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Showing posts from 2016

OD (2)

Everyone wants to talk about overdoses these days.  My job is now not known for daring rescues and fiery crashes, but our menial contribution to a disease that has finally caught public attention.  I am baited upon meeting new people and I fall for it.  "What's your most common type of call?"  "Have you ever been on a heroin overdose?"  "Do you carry narcan?" Ah, damn!  Next thing I know I am in a conversation about the good old days, how kids are spoiled, or 'why don't they all just quit?'.

One of my first calls as a student was for an overdose.  My first.  My preceptors 5000th. "Pump the brakes"  I am told. No, you won't get to intubate this patient. At best you will finish this call and not have been punched or yelled at.

So, no, giving narcan is not news to me. Giving it on the regular in a town of 6000 residents, that is noteworthy.  That is something we've all noticed. 

One thing I resolved to do was not "allo…

Texas

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(way overdue but who cares?!)
Everyone needs a set of friends whom move all over the country to new places and are the picture of kind and generous hosts.  Mine moved to Texas last year, a place I had never been, nor had more than a passing interest in until my favorite family was there.
It took a while to get myself together, but headed to Texas for a week in April.  This was the first time I did anything remotely interesting with a spring break.  I think everyone else in the world is really onto something.
I got a wonderful personal tour of Ft. Hood, Killeen, Waco and the surrounding area.  I went to my first real rodeo, but lasted only 7 seconds.  I really was happy to drive around a chase blue bonnets, the Texas state flower. 


Texas in the spring spoiled me.  It is (allegedly) the only time when the weather is perfect and things are lush and green and flowers are in bloom.  A week or so in any direction on the calendar turns the Texan landscape back into the harsh and dry deser…

Call Round Up

A lovely old man who fell down. We had to break into his house. Twice.

A patient with sepsis. Nursing home claims she was 'just fine an hour ago'.

A patient fell down the steps and died. On thanksgiving.

Lady whom needed us to fetch and pack the entire contents of her closet and living room before she was ready to go.

Dear oldie who gets picked up off the floor at least once a week by EMS. When you know the names of your patients' pets, it should be a red flag.

Nursing home patient who had the worlds smallest laceration. “Everything must go!”

Same nursing home gives patient three nitros within 10 minutes. Blood pressure changes seem to be a surprise.

Woman noticed a problem. Called 911 eight hours later. WHY? So much why.

The Dog

She was dead.  He knew it from the moment he saw the car, but he had to check for sure.  The worst part of the job.  Glass crunched under his boots as he approached the car, now barely discernible from the tree it hit.  Two fingers found their way through the broken window and onto the side of her neck and lingered.  Ten, twenty, thirty seconds.  How long to be sure?   He could have stood there all night waiting to feel a pulse, but he knew better.  He shook his head at his partner. The backboard in her hands made a soft rumble as she retreated, dragging it along the road back to the ambulance.
He wanted to be sure that she was the only one in the car.  He shined his bright flashlight through the car and along its final path. Snippets of her life were now strewn along the road.  Cell phone, spilled purse, her favorite gum, a snapshot of friends.  He turned his flashlight to the woods, to the field across the street.  Glass sparkled along the road as he searched.

Ready to head back …

Calls.

I forget most calls by the next day.  Looking back on the old blog, I remember more from years ago because I actually wrote them down.  So, here's a few.

A guy with bleeding ulcers that had been leaking for about a week or so.  Yeah, you have no blood left.

A man whose dialysis shunt sprung a leak.  Yeah, you have no blood left.

A house fire where I gave a cat oxygen.  EMS bucket list check. (Damn, no media coverage of that!)

A benzodiazepine overdose. Ooh, drugs and unconsciousness.

An unconscious stroke displaying Cushings triad. Let's intubate you and atropine you, and get you right down to the ER real quick like.

5%

Someone recently asked how many of my calls were true "emergencies". I said 5%.

5% may even be an over-estimation Something I’ve come to realize and have to accept that we are not in the business of saving lives. We are in the business of solving problems. Boiled down, our job is to be the clear head in the situation where no one else can seem to get their shit together.

Yes this is a great illusion. It is not why I got into this business or why anyone got into this business. Work has become like air travel, long periods of boredom punctuated by tiny moments of excitement. Like, when a meal arrives.

But maybe this is a natural part of any job. Any job becomes routine. Maybe anyone with 10 years in any field would feel the same way. Maybe anyone would say that their job is at its zenith 5% of the time. Maybe I am lucky that I can. That, or we’ve convinced ourselves that public service is easy and rewarding which often it is not.

There is no sense in dwelling o…

Negotiations

As a paramedic, have to be a pretty good negotiator. Maybe you are surprised that negotiation is an important aspect of the job. Sometimes people call, and then when we get there and bring some calm, they get cold feet. I have to convince people to stay home as well. “You have the flu, please don’t come to the ER.” I usually say through a window using a bull horn. When hospitals get busy, I have to sell alternatives. When I want to start an IV, but the patient doesn’t trust me yet, I get that done. I have to coax kids into not crying, coax parents into not crying. I have to squeeze information from human turnips that just about drive me crazy. At the same time, I have to figure out if these people are drug addled, drunk, or just plain lying to me. All this talking to people, as an introverted extrovert, is exhausting, but sometimes a rewarding part of the job.

The other night, I couldn’t make anyone do anything. We started with a lady who had a seizure and then fell and…

Blogging

So, here I am bored at work and I wonder…what ever happened to that blog I used to write? Yeah, there was stuff about EMS or ambulances…something like that. Sometimes stuff about travel. Oh! And a whole month of just pictures. Weird. Then, I think that the job got boring, or sad, or both and the blog sort of stopped. Sure, maybe a few meager posts here and there, but nothing too exciting or deep, but thankfully, no sad poetry either.

Perhaps the world is blessed by having one less blog. One less tangle of self obsessed prose. One less (pre) millennial bitching about how hard real life is. One less quarter life crisis immortalized with questionable grammar in ones and zeros. “Oh, my job is boring. I don’t get paid enough. I’m single. Everything sucks. Oh, I go on trips and rub them in everybody’s face. Oh, I’ve filled the internet with 1000 blog posts, look at me go. Oh, my pets are cute.” No one cares.

 Then I remember. All those calls that I can’t actually remember…

20 June 16

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New uses for backboard and crutches.

19 June 16

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Kittah!

16 June 16

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Temporary insanity in the house while getting a new plaster ceiling.

12 June 16

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Best strawberry rhubarb I've ever made.

11 June 16

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9 June 16

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You're not prepared unless you have a backboard as part of your personal first aid kit.

7 June 16

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Strawberry Picking

2 June 16

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Glass in Norfolk VA.

24 May 16

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18 May 16

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17 May 16

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15 May 16

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13 May 16

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11 May 16

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10 May

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School parking solar panels.

9 May

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It's been a little rainy these days.

7 May

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Crafting

6 May

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Scout trying to get to her reflection.

5 May 16

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4 May 16

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3 May 16

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2 May 16

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1 May 16

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OD

(This may be the first in a series of posts where I outline how I am trying to love the job again....maybe.)

Suddenly all of the lay people I know are asking me if I am noticing an uptick in overdoses. The truth is that I have.  As the supply purchaser at work, I can barely keep up with buying BVM's (which can be used to breathe for people), nasal atomizers (a handy tool that lets just about anyone squirt narcan up their noses) and narcan itself (the handy drug that reverses heroin overdoses). 

The number of overdoses in America has (temporarily) captured attention.  This is how we are killing our youth.  For EMS, it is all too routine.  Never in my career did I think I'd hear medics (including myself) act so indifferent to patients that are on the brink of death.  I am not being over-dramatic- these people die.  They die often, because you can only not breathe for so long.  But most don't die.  Somehow they chip away at their nine lives and come back from the brink, only…

Quebec

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A few months ago, my sister proposed a trip.  Without thinking too hard, I immediately said yes to a winter trip to Quebec, Canada.  Now, I love trips that require special equipment and apparel, but this was next level for me.  From booking to leaving, my entire winter wardrobe was turned over, bolstered, improved, and tested.  As possible -20 degree temperatures loomed closer, the panic set in.  Are these boots really going to keep my feet from freezing?  Are four layers enough?  Will my mittens fail?  Will all of my digits snap off and I will get them all replaced via socialized medicine?

Happily, on our coldest day (-15 at noon), all of my fears were gone.  If anything I was more likely to have a heat stroke upon entering any establishment, as it is difficult to shed 15 pieces of clothing and still be able to browse.  The cold is a chore there.  There is no running outside to get the mail (well, maybe for locals).  There is no leaving anything in the car overnight.  There is no hi…

PA Update

I know that so many of you are waiting for an update on "Wild ass plan-apply to PA school". Well get ready! Basically, it's boring. I am slogging through my last prerequisite "Intro to organic and biochemistry". Did I save the best for last or what?! Truly, this is the class that I know I will struggle with. How do I know that? Well, it's been two weeks and I already am!
This class is offered at several schools but is accepted for all of the programs in my state. When we had our obligatory introductions on the first class, it became clear that I am not alone in my wild ass plan. Indeed, the competition for these programs was never made more clear. 28 out of 30 students want to be PA's. 28 out of 30 students went home that night and cried themselves to sleep. Those that hadn't already done the math of 1000 PA school applicants for a class of 35 were for the first time feeling the pressure.
It's a mixed bag of backgrounds and ages. …

Blogiversary 11

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I've retrodated this post, as although I was thinking of dear old bloggie on the 15th (our actual anniversary) I was not near a computer. In fact, for the first time in a couple of years had an actual reason for not celebrating the blogiversary. I was lucky enough to be on a long weekend to Quebec with my nieces French class. Don't worry, I sent it a post card. (Bonjour, thinking of you, wish you were here. You know, normal greetings to an intangible object.) I am happy to report that on the trip, I didn't freeze to death or lose any digits as predicted by most (including myself). So, I am now wishing the blog a happy anniversary. I guess I've been 'better' at keeping but still not great. Between work and school and work and television, time for blogging has been limited. The traditional gift for the 11th anniversary is steel. (Hence the I-beam). But now I will be forming at least a couple of posts about how seriously Quebec takes their French and how j…

Calls

How about a good old fashioned call round up?

A pleasantly confused old lady with a fever. 'Would you tell me your birthday?' Huge, mischievous smile 'No.' 'Alright, you do what you do.' 'Thank you for a great dinner.' 'Anytime.' 'I'm so glad that's over.' 'Yes. Me too'. (Continues to hospital).

A kid that ate iron supplements. PS. this can be VERY bad for adults but especially children. But in the first stages, all I had to deal with was another kid whom didn't quite like me.

A kid who stabbed themselves with an adult epi pen. PS. I don't really know how bad this can be especially when everything is fine after 45 minutes. Poison control agreed in this instance.

A delightfully bright elderly lady with basically nothing wrong with her. When I stood her up from her chair she was about a head and a half shorter than I am. There was a pregnant pause before she said. "That's as high as I'm …