Tuesday, October 30, 2007

- God Laughs At Me

I had written down what I wanted to say. It was about two pages long, and I had it memorized. I carpool with Lazy Partner, so I was going to have a captive audience. It detailed why I'm unhappy with her performance and why, even though I thought she was nice enough, I'm giving her this talking to. That she needed to mature as a person, as an employee, and as a medic. That she gets paid a lot more than I did when I started as an EMT although she's not doing half the job. That she needs to work on every area of her job performance. That she needs to listen to my orders and obey them, and if she has questions, to ask me after the call. That she needs to learn how to work a god damned mop.

I had written all this out in the nicest manner. It was ready to go for our ride to work later that week.

I arrive to work to find someone different at the station.

"Didn't you hear?" She says, when I question Lazy Partner's where-a-bouts.

Hmmmm. "Nope."

"She's working with Redhead Medic now, on the other shift. She says she thinks she needs to work with someone with more experience."

I am, as always, the last to know. Apparently last shift when I was outside washing the unit by myself, she was inside with the oncoming crew, telling me she wants to work with someone who can teach her better. They told me as much when I mentioned to them this morning that she was switching - Ice Cold Medic tells me "Oh, yeah. That's what I heard. She mentioned that Friday."

What Lazy Partner apparently does not know is that RedHead Medic is a lot less patient then I am, doesn't help out with the driving, and has no tolerance for any bit of BS. This will be...entertaining.

All that effort for nothing.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

- Hollywood.

Terminally Anxious Dispatcher can't keep the worry out of her voice. "They're saying 5 kids involved, blood everywhere. I'm going to send an additional unit. AirLife 1 and 3 are responding.d"

We are hurtling down Big Road. We are going to have to go down to the next highway exit and loop back to get to the crash site, where a single car has careened off the road into the forested median. As we pass from the other direction I can see smoke rising up through the trees. I swear there is a flicker of yellow. I want to stop here and just run through the forest, but the trees are too thick. We have to go all the way around.

"Unit X."
"G0 Ahead, X"
"If you don't have them coming already, get fire department rolling. The car is on fire."
"They've been toned out, March, coming from around the river."

We take a shortcut I know about. Lazy Partner is scared about crossing the opening, stating that it rained a couple of days ago and the ground is probably still too wet. I can see anxiety in her eyes.

"Just do it. We'll make it."

The ground holds, and we quickly get on scene. Our field supervisor comes over the radio as we pull up, establishing incident command.

I leap out of the truck, double gloved, ready for action, and say the line every medic has said a thousand times when they get to a scene.

"What we got?"

"6 vics, one critical, the rest all need to be collared and boarded."

"No one still inside the car, huh?" I can see the smoldering wreck in the trees. All the foliage around it has been burnt away. The car looks like it's been inside a compactor, with the front compressed to an average length of two feet. The windows are all broken but I'm not sure if that's from the wreck or the firefighters.I finish sizing up the scene. All the vics are sitting or laying on the grassy hill next to the wooded median. The VFD Paramedic is with the critical, and that's who I go to first. I turn to our Sup. "Ok, this is what I think. Crit out first on Airlife 3 (who is closer), we get the rest boarded, and decide if another needs to go out on Airlife 1. Sound Good?"

"Exactly what I'm thinking. I'll get in touch with dispatch."

Technically since I'm the first "Real" unit on scene, this is my scene, but since a supervisor is here I'm content to let him make the calls. He's got a lot more experience and I'm not going to get into a pissing contest over stupid shit like who's in charge when people need help. It is, however, very reassuring to hear him echo my exact thoughts, that we've processed the same information and come to the same conclusion.

Maybe I should go help this critical patient before my head gets much bigger and I cant fit inside the back of my unit.

I make eye contact with my partner, who has parked the truck at the front of the scene, put my hands around my neck, hold up the number 5, and yell "Peds!!!". Mom, I can see, already has a collar on, and one of the firefighters had bandaged her hand. I kneel down next to the critical. She has swelling to the right side of her face, and her left arm is swollen, definite fracture. Her vitals are stable, though, and she's talking to us, remembers everything that happened. I grab my partner. "Collar her, board her, she's out first, I'm going to check the rest."

I quickly assess the rest. No one is really hurt, but one of the other kids has a goose egg on the noggin and is complaining of abdominal pain. The kids are 3,4,10,11, and 15. I decide to fly out Goose egg and drive the rest.

Airlife 3 comes in low and fast, buzzing the scene. They troopers scramble to shut down the interstate. After giving instructions to the VFDs to finish boarding everyone, Supervisor and I grab my stretcher and load up the critical. Airlife has set down, and the flight medic takes my report. They lift off.

Our other medic unit has arrived at this time, and in short order, we get everyone loaded up. Airlife 1 sets down a mere 50 yards from my unit, kicking up dust, and forcing Lazy and I to lean over our patient, the Mom, to protect her from debris. Lazy sets me up an IV as we put Goose egg in the chopper. Airlife 1 takes off again, low over the scene, the rotor wash battering my unit.

We transport to the hospital uneventfully. Mom is feeling a little chest pain but it is consistent with injuries from where her seat belt would've been. I shoot a 12 lead for posterity that comes back negative. From our supervisor getting on scene to us, the last unit to leave, the whole call has lasted 27 minutes, including the time for to board 6 patients and two choppers to set down and load up.

Later, when we're restocking, Lazy partner can not quit smiling.

"What?" I inquire.

"That was so cool, with the choppers flying around, and the smoke, and the chaos. It was like I was in a movie!"


PS - Scroll down to read my 10 percent post - I'm going to blog on a topic of you're choosing, so leave your vote in the 10 percent comments section.

- 10 percent of 100 grand

I guess you guys might be paying attention after all.

Wretham, MA, thanks for being #10,000.

As way of compensation for all you guys putting up with me, I want you guys to leave a comment on this entry of a subject you want me to blog on. the only thing I'm not willing to blog about is politics or the war, so other than that....shoot.



After I get over the lungfunk I always seem to pick up from this time of year, posts are coming.


Monday, October 15, 2007

- It's Not Getting Any Better

This morning I:

Made Truck Soap
Made Mop Water
Cleaned the Stretcher
Sprayed the Back
Mopped the Back
Mopped out the Cab
Disinfected Cab
Wet the Unit
Washed the unit
Rinsed the Unit
Shined Unit tires
Windexed the Glass
Rolled the Hose
Made Mop Water Again
Swept Station
Washed Dishes
Lysoled All Bathroom Surfaces.

My Partner:
-Washed one Ambulance Wall
-Told A Ghost Story
-Ordered Makeup From TV
-Complained about being ordered to Mop the Station
-Bitched when I was finishing up a run form that I was taking too long (we carpool)

Did I mention that she's not allowed to tech calls, because all though she's been hired for three months she has yet to complete our EMT-B "Boot Camp"? I. Run. Everything. Granted, it's not been a problem lately as we've had slow shifts...also, she did not stock paper towels on the unit, forcing me to clean up a guy who mud all over with 4x4s.

She also got mad at me last night because I told her she needed to do the full inventory every morning. She always seems to have an excuse when I ask her about whether she's performed her job duties.

Whenever I took Driver's Ed, I took with my football coach. I would make an excuse every time I messed up, and after three or four go-rounds, he said "Dammit, March, Next time I correct you I just want you to say 'OK, COACH, SORRY, I FUCKED UP.'

I missed a turn, and when I started to open my mouth, he gave me a look - the same look he gave the O-Line after we had -3 yards rushing after the first half, one game where he told us that if we didn't get it together, that we were going to go outside and hit the sled till we quit the team.

So I said, "OK, Coach, Sorry, I fucked up."

I'm glad my Coach made me do that. I now own up to my mistakes and try to learn from them, something I don't often see in other people.

Especially not in my partner.

Le Sigh.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

MedicMarch, Your Lord and Savior

I'm sleeping happily at the station when the call comes in. It is Terminally Anxious Dispatcher.

"Hey, MedicMarch. Priority To Mosquito Bayou for an Unknown. 54 yo male rolling around in bed."

"Maybe he's trying to get comfortable?"

"Ha. Just get in the unit and run the call."


My partner is hauling ass. I believe we've gone plaid.

"Where do I turn? Where do I turn? I don't know where I'm going!"

I'm trying to coach her.

"Slow down, slow down, slow down, CAR CAR CAR! CAR! CAR! Turn Left! LEFT! LEFT LE-shit."

"Where, up there?"

"No, the road you passed."

She is not applying the brakes yet. "Huh?"

"The road was back there. Turn around."

"Why didn't you tell me earlier to turn?"

"If we weren't traveling at ludicrous speed, we would've been OK."


"Nothing. Turn Around."

We make the turn and head back towards the scene.

"This is the house. The House. HOUSE. THIS IS THE HOUSE. STOP, STOP, THIS IS IT."

We have issues.

A man in a wheelchair is worriedly waving us in from the drive way. "In heah, In heah. He sick."

We roll our equipment inside to find a man rolling around in his bed, back and forth. His wife is holding his hand, kneeling by his bedside, crying. Pages are ripped out from a bible, scattered all over the room. I'm trying to remember our protocol for demonic possession as I introduce myself.

"I'm MedicMarch with XXXX EMS. How long has he been like this?"

She looks up. "He like this since I got home!"

My boot kicks over an empty bottle of SoCo.

"He have any medical problems?" I ask. "Or has he been reading the Necronomicon?"

"He has back problems, and he's got the pressure. Oh, and he got the sugar."

Aha. Most likely our culprit. His CBG is 28.

The man in the wheelchair has managed to wheel to the threshold of the door. "My daddy! My daddy! What's wrong with my daddy? Oh Jesus, help us! My Lord and Savior God, who protects us from all evil, protect us from the devil in my daddy!"

The wife kneeling by his side is chanting in tongues. I tell my partner to assemble my D50 as I set up my IV equipment. The man in bed is hooting- Hooo! Hooo! Hooo! Just like a white winged dove...I start humming.

"The devil's in him!" The man's wife is frantic. "He was reading the bible but then he started tearing out the pages and eating them."

"Not very nutritious, those bible pages. I hear the Diamond Sutra's a little more sugary. Probably would've been better."


"Nothing, ma'am. Is he allergic to anything?"

The chanting is increasing in volume, and it's at least 100 degrees in the room. It's a circus. My partner drops the D50 and it shatters on the tile floor. "Grab another from the box in the unit," I tell her. Under my breath, I say to myself "This could not get any worse."

This is what we refer to in the business as a "Mistake."

You see, fate has a hard-on for jinxing health care workers.

At this moment, the family's daughter runs in. She sees me kneeling over her gyrating father, the son yelling, and the mom crying, and does the only thing she can - runs up to me, and grabs my hands, which are currently uncapping an 18g IV.

"What are you doin' to my daddy?!"

I don't answer immediately, as she stares down at my hand, which now has an 18g hole in the meaty part of the palm. I look down at my hand as well. "I was going to start an IV on him, but it's going to wait for a second now."

I take off my glove, put a 4x4 on my hand, and put another glove on, grab another needle.

"Ok, ma'am, I need your help to start this IV on him, so I can fix his sugar."

My partner, meanwhile, has come back. The man is rolling around. "Keep his arm still for me, guys."

I sink the IV and manage to get it secured. I push the sugar in. The son and mother are continuing their litany. Hallelujahs and Our Fathers bounce around the room, and any moment I expect a tambourine player to bust out of the closet, sweaty, messing around with a rattle snake.

The man comes around.

"Oh Jesus! Jesus Healed my father! Oh thank you! Jesus, Thank you! Jesus be praised, my lord and savior be praised."

Damn it, I hate it when someone else gets the credit for my work.

We start to get the man loaded up. Just as we are leaving the residence the man's pastor pulls up in a brand new caddy, he is dressed impeccably in a black suit, and his hair has been laid out, parted down the middle of his head.

He stops us. "A prayer for our brother."

He goes into another chorus of Hail Marys and Thank you Jees-us-uhs. I look at my watch.

We get it wrapped up, finally, and bring the man to the Catholic Hospital down the road. We are informed that it will be a 2 or 3 hour wait for a room.

Guess Jesus couldn't help us out with that one.


Friday, October 5, 2007

- R and R

So this past week Spiderman and I had a chance to take in something truly despicable. That's right, ladies and gentleman, we got to see GWAR.

We had known about the show for a few weeks but it looked like we weren't going to be able to see 'em - our schedules synced up wrong. But then, impossibly we both managed to switch. So at 9 o clock, swaddled in trashbags, we were able to witness the most gruesome show I've ever been party to. The pit was crazy. Easily one of the best shows I've ever seen. Oderus, Flattus, Balsac the Jaws of Death, Beefcake the Mighty (WOO!), and Jizmak.

The show was loud, fast, and brutal. Let me tell you folks, it's hard for me to write about. Words can not describe the Awesome.

Look, if you have a chance to go to a GWAR, go.

I'ma go clean the blood out of my ears. After all, I've got a date tonight.