30 January 2008

Orient this!

So, hospital orientation was as torturous and terrible as I expected. There is just no improving it without getting rid of it altogether. Which, in my mind would be fine. We did in fact have an annoyingly detailed tour of the hospital. I can’t imagine an instance when I would need to know where the sleep lab is. In fact, I don’t even remember. I don’t remember anything I did for two and a half days.

Well, I remember three things. The hospital has a whole host of values and of course, a mission. Why does everything need a mission? Shouldn’t it be as simple as ‘We’re a hospital. We treat patients.” Instead, our mission statement has to give us a warm fuzzy feeling. “Careful delivery of high quality patient care focused solely on improving overall health and physical stamina for the people in our community and to make the longest run-on sentence in the history of mission statements because we care about you.”

The most important thing I remember is that I will be saving $175 each month on health insurance. Yay, Yay, Yay!!

The last thing I remember is that the hospital staff is 83% female. Okay, that statistic is not in my favor. I can take heart in that probably that most of the male employees work in or around where I work. Still, disconcerting.

That reminds me of a wedding I went to where there was a notable shift in the weight of the room as all the single women were desperately clamoring for the matchmaking bouquet, as though possessing it would actually put them one step closer to leaving the single scene.
Conversely, after that spectacle, a handful of men made a languid effort to grab the underwear of their friends' new wife as it was flung just short of the unenthusiastic crowd.

After the hospital orientation, I headed to my department for a few hours orientation that might actually be useful. I got to see the spectacle that is the truck. It is a huge SUV with thousands of dollars worth of lights and light bars on it (not exaggerating). When they’re all turned on, it would pass for a fourth of July show, and could easily induce seizures in even the least susceptible people. I found myself caught in an open mouthed stare as I circled the truck in wonder, trying to stuff my squirrel tail back into my pants. If that wasn’t enough, on the inside it has a pull chain air horn. Holy crap this is great! It’s just like in an 18 wheeler, and it is super loud! What joy it is to pull on that chain.

On the inside it holds basically the same equipment as on any other medic unit. We also have what I consider to be the best IV catheters. (best described as the slidey kind, and not that dumb spring loaded kind) When I saw them it was like Sweeney Todd being reunited with his razors. I even sang them a song. “My friends….you’ll soon drip rubies…”

27 January 2008

Passing Remarks

Putting in notice at work was not just a passing remark, but one of the best things I’ve done in a long time. A small hint of what I hope will be the beginning of a new and more hopeful and happy chapter in my life.
I have changed my status at what will now be known as ‘crap work’ to part time. I equate this to when you tell your boyfriend that you just want to be friends, when what you really mean is that you never want to see them again. I am still part time there mostly because I felt guilty about using them for a free refresher class. I’m sure I’ll be over it soon.

Also, at my new job, oh yeah, NEW JOB!!, I am taking a bit of a pay cut, so it may be handy to go and do a shift every once in awhile at crap work. And there are some good people there who I’m happy to have as friends.

I finally have landed a full time spot on a chase car not too far from home. (not the same as my part time job) It’s a 24 hour schedule which is super sweet. But I think the best part is the newly discovered (by me) nearby state park with a huge, huge lake and many miles of mountain bike trails. YAY! Spring can’t come fast enough as I’m looking forward to 7am paddling and pedaling.

I now face a daunting three day hospital orientation this week. Luckily, I still have those novelty glasses with eyes drawn on them which I plan to use freely. I am told that this orientation includes a two hour walking tour of the hospital. Two hours!! I take two hour walking tours of major cities, not community hospitals. I can’t imagine what is in store. “Okay, and on our right is ‘Broom Closet #2’ it’s a little larger than ‘Broom Closet #1’ but not as large as ‘Broom Closet #3.’ It also holds all of the hospitals’ mops.” At this point I will slip out unnoticed through ‘Back Door #1’ which we just learned about and go find a local pub.


Some interesting facts: I have had more opportunity to play beer pong in the last month than I did in my whole college career.
Also, I never noticed that we pronounce the word ‘have’ two different ways:
“I have three dollars in my pocket.” (pronounced 'hav')
“I have to go to the bank!” (pronounced 'haff')
Thank you Bill Bryson.

19 January 2008

Some random things

In the chase car system, I get to work with a lot of different providers in a lot of different ambulances. This is probably the most strange part of the job for me. I am used to reaching for something and knowing it’s there when I need it. Now I have to work out of my bags and arrange stuff on the bench seat that I might need. I have had only a few complaints.

Me: I hate ambos without the center grab pole on the inside. (this one had two parallel ones) I am always reaching for it and then almost falling on the patient when it is not there.
EMT: You mean you’d like to have one right here (gestures to the middle of the ambulance.)
Me: Yeah, then I can do my routine better.
(you know, my routine)

On a not particularly cold day I went to listen to base lung sounds of a patient of mine while my partner put EKG leads. Suddenly, the man let out a mighty “Yeeeeawwww!!” causing all of us to jump out of our skin. I thought that it was my partner touching his belly but it was actually my seemingly fresh out of the freezer stethoscope on his back. Once we all recovered, and I warmed the bell in my hand, I tried again with similar results. “Yeeeeawwww!!” Again we all peed our pants in surprise. After we changed them, I resumed, although it was fruitless because at that point I was deaf. It was worse than when patients start to talk while I’m listening to their lungs.
For the rest of the day we shouted “Yeeeeawwww!!” at each other and giggled like fools.

Yesterday, after a series of stupid events, I had no power for about 7 hours. What fun. It was a good time to take stock of my candles and flashlights. Four and five respectively, plus one headlamp.

Last week at work I had a series of relatively uninteresting calls except for a guy in textbook atrial flutter. I thought that was cool in the nerdiest of nerdy ways. Fortunately for the patient, he denied, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, hunger, tiredness, headache, malaise, palpitations, coldness, thirst, fever, or any other symptom I could think of.
He was a nice guy though and liked my banter. I especially liked the bit when I asked him to take is outer shirt off and then introduced myself, assuring him that I usually get to know people before I ask them to take off their clothes.

My last diabetic had a sugar of six. Luckily he wasn’t naked, instead he was actually in his car, which, unbeknownst to him, he had driven into a pole. It was very strange scene as he was completely gorked, his foot was on the brake and he had a stack of 20s in his hand. We managed to wrestle his fairly large and completely limp frame from his car. An amp of D50 and he was back to normal. Although he was a little upset to discover that he had let his car drift into a pole. (Mostly because it wasn't actually his car.)

Other than that, I, with great satisfaction deleted old e-mails, put in my notice, caught a mouse, took a time out when an ambulance door shut on my thumb, and didn’t pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.

17 January 2008

Shoes

Okay. Time to ask the question that all tom boys or even quasi tom boys are required to ask for the good and advancement of woman kind. I can feel you leaning in with an ear cocked in my direction in anticipation.
Who invented high heels and made them stylish and socially acceptable? Do men really find them sexy or even remotely attractive? I mean, who wants to see those poor piggies squished into a shoe two sizes too narrow? Who wants to see me stumbling around and running into things like a drunk girl? (and that’s just what happens when I attempt to get them on) If you’d like to see my toned calf muscle, I’d be happy to show you, just don’t make me wear those shoes.

I would rather wear my keen sandals, they go along with my foot tan line anyway.
I am in two weddings this spring, something that I am happy and honored to do. Yesterday I went with my friend to order dresses. I don’t really mind, trying on dresses is certainly not my favorite activity, but even I like getting new clothes. We had to order the shoes but I know that as soon as they get here, I am going to have to put them on everyday, and as the wedding gets close, I may also have to stand up in them. I will have to successfully navigate the 25 or so yards of the church aisle without breaking my ankles. Although, I am assured that everyone would have a good laugh if I fell down.
I greatly admire women who can pull off heels. They can dance, ride horses, run marathons in them. I fear that I will never be in that league. I have never been delicate or graceful and my attempts at walking in heels could be described as walking over plowed ground.

Okay, I am not one who complains about weight as I am not terribly worried about weight, although I am trying to be more fit and healthy. I was equal parts fascinated, boggled, and irritated when I went out to eat with my fellow bridesmaids yesterday (sizes 4 and 6) and while I ate one of the restaurants low fat offerings, they tucked into alfredo pasta and a cheeseburger respectively. Bless them, they are good people, but I couldn’t help being a little green.
With that fine testament to my character, I am off to practice walking in a straight line.

11 January 2008

Some Search Terms

Recently, I have gotten an inordinate amount of google search terms that have to do with weighing in stones. For the record, 1 stone = 14 pounds. Which is an ego booster really. Kind of like kilograms. “I only weigh 59 kilos.” “Oh really, well I only weigh 9 stone!”

Here are a few more recent search terms that I found interesting.

“how much do I weigh in England” I know that England is very weird, with the whole driving on the left, sitting on the right thing. I know they call chips crisps and fries chips and cookies biscuits. But, England is not the moon. I would guess that you weigh the same in England as you would anywhere else, for example, the United States. Unless, say you took a very long boat ride there and you were sick the whole time and got scurvy. Then you might weigh less in England.

“how much do stones weigh in Britain” That would depend on the stone.

“Pictures of paramedics working” good luck with that.

“goals to set to get my paramedic” Now that’s a good one. I can’t say that I made any goals on the road to paramedic other than the original of “I want to be a paramedic.” I’ve given it a little thought and here are a few I’ve come up with that I inadvertently made along the way.

#1 Read “resqellie.blogspot.com aka ‘A Work in Progress’” in its entirety. Start here. Publish it.
#2 Learn every bone in the body and be able to recognize a left fibula from a right one. While you're at it, learn every muscle, its origin, insertion, and action.
#3 Figure out what the term "Squirrel" really means and illustrate the diversity of the word. (squirrely, to squirrel, squirreled)
#4 Unseat Bryan Bledsoe as the lord of all things paramedic
#5 Become a consummate professional
#6 Watch every episode of "Emergency!". Know the sound of those tones. This is very important.
#7 Be able to read a textbook even if you don't find it interesting in the slightest. Do not be frightened by a 20lb book. (you may need a doorstop one day)
#8 Do not be intimidated by being wrong. (I'm still working on that one)
#9 Love your job, even on the bad days.
#10 Learn what a Public Utility Model is inside and out. You never know when it will come in handy.

Finally here are some pictures of mountain bike trails if you're interested. I took them last week. Yes, it was January. Yes, it was 60 degrees. Yes, I am weirded out.

05 January 2008

Kids being kids

Today I went with my sister and her kids to a birthday party at “Chuck E. Cheese” I think the one and only time I had been to one of these was when my best friend turned six. That was about 16 years ago.
I learned today why that was the first and last time and that it is no wonder we never had birthday parties there.

We arrived to what was basically pandemonium. I didn’t really know what I was getting into. The kids go their tokens and we were off. The kids were, of course having great fun. Most of the games were surprisingly doable for five year olds and it’s always exciting to see a string of tickets being spewed out of an arcade game.
The skee-ball area was a veritable war zone with balls and kids flying everywhere. Before I could stop her, my niece (who, to my knowledge had never played skee-ball) threw her first ball overhand toward the holes of our lane. It landed about three lanes down. Ah, it seems she has inherited my propensity for sports.

Later there was the obligatory pizza and cake and the famous mouse, ‘Chuck E. Cheese’ himself made an appearance. I thought that my niece and nephews would be more excited to see him. I asked my niece-

me: Do you want to go see Chuck E.?
niece: No, I can see him from here
me: You don’t want to meet him?
niece: No, it’s just a costume anyway.
me: Uh….
niece: (gestures toward him) And they don’t walk on two feet.
me: (left basking in the brilliance of children.)

We had only one incident when my youngest nephew got into the crawling around area (whatever it’s really called) and refused to come down or listen to his brother and just go down the slide. I couldn’t help but find the humor of the situation, until my older nephew looked at me pleadingly and said “Just come up here!” not realizing that I wouldn’t quite fit. My sister finally coaxed him down and all was well.
There was also the moment that I realized that there was no ball pit and I cried for five minutes.

It was kind of fun, but I could easily go another five or six years before repeating the experience. There is just not enough Purell in the world.

03 January 2008

Are those trauma shears in your pocket, or...

I have always been curious about what other Paramedics/EMTs carry with them when they’re on the job. It is thought that rookies inherently carry so much that their pants fall down and seasoned providers barely carry a working pen. In the world of squirrel holsters, voluminous EMS pants, and hip packs, what do you carry?

Here’s me.
belt: pager/minitor
right pant pocket: leatherman squirt, cash, led flashlight
left pant pocket: chapstick, gum, an alcohol prep or two if I’m doing transfers, cell phone (or it's in my jacket)
right back pocket: pad of paper
left back pocket: hand drawn map
right cargo pocket: trauma shears, 2 pens (one zebra pen, one ‘scrote’ pen, penlight, protocol book
left cargo pocket: stethoscope (if it’s not around my neck) EMS field guide
radio strap: radio (if applicable)
right boot: straight razor (just kidding)

Any comments appreciated!