Sunday, May 27, 2007

- Wreck

The Wreck Post, as promised.



We got paged out 30 minutes past crew change for a wreck Eastbound on Big Highway . We arrived on scene to find two cars about 100 yards apart from each other on opposite sides of the interstate, both in the trees, one flipped over.

A bystander ran up to us and advised us that a woman was trapped in the flipped car and was making gurgling noises. They could not pull her out. I asked him to hold our spotlight and directed a VFF to attend to the lady sitting on the grass, holding her arm. I climbed in through the back side window and found that the victim inside the car was lying prone on her roof - the car was upside down. Her head is pointed towards the driver side window in the back seat and the lower part of her body is lying along the roof over the driver seat, with her feet down under the steering wheel. She is having agonal respirations.

I wiggled back out and politely asked The Gimp (standing there having an extended period of thumb-ass interaction) where our F----ing spine board, bag and collar were. Please pop your hand out of your bum and get it the f--- together, I think to myself. Why didn't I grab that stuff on my way out? I knew he wasn't going to. I need to act more like a Basic instead of jumping all over this call. But shit, this chick is really messed up, she is circling the drain, there's blood all over and I don't know why and I do not trust him with this lady right now. I just want to get her out right now. F---. F---.

He runs off.

"I need a flashlight! Troop, I need your flashlight!"

He hands it to me and I crawl back into the car. It's eerily silent for about thirty seconds, me trying to hold c-spine on this lady with one hand. The flashlight is in my left hand and I shine it around the interior of the SUV. Luckily, she's not really pinned under anything. All I can hear is the rush of traffic on the interstate behind me and assorted yelling and faintly, incredibly, Mazzy Star's "Fade into You" playing on the radio inside the car. And finally, after an eternity, the clomp clomp clomp of The Gimp's big, stupid feet. He hands me the c-collar and I put it on the lady and tell him to take over c-spine. I crawl back out of the back passenger side window and tell the gathered deputies and state trooper my plan - I manage to drag open the driver side back door, giving us better access to her shoulders and head.

I crawl back in and yell for two of the troopers to reach in and grab the waist band of her pants and under her prone shoulders I grab around the knees and give the count and we start to pull her out. She budges a few inches, really smooth, but then jerks and stops. I use the flashlight and shine up and down her body again. I take a closer look. Her feet are tangled up in the gas pedals.

"Oh, you bitch!" I shout.

This is going to be a pain in the ass. I yell at them to hold up and crawl into the front of the car and unhook her feet. We try pulling her out again and she comes right out. We get her out and flip her over, and in the light I am unexcited to see dirt and mud in her mouth. The Sheriff's deps and troopers secure her under my direction and without really thinking, I finger sweep as much as I can out. A few inches of mud and dirt come out and I try to start bagging. At some point in between us pulling her out and flipping her over she has gone into cardiac arrest. I give the bag to a bewildered looking Gimp and slap the pads on her, for a quick look. Asystole. Her eyes are staring up at me though half shut lids. Her pupils look blown.

Double Turds. Maybe it's just the lighting.

Coming up the hill with her on the spine board backup showed up with HotThang and SpiderMan, two friends of mind. HotThang is a Basic who is...well, she's hot, and SpiderMan is her paramedic. We've gone out drinking a few times and we get along pretty well. Anyway, we got her loaded and The Gimp and HotThang started working her up as I teach Spotlight Bystander (who in my head I quickly rename Hero Bystander) to do compressions. I let him take over for HotThang and tell her to see if Spidey needs a hand with the other patient.

Gimp, his hands shaking, drops his ET tube in between the wall and the seat. I hand him another one and he opens her airway with the scope. Apparently my finger sweep did some good (cleared the airway out) or some bad (pushed the mess into the airway so deep we can't see it) but he manages to pass the tube with minimal suction. I prepare the IO and spike a bag. After a few cycles of CPR I ask everyone to hold on, and sure enough, on the monitor, a rhythm. Bradicardic, just a small narrow complex barley there, but to me right now barely is good enough. I feel for a pulse but can't find one - PEA. We start compressions again and get an IO established on the lady with our EZ-IO (whoever thought of mixing power tools and pre-hospital medicine is a genius. I nearly made the "Rawr rawr rawr" noise from Home Improvement the first time I saw it.).

I slam in an epi and an atropine, and, all though the lady is still in PEA it is quicker now, at a rate of about 40. We give another Epi and the VFF Chief comes into the back. I switch with him and run out the back to see if Spidey and HotThang need a hand but they're OK. I run back to my unit and tell Hero Bystander he's done a great job and ask if he has a card. He does, gives it to me, and I tell him I will never forget him and his help. I stick my head back into the module and tell The Gimp and VFF Chief that we're leaving. The Gimp gives me a thumbs-up with his big goofy face and I toss my gloves into the trash and close the door and hop up front.

We got the lady all the way back up through a functional rhythm and she went into pulseless V-Tach. As we pulled up I heard the Gimp clearing the patient. We shocked her once and brought her into the ER, where she coded after about 5 minutes.

She was later found to have a 4 inch lac above her left ear and a skull fracture that we could not see in the dark and was only notable after they took her off the spine board. All though she did not make it we gave her every chance possible. The other two patients from the scene were brought in with minor injuries.


I walked out of the ER to clean up the unit. I noticed a few of the techs outside smoking and staring at me.

"What?"

Puff, puff. "Dude, your shit is all fucked up."

The ER techs are almost as vulgar as I am.

"What?"

Puff, puff. *Blows smoke out of nose* "Look at it. You've got blood all over. Damn."

I step back into the light outside of the ER doors and look at my shirt. It's got grass stains and it looks like someone threw Ragu all over, f---ed up Christmas colors. F---. I end up taking off my shirt and undershirt (the blood had gotten through my uniform) and putting on a paper hospital top.

We don't have any information on the patient and it's only after calling the friend who was sitting in the grass holding her arm do we learn she's a foreign citizen, down here on vacation. I walk back into trauma and look at her, naked, staring up at the ceiling through half lidded eyes with blown pupils. I touch her arm.

"Take it easy, babe. Sorry I snapped at you."

I walk out.

The next week, when I drive by the accident site, there is a small white cross up in the tree line. The next day when I pass by I pull over and walk down the hill, singing the lyrics to "Fade into You", by Mazzy Star under my breath and pay my respects.

The song stays in my head for a week.

Epilouge: Spider comes up to me the next day.

"You did a good job on that call last night. You really controlled the scene."

"Thanks," I tell him. "I'm glad you guys backed us up. It was a rough call."

"Seriously man, good job. (The Gimp) was standing there looking at you the whole time. You pretty much ran his call."

Later that week, when I found out I had passed my registry exam, I call my FTO. After he congratulates me, he asks me who I want to clear with. I tell him I want to clear with Spidey.

I start on Monday. Here's hoping he's still as impressed with me after our first shift.

-MM

- Origin of The Gimp

*Note: Although I use "Him", "He, and "His" in this post, the individual the reference could easily be a female. I used the male gender to simplify things and also because most of us guys are dummies.*



The Second of the previously promised posts. I've been assigned to work with a recently cleared paramedic. Sitting in my manager's office and listening to him set up the new schedule (that I hate), I realized that him cutting this new paramedic loose with me was his way of saying that he trusted me enough as an EMT and as a person to help keep this feller in line and cover his ass - remember the old maxim "Paramedics save lives. EMTs save Paramedics."



Alternately, I realized after a few days that I might've had it wrong; that we're short on medics and EMTs and he might not of had another choice.



And then after that, I thought he put me with this medic because he found out I stole a box of gloves to protect my hands for all the ooky jobs I have to do around my house and was doing it to punish me. This wasn't until the next week, after a few shifts with the individual I shall henceforth refer to as The Gimp.



Anyway, that all came later. My chest swelled with pride and I walked out of the office with my head held high.



Hahahahaha. The joke's on me.



Day 1: The Gimp looks like a nice enough person. We have one bad call - a fall. He tries to put the patient on the stretcher backwards. "Accident," I think to myself. "Could've happened to anyone. He's just nervous, hell, I would be too." Just an accident. We make it though the rest of the shift but as the day wears on I quickly realize this is not a normal person I am working with.



Day 2: I get to work thirty minutes early. The Gimp is already there. "Well, at least he's punctual." I think. "Maybe yesterday was a fluke."



Yesterday was not a fluke, ladies and gents. More crazy talk from The Gimp. He calls his spouse and at the end of every sentence is a "Baby" or "Sweetheart" - at the end of EVERY sentence, even "Hello" (hello baaaaby) and Goodbye (Goooodbye sexy). Watching The Gimp function in daily like is like watching a train wreck - he's like a big clumsy bear trapped in a boy body, even more so then myself. He was walking in an empty parking lot and just FELL DOWN. Like, busted his ass.

Also, he tries to sing along to every song on the radio, which wouldn't be too bad except for the fact that his singing voice sounds like someone is molesting a yak and he doesn't know any of the goddamn words. Also he always tries to put the radio on the contemporary Christian Station and sing along to as well. I can't take much of Christian radio to begin with and it really gets on me nerves.


Day 3: This is when I start to suspect something is really wrong. We get a call out for a chest pain and rock n roll inside. The patient is a 54 y/o female, AAO, having the TEXTBOOK presentation for an MI - sweaty, 10/10 crushing substernal chest pain, radiating to the jaw and shoulder, etc etc. I hook her up and begin the patient interview while The Gimp juggles the patient's medications and looks at her history. I can see ST elevation in the 4 lead (Bradycardic at 45, BP 162/78, rr 20 @ 100%) and run a 12 on the lady as I give her ASA and nitro. This lady is having an inferior MI with 3mms of elevation. Great. I shove the 12 lead to The Gimp for him to look at, which he does. Then, after studying it for a good 30 seconds, he says it.

"We should ask her family if she has a living will."

....

The patient goggled at the sight of an EMT and two fire fighter's jaws hitting the floor at the exact same time. She sat there, a normal, formerly perfectly healthy lady having her version of the Big One, and my idiot partner is basically asking her if she wants life saving measures carried out. Some of you may not understand why this is bugging me so much but the lady is in obvious distress and called an ambulance because she hurt so much. I'm just going to guess that she probably doesn't mind if we decide we need to do CPR or intubate! In fact, considering the look she's giving us all right now, she probably REALLY wants to live.

Composing myself, I told him to grab the bottom of her bed sheet to carry her out.

In the truck he missed his IV twice and then tripped over the lady's O2 tubing, ripping the cannula out of her nose.

So, with anyone else this might just be three bad days but it doesn't let up at all. He stood around with his thumb in his ass, as mentioned in "The Wreck" post before this one, and I basically ran his call for him.


*sigh*

Truth be told I feel kind of bad for Gimpy. I realize being newly cleared as a paramedic is tough, and I suppose those first few shifts by yourself can be terrifying (I'll find out soon enough, I guess), but this individual has a real bad habit of grating the nerves of everyone that they work with. No one can seem to get along with him. I really hope he gets it together because I think he would be an excellent medic if he could just chill out and concentrate. I really hope he finds someone that can stand him.


-MM

Friday, May 25, 2007

- Linky Love

First things first: I owe Ambulance Driver a debt of gratitude for discussing a call with me the other day that had been bothering me. I can't go into the details but I thank him for the email he sent because it gave me a clearer perspective on what had happened! Hats off, and I owe you a beer.

Secondly, if you haven't checked out Peter Canning's Street Watch it's worth doing - the man is an incredible writer and penned an online novella - Mortal Men. It was excellent.

Got two posts a-brewin' - one about my partner, and one about a pretty bad accident we ran awhile back.

Stay Tuned!

-MM

Saturday, May 19, 2007

- Ditch Witch

After a long grueling day in the unit, there's nothing I want to do more then to get home, get cleaned up, and go to bed, usually so I can do it all over again the next day. We work an odd three person schedule that I'm not impressed with, but Management hasn't seen fit to put me in charge of everything yet, so I'm going to have to put on my Big Boy pants and stick it out.

Anyway, I was driving down Country Road and was startled to see a Metropolitan Adjacent Area VFD Rescue rig approaching with light and sirens in my rear view mirror. As I work out of the Metropolitan Adjacent Area Station and we had only gotten off shift about five minutes ago, I was curious as to where they might be headed. I gunned my weak Japanese Import SUV into line behind the rig and continued on down Country Road, mindful not to put on my Hazard lights. I don't have red flashers on my vehicle and those two little blinking orange things do not an emergency vehicle make.

I arrived on scene about a minute behind the rig. The deputy excitedly waves them though. There is nary a Company Ambulance to be seen, making me the first Company EMT on scene. Woohoo, Incident Command! I start to drudge up our triage information in the back of my head as my imagination clouds over with flashbulbs, cheering crowds, and a bright, shiny medal. He saved our lives! says an attractive, large busomed redhead. If he were here, I could just kiss him! (I have a thing for Redheads.)

The Dep turns around as I roll past his prowl car and gives me a mean look, shattering my delusions of grandeur. I roll down my window as he trudges up to my vehicle. There is a sour expression on his red, mustachioed puss.

"What the hell are you doing? Can't you see the flashing lights? The road is blocked. Turn around, you idiot!" Spittle from his mouth lands on my shoulder. He looks into the car and sees me wearing my uniform.

I hand him my name tag. "I'm with XXXX, do they need-"

"Oh, shit, sorry, yeah, go on through!" He tosses my ID back to me and waves me in. I call the dispatcher and let him know that I'm on scene. He tells me the company unit is about 4 minutes out. I put my car (I'm not calling that thing an SUV, it doesn't deserve the title) in park and NOW I put my hazard lights on. Take a lesson, first responders.

I grab a pair of gloves from the vehicle. The MAA VFD chief is talking into his radio and digging in a compartment. He comes up with a c-collar. I got to know this guy pretty well and he has been on several car accidents and emergencies with me. The portion of interstate that runs though the town is a high incident area and when I get on scene and see him there I usually relax a little. He turns around to see me and waves. There's puzzlement on his face as he looks around for my unit.

"I was on my way home."

"Oh. OK. One car accident, guy was on his way home, ran off the road, hit the culvert and was ejected. He sitting down over there in the ditch. They need this c-collar." He hands it to me.

I cross around the front of the fire truck and get a look at the vic's car. It's on its roof, and there is damage to the everywhere. Debris is scattered across both lanes of Country Road. This is interesting. I walk down into the ditch and get a good look at the guy, courtesy of the large scene lights on top of the rescue. It's lit up like day time and I see dried mud coating his forehead, cheek, and shirt.

"Hey man, my name is MedicMarch with XXXX. I need to put this on you to protect your neck. How are you doing? " I inquire as I apply the c-collar.

"I'm Drunky McGee, and not too well," he answers back. "My arm hurts." I feel my BAC going up just from breathing the same air as this guy.

Good, I am thinking. He's awake and alert, although drunk, and can tell me what's wrong.

"What happened?" I ask.

His eyes look around at the fire truck and back at me. A confused look crosses his face.

"What do you mean?"

Uh oh.

"Why are you sitting in this ditch, buddy? How'd you get here?"

He tries to look around but cannot as one of the VFFs has his head in a neutrality death grip.

"I don't know."

Turds.

"You were in a car accident, man. Looks like you were ejected. Was there anyone else riding with you?"

"I don't know. What happened, now?"

Double Turds.

"You were in a car accident. Let me see that arm that's bothering you." He has a small avulsion at the elbow that's oozing but that's pretty much it. All his neuros are intact. I'm more concerned about how all this streaked dried mud got here. It is all over his shirt. It seems far fetched but I'm betting he was ejected and slid along the muck at the bottom of the ditch. Then he waited here until someone came along and saw his auto flipped in the middle of Country Road. I tell him that we need to put him on a spine board and get some vital signs, and tell the VFFs to cut off his shirt, which they do with gusto.

I leave him in their capable, trauma shear and BP cuff welding hands, and walk back up to the Chief, who is digging in a soft black bag that looks to me like it holds a really expensive camera.

"He doesn't know what happened and he's not sure if there was anyone else in the vehicle. We need to lo-"

"I'm on it. Check this out. We got it last week." Chief is holding what looks like a tiny television with a camcorder glued on the end. I realize, from paging though Galls a few too many times, is an IR peeping box. These can detect the heat from foot prints , so finding some warm drunky lying in a cold grass field should be easier then getting an LSU sorority girl to drop her panties.

Unless, of course, that warm drunky was seriously injured and is no longer playing records because he AAT'd - Assumed Ambient Temperature. And if it was me trying to get that LSU sorority girl to drop her panties.

He turns it on, and in the gleam of the monitor I see childish glee on his face. I think this is funny until I remember the look that was on my face when I got my Ipod (which was later stolen.) I bury my snarky comment and watch as he starts to scan the fields. I suddenly remember what I came up here for, a spine board. About this team I see my buddy Long Haul (he and I both drive over an hour to get to our respective shifts) and his partner Bugsy (he looks like a giant praying mantis) walk over with bemused look on their faces - they had last seen me 15 minutes ago, leaving the station.

I give them the story thus far and give them the spine board I had grabbed. I climb in the back of the Company Unit and set up two large bore IVs and grab some paper towels and water. We're going to need them to clean him up. I walk back outside to the chief who has now scanned about a hundred yards in all directions with the IR peeper box.

"Nothing?"

"Not a thing!" He says. "Did you smell the guy?"

"Did I. I'm not even sure if it's legal for me to drive home now. Here they come."

Long Haul and Bugs are wheeling the patient to the back of their unit. We load him up and I check his pupils now that I have a penlight. They are normal. I continue with the full exam, and the only thing wrong with this guy is his arm. Good breath sounds, stable vitals, no broken bones.

"What happened? Where am I?"

Oh yeah, and that.

I leave him in the capable hands of Long Haul after we establish an IV (Who are you? What are you sticking in me) and walk back out of the back of the unit. I take a look back at the ditch, and incredibly, in the mud , I can see a small valley about the width of the guys shoulders - I was right. He slid down the bottom of the ditch we he was ejected, about 15 yards. I point this out to the Fire Chief. He takes a closer look. What are the odds he would've been eject at just the right angle from his flipping vehicle and into a soft, grassy, muddy ditch. He had to go in at a high enough angle to avoid a concrete culvert but low enough so that he didn't over shoot the ditch completely.

"God protects drunks and children, doesn't He?" The Chief asks me.

I flashback to my own car wreck.

"Sure 'nuff, Chief. Take 'er easy. I'm heading back."

I shake his hand and walk back to my car. I step through the debris, and see a plastic jug of vodka lying in the road, still intact, still half-full. I consider bringing it home and having a party, but the fact I work tomorrow and that I also don't want to stand trial for removing evidence from the scene of a crime convinces me to leave it be. I hop back into my car and head home.

Epilogue: The guy was found to have a brain contusion and that's it. A few stiches went onto his arm. Long Haul told me he came around as they pulled up to Metropolitan Area General and was discharged after some X-Rays and CTs.

-MM

- ACLS

Went and took the new ACLS class yesterday, and the first thing I noticed right off was that the book was a lot thinner then my clunky old 2004 edition. A lot of the protocols have been streamlined, and it seems a little easier and simpler to comprehend. I passed the test 25/27 (missed an AED and Team Member question) and nailed my strips section, a relief for me as I consider that one of my least proficient areas...my partner say that's it just new patch paranoia but I've yet to convince myself of this.

I went out to the bar afterward and after some cajoling and several rounds of drinks I am proud to announce I'll be precepted by my first choice, a flight medic with an incredible amount of experience and clinical knowledge who is also blessed with my similar deranged sense of humor.

I start after taking a few orientee classes next week....I'm So Excited! I'm So Scared!

Not really. The worst thing happens is I kill someone. They probably deserved it, anyway.

That'll go ever well in court. Sheeeit.

-MM

- License to Kill.

Received my Paramedic Registry stuff in the mail today. It was weird and anticlimactic to open up the first class envelope and drop the Patch into my hand. The Patch is Blue and Gold. The Patch is what I will now wear on my shoulder. The Patch I've worked two years for. The Patch I saw in my daydreams, standing proud in front of a thousand adoring fans.

This Patch is a blessing.

The Patch helps me realize that if I apply myself I will be rewarded.

The Patch is also a sign that I need to mature. The Patch brings great responsibility, and I will need to start acting like an adult.

I must be master of The Patch - of the skills and techniques it states I can perform - and must uphold the reputation The Patch grants to the best of my ability.

I am only just beginning the first step of my Paramedic journey...The Patch is my talisman, my fetish, my mark, proof that I can take the heat as well as take a test...but also, I think it's important to remember.

The Patch?

It's just a patch.

-MM

Monday, May 14, 2007

- The Deadliest Coffee Table of Them All

A few months back I was working with the Reverend, a paramedic in our company known for his religious manner (not in a pushy, down your throat way - he just happens to be a deacon and sits quietly, reading his Bible sometimes - real nice guy.). Rev and I were out of our usual coverage area and out in the boonies. It had been kind of a slow, grey day and we were dozing at the station when we get a call for a traumatic injury - the caller hung up after making the report, so right away I'm thinking this is either really bad or really crap. The weather is turning nastier and the roads are damp from a rain that fell about two hours ago.

We head priority to the call, a few small towns over, towards the river. Pulling up into the town of the call I'm not impressed - a lot of boarded up buildings are in view, like a bad zombie movie. As we drove through this ghost town I say to the Rev, in the most ominous voice I can muster -

"....and the two medics were never heard from again."

We crack up as we turn on the street. We actually see a person now, a grizzled old black fellow drinking on his porch. He raises his brown-bagged can in salute as we pass, and I return it with a wave. The call is tracking all the way at the end of the road, and though I thought the houses could not deteriorate any further they are getting progressively worse. The road turns into dirt and ends in a field, and I swerve to avoid a fleet of puppies that surrounds the unit.

I put us out over the radio and am walking to get the bag out of the back when I hear a screen door slam shut behind me. Here it comes, I think. The zombies are going to eat my brains. When I turn around I see a woman coming down the step (yes, step, not steps - two of the three were broken so she had to do a hop step to get down) and walking towards the unit. I slip my gloves on as Ron walks from the other side with the monitor and ALS gear.

"I'm Medicmarch from XXXX. Did you call for an-" I start, but the lady cuts me off.

"I called ya'll, I need to go to the hospital, I'm hurt bad".

Let me interrupt the narrative here to paint you a better picture of this lady. She is no distress at all, with no injuries I can see, standing there with sandals on in her yard, holding a pair of what looks to be some kind of boots and a small wallet in her hand. The only thing bad about this lady that I can detect, is her smell, the acrid smell of burnt baking soda and unwashed clothes and dirty skin.

That's when I feel it - a slight buzz in my nervous system. It feels like an aura has surrounded me, cool and lush, and I can see the future. I can see Rev asking the lady what's wrong and I know that whatever she says, it's going to be a gem - a diamond of stupidity that's just going to clunk out of her like a cinder block hurled into mud puddle.

"What's bothering you, ma'am? How can we help?" asks the Rev, and the sun has broken down through the clouds and he is bathed in a beatific light. He is a healer, here to make right what has ailed this poor impoverished woman. He is the White, the Holy, and all that is good in the world. Flower petals fall from his boots as he walks.

The lady looks from the Rev, to me, and then back at the Rev. The wind blows. A pair of dirty puppies nibble my boot string. Somewhere, a bird cautiously warbles a double note, high and low, like a cuckoo clock.

Then, it happens. She says it.

"I stubbed my toe."

The light from above The Rev is abruptly cut off as another cloud darkens the sun. The bird that was singing is now just a flutter of wings. I watch his face as his eyebrows knit together above his head like two Siamese twins deciding they liked it better together.

"What? What did you say?" asks an incredulous Rev.

The woman points to her left big toe. We follow the finger and look down at the lady's foot. No where do I see anything that even remotely resembles injury - no swelling, redness, deformity, bleeding, hell, she doesn't have a chip in the nail. The puppy grows tired of worrying my boot lace and trots over to the lady and begins to lick her ankle.

"I stubbed it in the living room. It hurts real bad. I want to go the hospital." The lady is firm.

The Rev looks at me and then back at the lady. I, for my part, am dumbfounded. The Rev and I are thinking the same thing: this lady called a unit from across the parish to come priority to her house because she scuffed her foot against whatever she uses for a coffee table. The lady looks at us impatiently.

"Ya'll gonna bring me?" she questions.

The Rev is still back at the first turn.

"Wait a minute, wait. You're telling me that you called us because you stubbed your toe? You called an ambulance because you stubbed your toe. An emergency ambulance, all the way out here, because you stubbed your toe." I can see The Rev trying to find a logical answer to this unwanted puzzle that the Lord decided to put in his lap. He asks the question that is burning white hot in my mind, the one right behind "Are you f---ing crazy?"

"Have you ever stubbed your toe before?"

The lady looks at me and Rev again, and says, I swear to God, "Yes, but it's been a long time."

The Revester looks at me in disbelief.

"Your call," he tells me, his shoulders slumping.

He then looks at the boots in her hand. "What are those for?" He asks.

She glances at the boots. "In case I have to walk back."

TR glares at her, two thousand years of Bible study encouraging him not to lose his cool and go absolutely ape shit on this lady.

"Gonna be awful rough walk back on that stubbed toe. You got your cards with you?"

She pulls out the medicare and medicaid, the gold and platinum cards, and hands them to me.

"I got my cards, ya'll have to take me. I knows the laws. Ya'll gots to take me."

"Sure thing, ma'am," I say, sufficiently recovered from my shock. "Where to?"

She requests a hospital an hour and a half away.

"Sorry" says Rev. "We've got to bring you to (Bandaid Station X) - the closest hospital. If you're hurting that bad you need to be assessed immediately."

She already knows this, I think. That's why she has those walking boots.

He walks to the cab as I load the lady into the back.

Epilogue: As I was taking the lady's blood pressure a banana spider the size of Delaware climbed over the shoulder of her sweatshirt, and, in a kamikaze display of defiance that I'm sure was the talk of the town for insects for weeks to come, jumped directly onto my left cheek. I screamed like a tiny little girl and did a front flip across the bench seat while slapping my face like it was on fire. Very brave, and very professional.

As I look down at the smeared remains of my Arachnid Attacker and look back up at the lady, I realize that not every day in EMS is one to write home about.

-MM

Sunday, May 13, 2007

- Drunks.

One thing I've found common among emergency response personnel is how much we hate drunk drivers. Picking up a drunk person in itself is usually just a minor frustration or amusement. If we're picking up a drunk driver (very common down south), however, it usually means that they've wrecked and caused harm to someone or something, inciting our anger and making our patience goes out the window - not just because we've been dragged out of our beds at 2:30 in the morning to deal with your stupid ass but because an innocent bystander could've/might've been injured.

Most people who've been working for a while have at least seen one example of what happens when an intoxicated party gets behind the wheel thinking that they're in control of their faculties. Sometimes this is as minor as a ruined fender and street sign or as serious as a multiple fatality accident. Several times I've seen DDs become victim to the frustrations of Emergency Personnel - ridiculed, yelled at, handled roughly, etc. I try to just handle DDs as a regular call but it's hard not to be judgmental - when you've seen what can go wrong with a drunk individual behind the wheel it's hard to keep the rage from coming up inside. I applaud anyone who is able to keep a level head and run a drunk driver as a "normal call". I also freely admit I will not be one of those people. I do an OK job of just keeping my mouth shut but I cannot bring myself to establish a rapport with these people.

The part that sticks out at me is that when I see these people get upset because something has gone wrong I know that when they got behind the wheel earlier they really didn't mean for any of this to happen. I'm not proud to admit I've driven with a few drinks under my belt and I turn my own stomach - one night, while with a buddy, I wrecked a very nice vehicle I owned due to that fact I was intoxicated. Luckily it was just a real estate billboard and concrete encased handicapped parking sign. The thing was that if that billboard has been to the left or right about a a foot, only my buddy or I would be able to tell this story - the billboard came through the windshield and I got very aquainted with the proper spelling of a local real estate guru's last name. Did I intend to wreck that night when I got behind the wheel? Of course not. I'm extremely lucky that the only damage done was to property.

It wasn't till I started working in this field that I realize how bad it could've been. I wonder if I would've been upset at the injustice of it all, with cops and firefighters and EMTs standing over me, scowling at me, unknowing that I had injured or killed someone.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that if I stepped back and thought about it I could probably be a little nicer to the DDs that I transport. The reason I'm not is because I don't want to be - I'm truly upset with some of these people and I don't mind letting them know it. I realize this may be hypocritical of me given my past incident but I choose to ignore that dirty feeling I get. A cop really let me have it the night I wrecked and though I was puzzled with his hostility (no one got hurt, what's the big deal?) I like to think that after I sobered up and absorbed what he was saying that it taught me something - and now, I understand why he was so upset.

-MM

Saturday, May 12, 2007

- Obligatory Mission Statement

So this blogging thing is fun, yah? Anyway, I'm an EMT in the southeastern part of the US (What state? I'll give you a hint. The Saints, Crawfish, lots of drinking). I've been keeping up with a few of these blogs and thought "How hard can it be?" I guess that remains to be seen, as I'm very gung-ho about this blog. As to whether I'm as gung-ho in a couple of weeks remains to be seen. However, know this, if I do decide to keep up with this thing, I will do my best to provide an entertaining and/or informative read.



But uh, don't ask for that in actual writing....

-MM

- Once More into the Breech, Dear Friends

Got this thing up and running. To commemorate this first post, I give you this, my paramedic results I received in the mail today.

Airway Breathing - 23/30 - 77% (63% min)
Cardiology - 25/31 - 81% (61% min)
Trauma - 27/32 - 84% (63% min)
Medical - 18/30 - 60% (60% min - whew!)
OB/Peds - 22/30 - 73%(60% min)
EMS Ops - 25/27 - 93% (0% min)

Overall score - 140/180 - 78% (70% min)

What does this mean?

Yours Truly is now a Nationally Registered EMT-Paramedic.

God help us.

-MM