23 February 2012

Job Description

In the old days, EMS personnel were expected to drive the ambulance and then plan the funeral.  Life was seemingly simple.
But now, a paramedic's job description is never long enough.  It is far beyond showing up and bringing the hearse.  I joke that I am paid for 'readiness' as my excuse to earn money sleeping.  But readiness is a big part of the job.  In the station, I am chef, maid, and janitor.  I track supplies, check medications and restock.  On calls, a paramedic is driver, interviewer, negotiator, the calm of the storm.  A paramedic is the medicine giver, the airway guru, the IV ninja.  A paramedic is the authority, the decision-maker, the therapist, listener, and giver of advice.  We take care of every type of patient and yet have no specialty.

I'm not sure why I'm compelled to point this out.  I think that it is easy to forget how dynamic this job really is.  It is very easy to forget the expectations of this job.  One must be all of these things and do them all well, 100% of the time.  That is something a little unfair about medicine.  We hold ourselves very accountable and try to to the right thing every time.  The public holds us even more accountable and expects us to be perfect people as well as perfect practitioners.
I worry about that sometimes.  Well, a lot of times.  But at the end of the day a paramedic is a human. 

22 February 2012

White Rose

There's no way to write about the anniversary of the deaths of Sophie and Hans Scholl, and Christoph Probst without going on an inane tangent.  This subject is clearly far from the usual blog fare, though I think I've pointed it out before.
It'se easiest just to point you to this link for a pretty good run down of the story.  I am rarely moved by, well, anything, but when I heard this story in Munich I found it to be extrodinary.   It deserves recounting, it certainly deserves remembering.  To me, it is a reminder to stand for what is right, and to remember the burdon of hate this world carries.
Temper your suffering with those who suffer most. 

19 February 2012

Lessons

I've learned a few things from my patients in recent weeks.
Firstly, dreams can be intense.  At 4 in the morning, my patient had a dream that he was under attack.  His attackers had left for some reason, but were headed back at any time. The logical conclusion was for him to exit the building.  Through the window.  This was probably a great plan except that he was on the second floor.  No one told his dream self this and by the time he realized it, it was too late.  Wide awake, broken, and on the freezing sidewalk below, he had to crawl to a neighbors house, up the porch and knock on the door until they woke up.  So, the lesson here is any of the following: Tie yourself to your bed, sleep on the first floor, lock the windows, or carry a cell phone in your pajamas.

Secondly, and this one is a little more obvious, trees are tall.  Yes, and sometimes if you climb them, especially using big nails driven into the trunk as a ladder, you cal fall out of them.  Worse when you fall out of them, you are quite deep into the woods and not only are you hurt and in the middle of nowhere, no one knows it.  Then, when they do figure it out, they have to carry your rescuers to you in an ATV.  Subsequently, you get to ride in an ATV in a stokes basket out of the woods which I'm sure is not as fun as it sounds.  Lesson here is any of the following:  don't climb a tree, use a ladder instead, carry a cell phone, tell your friends where you're going, always have an ATV handy, or buy a rope and take climbing lessons.

Thirdly, dark is dark.  This poor guy was staying at a friends house.  Early in the morning, like many of us,  he needed the restroom.  It was still dark out and light can be intense at that hour, so he felt his way down the hall and into the bathroom.  Only it wasn't the bathroom.  I was the steps to the basement.  Then he unfortunately got put on a backboard, splinted and filled with lovely pain medicine on the way to the trauma center.  It is easy to say a bone is broken when it is visible from the outside.  Lesson here is any of the following:  Know the layout of the house your in, don't drink before bed, or turn on the hall light.

16 February 2012

Leftovers

Tonight I went out to dinner.  Well, this afternoon I took the bike to the park for the first ride of the year.  It was marginally successful.  I need to work harder at the gym.  Anyway.  I got home later than I thought, ate some leftovers in a rush and went to a meeting.  It was some pretty good human interaction!  And could give me plenty of things to do in the future.  Anyway.  Afterwards, we went out to dinner.  I was still a little hungry from abbreviated dinner, so off I went.  'Why get something small, when I can get something to have now and take home for tomorrow?'  I said to myself.  It was a nice dinner with plenty left for another meal.  They kindly gave me a box, and a bag too.  I carefully scraped my plate into the box and put it in the bag and placed it right in front of me so I wouldn't forget to take it home.
Well, by now, we all know the end of this story.  It should be no surprise to any human that I don't have anything for lunch tomorrow.
How is it that I can make a calculated decision to get a bigger meal so that I can take the rest home, then eat the meal to ensure I have some to take home, get a box and fill it to take it home, and then forget the entire plan, just like that?!  How?!
I was too far away by the time I realized my oversight and I find it unbelievably irritating.  The poor little bag of rice and veg sitting there all alone.  Now, in the trash.
Brain, you are capable of amazing things.   So, stop being dumb!

15 February 2012

Blogiversary 7

Seven years ago the blog and I were just getting started.  I hope that's still true today.  I wish I had something interesting to say to mark the occasion, but...
I am happy to see that bloggers have less of a stigma than they did seven years ago. At least it seems to me that there are more serious bloggers now and it's not all pointless musings and quiz results.  I am sure in many circles, blogging is still considered in inferior form of writing.  But in this day and age, I'm glad that writing appears to be alive and well.  Though it is barely alive in this blog.
I am thinking of breathing new life into this blog with a weekly 'column.'  I've often thought that I was well capable of being hired by a paper and banging out 500 (?) words to get the general public thinking.  Also, if I set a deadline for myself it is far more likely to be completed.  The current blog related deadline is whenever I feel like it or remember to or am inspired to post.  That is not often enough these days.
So, I guess now that I've written this down, I will come up with some topics and see what happens.

I used to ponder how to increase my readership.  I wondered if it was better to post every day, every hour, or every week to get more hits.  I thought if I started 'labeling' posts that more people would accidently find me via google searches.  I guess I have gotten some hits that way, but they don't appear to be looking for a blog to read.  These days I am less bothered if other people read it.  Seeing as very few people do, I do wonder why I bother to publish this to the internet at all.
I still hope that people read.  Moreso, I hope they read it and take something from it, but that is a lofty hope.  Especially as my recent posts have been mostly about my lack of posts.  And, as I said last month, there are only so many ways to describe a car accident.  But, if it's really good, I'll try. 

Happy Anniversay, blog.