Happy Christmas!

This year was totally weird. Not only because it was my first year away from home, but I worked Christmas eve and Christmas day also. It didn’t really feel like Christmas yesterday, especially as we had a surprising amount of calls. Also it’s been unseasonably warm here. I’m learning that there is no such thing as a traditional Christmas anymore, and I’m okay with that.

Santa came to our house on Christmas eve morning as Andy and I both had to work Christmas day. And by ‘Santa’ I mean Santa, the big man, the real deal. He has an amazing network, and is always on top of things. He’s unpredictable, and always has a trick up his sleeve. He brought me a crock pot and a sleeping bag, and some salt and pepper shakers. I’m going to be trying out the sleeping bag at work tonight, I can’t wait. Speaking of not being able to wait…it’s only about 20 more hours now until I’m back in the old line state! And 14 of that will be taken up by work!
After work on Christmas eve, I went to church here for the first time! Working nearly the entire weekend has pretty much precluded me from any church going. I was happy to go, especially on a special occasion. I have so much to be thankful for.

On Christmas, other than working, Andy’s parents came to the station and made us all breakfast which was really awesome. Then the calls started, and we didn’t get back to the station until the shift was over! We had a NICU run with twins! They were so cute, and weren’t terribly ill, so I could happily enjoy admiring them.
After work we had Christmas dinner at Andy’s parents house which was delicious and fun.

Now I’m off to finish packing!

The Home Stretch

In less than five days I’ll be back in Maryland for a week. I have never been so excited to be going home! It’s really impossible to explain, so I won’t try. Maybe in the upcoming week I will. Sorry that was really uninformative.

So, I’m working the next four days straight, I’m pretty excited. Why? Merely because the time at work will mark the passing of days, and might give me something to do. Oh, and the double time on Christmas day.

Work was pretty much uneventful this week. One of my colleagues had a patient with a dissecting abdominal aortic aneurysm last night. The patient coded when they walked in the hospital door, they were all freaked/excited. By the way, a dissecting AAA is where your aorta splits, and blood fills the cavity the dissection forms, and its basically really, really bad.

Ooh, also, my roommates saw not one but two moose in the back yard! We were all very excited and there was much rejoicing. Hopefully they’ll make some more appearances throughout the winter. And I can catch one, and ride it.

Well, now its 4 days 18 and a half hoursish, but who’s counting?

File under 'other'

On Wednesday I had two interesting overriding thoughts in my day. After our first two calls which were kind of fun. I said “I can’t believe we get paid for this.” It’s just amazing, I can poke people with needles, chat with interesting patients, cheer people up, occasional save a life, or at least try, and they pay me. But, by the end of the day, I said “They’re not paying us enough!” I’ll spare the details of the most disgusting call I’ve ever been on. I pretty much hope that I never have a more revolting, horrid call. That’s all really. It’ll be a hard call to trump.

I worked a whole 911 shift with Andy, it was totally weird, and totally cool. It’s hard to believe they’d let two UMBC graduates run an ALS truck. A scary day for the local citizens. We only had three calls which is fine by me for the night shift, one was an overdose. I almost said: “I’m sorry that you just want to sleep, but I’m afraid you’ll sleep, like, forever.”

Other than that, I actually hung out with my roommates, went to best buy for the lighting, got a fever that cowbell refused to fix, and bought cross country ski boots! I’m ready for snow now and ready to fill my would be kayaking hours with falling over in the snow.

Google search term of the week: “inject saline face freak” Yet another that makes anyone wonder what the searcher was looking for. Whatever it was, I’m pretty sure they didn’t find it here.

Lost in okay calls and love

It’s amazing how familiar I’ve become with the city I work in. My partner and I were both from out of town when we started, and we have found our way to every call without assistance. Well, on Wednesday a call went out to Apple Ave. I looked it up in our map book, and there was no apple avenue, only apple street. “Oh, apple street, we know where that is!” So we headed on over to there, and couldn't find the correct address. We called our dispatch to inquire. They say, you know apple ave, near the airport. My partner and I looked at each other. We were nowhere near the airport. What the heck! I didn't even know where to look in the map book now. I called up dispatch again, and got the cross streets, which luckily were in the map book. We ended up with a 15+ minute response time, but at least we know where apple ave is now (other than not in the map book.) Luckily the patient wasn’t critical.

On Thursday we were called for a car into a house. Whatever this call was about, I wanted to know. So we ran over there and found a car, that had indeed been run into a house. It got interesting when I discovered that the car was parked at the time. The cars owner was there, and I asked him if he was hurt, and he said “No, I was inside the house.” I was a little confused. It turned out that the car was parked on the street, someone in (reportedly) an SUV, crossed the center line, slammed into the car, forced it up a hill and into the house. In the process, the car was soundly destroyed. But the house was okay. The SUV in question: nowhere to be found. We found it pretty amusing to leave the scene of a car v. house and say “In service, no patient.”

Sometimes the local concert arena allows the customers to drink during the concert. This led to a guy who um, drank a little and face planted into the sidewalk. I couldn’t tell if he was confused because he hit his head, or because he drank so much beer that I needed to air out the ambo after we delivered him safely to the ER.

Then there was the guy with more complaints than my last 20 patients combined. He called us in the middle of the night, and then wasn’t quite sure if he wanted to go. Oh, at that hour of the morning, you’re going. I’m awake, and so are you. He complained of arm pain, back pain, neck pain, coldness, a headache, and some other problems I don’t want to mention. Then he had a great answer to my favorite question. “How long has all this been going on?” “Oh, off and on for about a month.” Why he chose 5am to call us is a mystery akin to that of creation itself.

I’ve also now experienced my first New Hampshire snow storm. So far, it feels just like Maryland. The drivers are just as bad, and I think all the streets are going to be white from now until May, not due to snow, but to the ridiculous amount of salt they use.

Have I mentioned lately that I’m in love? And have I mentioned lately that long distances relationships are nearly unbearable? Who invented them?! I want to know, I will hunt them down, and question "why, why why!?"
But at least I know that with this one, the love will not fade. (why? well, because I have awesome taste in shoes, of course!)


Last week I worked six days in a row. The most interesting calls are already posted, I’m afraid. In three days, I did 38 hours in interfacility work. That yielded one call worth remembering. Have I mentioned recently I’m not a fan of transfers? Oh well.
This patient had stepped on a low shelf in the grocery store and reached up to the top shelf to grab something. You know this story can’t end well! As she stepped down from the low shelf, she caught her ring in the lip of the top shelf. As her body kept going, her finger was stuck and her ring degloved, snapped, and twisted her finger nearly off. At the ER she was told they would amputate. Well, because that is a very frightening word, she wanted a second opinion. That’s how we got involved to take her to another hospital. It was good times as I got to a. give narcotics and b. see the x-ray. I must say it was probably the coolest x-ray I have ever seen.
The rest of the weekend was the usual fare, none too exciting.

Google search term of the day “work in progess” Please note the misspelling of the word ‘progress.’ If you search for that in google, I’m the first site there!

2nd Google search term of the day “ice cream is good for flu patient.” Ah, yes. Ice cream is good for all patients, whatever ails them!

Complaining of?

I worked a shift on Tuesday to make up for having last Sunday off. It was interfacility transfers and we were pretty busy, but I got to work with my roommate which was good fun. I think that’s the most time we’ve spent together since I moved here. We have completely opposite schedules.

On Wednesday we were pretty busy and had a few interesting things. We started with a woman who had a TIA (transient ischemic attack = mini stroke). I’ll admit she had me a little worried, but as soon as we got her in the bus, her symptoms began to subside. It was a relief for me, but I’m so glad she called us.
Shortly after we had a lady with nothing wrong with her except for an overly concerned daughter. We did our old standby call and took yet another older lady to the hospital who thought we were all commies.

I would call the seizure in the dentists' office the most entertaining of the day. The patient on the chair had a seizure, the dentist called and we spent 10-15 minutes convincing the patient that he did, in fact, have a seizure and that he should go to the hospital. To illustrate to us the seriousness of the situation, the dentist pointed out to us that he even got the oxygen bottle out, I assume their only emergency equipment. I think this tank was circa 1970, weighed 50 lbs, and has had the same non-rebreather mask hanging off of it for at least 5 years. Once the patient could remember his last name and address, he was a pretty cool guy. For the last half hour of work, I finally got my nap out.

Yesterday I went kayaking. Yes, kayaking, the day before December, in New Hampshire, in a t-shirt. It was hella windy, but a good workout, and perhaps one of the last of the season, but you never know these days.

I started work with another seizure patient who I believe also had a little beer on board, making it impossible to distinguish between postictal behavior and drunkenness.
Then we had a couple of calls that fall into the category of “Grade D BS” or patients with no real complaint. The first was for trouble breathing. We arrived, found the patient sitting in his wheelchair talking up a storm to the fire department. (typically people with trouble breathing do not talk without signs of slowing) My partner began questioning him, and yielded nothing. First I overhead right sided weakness, then back pain, then my partner asked if he could walk outside for us. He was quite willing and jumped right up.
I began to get a little irritated. In the bus, I asked, so you’re having trouble breathing? “Well, not really.” Okay, so what is it? “I have this back pain...” Turns out he had it before, it went away, it’s not unusual, it’s not constant, sinus rhythm on the monitor. I asked which hospital, rolled my eyes at my partner, and started driving.

Around 2am we had a similar patient. The call came out as trouble breathing, we arrived and found a woman with no complaints and no obvious medical problems. She walked to the bus, we buckled her in, and I had to ask: "So, what's going on?" "Well" she explained, "I had a dream that I had shortness of breath, I woke up, and it turned out, I was short of breath." "Um...Okay. Are you still short of breath?" "No, I feel fine." I promptly pulled out all my hair.

We ended the evening/morning with an assault at the police station, and later, an assault at the local college.

T-giving weekend

I would give this thanksgiving weekend a rating of about 22.6 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best thanksgiving ever, 1 being no thanksgiving at all. Surprises, turkey, double time at work, Christmas presents, planning, frivolity, love, and general good times abounded.

Not much really exciting or overly holiday related happened when I worked Thanksgiving night. Basically I was able to hang out with my baby for awhile at work, and I was woken up about every 3 hours after he left. We had a fall, 2 non cardiac chest pains, quasi choking, and some other stuff that I can’t even remember. The choking was real, but resolved by the time we arrived, it was also marginally holiday related. I guess the rest of the city was in a post thanksgiving stupor of some sort.
We also had a guy who’s finger got twisted into a pneumatic drill. It pulled the skin a bit, but nothing horrible. Controlled bleeding and such. I patched it in to the hospital as I saw it (nothing to get excited about) and when we arrived we walked the patient into the first trauma bay, and we were greeted by a fair amount of staff (especially considering it was about 4am) all wearing their trauma gowns and masks and looking very serious. I felt a bit silly walking the patient at that point and I wondered if I said anything weird on the patch that would lead them to believe that it was really bad. I chalked it up to them being bored.

On Saturday we went to Boston to see the Bodyworlds exhibit at the museum of science. All I have to say is that it was really creepy, even to me, but worth every penny. It was super cool and good fun, as was the rest of the science museum. After that we drove aimlessly with our crappy map and ended up at a nice market type place where we ate clam chowder, watched some street performers, and basked in the glow of a fun, bustling Christmassy city.

The rest of the weekend was just plain awesome, although we didn’t do too much. We visited a lot of stores, and enjoyed being together.