off and booked flights to go home soon. (time out! *happy dance* time in!) I am dead excited about this!
In addition: re-strung the guitar, cooked dinner, started my work benefits, and ran lots of red lights (at work, of course).

Pictures Abound!

Finally got around to taking the film somewhere to be developed! I have also recently discovered the magic of getting said film put on CD. Why didn't I think of that?!
The pictures span quite a period of time, graduation (sort of), two states, 4 bodies of water, and other random stuff.
In light of this, I have put them on the site, but I’ll give you the links to the different folders, to enhance or increase confusion (I’m not sure yet). The newer ones are first to avoid phrases such as “New pictures? But I’ve seen these!” and “Ellie is a false advertiser!”
Links as follows:

New Hampshire

Kayak Spots

Moving

The Truck

Pair of Hands

So, Andy’s partner was feeling ill, so I came in on Friday night. After I arrived, nothing happened. Really. We had one call 5 hours after my arrival that was a refusal.

But, I did get paid overtime to get a fair amount of sleep. Three hours after Andy left, my real shift started and we had 2 transfer calls. One was a 6.5 hour NICU transfer. This was a little weird for me. Back in MD, for NICU calls, we’d take the team, but still have a role in the call. Here, we pick up the team, and do absolutely nothing except lug the isolette around.
It was, as many NICU calls are, a situation where I felt desperate to have my hands full of something. The need to feel useful was overwhelming. Once our destination changed from 20 minutes away to an hour and a half away, I set my mind to calculating if we had enough oxygen in the main tank to get us there. I also occupied myself remembering how pH, Co2, pulse oximetry, and breathing rate are all connected, and how the treatments they w…

3 calls, 4 pts, 1 transport.

Pretty simple day today, a highway fender-bender, ‘trouble breathing’, and syncope.

Trying to find the accident was fun (having the right exit number helps), but once we found it, it turned out to be not a huge deal, thankfully. My patient was very ready to get rid of us.

me: “We’d just like you to sign this…”
patient: “…so I won't sue you for injuries I may have, or may develop as a result of the accident, blah, blah, blah, I know.”
me: (taken aback) “um, basically, yeah.”

I had a student for a while again today. We had a slightly more interesting call than last week. Like many EMT students, she has been disillusioned about EMS, and is finding big discrepancies between the classroom and the street. It’s hard to explain to her, given that I’ve only recently gotten over this myself. Not all patients are straight forward, none have read the textbook, and I can’t base my treatment on one vital sign.
For example, she popped the pulse ox on the pts. finger, got a reading of 93%,…

Underexcited

Today I finally had orientation for the hospital that I ‘work for.’ My ambulance company is owned by a local hospital; therefore we are all subject to this interminable orientation. Um…yawn…zzzZZZzzz…


Whoa, I just fell asleep trying to think of something to interesting to say about orientation. I won’t try again. I had been forewarned about it though. Several people recommended that I bring a book, headphones, mini-DVD player, novelty glasses with eyes drawn on them, or a mannequin in my likeness to sit there, while I do something more entertaining, like, anything else.

Some of the speakers tried to keep it interesting by getting ‘audience’ participation. One moment I particularly liked was when the lady was going on about God knows what and said: “The bottom line is that were here for the pa…” indicating that we were to fill in the blank, and at that moment, all I could think of was “paycheck.” She was going for “patient” of course.

In the end, I was grateful for air condi…

Overexcited

Ah, night shifts, our fickle friend. Will it be a quiet night, with calls spaced as such that we can get a few winks? Or will it be a night where every hour, on the hour the fine citizens of our town will call us to their aid?
My night was somewhere in between, as I ended up with maybe an hour and a half of real sleep. But, I must take into account the fact that I am still a little nervous and overexcited while at work, and had a hard time chillaxing enough to actually sleep. After each of the late night calls I found myself in bed lying on my back, staring at the ceiling, thinking about what I might have changed about the call, or what motivated the caller to require our services.

We started out with a classic: blood sugar of 19, splayed out on the floor. What made this one a little different was the fact that the patients relative was doing what I like to call the "price is right dance" when we arrived. FD was already on scene and with the patient who was in the basement. Wh…

Serving Since...

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I got my last piece of flair the other day, my nametag and a little bar that goes with it that says “Serving Since 2006.” This makes me laugh; it should just say “Serving Since Last Week.” I think this would instill more confidence in my patients. Or, maybe “Serving Since…you don’t wanna know.”

Yesterday was my first shift on a 911 truck. A lot of firsts lately, and I’m sure that they’ll keep coming. EMS itself is inherently full of firsts. Even veterans say “I though I’d seen it all, until today.” But I guess for me in particular, everyday includes things I’ve never seen, and nearly everything has been new experience in some way. But I digress.

We had three calls, all pretty simple and straightforward, perfect for a first day. A fender bender started the day, and I was excited, because I actually knew how to get to the call! Later we had a ‘hemorrhage’. I’m never happy when the home care nurse greets us and says “I just left him on the toilet…I wasn’t sure what you guys would…

1st real shift, start to finish

Yesterday was my first real shift, with my regular partner, on my regular schedule. Speaking of schedule, mine is pretty crappy, but for a newbie it’s not too bad. My partner, on the other hand, is much cooler than my schedule. Plus, she’ll have some sympathy about it as it’s hers too.

We were on a transfer truck yesterday, like old work, basically just interfacility transfers. We had a call for a guy who had fallen off of a ladder about 25 feet onto his backside. Among other minor injuries, he broke his hip, and needed to be taken to a more specialized hospital. We got him all settled into the bus, only to discover that it wouldn’t start! Crap! Luckily we were still in town and it only took a few minutes for a new one to rescue us.
Once we got rolling the real excitement started, as I got to break the seal on the narcotics box, and give my first drug as a real paramedic. No doubt the guy was in pain, and he was being terribly stoic, but after all the bumps he admitted that i…

5 days and counting...

11:00 pm yesterday: I’m so glad I’m finished with my training I stay up and waste a fair amount of time on the internet, ready to enjoy a day off or so.

7:32 am today: Why, oh why did I answer the phone? “You need to come into work today.” Wow. Thanks for the 7 am courtesy and kindness. I thought it was me doing you a favor when you called me in, silly me.

8:32 am: Arrived at work. The supervisor woke me up anyway, so I might as well get paid to be annoyed. I didn't even get my tea.

9:00 am: Got my real schedule, no more wake up calls! Shift is classic newbie shift (really horrible), in fact, I think the only reason it exists is to break in new people. Oh, great, it starts tomorrow!

5:00pm: 1st real shift over! 3 calls on a transfer truck, including one back to a house I visited yesterday during my 911 shift, weird. But at least I knew where we were going.

10:27: Going to bed.

Drive with courtesy, it’s the NH way!

So, about that damn white cloud. It floated away for the last two days, giving me a good call volume and variety for my last days of orientation ride-alongs. Thursday we had, um, three calls, I think. Mostly we got to work on getting to know the city and driving the ambulance. I got my first ‘tone’ from the road safety system and it freaked me out so much that my FTO had to say: “um, you’re now going 25 with the lights and sirens on...” My emergency driving is much better, though.
The most entertaining call was a multi-car accident, that was essentially bumper v. bumper v. bumper v. bumper. A couple people got a little banged up, but it was my first MVA here. I also had my first call with a language barrier. Three semesters of Spanish were all but wasted on me. I managed to get by for the most part, but it was interesting to say the least. I definitely became a source of amusement for the patient. Especially when trying to demonstrate to her what sublingual (under the tong…

1 year on

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London, it’s people, it’s workers, LAS, LFB, MET, and LU have been in my thoughts today. I proudly wore my LAS pin to work, but I’m not sure anyone noticed. I remember watching as the day's events unfolded last year, jetlagged, shocked, helpless, and feeling it was personal. Feelings not quite resolved.

Breaking News: “White cloud floats 500 miles”

Yes, believe it or not, a white cloud has traveled 500 miles and across seven states to hang over the head of one, Ellie (aka resqellie). White clouds are notorious for shutting down cities, but save ambulance services a lot of money in gas costs, as they’ll never turn a wheel. “I’d rather have a black cloud for awhile,” Ellie commented this evening, “or even a gray cloud would be nice.”

Will Ellie have to relinquish her colloquial nickname, and forever drop the “resq” because of this obvious lack of rescuing? Time will tell, as there are two more shifts this week. As always, we’ll keep you posted.

Liberate your Kayak!

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Let me start at the beginning for you. I used to live a posh life, in a penthouse apartment outside of Baltimore. Maybe once a week or so I got to go out and play in a great river, bay, or lake. Then, one day, everything in the apartment was gone, and I found myself being driven somewhere. I caught a last glimpse of the patapsco river on the way out of town. When we arrived, back at Ellie’s house, I realize, I’m left outside, to be subjected to the elements and unwanted inhabitants. Finally, I was carried down the driveway and into a huge truck, and subsequently forced to tolerate a bumpy and hot 10 hour drive.
Since our arrival in New Hampshire, I think, I have been cooped up in a dank basement; for nearly three weeks now! I’ve watched sunny days come and go, watched downpours outside, knowing that back in Baltimore, this would be a good indication of an impending trip. But nothing! I’ve only seen Ellie and some other people come and go, leaving me, forgotten.

Then, today I was feelin…

This is me not freaking out

Friday was my 1st real day at work. To be honest, it was pretty stressful. Everyone was really nice and welcoming, especially my FTO, but it was like: you can drive to the call, be quizzed on the way, wax the ambulance, tech the call, do skills, patch to the hospital, hand over the patient, write the report, change the oil, make lunch, and everything in between. Trial by fire is good for the soul.
It was all a pretty scary, especially because I don’t know where anything is, and I basically have to follow my crew around like a little puppy. But, it can only get better from here. The first day is over, and that was a big hurdle. And, I got to wear my brand new obsessively pressed uniform, with newbie extra shiny shoes, and all of my shirt “flair:” collar brass, badge, UMBC pin, etc.

Driving for this company is interesting. In each truck we have a road safety system installed. To drive the trucks, for one, you have to scan in your personal key, this lets them know who’s drivi…