Thursday, May 28, 2009

- Collisons

Blacktop shines slick with rain as we race towards the strobes in the distance. All the sugercane has been cut and we can see the wreck, even though it is two miles away. There has been a car accident at a local intersection, with an entrapment.

We arrive on scene to find three teenagers trapped inside a crumpled mess of a late model sedan. The driver is the most seriously injured, disoriented with a large avulsion to the knee. He took most of the impact and the door he sits behind is deformed. He's going to have to be cut out. I'm surprised he doesn't have an humerus fracture. Fluids have been leaking from beneath, and there is a slight stench of radiator juice and gasoline. I don't jack squat about how flammable what I'm standing in is. This is not safe, but we can't leave the patients, and the fire guys don't look that concerned.

After quickly assessing the other two teens, both stable and complaining of minor neck pain, but neither need to be cut out. I call over the radio for back up and look to find Izzy, tell her to grab the spine boards, and braces. When I look up, though, she's already on the far side of the car with the equipment. "Those two out first, in our unit. The driver goes in the backup unit."

Izzy simply nods an affirmative, and I don't look up again...because I don't have to. Izzy functions on her own, and as I climb inside with the driver, I can hear her giving firm but polite orders to the Vollies out on the wreck with us. By the time I've got the driver collared and IV'd, she has both patients in the back of our. Less than a minute after the Vollies pop the door on the car, our backup unit is on scene. I do a quick handoff, and walk back to my unit to find Izzy ready with a set of vitals for each patient.

Our transport to the hospital is uneventful, and, as just about always, our unit is cleaned and ready to go back in service by the time I finish with my paperwork (I try to finish as fast as I can. I hate the she does most of the clean-up of my messes). In the back of a unit she anticipates my next move with near psychic comprehension. She's got an incredible work ethic.

The truth is working with Izzy has me spoiled pretty well. Days when I work overtime or with a different partner, it's apparent to me how well we work as a team. I'm not sure how much of it is chemistry or if she's just that awesome. For all you EMTs out there, remember this: most of the time, a Paramedic is only as good as the Basic backing them up.

Izzy isn't just coworker... a coworker is someone you work beside. She's someone I work with.

A partner.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

- John Lennon

Izzy and I have been busting hump all day, a common occurrence since they've switched dispatchers in our area recently. The new guy is, to be kind, a complete ball-lick. Actually, I take that back. A ball lick, at least is useful or fun to at least one person. This guy is more like a herpes lesion - no fun for anyone. Whatever. Dispatch is dispatch, and you're going to get crapped on eventually. It's just seems like it's been us...every shift.

Anyway, we are paged out for a transfer from a residence to a local hospice. We make our way over and arrive at the residence. I'm a little gun shy. The last hospice transfer I had was form the hospital to the patient's home.

The patient passed on in the back while we were en route. The partner I was working with that day had never had anyone die on her before, and it was an (understandably) emotional time when we arrived at the residence. They didn't understand that the patient was gone, and the granddaughter actually requested to work the patient until his wife managed to come over. She put her hand on her granddaughter's shoulder and pulled her into a gentle hug and said "No baby, its OK. He's gone." They started crying, my partner started crying, etc.

Back to the present, we walk inside where we meet a lady I will call Delores. She's sitting in her bed, in the back bedroom. She's in a hospital bed, with oxygen cannula attached, watching Judge Judy. A recent "Glamour" magazine is sitting on the nightstand.

It's obvious from the start this lady is a card. She looks at me and cocks an eyebrow. "And who is THIS gentleman?", she asks her hospice nurse.

I introduce myself. "I'm March, this is my partner Izzy. We're taking you over to the hospice".

'Lord, I don't even have my face on. Well, OK. Let me get my purse."

We chat and joke for a little while. As it turns out, Delores grew up in the 1960s in London...and she let us know all about the wild parties she attended. She worked as a model before falling in love with one of her photographers and lived allover the world before immigrating to the US and settling in the South, where she and her husband did charity work for a children's hospital and raced hot air balloons. The nurse gives her some pain medication before we leave.

We get her loaded up, and I hop in the driver's seat. "What kind of music do you like, Delores?" I call out through the window.

"Well, I was always a big John Lennon fan." Oh crap. I was hoping she'd give me a genre, not a specific request. I put on the local classic rock station and pray for a miracle. Unfortunately, it's a Fleetwood Mac marathon, and we listen to that as we drive over.

We are getting pretty close to the hospice, and I switch radio stations on a whim, and incredibly...

...I hear the opening melody to "Imagine." Chills run down my spine. I turn my head to the window and wave to get Izzy's attention, and then point at the radio. which I turn up. John Lennon's voice blares beautifully from the speakers. The song ends just as we pull up to the entrance of the hospice.

I pop open the back doors, and Delores has a huge smile on her face. We bring her inside and put her in the other bed. "Light as a ballerina!" I say, a line I caged from Peter Canning's book. She gives us each a hug and tries to tip us, which I decline, saying the pleasure was all mine. She then looks over at the male hospice nurse that has entered. "Oh, lord, two strapping young lads! I had better watch out for my purity!" and we all crack up.

She is still smiling as I walk back to the hallway where Izz is making the stretcher up. Izz tells me apparently, when the song came on , the lady got all excited. It was her favorite song.
We load the stretcher in the back and I put my sunglasses on, still wearing a smile.

I don't want Izz to see that there is something in my eye.