Saturday, July 26, 2008

- Down Time

OK, I know I bitch a lot, but one of the things I do like about EMS is that off-duty, we know how to have a good time. No where else really comes to mind when I try to think of where the amount of drinking I do is not only socially acceptable, it's encouraged! ( I guess it's actually not that good of thing, but shit, most of you guys are too drunk by this point to even remember that you originally logged on to check out porn and not my blog).

Going through rehab made me really take a look at the amount of alcohol I was consuming. But whilst I know I'm a drug addict, I really don't think I'm an alcoholic. Granted, those in the program (and all you bastard tee-totalers) might beg to differ, but I don't care, because by this point I'm too drunk to remember that I logged on to check out porn and not post a blog entry.

Look, there's some seriously rowdy language in here, so if you don't like that kind of thing, it's a good idea to go somewhere else.

So without further ado, I give you:

Down Time.

AC/DC is cranked, and the window on J-Lo's truck is rolled down halfway, pushing a fresh breeze into my face. We are rolling into New Orleans on 10, the sun is out, and a plane is taking off from the airport. Our hotel room is going to be right off Bourbon Street. He gives me a big ole smile. "This isn't going to end well," he says. "I know it."

Arrival and check-in is arduous. I realize our hotel is very highend - luckily it's J-Lo's sister's B-Day, and his mom is picking up the tab for the hotel rooms. I step out onto our balcony. Intelligently, J-Lo's mom had saved a bunch of the nicer beads from Mardi Gras. It is getting to be 5 o'clock, and as J-Lo and I crack our beers and toast. I watch as a nice looking young woman jiggles down the street and disappears into the cabaret across from us. Inspiration strikes me.

"Hey J, let's play a game."

"What? What game? We're drinking, I don't have time for this."

"No, c'mon, you'll dig it."

"Fuck. What is it, March?"

"We're going to have an exciting round of....'Walking, or Working.'"

"You're not nice."


"I'm not going to degrade women like that, March. You're a chauvinist ass."

"Oh, when did you trade your testicles in for that purse? C'mon. C'MONNNNNNNNNN. Do it!"

"I hate you."

A moment passes by. Then J-Lo points to one. "Working."

The lady is decked out in skintight leather pants, a corset, heels, and a yellow boa. She disappears into the door of the cabaret next to the other cabaret. "Drink!"

I glug at my beer. "Oh, like that was a hard one, you jackass."

"Fine," he says, eyeing another woman speculatively. She's a cute redhead (Rrrrow! Me likey redheads!), but is conservatively attired in shorts and a blouse. "Working."

"What, her? No way. No wayyyyyyyyy."

"Working, I'm telling you."

"Dude, no. The one in the leather? Totally. There's no way this one is. Walking."

The girl enters the door to the first cabaret.

"No way."


"No! This is a setup!"

J-Lo is suddenly enraged. "Drink, you dirty fucker! Do it! You, sir, are a bastard and a limp-dicked tittyfucker if you do not drink right now!"

I wither under his outburst. "Granted, you miserable pile of festering dogshit, I am actually a bastard, but I'll be DAMNED if I'm a tittyfucker. I concede, sir, and drink." I tilt back my beer, and empty it.

And with that, we finish our first beers. This is not going to end well.

We are down a 6 pack an hour later as we head downstairs and pass a group of formally attired older ladies. They are clustered together with champagne glasses. It looks like an advertisement for how much fun you can still have if you take Medication X to jack with your hormones because you don't get your monthly cycle anymore. "Working!" I yell in their direction as we walk out. They look less than amused.

We meet up with Chris and Kay, J-Lo's cousin and fiancee, and start out at a Fahy's, an Irish pub. The beer selection is incredible and the prices are awesome. The barmaid has truly righteous cleavage displayed, and a dog is chilling near the door. It is good times. We down several adult beverages and laugh and joke.

We walk down to Bourbon. Even though the sun is set, it only cools off about 2 degrees. Welcome to New Orleans.

We sneak into a bar advertising 3-for-1. There is karaoke going on and we watch as people make asses of themselves. We all vow we will not get on stage and make asses of ourselves.

Two hours later, after several shots and beers, the karaoke announcer, who I now am making wedding plans with in my head, calls for the three hottest girls in the club to come and shake their stuff. Two run up immediately, one of them running into Kay and spilling her beer. They jiggle up onto stage.

Kay looks down at her spilled beer, and back up at the stage. I think, maybe, at this point, if we has said "Fuck it", paid our tab and gone home to bed, we would've been OK. But hell, that wouldn't have been any fun. J-Lo, Chris, and I are pretty good. I don't claim to be a power drinker, but I am a stamina drinker, and the speed at which we've been putting them back has left feeling an inch past buzzed. I am determined not to give in, because Chris has just the teeniest slur, and Jeff is having slight balance problems. Not bad enough for drunk yet.

Kay, on the other hand, has been keeping pace with us, despite the fact that we all outweigh her by at least 90 pounds. Kay's good, but over the past twenty minutes, she's been declining. And she suddenly realizes that she is not going to take having her beer spilt by some clap-infested two bit skank. I know that because those were her last words as she pounded up the stairs to the stage. And now we are caught in the grasp of the black hole, and are heading irrecoverably towards the Event Horizon.

Dance off! Yells the karaoke goddess.

The first girl begins her dance, and is quickly obvious she's done this before, probably for money. J-Lo and I look at each other and immediately yell "WORKING!" as she struts her stuff. Being on the front row, I get a healthy view of her business. Purely from a medical standpoint, I'm just going to say, she was in danger of catching a cold. She finishes up, and the second dancer begins. I think she works at the same place as her friend, and apparently they follow the same fashion advice when it comes to panty wearing. I am happy to report, however, that the carpet did indeed match the drapes.

Kay has watched these two dance, and now it is her turn. She mouths "Silly bitches. Move!" and takes the stage.

I'm not really sure what happened next, but suffice to say that when Kay is drunk she has the ability to channel the top 5 erotic dancers in history, all at the same time.

When she gets done, they line the three girls up side by side. The applause for the first two girls is loud, but when they get to Kay, the house goes RABID. She is the clear and obvious winner. She steps down from the stage, grabs Chris' beer, and takes a fierce swig. Chris is goggling at her with raised eyebrows and a surprised expression on his face.

"What?!" yells Kay. "Bitch spilt muh beer! What was I sposed ta do?"


Well, almost awesome, because next, the Karaoke Hostess yells, "Guys, your turn!"

I'm having a good time until I realize that J-Lo, Chris, and Kay are all looking at me expectantly.

I stare back at them. "No."

"Yes!" They all say.

"No, no no. No."

"YES!" They say more forcibly.

As we have established, I'm not the most...attractive male specimen in the human race. While God didn't see fit to bless me with looks, smarts, or charm, he did not skimp when it came to the body hair, and my belly is the victim of an ongoing romance with cheezeburgers.

But goddamit, this is America. I swig my drink one last time, step up on stage, and eye the jacked, muscular competition. #1, who I will refer to as Bronx Bombshell, introduces himself, saying he is from New York. #2, Tall and Tanned, introduces himself as "Professor Love" and I have to change his name to Tall, Tanned, and Australian, because his accent makes the girls scream. #3, I will refer to as Kenmore on account of his washboard abs, states he is from Cali. And then, when Karaoke Goddess, love of my life, gets to me, her eyebrows knit in confusion. I do not belong up here. Maybe I'm the butler for one of these other guys or something, or maybe some poor disfigured sot who is Making his Wish that he come to Bourbon Street and see Larry Flint's Hustler Club before he dies of Terminal Ugly.

Regardless, when I don't step off the stage, she gently thrusts the microphone my way and manages not to vomit upon looking at my face. "Uh, I'm March, from Louisiana. Woo!"

There is scattered applause, and more laughter. The format is different for the Men. We will all dance simultaneously. The music begins, and suddenly, I am motivated. I dance like I never have danced before. I get a Lucky break when Bronx topples over a railing, but TT and A and Kenmore are dazzling the ladies with their flat stomachs, and I am flagging behind in the competition, fading into obscurity.

Unbeknowst to them, I too, can dazzle with my stomach. I tromp to the center of the stage, and lift my shirt. There are gasps of horror as everyone views my hairy and pale fish belly.

Until I bust out my secret weapon. In front of everyone at the bar, America, and God, I use my go to move - The Truffle Shuffle. I nearly black out, I Truffle Shuffle so hard.

When I come to again, it is voting time. Tall, Tanned, and Australian gets moderate cheering. Kenmore gets more rowdiness and catcalls. But when it comes to March?

The house comes down when the Hostess points to me. There is cheering everywhere. The Hostess gives me light peck on the cheek and whispers "Good job. Please, get the hell off the stage!" seductively into my ear.

I walk off the stage, victorious, and sip my beer.

A girl walks up to me. "That was hottt. Where ya'll from?" Her accent is so thick that I'm pretty sure I get a complimentary 3-pak of Skoal just for listening to it.

"Louisiana, hot stuff. What say you and me get a drank?"

She complies.

I could go on from here, and tell you about me getting kicked out of the Hustler Club (don't ask the strippers if they take rolls of coins) or ditching Miss Assippi (peein' your pants doesn't do much for the hotness, ladies), but instead I'm content to let the story fade into obscurity here, my steam successfully blown off and in the company of good friends. All in all, a good night, well played.

Oh yeah, when we got back to the hotel room balcony and started tossing beads, I got to see BOOBIES!!!!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

- Douchebag ho!

Let me preface this with the following - 95% of the RTs I know are about awesome at thier jobs. A lot of time I'd rather have a solid RT at my back as opposed to some of the ER Docs I've seen...understand, this RT I discuss is NOT one of you.

It's another day in Backwater Parish and I am cleaning my pocket knife. Just as I dab a tiny bit of oil onto it the phone rings. It is Terminally Anxious Dispatcher.

"You're not going to like me," she says. Fuck. This is going to be retarded.

"We got a call at MRSA Manor for a breathing problem...looks like it's in the vent wing."

"They're already at the gold standard of care for the patient!"

"I know, I know. I told you you weren't going to like me."

We make the drive over as we get notes. I tilt the MDT toward myself, and sigh in disgust at the display:


Wow. Sure, the patient may be having breaths in-between the mechanical respiration, but hell, you just turn the fucking knob to SIMV instead of A/C, right? Problem solved. We get called out to the vent farm at MRSA Manor pretty often. I'm not sure if being incompetent is a prerequisite for getting hired, but I'm almost positive that at some point Satan is involved.

We bring all our gear in and walk to the back. We are stopped by the RT at the patent's door. The RT's at MRSA manor are usually at least baseline competent...except for this one. She's infamous in Backwater Parish, but I've yet to tangle with her.

"She gon need a treatment and they cleaning her," she yelps in a shrill, annoying tome. My ear bleeds a little. "She messed herself!"

She takes a closer look at our stretcher. "Where ya'll vent at? The patient gotta go out on a vent!"

We have this problem at MRSA Manor a lot. They don't understand that taking the time to set up our vent, connect the patient to it, let the patient have the recommended time to get adjusted, transfer them over to our stretcher and then take them the short distance to the hospital takes about 10 to 15 minutes minutes longer than it does for me to hook my BVM to oxygen and ETC02 and leave. By the time I get done setting it all up the patient would already be in the ER, on the other vent.

"We're going to bag her."

She blinks, then repeats, in EXACTLY the same tone and rhythm as before, "The patient gotta go out on a vent!"

A headache is beginning to crystallize. "No, she doesn't. We're going to bag her. It's a lot faster. If she's sick, it's the best way to get out quick."

She does not flinch, but rather leads us into the room. There is water all over the floor from a leaky air conditioner, and two tired looking CNAs are eyeing the RT dubiously. She points to the patient.

"See, she's on a vent. The patient gotta go-."

"I know she's on a vent. I see the vent. The big, loud vent, that is beeping."

"It always beep!"

The RT leaves. I get vitals. The patient is satting ok, but the lungs sound like someone just dumped a few gallons of Steen's Syrup (shit, I guess that would be Ms. Butterworth or something, for all you Yankees) into the trach just before we got there. The patient sats are in the upper 80's.

My partner finishes making preparations as I review the paperwork and call the hospital to tell them to get ready. Apparently, at some point, the RT comes back in to give the patient her breathing treatment, because when I look up again the patient's pulse ox reads less than 50. Silent terror makes her eyes bug as her lips begin to turn ever so slightly partner doesn't even talk, just hands me the BVM she has just connected the ETCO2 to. I cinch it down onto the trach and bag.

The ETCO2 reads 79.

The RT looks up. "What you doin'!? I'm about to give them a treatment!"


My monitor is still reading a sat of fifty-ish. The RT goggles at me, then at the monitor, then back at me. She opens her mouth, and the biggest chunk of stupid I've heard so far this day clunks out into our world: "Your machine WRONG."

To my credit, I do not hand over the bagging to my partner and cudgel the RT to death with the oxygen tank. I just give her enough rope to hang herself.

"Hook her up to your machine."

"You machine is wr-!"


She stares at me sullenly, and grabs her portable sp02 out of her labcoat, putting it on the patient.

It does not even pick up.

"Let's go." I began to wheel out of the room, and brush past the RT, who stands there glaring at us. With some good ventilations from the BVM her sats rise instantly and the CO2 drops to a lower level of 58...not the best, but good enough for now.

5 minutes later I am at the hospital, and the patient is on their vent.

Keepbreathing, where the hell are you when I need you?


PS - I know I've all this serious bullshit up here lately, so I promise my next post will be the tale of my misadventures out in New Orleans last weekend. Ok? Is that ok? OK.