27 May 2007

Kayaking 101

My last weekend in New Hampshire was a rainy one. Not quite as much rain as last spring in southern NH, but enough rain to destroy roads, flood houses, and generally make a mess. I drove around on the second day of rain trying to get pictures of a nearby river, but all the roads around it were closed due to its flooding. The next day, I went to work and probably had the coolest call ever. Wait, time for a little more set up. There is a river in our town that is considered “running” at 6,000cfs (cubic feet per second) and “very high” at 11,000cfs. While I was at work that day, it was running about 25-30,000cfs. Needless to say, that’s ridiculously high and fast.

We were still at the hospital after a call when our next one came in for a river rescue. Not only a river rescue, but one involving three kayakers. I must admit I was pretty excited. So excited, I drove to the staging area in about 3 minutes. The details were limited, but apparently some kind citizen had seen two overturned kayaks floating down the horribly swollen river, and a third kayaker that had managed a self rescue on the far side of the river. We started the call out at a local park that would normally be a pretty good put in for the river. I couldn’t see anything. We moved further down the river to where the fire department was launching their rescue boat. I still couldn’t see anything. Judging by the speed of the river, I could only guess that the boats and their former occupants would already be in Massachusetts by that time, if they were there at all. It was about then though, that a state trooper had spotted two guys walking along the highway, looking very wet. I could barely believe that they had survived. So we drove up to meet the trooper and our victims.

We came upon three shivering, soaking wet, what I would like to call “village idiots.” They all went out on a river that is easily class III, wearing only what they happened to have on when they came up with this genius plan. This did not include dry suits, wet suits, splash jackets, or even one life vest between them. Oh yeah, it was also April in New Hampshire, which means the air is still quite cold, and the water is even colder. Local ponds are just barely shedding their icy shells. The vessels they chose for this well planned voyage were a trio of recreational kayaks. Well, at least they weren’t in an inflatable dingy from wal-mart.

All three refused any treatment but we inundated them with blankets, towels, and advice anyway. I asked them where they put in and how far they got out of pure curiosity. The first guy told me “about 20 yards.” We all shared a good laugh, I reminded the ‘kayakers’ how lucky they were, and off we went.
Last year, the river got to 75,000cfs. I sorely wish I had seen that.

22 May 2007

Apologies and Excuses

Oh, what a neglectful blogger I have been. I somehow became one of those bloggers who update only once a month. And that update is merely full of apologies and excuses for not blogging. Apologies I have. (Sorry to you few faithful readers!) Excuses, I don't. I haven't died, fallen off the face of the earth or quit blogging. I have simply been lazy.

Updates to follow! More and more updates! More updates than you'll know what to do with! So many updates you can bottle them up and save them for a rainy day, you could eat them for breakfast, wax your car with them. Enough updates to...to...well, at the very least there will be updates, more than one every three weeks.

In the mean time, some google search terms:

"new hampshire colloquial sayings" Um, I can't really think of any. Maybe my NH peeps can help me out. I can only think of paking the ka an tha' laan. But that's not really a colloquial saying.

"free pictures of thoracotomies" Well, all I can say is that thoracotomies are gross, and I would only assume that normal people wouldn't pay to see pictures, or see the pictures for free either. They are gross. But, if you google "thoracotomy" you can find some pretty wicked pictures, free of charge.

"polyethylene rotomolded nurse tanks" It's not nice to put nurses in tanks, even rotomolded tanks.

So, that's all for now. More to come. More blogging with fewer apologies and excuses instead with adventures in kayamping, old school kayaking, job stuff, and a great call I almost forgot about.

09 May 2007

A comedy (?) of errors

Ah, the move. I picked up Ewing after work and the next morning we went to Maine. We stopped at Old Orchard beach and then went to LL Bean. Amazingly, we didn’t buy anything unexpected. We also got some good clam chowdah in Freeport. We drove back home and went out to dinner with my roommates.
The next morning we went to pick up the moving truck and when we went to leave, it wouldn’t start. The guy realized that he had left the lights on the night before and the battery was dead. He charged it for a few minutes and we were on our way. The truck wasn’t that bad; a/c that worked, and an am/fm radio. It was basically an ambulance, so I didn’t mind driving it at all.

We packed it in a few hours with a lot of room to spare. We had Pisgah on the top of my truck and Kopapa in the moving truck. We left a little late in the day and headed into town so I could retrieve my pots from pottery class. We got to class and I found my teacher who told me that after last weeks class the kiln broke. They had just ordered a new one and she decided to mail me my pots when they were finished. I was a little nervous about this (and I still am, as I haven’t gotten them yet.)
So we left and got on the highway just in time to hit all the Boston traffic. We had finally gotten away from all that and stopped at a rest area. We got a snack and went to leave, but the moving truck wouldn’t start. We tried to jump it with my truck, but the battery was d.e.d. dead. I called the rental place and they referred me to a mechanic. The mechanic called me and said he was coming from Boston and would be more than an hour. Needless to say I was a little mad, but what could we do other than hope that they could fix it while we took a nap. When he arrived, the mechanic checked it out and replaced the battery right away. There was much rejoicing.
We were off again and a few hundred miles passed uneventfully. We had planned on stopping at a camp store in New Jersey, but we had lost so much time, it was closed by the time we got there. Our next stop was to White Castle for some mini burgers. I had never been to one and we desperately needed dinner. As we followed our google map toward the white castle, we should have taken into account that we were in Jersey and navigating there is ridiculous and should be reserved for people who understand things that don’t make any sense. After a bit of wandering and trying to turn around, Ewing asked for directions. He asked for directions to a White Castle at a Burger King. Even in my tired hunger I enjoyed the irony of this.

We finally found it, and ate way too many mini burgers and onion rings which were delicious. An hour later we were three hours from home and it was 0130. We decided to stop and spend the night. This decision caused me to miss the second testing for a job. But, in the essence of safety, stopping was the wise thing to do.

We set off again the next day. After many right turns (certainly no left turns in jersey), we had our gas pumped for us (certainly no self serve in jersey), got breakfast and got back on the highway.

Maryland welcoming us was a welcome sight. Safe and sound, we had plenty of time to unpack the truck and take a nap.

01 May 2007

Okay, so about this call.

I was working 911 with my roommate and we were leaving a hospital when a call went out for a stabbing. It wasn’t our call and we almost squirreled it as it was close to our location, but we didn’t. Well, it turned out we didn’t have to. A second call went out to the same location also for a stabbing. So, off we went.
We arrived pretty much seconds behind the first ambulance. We were all kinds of confused that they send two ambulances. The fire engine was already on scene and sounded a little harried when they called for the second bus.
So, now the four of us trudged into the apartment building and upstairs. This kind of call is always on the top floor, and there is never an elevator. We let the first crew go in first as it was technically their call. A firefighter looking like a deer in the headlights pointed out one guy stabbed in the abdomen lying on the couch, very much alive. The first crew went to him. The firefighter then turned to me and my partner and said “You can check the others, but they’re dead.” Well, that’s new.
We continue into the apartment and it split into two bedrooms. In one of them was a woman also stabbed in the abdomen, yet very much dead. It took about a second for me to realize this, I surveyed the scene a bit, and then Andy appeared behind me and said that his patient was dead too. I took an unfortunate glance into the other room to see that body on the floor, stabbed in the chest. It was at this point for a bit of self mental preservation I wanted to get the hell out of there. The entire apartment was like a scene out of law and order. Blood absolutely everywhere. It went down the hall, into each room, along the walls, on the doors, into the bathroom. It was absolutely the craziest thing I had every seen, and possibly the most gruesome.
We left the bedrooms and went to help our colleagues with the other victim. He was conscious, but was mentally handicapped so information was not readily available. Even simple things like, ‘what happened?’ and, ‘how long ago?’ are still relative mysteries.
Andy went downstairs to inform the hospital, and I went to the other ambulance and set it up for the other crew. By the time I was finished, they were still stair chairing the patient to the lobby. I helped them transfer him to the cot and get everything back in their ambulance. We made sure that they had everything in hand before we cleared the scene.
I don’t think either of us believed what we had just seen. We spent the rest of the day talking about it, a potential double murder is pretty big news. On all the calls we did after that the fire crews would ask “Were you up on that call?” Everyone had heard of it and everyone was curious. The radio traffic must have sounded interesting as other than calling for us, a third ambulance was called for as well, but Andy cancelled it shortly after we saw the scene.
The next day I woke up at work and my partner said: "Your ass is on the front page!" Indeed, a picture of my back was on the front of the paper, taken as I was putting away the stair chair for the other ambulance. I went to the store and bought a few copies to take home. I was glad to have something to laugh about.
I later met with a detective and told my story. They were only interested in what I did and what I touched. They also took pictures of the soles of my boots, as stepping in blood was completely unavoidable.
In the end they determined that it was a murder-suicide. Andys patient had stabbed my patent and the guy on the couch before stabbing himself to death. More unfortunate than that, they were father mother and son.
In terms of CISM, it was good to talk about it, but for a couple days, it was all I could think about. Before the official report of what happened came out we could only speculate what happened, and I think not being sure, not knowing the whole story bothered me. Well, it still bothers me as we’ll probably never know everything but, at least we got some answers.