Frigid Northland

Finally some new pictures. The new kayaking ones were taken toward the end of November. It was about 0730 and about 30 degrees. The fog rising off of the water was really cool to see.
The icy pics were taken about a month ago when we had a nice ice storm that coated everything in a lovely layer of ice. It looked cool, but was a bit treacherous.



33 hour shift...and then some!

I worked my regular Thursday night shift last week and went home and slept for 4 hours when my roommate called me and asked me to come in and finish his shift. Sort of forgetting he was on a 24, I stupidly agreed, woke up, took a shower and headed back to work. 33 hours later I stumbled out of work and went back home. I wish I could say lots of interesting things happened, but I can only say that lots of things happened. It more or less started when I arrived and didn’t sit down for more than 2 hours until then end of my Saturday shift. I think we had the busiest Saturday transfer shift ever. The 911 side on Friday night was also pretty busy. I shouldn’t have even bothered bringing my sleeping bag, as I didn’t get to see the inside of it very often.

Friday day we did a twin NICU transfer. The babies were a good size and basically being transferred because the small hospital they were coming from couldn’t take on any more patients. So that took up about 3 hours. When we finished with that we hopped right on our 911 truck for the overnight shift. At 7am, I clocked out, and slept in relatively uninterrupted comfort until 10am when my next shift started. We checked that truck, sat for a few minutes, and then we were off doing transfers until 10 pm without stopping for more than an hour. Oh, it was great. I was so burnt by the end of it. I hope to never be at work so much ever again! But, I’m sure I’ll forget all about it when the check comes with all the OT I’ll have. Whew! I went straight home, showered and went to sleep, glorious sleep until my next shift at 10am the next morning. Hahaha. It sounds so ridiculous writing it all down. But, my roommate was genuinely sick and is feeling much better now.

Much more to write, but no time to do as such. Will have more updates soon!

Ooh, boxes!

Last week when I got home I went to work. I did a 24, went home and did my weekend 12 hour shifts the next two days. Whew! The price of love.
I did a transfer shift with my roommate which was pretty fun. We didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary but were pretty busy. We did get to take a trouble breathing out of a local nursing home. I love it when I see a lady sitting straight up in bed, clearly struggling for breath, pursed lip breathing, using accessory muscles, a pulse ox of 86% with 4 lpm on her nasal cannula and staff telling me that this has been going on for 3 days. I don’t know what people are thinking sometimes.

The highlight of the day was when we found ourselves driving behind a UPS truck that unbeknownst to the driver, had its back door open. There was another car between us and the truck. We stopped at a light and as Andy and I discussed how cool it would be to see what was in all of those packages, our good citizen of the day (the car in front of us) made a futile attempt at alerting the driver of his increased potential to lose cargo. But, the light turned before she could help him. I kept behind and at the next light, Andy took up the PA system and said “Attention UPS driver, your back door is open!” It was hilarious and we were all pleased to see the driver put on his hazards and hastily shut the back door. I could never work for a postal service. I would be too curious to see what was in all the boxes.

Last week I also had a healthy dose of misuse of the system. We were called to a guy who might have mistakenly taken his short acting insulin instead of the long acting one he should have taken. Apparently, he took it, his sugar got unusually low very quickly, he had a candy bar, it went right back up to normal. When we arrived he said he was feeling fine. Great! Problem solved, be more careful next time. But oh no. This patient was a minor and mom insisted that we take him in. She’ll even ride along. We were about a 1 minute drive to the hospital. At this point we could hardly argue, although I felt that my questioning made it clear that her son was fine. So we begrudgingly walked him outside and drove to the hospital. When I arrived, I discovered that dad had driven separately. What!? If I had know this, I probably would have more or less insisted that the patient go with him. I can understand concern for your child, but not when it is completely unfounded. I don’t know what people are thinking sometimes.

Wedding List

I find few things more satisfying than making a list and then crossing the items out as they are completed/accomplished. In school I did this all the time, and eventually started writing lists on the mirrored closet doors in my room. The structure of lists combined with the great squeak of a marker as I crossed things out was very pleasing.
No surprise, I recently compiled a list of things that need to be done for the wedding. It came out to be about 5 pages long, and included pretty much everything. Thankfully, after my visit home last week I can pull out a big black marker and draw a line through several important things.

venue, check
caterer, check
photographer, check
florist, checkish
bridesmaid dresses, almost check
invitations, check and ready to be printed
ring, cleaned and inspected
groom, check plus
pre-marital counseling, one check out of three
centerpieces, okay, so that one’s not quite crossed out yet, but hey.

Other than that, it seemed that time slowed down for us. We went hiking, explored our now ice covered favorite river, watched a couple of movies, did doughnuts, took apart and put back together shelving units, picked out dishes, and went to the mall. Ooh, and the cuddling, oh so much cuddling. And yet, not nearly enough.

Wedding planning is fun, but probably more fun when you’re pressed for time. Things are a lot simpler when you’re not bogged down by minutia. I’m happy if the photographer uses film and the florist uses flowers. The nitty-gritty will be sorted out later. Now that the major things are out of the way I can breathe a little easier, and take the time to think about the little details.

Blogiversary 2!

A little late is better than never, as my official blogiversary was a couple days ago. 10822 hits, 196 posts (about 2 a week) and 2 years later, the blog still exists, which I guess is pretty good. And I think that I have a few regular readers (other than mom), thank you all!

I've gotten a little behind in my blogging as of late which I hope to make up for in the next couple of days. Much has happened since the latte was coughed in. A trip back home, extensive wedding planning, an anniversary finally spent together, the best use of an ambulance PA system ever, and a transfer call where I actually had to do, well, work.

Ooh, also, if you'd like to rent my diary, well, to be honest, you'd be renting a blank book. Pretty much everything important is written right here. But instead of renting my diary, you could print out the entire blog, send it to a publisher, and I'd give you 5% of the profits...okay 10%...if you're nice. Thanks for reading, and more updates to follow.

Happy Anniversary blog!

Not the latte!

We went to get fuel at a gas station with a dunkin’s in it. I was waiting inside for the tank to fill as another customer ordered a drink at the dunkin’s. The employee was coughing up a storm, so I decided not to get anything. After a few minutes I see the other customer doing that anxious dance people do for example when at subway, they start putting mayo on your sandwich and you wanted mustard. You try to stop them, but it’s too late. Only the lady then said, “Don’t cough over my drink!” needless to say my curiosity was piqued. The coughing employee said, “Well, I’m sorry, but I’m sick!” prompting the greatest sound bite ever: “You’re coughing on my latte!” The employee continued to cough, said she was sick again, and the customer turned on her heel and stormed out. If it hadn’t been so disgusting, I would have laughed right then. When I signed for the gas, I used my own pen.

1st code

So, as the title implies, I had my first code the other night. It went as I expected and as any other cardiac arrest ever went, badly. It came out as shortness of breath, en route we were informed that CPR was in progress. So, I drove slightly more like a maniac and tried not to over think what I wanted to do first. When we arrived the FD was doing CPR, bagging, and said that their AED was showing no shock advised. Already the patients chances were slim. What made them more slim was that the halls of the apartment we were in were lined with bookshelves and we had to literally drag the patient out before we could even put him on a backboard. Once we got him in the ambo, I asked my partner to got for a line, and I plugged the pads into our monitor. Asystole as predicted. As I set up for the tube I was pleased to see that I didn't falter even though it had been quite some time since I had intubated even a fake person. I tried twice, feeling successful both times, but my first bag dangerously inflated the patients stomach. Ew. This added to the already significant amount of vomit everywhere, as it nearly sprayed out of my botched tube attempt. So, going down the advanced airway algorithm, I turned to the combitube. This is a marginally clever dual lumen tube, that instead of going in the trachea, most likely goes in the esophagus and then occludes it, forcing most of the air you bag in into the lungs, more or less. I literally couldn't mess this up, thus we had an, albeit crappy, airway.

Meanwhile my partner had been equally successful with a line, but had put the EKG electrodes on, confirming asystole even further. At this point, I just had her start driving, as there wasn't much to do without a line or proper airway. On the way I tried pacing the patient, without success, and gave the shortest most informative patch in my career. "En route with priority 1 patient, cardiac arrest, asystole, combitube airway, no IV access, we'll be there in 2 min."

When we arrived, I gave my short report, as we didn't know much, and hadn't really done much either. The doc tried to give me crap about not doing anything, like putting meds down the tube. If he had been more insistent that I was wrong, I might have found it worth explaining that we don't give drugs down a combitube, and without IV access, my hands were tied. Instead I just left the room feeling a mix of emotions that I didn’t expect. It’s pretty good practice not to get too emotionally attached to patients. But I didn’t feel like that, I felt more well, hideously disappointed about my lack of successful tube. But I guess I at least got some semblance of an airway. I reminded myself that that was my first tube attempt (on a non cadaver) ever. I still felt guilty. I think the other overriding feeling was, as much as I hate to say it, disgust. I don’t do well with certain bodily fluids, but I congratulated myself on not losing it, and doing a pretty good job ignoring it. The images are still in my head, and I felt the need to change my clothes, even though I managed not to get anything on me.

So, we took the time to clean up, which took a while, thanked the fire fighters on scene, and I carefully wrote my report, another call logged.