Friday, September 26, 2008

- Get Smart

Ok, at the risk of starting a political firestorm from all 2 people who read this (Thanks, Chris and Bernice!) I wanted to tell you guys about something I saw on the news the other day - A representative, John LaBruzzo (R-Metarie), is toting an idea that would pay individuals below the poverty line 1,000 dollars to get sterilized. I don't usually get into politics on my blog (it's a personal matter) but I wanted to hear what you all had to say, especially people that work on the emergency side of the healthcare field.

Tentatively I'd say we need to include sterilization for males and females, and put a cap on the age (no reason to sterilize a 60 y/o woman). I know it's not just going to cost just the payout of 1,000 dollars (you have to pay the doctor, the hospital, etc) but I'm under the impression that vasectomies and tubal litigation's aren't that rough, so does anyone know the average cost for a sterilization procedure?

I believe this would save us taxpayers a lot of money in the long run. Am I wrong? Am I right? What do you think?

Also, please note the new poll off to the right - I'm going to go one a medical Mission for a month or two next year (through Institute For Field Research Expeditions) and am taking suggestions on destinations


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

- Compelete and Total Humiliation

So whenever I got myself cleaned up last year something I started doing was running 2 miles every day. I actually dropped about 20 pounds over the course of 7 weeks. It felt pretty good but once I came back down and started back to work I slacked off - 10 hours a day, 5 days a week ambulance shifts wore me down pretty well. I had joined up with at a Snap Fitness before I moved to my new house 3 weeks ago and haven't made the time yet to rejoin somewhere yet - but when I was a member I did go - sometimes even at 3 in the morning, if you'll believe that.

I've was watching the Olympics during the triathlon - it looked rough, but I said - man, I could do that. I could DO THAT.

So As it happens they're having a triathlon at the end of October.


That means I've got about 5 weeks to get in shape for a 400m Swim, a 9 mile bike ride, and a 3 mile run.

I'm pretty sure I can run it out of sheer tenacity and cussed-ness, but I still need to do a little prep work, otherwise I'm going to cramp out. So at the end of the week it's back into the gym. I've got great legs and used to be on the swim team, so I'm not going to sweat the swim much and put sometime in on the bike. I need to be able to run at least 4 miles on the treadmill before I enter so it's going to take some ass-busting.

I'm sitting with Izzy one day. "Oh, wow. A triathlon? I was training for one of those once."

"Really? How was it?

"Oh, March, it's not fun. I didn't smile once the whole time."

"Fuck. Thanks for those words of support."


Monday, September 22, 2008

- Gustav, II

It's the day Gustav hit. I've gotten to the hospital with Nurse 1 and 2 and thrown on a pair of scrubs to help out - technically I'm an employee of the hospital as an ER Tech although I've never been placed on the schedule. There's water everywhere; part of the roof of the hospital blew out. A team of Evac paramedics from New York and Boston (never seen a guy wearing a Yankees cap and a guy wearing a Red Sox cap work together that well) evacuate the hospital so all that's left are ER staff, my self, and our two Backwater crews, the guys ahead of me on the shift. I hit the wall around midnight, and pass out in the back of the ER. They have the AC on the generator, and when I sleep it is dreamless.

I awake the next morning to relieve the crew from the night before after showering by flashlight in the staff lockers.

We pretty much get our asses hammered. That's what was expected though - I've got a bag full of beef jerky, and I'm ready to go. Later Bossman swings by.

"How Long? For the station?"

"Well, right now, 6 weeks. I'd say two months. The electronics are all fried, the furniture is a write off. The appliances are a write off. Roof is trashed."

He looks emotionally and physically drained. It's not until later that I learn his house had gotten torn up and he had been up for about 48 hours at headquarters, getting us temporary housing and grub lined up.

* * *

They just turned the power back on at our station (where we've erected temporary housing - we're Trailer Trash Paramedics!) yesterday. The infrastructure is pretty trashed but they're making a lot of progress. We ran off generator power for 3 weeks - I feel like a man when I do things like operate giant pieces of equipment and refuel them. Local ER still is open but since the evacuation they have not admitted a patient. Everything's been shipping out to SmokeStack City. We've been burning through a whole tank of diesel every shift, sometimes twice.

What I'd really like to see at the end of this is a bonus on our checks when FEMA shells out. A token of the Company's appreciation - I know it's impractical, but sometimes, you need something a little more tangible then a pat on the back and a "Get your Ass back in the cab, we've got more calls for you."

Hey, I can dream.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

- Gustav, pt I

There is shit everywhere on the floor. If I was a betting man, I would bet that in the end it's going to be cheaper to rip out the carpet and lay down some more than to try to shop-vac the poop out of here. I don't know much about home restoration but based on the glimpses I've seen on the Home and Garden channel these guys are BONED.

Then the smell hits, and WOW. Even those jackasses from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition might have to chalk this one up to the game. It almost becomes necessary to wade through it physically as we approach the bathroom in the back of the patient's little assisted living apartment.

Our patient is sitting down in his closet size shower, looking deflated (I mean, considering the amount of shit smeared around on the carpet out side, he'd almost have to be). He glares at us as an eel might glare at an invading fish. "we can't get him to get up or do anything. He says he just wants to lay there. We washed him and he just wouldn't get out of the shower." Well, at least he's not smeared in shit...anymore.

I'm working with Cutsy today, a new EMT with a myriad of self inflicted cuts to the insides of her arms. She did her first ride time with me. She does not handle criticism. Period. She can't even take coaching. We were in a Wendy's earlier that day and she just broke down and started crying when I was telling her about how I like to run my calls - I do patient interview, you get a manual BP, hook up the EKG, pulse ox, and tell me if the numbers are out of whack. I use a standardized approach. I had already taken care to use a gentle tone of voice, trying to make it obvious that she wasn't in trouble, I was just giving her some information to help, and GUSH - sobbing in the middle of Wendy's, standing between me and my bag of food on the counter.

I guess I could've been a little more supportive than throwing up my hands, stepping past her, and walking out of there with my cheeseburgers, but hey. Whatever.

I mean, Jesus. We were at Wendy's.

Taking hold of his shoulders (and sticking Cutsy on the business end - hey, Rank Hath Its Privilege) we throw him on the stretcher. I recognize the sudden bulge on his cheeks. "Fuck, he's gonna puke." I scuttle sideways and use a trick I picked up from one of the LifeFlight medics - I grab a biohaz bag from the back of the stretcher and make him a puke bib. He's starting to go out on me, I think, so we rush him to the hospital. My 12 lead is negative, but his heart rate drops into the 50's and I cannot believe this guy has anything left anywhere in his digestive system. I manage to push some fluid in and we drop him off.

I come back out to find Cutsy crying in the module. The module has not been cleaned. The stretcher is dirty. He face is in her hands.

"What? What is it?"

"I got puke in my hairrrr! Wwuhhhh! (I can't accurately reproduce her keening wail in text, so just imagine you fed a whale a bunch of helium and sped up it's bellow, and that's kind of what I was dealing with.)

I shake my head and walk to the cab.

* * *

The wind is really starting to pick up. We've just run our 4th evac transfer. They've put together a large evac shelter down in my part of Backwater, in a deserted store. I'm in the back, rerolling my EKG wires, when we get a page. "Wind speeds unsafe for operation". OK. Back Home we go.

We swing by the ER and I'm talking to a couple of the ER nurses. I tell them I'll probably end up crashing at the station, because I have to drive 20 miles home through Gustav just to come back to work the next day. "Well, shit, March, come stay with us at my house."

I raise my eyebrow. Both of these nurses are very attractive, recently divorced, well proportioned, and you know, they're ER nurses - kinky!

They must see the look on my face cause they start laughing. "Easy, March, I've got 3 bedrooms. We're not going to have to shack up."

"Oh, I know, but man, this is going to be so awesome for my blog."

* * *
Of course, dispatch doesn't care that we're not supposed to be running, and after my second argument with the dispatcher we find ourselves in the middle of a rainband, the unit getting tossed around pretty solid. But nothing bad happens, and I pack up at the end of my shift, and go home with ER Nurse 1 and ER Nurse 2.

The power goes out at house at 10 O'Clock in the morning. We can't sleep in the house so we're sitting together in the living room and I pick up a newspaper. There, on the coffee table, are not one but TWO of those "Love Positions" books (you know with the pictures, and diagrams? Yeah. Sexy!) and a book entitled "Tickle Your Kitty" - a guide for the ladies to, you know...yeah.


I raise my eyebrows and hold up all three. Nurse 1 blushes heavily. "Look, I got those at a fun party."

"Fun Party? What the fuck is a fun party?" I believe I actually might have heard of this before, but I'm a dirty pervert, so I press for answers.

"It's like when a bunch of girls get together with wine and stuff -and one of them is a sales person and has like books, creams and oils, shit like that. Fake Wieners. Girl stuff. And she tells you about them, and shit."

"Holy shit. Basically it's like 8 drunk girls and a literal bag of dicks? This has AMAZING marketing potential."

"Uh-uh, hotshot. No boys allowed. And uh, actually, it was a giant Rubbermaid full of dildos, not a bag....uh, are you ok?"

"Sweet Jesus!" I say, tearing up a little. " A giant box of latex dongs, a barrel full of drunk girls, and a whole evening to test the''s BEAUTIFUL."

"Dude, March. You're freaking me out. "

* * *

We sweat our asses off for a little while longer and it's time for the Nurses to go back to work, so I put some scrubs on and tag along. Backwater is trashed. I did not think that there would be this much damage. Hundreds of feet of line are down, debris is everywhere. As we pull past the station I cannot believe my eyes. It's totally trashed - it looks like Godzilla put his foot through the roof. The carport is in the driveway. Inside it's a mess - rain water is everywhere. The station is totaled.

I shake my fist at the clouds. "Gustav, you motherfucker!"


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

- Patience is a virtue, and besides....

....laziness is comfortable.

Blog Posts currently in my "Drafts" heading:

-Gustav, pt 1
-Gustav, pt 2
-Gustav - Aftermath
-Softball Face
-He Doesn't Look Too Hot
- The Tempest

I swear I'll come out with at least one by the end of today.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

- Gustav, you Mother Fucker.

I made it through the storm ok, everyone.

Unfortunetly, our station was not so lucky. Our whole carport came undone and smashed into the rest of the station....

...estimates are 3 weeks to 2 months for repairs.

Go back in tomorrow and get some more. This isn't over, not by a long shot. I'll post my hurricane story in a moment.