Rule #1 Don't Lie to a 7-year-old. Or his Mommy.

First things first. I'm a Mommy. I'm a good Mommy. I have good kids.

She Who Rules The House is two, The Future Cardiologist is seven.

She Who Rules has NO fear. None. She can leap tall buildings in a single bound and is intrigued by her scrapes and bruises. She eats dirt. She makes more noise than a class of kindergarteners after juice and cookie time.

The Future Cardiologist is my tenderheart. He cried just as hard as I did when Bambi's Mom died. (HEY, it was sad!) He's quiet, a little anxious, and he worries about being embarrassed in front of others. He just about faints at the sight of his own blood and is TERRIFIED of needles. He's a very smart boy.

Today I had to take The Future Cardiologist to the Allergist. He's been suffering from a pretty nasty reaction to some mosquito bites lately and I was desperate to get him some relief. I've never been to an Allergist so I had no idea what to expect. When the Doctor said we were going to do a "skin test" I suspected there would be needles involved. When the nurse came in with a tray of 70 vials I attempted to get her attention.

"Are there N-E-E-D-L-E-S involved?"

She ignored me and started to swab The Future Cardiologist's back down with Acetone. Which freaked him out. I attempted to calm him down while simultaneously attempting to get the Nurses attention.

"For Pete's sake young man, it's just alcohol" the Nurse snapped at him.

Epijunky's blood pressure shoots up 20 points.

I actually had to grab his shoulders to keep him from flopping off of the exam table. I finally asked her to stop for a second and explain to him what was going on. I said it as nicely as I could, but I imagine it might have come out a little... roughly.

I don't think I was going to make friends with her at this point.

I asked her again about the needles, spelling it quickly because The Future Cardiologist can spell about two grade levels above his age. She looked directly at me and shook her head "No". I breathed a sigh of relief. I did my best to keep him calm and quiet while she quickly applied 70 drops of allergens on his back. He's a very curious kid and had a hundred questions about everything from the color of the drops to if it was raining outside. I answered his questions and kept him still so she could do her job.

Then that evil-lying-un-kid-friendly-nurse did something I could not believe. She pulled out a frickin' STRAIGHT PIN and hand to GOD waved it in his face. "I'm going to have to stick this in your back once for each drop. You're going to have to lay perfectly still or I'll have to start over."

Epijunky's blood pressure shoots through the roof.

OH HELL NO. She did NOT just lie TO MY FACE. I understand not telling a child until a few seconds before you stick them, but --- SHE TOLD ME THERE WERE NO NEEDLES INVOLVED. I TOLD HIM THERE WERE NO NEEDLES INVOLVED.

She starts sticking him in the back with that needle and he's flopping around like a fish out of water. He's hysterical and crying. I had to hold him down. It was horrible and I wanted to cry with him. Not because I believed it was terribly painful, but because that Nurse betrayed his trust and made me a freaking accomplice.

He survived. I'm still fuming. Hell hath no fury like a Mommy lied to by an evil nurse.

Tragedy and Squad 41

Surprisingly (or maybe not so much), I've had a number of people call me to talk about the tragic accident that occurred last night in a rural area not horribly far from here. My mother-in-law read about before I did and was afraid to tell me about because she was afraid that I would be "too upset to go out to the fair"...

Here's how I feel about it, for what it's worth.

A horrible horrible horrible accident. I'm broken hearted over it.

A husband and wife involved in a MVC being transported with whiplash injuries.

Three EMT's (Paramedic's, whatever, what does a certification mean at this point?) are dead. One is a young wife, my age in fact, and mother of five. Her husband, also a member of the service, and was in the squad. He and the driver of the truck were the only survivors. A Veteran of the service who "rarely missed an ambulance or fire run", a young woman who had just recently joined the service, a 2000 graduate of Antwerp Local High School.

All of them... gone.

“They were all just fantastic people. None of them would ever give up the chance to get in the EMS and help out, and they died doing it"

Antwerp is a tiny community, about 1600 people. What an awful blow to this town.

This really hit home for me, and my family. My mother is now completely frantic about the fact that I "ride around in the back of an ambulance with no seatbelt on". I really didn't know what to tell her at this point. I DO wear a belt for long transports, it's just habit. I ALWAYS wear one when I'm in the front of the sqaud, as a driver or a passenger. That being said, when I'm doing patient care in the back it's not always possible to be belted in. And unfortunately in this case, I'm not sure how much it would have helped.

There are a lot of dangers involved in this job. Some of them involve situations that we don't perceive as threatening because that's just how we work. I don't know many EMT's who wear a belt in back. I just don't know what to say, it's all so sad.

We all need to be more careful on the road. And I know that the next time I'm in the back of a squad I'll definitely be more likely than not to have a belt on.

Please be careful out there.

3 medical workers, 2 patients killed as semi hits ambulance

3 medical workers, 2 patients killed as semi hits ambulance

PAULDING, Ohio — Three emergency medical workers and two of their patients were killed last night when their ambulance was struck broadside by a tractor-trailer and burst into flames in northwestern Paulding County, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

Another emergency medical worker and the driver of the semi were hurt in the crash just before 7 p.m. between Paulding and Cecil, Ohio, about 65 miles southwest of Toledo, troopers at the patrol’s Van Wert post said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol's Van Wert Post released the names this morning of the five people killed in the crash. The emergency workers from Antwerp were: Sammy R. Smith, 64; Heidi L. McDougall, 31, and Kelly J. Rager, 25.

The victims who were being transported in the EMS squad were identified as Robert R. Wells, 64, and Armelda Wells, 60, both of Hicksville.

A fourth EMS worker, Matt McDougall, 31, of Antwerp, who was in the squad, and Gerald D. Chapman Jr., 54, of Bryant, Ind., the driver of the commercial vehicle, were both transported from the scene. Mr. McDougall, a Hicksville police officer, was in fair condition this morning at Parkview Memorial Hospital in Fort Wayne. Mr. Chapman's condition was unavailable this morning.

The emergency workers were all volunteers from Antwerp, Ohio, who were treating patients from an earlier crash on U.S. 24 in Paulding County.

“It’s very sad. Very tragic,” Antwerp Village Council President Ronald Farnsworth said. “Right now, we need all the prayers we can get. Right now we’re grieving.”

The crash occurred at County Roads 176 and 87 in Crane Township.

The ambulance was southbound on Road 87 when it was struck broadside by the semi, which was eastbound on Road 176, troopers said.

No other details on either accident were available last night.

The loss hit hard in the village of Antwerp, population 1,642.

Last night, several dozen fire and emergency workers gathered at the fire hall with a pastor.

“They aren’t in very good shape right now,” said Mr. Farnsworth, adding that the village planned to arrange for counseling.

“We’ll get through it,” he said. “But we’ll need all the prayers we can get from everybody.”

Trauma Scenario

I need to come up with a Trauma Scenario that will knock my I/C off of his throne. I need something goooooood. I need injuries, vital signs, symptoms, dialogue, treatment, the whole nine yards.

I was given the following to build on:

26 year old suicidal female jumps off of a bridge (approximately 30 foot drop). She lands on her feet and falls to her back She then crawls up the embankment where she's found. She is Alert and Oriented X3 and adamant that she does not want to go to the hospital. She has fractures to her lower legs, and no sensation below her waist. She is calm and not anxious.

OOooh, this could be fun :)

Any contributions would be appreciated as well.

What Makes a Good EMT.

I *heart* Ambulance Driver.

"People ask me what makes a good EMT...and here it is:

If you can be the island of calm when the feces strike the thermal agitator, and keep your wits about you when everyone else is losing theirs...and then turn right around on the very next call and do nothing more than gently hold a frightened old lady's hand on the way to the hospital and perhaps coax a smile from her...and realize that BOTH are equally important skills...then THAT is what makes a good EMT. Even if they never saved a single life."

Ambulance driver knows his stuff. It's not often I come across someone who makes me think, gag, and laugh out loud in the same post. You HAVE to respect that!

Not Appropriate.

What I learned in Medic class tonight....

Not appropriate:

Using an IO set to set up a ginger teriyaki drip/infusion/marinade on chicken legs.

Using the scalpel from the surgical cric kit to trim the fat from aforementioned chicken legs.

Using (unused) suction canisters as beer cups.

Using cold packs to chill your 40 ounce.

Using paddles set at 360 to fry your bacon/straighten your hair/teach your instructor a lesson

Gee, and that's just tonight. No wonder our instructor is so afraid for us.

Sixteen classes left.

Ramblings of a Stressed Out Mind

Good God why am I doing this?

For the past few days I've been working on moving old posts from another blog to here in an effort to get away from the mess that Myspace has become. I honestly believed that I was doing a good thing. The more I read and repost, the more I'm convinced that all I do is whine and feel sorry for myself.

Yikes, I can barely stand to read my own writing.

I'm 16 classes away from being done with the Medic course. That scares the living crap out of me. Where's the confidence I thought I'd have at this point? Every new bit of information I learn seems to push another vital bit of knowledge out. I learn the peds dose for Atropine and forget my cell phone number.

I really need some more sleep.

My partner, my hero. (Originally Posted September 23, 2006)

For my birthday this year my baby brother (The Responsible One), gave me a pretty silver watch. I loved it. The longstanding joke between us is that any present he gives me becomes my “lucky” whatever. He gave me earrings one year. They were instantly my lucky earrings. When he was 11 he made me a necklace. It became my lucky necklace. This watch was my lucky watch. It was an integral part of my job. I NEEDED that watch. Plus, as I said, the second he gave it to me it became my lucky watch. I loved it.

The problem is, it has a weird latch on it and picks horrible times to fall off. Add to that the fact that I NEVER know it falls off until I go to take someone's pulse.

Last shift it poured most of the night. The rain came down in sheets.

I lost my lucky watch. It disappeared somewhere between Local ER and a run we had a few miles away. I noticed it was gone pretty quickly, tore apart the back of the squad, and realized it was probably on the ground out in the rain. I was a little heartbroken over it, but there was no way I was going to be able to find it in the middle of the night, in the middle of a downpour. Besides, I wasn’t even positive I lost it at the scene. Pseudo Dad talked me into going back to the scene, in the RAIN mind you, to look for it.

To make this already long, boring, only-interesting-to-me story a little shorter, he found it.
We were both drenched and sitting in the squad after what I thought was a fruitless ten minute search when he said, “Hold out your hand.” There it was. Still ticking too.

Pseudo Dad is my hero. We've only worked together for a few months and he already knows when to tell me to sleep, even if it's only for 25 minutes... He doesn't roll his eyes at me when I'm whining (at least not to my face)... He buys me a Slider or a cup of coffee when I'm destitute... He makes me laugh out loud and teases me mercilessly. He's a good guy. I couldn't ask for a better partner at work.

I'm a lucky girl. I have an unbelievably wonderful and supportive husband at home, and a great partner at work. You can't ask for much more.

Could It Be? (Originally Posted September 20, 2006)

Could it be that this job is making me lazy? I’m willing to give myself the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe the combination of school, studying, work, and lack of sleep is just stressing me out a little bit. I seriously underestimated how much time would be required for studying. I seriously overestimated how much sleep I’d be able to get during the day while working the 7p-7a shift at The Closet. I’m kind of just stumbling through life right now. It’s a familiar feeling, kind of like that feeling you have for the first few weeks there’s a newborn in your home.

Tonight was supposed to be quiet.

When will I learn that number of calls in a 12 hour shift directly relates to how many hours of sleep/studying time one needs?

I know how bad that sounds. They’re paying me to work. I understand that. I’m not one of those people who believe that they are entitled to sleep during a 12 hour overnight shift. Sometimes you just need a quiet night.

It was as far from quiet as it possibly could be.

The CT scanner at Backwoods General Hospital 35 miles away was broken. They contacted The Little Private Service that Could and contracted with us to transport any patient who needed a CT up to St. Moneybags hospital where the CT would be done, then return them to Backwoods General.

It didn’t sound too bad, how many people out in the middle of nowhere need a CT scan? I’ve been to Backwoods ER more than a few times, and typically, it’s empty.

That night everyone within ten miles of this hospital needed a CT scan.

(This wouldn’t normally be a problem except She Who Rules The House had been teething and miserable all day resulting in net sleep of ZERO for me in two days. So I’m exhausted.)

We ran patients back and forth all night long. And had to complete a run report for each segment of the trip. We would end up with 22 run reports by 7am.

At one point around five am I was literally in tears, babbling about something. Pseudo Dad grabbed me by the shoulders and steered me toward the patient compartment.

He told me in no uncertain terms that I would sleep, and I would sleep now. And he’d wake me up when the next patient was ready. If I chose to defy him he’d ground me. Or something.

“Yes, Dad,” was all I could mumble at that point.

He actually put me to sleep like I was a cranky five year old, which makes me think I must have been acting like a cranky five year old. I’m not proud of that.

I really need to work on getting that 24 hour shift.

The Pimple. (Originally Posted September, 2006)

*takes a deep breath*

Please, friends and neighbors, for the LOVE of GOD...

Do NOT call 911 because you popped a pimple and it wont stop bleeding.

Slap a bandaid on it. Try a little pressure.

When we arrived on the scene, (Code 3 by the way -- but that's for another blog.) the firefighters were laughing outside of the apartment.

Long story short, a 12 year old popped a pimple on his arm. It was bleeding. His mother was worried and called 911. The City Fire Department slapped a dressing on it and wrapped it in kling. Yes, they still want to have him seen at St. Moneybags ER. One of the firefighters remarked that the Mother believed the pimple was attached to a vein.

I had to stiffle a little giggle at this point. Then again, who am I to judge? If they want a 600 dollar taxi ride to the ER, I'll drive 'em.

On the way to the ER Pseudo Dad has to give one of the most hysterical Medical Reports ever given. He's trying to relay to the ER staff that the patient's Mother believed the pimple was attached to a vein. He accidentally says "artery" and corrects himself. Apparently the ER missed that.

When we arrive at the ER they direct us to the trauma room. The resident wants to know where the "arterial bleed" is.

Oh Jesus.

After a quick report the ER staff redirects us to a small private room.

All I can do is shake my head.

I did get to see the pimple after the nurse took off the kling... No sign of bleeding whatsoever. The only blood we can see is what can only be described as a pin-head sized dot on the dressing.

Another life saved.

A Fly On The Wall. (Originally Posted Friday, September 15, 2006)

Another night of school followed by work.

I arrive at The Closet around 11pm. The rig check is done (they haven’t even had a run in the four hours before I arrived), and there’s not much to do other than sit back in my nice comfy black leather recliner and watch CSI: Miami. A nice quiet night. Pseudo Dad is snoring at a volume that would wake any corpse.

Weeknights at The Closet typically are calm. It helps as far as studying goes at least.

My eyes start to close. I fight to keep them open.

EpiJunky: Hey, Pseudo Dad, I’ll be in the ER.

I scribble a note for Pseudo Dad on a post it and put it on the door. I pick up the radio and venture the 50 paces or so that leads to the ER. I turn the radio on. It’s quiet. I let dispatch know I’m on the portable for a few minutes. It’s easier for me to find PseudoDad if there’s a run.

Nothing going on in the ER. The nurses are playing solitaire on the computer or shopping Ebay for discount Crocs. I walk back to The Closet. The radio is still quiet. Sounds like everyone is in the same boat as I am. The light in the hallways is blinding. It gives me a headache.

The Closet is dark, lit only by an episode of Cops on the 19 inch TV. Pseudo Dad is still snoring away. I sink back into the recliner.

Maybe I can mentally WILL the phone to ring. A run, please, just to keep myself awake. I have a hard time sleeping on overnight shifts. I don’t like the feeling of waking up, groggy, to a ringing phone.

A Police Officer with a very thick southern accent is chasing someone on foot through some random neighborhood.

My eyes start to closer again. I give up and doze off......

(Three hours later)

I mumble an obscenity under my breath and reach for the phone.

EpiJunky: The Closet *yawn*
Dispatch: Sorry to wake you. County run to the nearby Taco Bell.
Dispatch: What the hell was that?
EpiJunky: Copy that. We’re heading out.

It takes me thirty seconds to rouse Pseudo Dad from his coma.

It’s four in the morning.

We get on scene and it’s a minor aged female with abdominal cramps. My first thought is, “What in God’s name are you doing on the street at four in the morning on a school night?” This is closely followed by, “In a private school uniform carrying your back pack with your boyfriend.”

I rub sleep from my eyes.

On closer inspection, in the warm patient compartment of the squad, I see she’s muddy from her knees down, freezing, and in a pretty good amount of pain. Abdominal pain. She’s gives pretty vague answers to my questions.

On the way to the hospital I get a little more of the story. She says that she had been staying with her Grandmother and had snuck out. Grandma is not her guardian, mom and dad are. For some reason I’m still suspicious.

I rub my eyes again. I knew I wasn't getting the entire story, but I can't force her to be honest with me.

Yes, there's a chance she could be pregnant, she admitted. She gives me a phone number for her parents. The number is disconnected.

We arrive at City Hospital, I give the ER Nurse report. The nurse tells my patient that she absolutely must give her a real phone number, the hospital has to call mom to get permission to treat her. The patient is clearly not happy with this, but gives up the phone number. She cuddles on the ER bed with her boyfriend. They watch the TV.

My suspicions were right on. It turns out she's a runaway. Not just from her Grandmother’s house. She’s been missing four days. Her parents are frantic. The police department show up to sit with her until her parents can get there.

Of course I'm giddy to witness any drama that's not my own. I relay this info to Mike and suggest we get popcorn and sit back and wait for the show.

I'm sure her Mother is going to be thrilled when she shows up. I can’t wait for Dad and the boyfriend to meet. We call dispatch and let them know of the situation (we need mom's signature as well... not to mention we need insurance info if there is any.)

We were too tired to hang out for too long, and the signature and insurance information isn’t more important than getting back to our district.

I'm a bad bad nosy person.

9/11/01 Five years later. (Orig. posted 9/11/06)

I'm not sure what to type. I'm not sure what I feel. Many people I know wonder why I feel so strongly about September 11th.

I had the desire to be an EMT/Medic way before then, so I can't use that... I've wanted to be involved in the military for years, so I can't use that either.

I don't know what it is.

I was sleeping when the first plane hit. Sound asleep. I had a little one at this point. You can't fault me for sleeping.

I'll never forget the tone of Mr. EpiJunky's voice when he came into the bedroom.

"A plane just hit the World Trade Center.. " His voice took an unchararacteristicly nervous tone.
I'm sure it must have took him two or three times repeating that sentence to get me out of bed. Hey, I'm a heavy sleeper when I'm physically exhausted.

I've always been fascinated by New York City. I love skyscrapers, even though I'm terrified of heights. Three years earlier I had been lucky enough to visit NYC. I remember Psycho Ex driving me past the WTC complex (we were looking for a place to park.) I made him stop to take pictures.

Here's something I've told more than a few people... These towers... WTC 1 and 2... (or North and South) they were so tall. You couldn't stand at the bottom and see the top. You had to lay down on the ground to see the top.

They were beautiful. A lot of people talk about how New Yorkers thought of the WTC complex as being ugly. For some reason I NEVER thought of them that way, I was mesmerized by them. They were just so unbelievably mamouth.

I remember making my way out to the living room that day, it was beautiful outside, by the way... and watching TV in disbelief. Smoke...Fire... It was horrifying. I believe I watched for ten minutes or so before I saw the second plane hit.

I screamed. Mr. EpiJunky ran back into the living room.

(A little backstory... I don't handle these types of things well. I was pregnant when Columbine happened. It took me almost a month to tear myself away from the TV, so Mr. EpiJunky leaving the room to avoid my sobbing was not unusual...)

Mr. EpiJunky made it back just in time to see the first tower fall.

We knew it wasn't an accident. I had a sick feeling in my stomach that this was war.
Someone was attacking us. MY Country. OUR FAMILIES.

Those bastards...
I remember feeling sick to my stomach.
I was starting to get hysterical at this point.
Then the second tower fell.

Now hysteria turned to dispair. All I could do was sob. Other than the death of my Grandmother a few years earlier I had never cried so hard.

All I could think of... Those towers were so tall. SO many people had worked in there! An insane amount of people... Dead... Tens of thousands of people... Dead.

I remember someone on CNN saying that there could be 50,000 people working in the two buildings. All I could do was cry. All I could say was "Oh MY GOD..."

All of these innocent people. The mother going to work just to support her kids... The people working in Windows... (I had seen the outside of the restaurant... ) The firefighters... The EMT's... The cops... The uncertainty... There were rumors flying around already...

I had heard that the Washington Monument, White House and Pentagon had been hit... I was a mess.

I remember thinking... "I need to do something...". When I could finally tear myself away from the TV, I went out to donate blood. The line at Red Cross was outside of the parking lot and down the street. They were actually turning people away at Red Cross. As a semi-normal
donator there, I was shocked.
I ended up going to do some retail therapy at a Scrapbook Store. People in the store were complaining about the radio coverage *still* being focused on the WTC.

It made me feel ill again. It hadn't even been five hours since those towers had fallen. I remember wanting to physically injure these uppity bitches. In hindsght I guess everyone deals with crisis in their own ways. As EMT's, we know this better than anyone.

For a good ten days after that I watched CNN religiously hoping and praying to God that there would be some miraculous rescue... Some number of people saved. There was nothing. Five years later I know now that there were a small amount of people rescued... But then... Nothing.

I wanted to do something. I wanted to jump in my car and drive to NYC. But I had a newborn and a husband. There was nothing I could do.

I remember the local radio station raising money. It ended up being close to a Million dollars (if it wasn't more). I gave money. I wanted to do more. I wanted to be there... I wanted to do whatever I could.

I remember being completely heartbroken over the entire thing. I wasn't involved in EMS at the time, but even now, I have nothing but respect for the Firefighters and others involved...I have nothing but respect for Firefighters now. The guys I see everyday... The guys who run in when everyone else is running out.

Including my partner. Pseudo Dad, just don't let it get to your head :)

Even after all this babbling... I don't know if I'll ever get "over" this. I'm not sure if this event is something I should ever get "over". I still cry...rather easily, in fact, when I see anything related to 9-11. I've gone out and bought DVD's related to the subject. I've become an EMT, I'm going to Medic school. I can't say that 9-11 is the ONLY reason I've done these things, but they definitely play a part in it.

This is what hit me the hardest... The story of Juliana and Ruth McCourt and Ruth's best friend, Paige Farley-Hackel.

They were heading to Disneyland.

I've heard various stories since... everything from the best friends wanting to fly apart so that if something happened one of the two would survive, due to frequent flyer miles... Let me explain
Juliana was four. FOUR years old. Her mom and her Mom's best friend... They were heading to California. For whatever reason or another the three were on two different flights. ALL of them died. Juliana and her Mother were on United flight 175, Ruth on American flight 11. Ruth's plane hit the North Tower first... Juliana and her Mother hit the South Tower. All three of them left Boston that morning thinking they were going to meet in beautiful California... Mickey Mouse... They were heading to DISNEYLAND for God's sake.

As a parent you couldn't help but put yourself in the same situation. At the time I had a 1 1/2 year old. I kept putting myself, my son, and my best friend in the same position. As time wore on I found out that Juliana was just four-years-old... I wondered about the converstation that went on between Mother and daughter... Mother and Child.

All three of them dying, murdered... It was almost too much to think about. What kind of people do this? I was torn between being so fucking angry and being so unbelievably heartbroken over it...

Don't get me wrong... I grieve for all of them... the Firefighters all the way to the dishwashers... The stockbrokers to Joe Schmoe on the street. I think about all of them. I cry for all of them... I pray for all of them.

And that's why I'm not willing to forget. That's why I cry so damn much when someone 9/11 is on TV. That's why I'm not so willing to dismiss my feelings. That's why I watch just about every 9/11 show that comes on TV.


If you don't deal with this event in the same way I don't think less of you. If you're sick of seeing 9/11 related shows I don't think less of you. Just promise me you won't forget. I don't know how anyone could. You don't have to cry...

Just promise not to forget.

The Captain (Sunday, September 10, 2006)

So we get a call about 0230. Neither one of us is mentally awake. We roll up on the scene and see several cop cars.

This is NEVER a good sign. The only time we see cop cars on our runs is if there's a car accident or a fight.

I walk into the house and I see *drumroll please* the cops from the run we had at the yacht club where the patient required five people to restrain him.

Hellllooooo Blondie.

Anyway, this patient was suicidal. And of course I'm bleary eyed and they're my patient.
This patient cries much of the way to the hospital... I felt bad for them. They were definitely going through a rough time.

We get to the hospital and Pseudo Dad opens the back doors of the rig to help me get the patient out.

The patient takes one look at Pseudo Dad and blurts out, "You look like Captain Kangaroo."

PD's response: "That's okay, he was my hero when I was little."

I lost it. I giggled the rest of the night and the entire walk out to our cars this morning.
I'm seriously considering referring to Pseudo Dad as "The Captain" for at least the near future.
For the record, he looks NOTHING like Captain Kangaroo.

Success! (Originally Posted Tuesday, September 05, 2006)

You guessed it, the "Send EpiJunky To Medic School" fund raising drive is complete and my goal has been met!

Thank you so unbelievably much to my Father-In-Law. Honestly, I couldn't love the guy any more if he was my own father.

This girl's gonna be a medic in less than a year. Let the fun begin :)

Did I mention I get to do intubations on LIVING people? AT University of Michigan!!!!

(hums "Hail To The Victors")


I'm a sick sick girl.

(7/10/07 - Post Note: I have seventeen classes left before I'm done with the class. I'm almost there.)

Old Fashioned Kinda Girl (Originally Posted Sunday, September 03, 2006)

I grew up in a decent enough neighborhood. People took pride in their homes, they raised their children the right way (or at least tried to), and they respected authority figures, teachers, police officers, parents…

My family was not well of by any stretch, but I never wanted for anything. (My mom laughs when I say this, because she feels like we were dirt poor and she couldn’t provide us with enough. She’s insane, but I digress.)

I was raised to be grateful for what I had. I was raised to respect my elders. I was raised to not act like an idiot. (I need to work on that from time to time.) I feel like I was raised with a good head on my shoulders. And excellent hair. But anyway. I owe this to my mom. I work hard to instill this in my kids.

If there’s one thing I cannot stand, its people who think they are privileged due to their status (or more accurately, their PARENTS) status in life. I absolutely detest this. I see it all the time, and I have seen it for most of my life. I have yet to actually accept this behavior as “that’s just how some folks are.” I need to work on that, because little ole EpiJunky is not going to change the world.

These kids who think they can get away with murder because Mommy and Daddy own their own business and have monstrous amounts of cash… IT MAKES ME INSANE. There’s nothing wrong with having money, having nice things. But when you expect to be treated better because of this, when you think people owe you something because of it, when you think you can keep your sorry butt out of trouble because of who Mom and Dad are…

What set me off…

Yesterday while at work we get dispatched code 3 to the scene of an accident in a major intersection.

The first thing I notice is that both cars are totaled.
The next thing I notice is a teenager on his cell phone, turning his back on a police officer (who looks seriously pissed). The teenager is whining like a five year old on the phone. It reminded me of my son when he’s tired and really wants that last snack for the night.
The Police officer is telling him repeatedly to get off the phone. The kid is ignoring him. Like he doesn’t exist.

At this point I have to focus my attention on my patient.

Come to find out later on at the hospital, this kids license is suspended. He has NO ID on him. He said he had work privileges. Of course it’s 10pm on a Saturday night his work privileges refer to his position at a Law Office and he’s dressed like he’s going to a party with three of his closest friends, but what do I know?

I would have taken great joy in yanking the cell phone out of that kids hand and sending it sailing into the intersection he personally closed down. Then I would have unceremoniously tossed his butt into the back of the squad car. And that, my friends, is why EpiJunky would make a horrible Police Officer.

BTW, the last time I saw my patient they were kicking everyone out of the ER room. I hope she ends up okay. I think she will. Thank GOD the kid and the passenger with her were okay. Everyone was restrained and the airbags did what they were supposed to.

I've made some mistakes in my life. I've gotten in trouble. And you know what; my family bailed my butt out (not literally). And you have to do it once... But I really believe that after your one youthful indiscretion, you're on your own... If you keep saving your kids over and over, they'll never learn.

Maybe I’m completely out of tune with reality. I hope not.

Anger, regret, and a broken heart. (Originally Posted Early August, 2006)

The past few weeks at work have been insane. A TON of transfers, which is fine, I actually like transfers. You get to know the regulars. (And no, for the record, I have not muttered the phrase "I'm bored" in at least a month.)

Take my last shift for example.

Get to work at 6:50pm. Get a phone call from dispatch. "When you two are ready, head on over to The Little County Hospital."

I typically take the first patient, so Pseudo Dad drives us over to the hospital. Our patient had been seen for some issue with her medications, which escapes me at the moment. She was so sweet. One of those patients that you thank for being such a pleasure to deal with. One of those patients that actually thanks you at the end of the run. She’s been in the ER for nine hours and just can’t wait to get into bed.

Here’s where things get interesting. We’re taking the cot with the patient up to the door and knock repeatedly.

EpiJunky: Are you sure your husband is home?
Patient: Absolutely. I talked to him on the phone before they called you two.
Pseudo Dad knocks again, even harder. He stops. “I see him coming.”

The patient’s husband opens the front door and we head in.

The smell hits me before the condition of the apartment does. It reeks of cigarette smoke, stale beer, and ammonia mixed with cat urine. My eyes begin to water immediately. I start breathing through my mouth on instinct.

The patient’s husband is stumbling over beer cans. His speech is very slurred. My patient is plenty pissed.

“How could you do this? You promised you weren’t drinking!” She starts to cry.

Pseudo Dad is trying to figure out how to get the cot through the living room into the bedroom.
Patient’s husband’s voice is loud, almost booming… “You lazy BITCH, get up offa there and walk your ass to that bed.”

“My Doctor said to not walk for three more days..” She stammers.

I have a hand on my patient’s shoulder… I tell her husband that we’re required to move our patient to the bed. It’s the law. Well, so it wasn’t a complete lie. He stumbles into the bedroom, kicking Busch Light cans to the side as he walks. He attempts to clear a path. The scene reminds me of a frat house I had been to back in my college days. Pseudo Dad is moving furniture in the bedroom to allow us to roll the cot in there.

For a few seconds it’s just my patient and I. I want to make sure that she’s okay with the situation. I want to be sure she’ll be taken care of. She assures me she will.

Her husband is yelling in the bedroom about having to take care of “that lazy bitch”. I want to hit him in the face. With the O2 tank.

We gently move the patient from the cot to her bed. I get her some blankets and make sure her phone and medications are nearby. She thanks us again.

I don’t want to leave her; I just have a bad feeling. Pseudo Dad steers me towards the door. “We’re done here,” he says.

We go back to The Closet and attempt to eat for the second time that night.


EpiJunky: The Closet
Dispatch: Hey we have a run for you, very little paperwork involved.
EpiJunky: Body Run? Yay.
Pseudo Dad looks at me like I've lost my mind.

It’s been awhile since our last body run. Pseudo Dad says something about having a “quiet” patient.
EpiJunky: At least they’re stable. Heh.

We head over to St. Moneybags. They don't want us parading a body through the ER (I can't imagine why, most of the people in the ER looked bored as hell, those who didn't were too sick to care), so we had to drive around the building.

Pseudo Dad played instigator and he and the security guard mocked my (lack of) maneuverability skills. I’m working on that. Pseudo Dad and I practice every shift now.

We walked into the morgue. I got an instant chill. My heart started racing. The patient was already in a body bag (Little known fact: Our body bags are white. *shrug*). For some reason I was having a really hard time with this... I felt like I was on the verge of having an anxiety attack.

Pseudo Dad picked up on this pretty quickly and started saying "It's an empty bag, it's an empty bag it's an empty bag." I walked out of the room, took a deep breath, and walked back in. I grabbed what I thought was excess bag. It contained the patient's leg. Hard as a rock. I dropped it and damn near hyperventilated. What the hell was wrong with me? I’m not like this… It’s a dead body in a bag for crying out loud. Live folks are scarier than this!!!

Pseudo Dad: (a little worried) Are you okay?
EpiJunky: Yeah, I’m fine. (I’m doing Lamaze breathing at this point.)
Pseudo Dad: Empty bag, empty bag, empty bag. Just breathe.
EpiJunky: Let’s just do this. One, two, three, lift.

We moved him to our cot, and I calmed myself down. I apologized to Pseudo Dad. I felt awful about it. To this day I don’t know what the hell happened.

On the way out of the morgue/basement:

EJ: What would you do if the patient sat straight up right now?
Pseudo Dad: I’d run your ass over on the way to the elevator.
EJ: *giggles like a psychopath* You can’t outrun me old man!

All of a sudden the cot is getting harder to pull. I have the front end, Pseudo Dad has the back. I’m still laughing like an idiot when a nurse rounds the corner. She gives me a very strange look.

EJ: *laughing* besides, didn’t you almost break your hip last time you tried racing me?
I turn around to see his reaction. He’s gone. Totally and completely GONE! I’m laughing my ass of in the basement of a hospital holding a conversation with a body in a body bag. No wonder the nurse thinks I’m insane.

*insert several four letter words and obscenities here.*

Let’s just say a sailor would have blushed. I FREAKED out for a good five seconds. I had stopped dead (*heh*) in my tracks with my patient and scanned the hallways for Pseudo Dad. I can hear him laughing so hard I worry he’ll pass out. Actually, I HOPE he passes out so I can kick his unconscious body.

He’s doubled over in the hallway behind a pop machine. We laughed till we cried for several minutes.

We ended up dropping the patient off at the morgue at Local ER where I learned he was to be donated to science. I realized that this man was giving himself, his body, to further medicine. I felt a bad about my freakout/maniacal laughing episode/re-freakout. I should have been more respectful.

We head back to our quarters. We attempt to eat yet again. I believe this is the third time. I really need to look into cold foods for meals.

EpiJunky: SON OF A BITCH! TWO BITES? *picks up phone* The Closet…
Dispatch: Code 3 county run at the Local Marina.

It’s one of those nights where there are parties and festivals going on EVERYWHERE in the city. There’s a major regatta going on at the nearby marina. It’s a HUGE party, hundreds of people. I have the distinct feeling one or both of us are going to get puked on.

I get out and notice that the City’s Finest are there escorting my patient, who is stumbling-fall-down-go-boom-drunk.

When it's time to get into the ambulance, the patient goes absolutely nuts. He does NOT want to go to the hospital; he does NOT want to go to jail.

His choices are kind of limited at this point. I actually feel a little bad for him. The police are antagonizing him. True, he’s drunk and acting like a complete ass, but instigating a fight with him is not going to help things.

Now there are FOUR, count them FOUR police officers plus my very big partner fighting with the patient in the back of the rig. I’m standing in the side door area when Pseudo Dad looks at me and with the most serious look I’ve ever seen yells at me.

Pseudo Dad: “Get out, now. GO!”

I jump out now, ask questions later. The struggle goes on for at least two more minutes. When it’s finally over two Police Officers now have official charges of assault against him in addition to God knows what other charges. I’m sure they’re racking up.

The patient is restrained. Finally. The cops are still taunting him. I have very little tolerance for stupidity, and getting hammered and then fighting with MY PARTNER AND THE POLICE definitely qualifies as stupidity. But going out of your way to rile the guy up once he’s restrained and about to be transported WITH ME IN THE BACK does not get you brownie points in my book. I look at the baby faced officer and inform him that he’ll be riding along with us. He’s not thrilled about it. He takes the captain’s seat at the head of the cot.

I climb back in and start to talk to the patient. I'm a mother, a wife, and a woman. Sometimes having these things in your favor can help calm folks down. In this case it worked miracles. The patient is reduced from insane-fighting-drunk to crying depressed drunk. At least he isn’t fighting anymore.

Of course he’s now handcuffed to the cot and restrained with straps, being escorted to the local ER by a Police Officer, but still.

Pseudo Dad seems to have a problem with me handling patient care. While I appreciate his concern I tell him in no uncertain terms that myself and my patient are both fine. My patient tells him in no uncertain terms to “Go to Hell”.

The transport to the hospital is uneventful. My patient has a broken heart, which is, unfortunately, nothing I can fix. He’s got problems bigger than his broken heart once he sobers up. We get to the hospital, he's still calm. As soon as Pseudo Dad appears “Angry-pissed-off-drunk” patient returns. Security comes running, cops are there once again. It was absolutely insane and exhausting.

It took a few hours to get our patient off of our cot thanks to the handcuff situation; apparently the ER didn't have any restraints that would hold him. Eventually we donated our leathers.
Around four in the morning, I stumbled outside in an effort to stay awake and upright and saw our patient being arrested.

That wasn’t a huge shock.

A two ice cream cone night. (Originally Posted August 2, 2006)


Why am I always the one sitting next to the phone? It rings loud enough to wake the dead and typically makes me jump clear out of my skin.

EpiJunky: The Closet
Dispatch: Got a County Run for you, They’re at the Dollar Store at the local strip mall around the corner. Code 3.
EpiJunky: Copy that. We’re heading out.

I relay the information to Pseudo Dad who is already ahead of me on the way out to the squad. He jumps in the drivers seat.

EpiJunky: I never get to drive code 3. *pout*
PseudoDad: That’s what you get for pawning that last call off on me. *grin*
Pseudo Dad puts us enroute and flips the lights and sirens on.

We arrive at the Dollar Store one minute later. The local Fire Department waves us into the store.

Sitting on a chair is my very pale patient, getting some oxygen through a non-rebreather. Sitting on the floor next to my patient is a LifePak 12. Sitting next to the LifePak is the BIGGEST HAIRIEST dog I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s her service dog. One of the firefighters is giving the dog some water.

I get the rundown from the Medic on scene who has decided that ALS is not needed, the patient had a near syncopal episode. It’s 105 degrees outside, and she walked with her service dog close to two miles to shop. She’s had a 12 lead, which was unremarkable, all of her vitals are stable, she’s feeling much better on the O2, and has had a bottle of water. She wants to go back to the Local ER, it’s only a two minute transport.

EpiJunky: And I can only assume that we’re taking her service dog as well?
Firefighter: *Looking at me funny* Well, yeah… Got any dog treats in there? He looks hungry.
EpiJunky: I don’t know, Pseudo Dad, you have any biscuits on you? Pseudo Dad rolls his eyes at me.
Firefighter: Tell me you’ve never transported a pooch before…

I haven’t. There’s barely enough room for me and a patient let alone me a patient and a 150 pound dog. It’s a beautiful friendly dog, but still.

Firefighter: *Looking at Pseudo Dad* Your partner owes you an ice cream.

(Little sidenote: There’s a tradition in the Fire Department where you have to buy ice cream for your coworkers the first time you do something. I’m pretty new, and I’m the number of ice cream cones I owe Pseudo Dad is skyrocketing.)

Pseudo Dad: I think she owes ALL of us ice cream. *grin*
EpiJunky: I think you’re a pain in the butt.

Our patient perks up. “You boys be nice to that girl”. I decide I love my patient and her dog.

We load the patient and her dog into the back. I climb over the dog a few times to get my vital signs done. The dog doesn’t have any idea what’s going on, and really doesn’t want to sit down.
The patient has a condition called cardiogenic syncope, and that’s why she has the service animal. She’s feeling considerably better now, the color is coming back to her face, her vitals are all normal. The transport was over before it started.

I was able to check in on her later and she was getting ready to be discharged. The ER staff had fallen in love with her dog.

Oh yes… I also managed to park at St. Holy Hospital that night, with some guidance from Pseudo Dad. That would be ice cream number 2 for the night.

EMT Laws

EMT Laws

(Shamelessly stolen from someone who stole it from someone who stole it from someone...)

Air goes in and out, blood goes round and round, any variation on this is bad.

Try not to discuss "your day" at the family dinner table.

You may not install a "car catcher" on the front of the ambulance.

The more equipment you see on a EMT's belt, the newer they are.

Examine all chest clutchers first, bleeders next, then the rest of the whiners.

When dealing with citizens, if it felt good saying it, it was wrong.

All bleeding stops... eventually.

You can't cure stupid.

If it's wet and sticky and not yours -- LEAVE IT ALONE!!!

"Riding shotgun" does not mean you shoot the tires of non-yielding vehicles.

If at all possible, avoid any edible item that fire fighters prepare.

EMS is extended periods of boredom, interrupted by moments of sheer terror.

Every emergency has three phases: PANIC... FEAR... REMORSE.

A good tape job will fix almost anything.

Yuppies involved in accidents complain how bumpy the ambulance ride is.

It's not a compliment when Policemen say you're crude, crass & cynical.

The severity of the injury is directly proportional to the weight of the patient.

Turret mounted machine guns usually work better than lights and sirens.

Schedule your days off to avoid working during full phases of the Moon.

There is no such thing as a "textbook case".

Never refer to someone in respiratory distress as a "Smurf".

Automatically multiply by 3 the number of drinks they claim to have had.

Your social skills will be lacking, if all your anecdotes deal with blood.

Assume every female between 6 and 106 is pregnant until proven otherwise.

Get very, very scared when a child is too quiet.

Don't place bets on the glucose level of an unresponsive patient.

You cannot institute a surcharge for unruly or surly patients.

It is not necessary to have a pet name for your cardiac monitor. (Sparky?)

As long as stupidity remains epidemic in the US, you have job security.

Don't worry about the gunshot wound as much as dealing with the family.

All emergency calls will wait until you begin to eat, regardless of the time.

Corollary 1: Fewer accidents would occur if EMS personnel would never eat.
Corollary 2: Always order food "to go".

The Paramedical Laws of Time: There is absolutely no relationship between the time at which you are supposed to get off shift and the time at which you will get off shift. Given the following equation: T 1 Minute = Relief Time, "T" will always be the time of the last call of your shift. E.g., If you are supposed to get off shift at 08:00, your last run will come in at 07:59. (Or if you have early relief coming in you will see you relief sitting at the first stop light from the station, waving!)

The Paramedical Law of Gravity: Any instrument, when dropped, will always come to rest in the least accessible place possible.

The Paramedical Law of Time And Distance: The distance of the call from the Hospital increases as the time to shift change decreases.
Corollary 1: The shortest distance between the station and the scene is under construction.

The Paramedical Rule of Random Synchronicity: Emergency calls will randomly come in all at once.

The Rule of Respiratory Arrest: All patients who are vomiting and must be intubated will have just completed a large meal of Barbecue and Onions, Garlic Pizza, and Pickled Herring, all of which was washed down with at least three cans of Beer.

The Basic Principle For Dispatchers: Assume that all field personnel are idiots until their actions prove your assumption.

The Basic Principle For Field Personnel: Assume that all dispatchers are idiots until their actions prove your assumption.

The Axiom of Late-Night Runs: If you respond to any Motor Vehicle Accident call after Midnight and do not find a drunk on the scene, keep looking: somebody is still missing.

The Law of Options: Any patient, when given the option of either going to Jail or going to the Hospital by a Police Officer, will always be inside the Ambulance before you are.
Corollary 1: Any patient who chooses to go to Jail instead of the Hospital has probably been in my rig in the past.

The First Rule of Equipment: Any piece of Life-saving Equipment will never malfunction or fail until:
a)You need it to save a life, or
b)The salesman leaves.

The Second Rule of Equipment:Interchangeable parts don't, leak proof seals will, and self-starters won't.

The First Law of Ambulance Operation: No matter how fast you drive the Ambulance when responding to a call, it will never be fast enough, until you pass a Police Cruiser, at which point it will be entirely too fast. Unless you are responding to an "Officer Down" call then it is physically impossible to be traveling fast enough!

Paramedical Rules of The Bathroom: If a call is received between 0500 and 0700, the location of the call will always be in a Bathroom. If you have just gone to the Bathroom, no call will be received. If you have not just gone to the Bathroom, you will soon regret it. The probability of receiving a run increases proportionally to the time elapsed since last going to the Bathroom.

Basic Assumption About Dispatchers:Given the opportunity, any Dispatcher will be only too happy to tell you where to go, regardless of whether or not (s)he actually knows where that may be.
Corollary 1: The existence or non-existence of any given location is of only minor importance to a Dispatcher.
Corollary 2: Any street designated as a "Cross-street" by a Dispatcher probably isn't.
Corollary 3: If a street name can be mispronounced, a Dispatcher will mispronounce it.
Corollary 4: If a street name cannot be mispronounced, a Dispatcher will mispronounce it.
Corollary 5: A Dispatcher will always refer to a given location in the most obscure manner as possible. E.g., "Stumpy Brown's Cabbage Field" is now covered by a shopping center.

The First Principle of Triage: In any accident, the degree of injury suffered by a patient is inversely proportional to the amount and volume of agonized screaming produced by that patient.

The Gross Injury Rule: Any injury, the sight of which makes you want to puke, should immediately be covered by 4x4's and Kerlix.

The First Law of EMS Supervisors: Given the equation: X - Y = Quality of Care where "X" is the care that you render and "Y" is the assistance supplied by any Supervisor. If you can eliminate "Y" from the equation, the Quality of Care will improve by "X".
Corollary 1: Generally, Field Supervisors have no business in the Field.
Corollary 2: The level of technical competence is inversely proportional to the level of management.
Corollary 3: Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.

The Law of Protocol Directives: The simplest Protocol Directive will be worded in the most obscure and complicated manner possible. Speeds, for example, will be expressed as "Furlongs per Fortnight" and flow rates as "Hogsheads per Hour".
Corollary 1: If you don't understand it, it must be intuitively obvious.
Corollary 2: If you can understand it, you probably don't.

The Law of EMS Educators: Those who can't do, teach.
The Law of EMS Evaluators: Those who can neither do nor teach, evaluate.

The Paramedical Law of Light: As the seriousness of any given injury increases, the availability of light to examine that injury decreases.

The Paramedical Law of Space: The amount of space which is needed to work on a patient varies inversely with the amount of space which is available to work on that patient.

The Paramedical Theory of Relativity: The number of distraught and uncooperative relatives surrounding any given patient varies exponentially with the seriousness of the patient's illness or injury.

The Paramedical Theory of Weight: The weight of the patient that you are about to transport increases by the square of the sum of the number of floors which must be ascended to reach the patient plus the number of floors which must be descended while carrying the patient.
Corollary 1: Very heavy patients tend to gravitate toward locations which are furthest from mean sea level.
Corollary 2: If the patient is heavy, the elevator is broken, and the lights in the stairwell are out.

The Rules of Non-Transport: A Life-or-Death situation will immediately be created by driving away from the home of patient who has just thrown you out of their house. The seriousness of this situation will increase as the date of your trial approaches. By the time your ex-patient reaches the witness stand, the Jury will wonder how patient in such terrible condition could have possibly walked to the door and greeted you with a large suitcase in each hand.

The First Rule of Bystanders: Any bystander who offers you help will give you none.
The Second Rule of Bystanders: Always assume that any Physician found at the scene of an emergency is a Gynecologist, until proven otherwise.
Corollary 1:Never turn your back on a Proctologist.

The Rule of Warning Devices: Any Ambulance, whether it is responding to a call or traveling to a Hospital, with Lights and Siren, will be totally ignored by all motorists, pedestrians, and dogs which may be found in or near the roads along its route.
Corollary 1: Ambulance Sirens can cause acute and total, but transient, deafness.
Corollary 2: Ambulance Lights can cause acute and total, but transient, blindness.
Note: This Rule does not apply in California, where all pedestrians and motorists are apparently oblivious to any and all traffic laws.

The Law of Show-And-Tell: A virtually infinite number of wide-eyed and inquisitive school-aged children can climb into the back of any Ambulance, and, given the opportunity, invariably will.
Corollary 1: No emergency run will come in until they are all inside the Ambulance and playing with the equipment.
Corollary 2: It will take at least four times as long to get them all out as it took to get them in.
Corollary 3: A vital piece of equipment will be missing.

The Rule of Rookies: The true value of any rookie EMT, when expressed numerically, will always be a negative number. The value of this number may be found by simply having the rookie grade his or her ability on a scale from 1 to 10.For rookie EMT's medical skill: 1 = Certified Health Hazard, 10 = Jonny or Roy.
For rookie EMT's behind the wheel: 1 = Obstruction to Navigation, 10 = Mario Andretti.
The true value of the rookie is then found by simply negating the rookie's self-assigned value.
Corollary 1: Treat any rookie assigned to your Unit as you would a Bystander. (See The First Rule of Bystanders, above.)

The Rule of Rules: As soon as an EMS Rule is accepted as absolute, an exception to that Rule will immediately occur.

The “B” Word. (Originally Posted July 16, 2006)

The first time I said “I’m bored” while at work the hospital was evacuated for a Tornado and the city flooded.

The second time… well…


EpiJunky: The Closet
Dipatch: Are you guys in the station?
EpiJunky: *laugh* Uhm, you called us here.
Dispatch: You might want to get out, the ER’s on fire.
EpiJunky: Excuse me?
EpiJunky: *Rubbing my eyes* The ER’s on FIRE? But—
PseudoDad: THE ER’S ON FIRE? Hang up.
EpiJunky: We’re outta here.


Now PseudoDad is the Fire Chief at Podunk Twp. Fire Department. He’s been a Firefighter for 16 years. I normally trust his judgment completely. But when we opened the door and there was smoke in the hallway and the very strong smell of what I can only describe as burnt metal and he still took off for the ER (about ten feet away)… Well, let’s just say I doubted his sanity. I booked it for the nearest exit.

As I came out the door into the cool night air I was assaulted by the blinding red lights of at least ten fire trucks.

The first thing that went through my head was “Holy crap.” Followed immediately by “Where’s PseudoDad?”. He came out of the ER doors ten seconds after that.

PseudoDad: See what happens when you say you’re BORED? You need to stop that.
EpiJunky: *Laugh* You save some lives in there?
Pseudo Dad: Minor Electrical fire… Already out.
I check in with dispatch and let them know we’re gonna be on the portable for a bit.
Pseudo Dad: I meant it about the “B” word.

My Cousin Is home. (Originally Posted MId July 2006)

My baby cousin is home from Iraq.

13 month tour.

20 years old.

Thank you, for putting on a uniform and fighting so that your friends and family don't have to.

My respect and adoration for the Men and Women in uniform knows no end.

I think I'm lost... (Originally Posted 7-12-06)

I'm just not sure what to do with myself today. I need to get my head on straight. It feels like I can’t do anything right. I’m grateful that for the most part it’s nothing major, but yikes. Maybe my B-12 is low again.

Let me start by running down how last night went.

EpiJunky LOVES her some fireworks. I’m like a five year old. I get goosebumps watching them. I *HEART* fireworks. Tonight they’re shooting a rather large display off from a huge suspension bridge. I spent the first half hour of the shift trying to figure out how we could end up over on that side of town.

Pseudo Dad managed to pull it off. That’s why I love having him as a partner. I still don’t know how we managed it, but at 21:55 we were pulling into the gas station RIGHT NEXT TO the bridge where they were shooting off the display. God love that man. Of course we had to report to dispatch that we were “blocked in” at the gas station.

I should be ashamed of myself, I know.

We weren't terribly busy the rest of the night. We can blame this on a real nice little car accident with multiple patients, two of them in the back of our lil "van"bulance... Did I mention the fact that I got us a bit lost on the way to the call? Just a little bit. Added a minute on to our arrival time. Long story short it was an old map. Yeah, that’s what I’m blaming it on. Old map.

We get to Local ER, deliver our patients, yes, that's two, did I mention in the back of our van we had TWO patients? Yes, I'm babbling. It's just that this van is tiny enough. PseudoDad is close to 6’4” and I’m 6’0”, and it's kind of cramped under normal situations. Anyway, I digress. Both patients were delivered safely and without incident.

We go out to start the rig up, we're both cold, soaking wet from being out in the rain... And lo and behold, the rig does NOT start. No, I did not leave the lights on, no I did not leave the battery on...

There’s nothing more humiliating more than having the local competition (who coincidentally has SIGNIFICANTLY newer and nicer rigs) laugh and offer to jump your ambulance.
An hour and a half and several jump attempts later... It starts. We take the rig directly down to The Little Private Service that Could’s HQ, switch rigs (oh yeah, not only was the rig battery obviously having issues, but our "angry horn" wasn't working.) and head back to The Closet.
So now it's practically three am. We're both still wet. We're both cold. We're both tired, yet not tired. But tired.

After maybe three and a half hours of sleep I wake up, stumble out to the car, drive home, pick up milk, drive out to my 0815 physical therapy appointment, and find out that it's actually at 1715 as opposed to 815, tomorrow it's at 815.... *cries*

And it gets better still, most of the rest is revolving around whether or not I, EpiJunky, EMT-B wants to become EpiJunky, Paramedic, instead. I want it so much I can hardly stand it... It just looks like it might take a hell of a toll on my kids, my husband, my marriage, my sanity etc... I'd need some significant babysitting help from my family, and it just doesn't look like it's going be able to happen. It seems as if everything I do is wrong right now, but it’s not enough to deter me. I want to learn more.

Lay off the SMITE button already, m'kay? (Originally posted 7-4-06)

Okay, as if to prove my point, I just somehow deleted my entire last entry, just as I was about to finish it.

Dear God,

I realize that I haven't been to church in a while...

Okay, a long while. A very very long time in fact.

But I’m trying to live my life the right way. I gave change to some homeless guy outside of 7-11 tonight, in the middle of a torrential downpour, no less. And I'm usually the girl who pretends that she didn't hear the homeless guy outside of the 7-11... even if it's sunny and 80 degrees out. I volunteer. I donate what I can.

I raise my children the way I was raised... Or I try to. I try to do the right thing... I'm an EMT for cryin' out loud... I make absolute crap for wages. I could make more working at a carryout (the hours would be much better too!). I do it because I like to take care of people. Plain and simple.

My point is, I'm a good girl. Really, I am.

Why do you hate me? Why are you dumping what seems like an entire cities worth of sewer water on my FUCKING BASEMENT? I'm sorry to use such vulgar language but... GOOD GOD in HEAVEN... Twice in one week with the flooded basement? It's like you're saying "let's see what she has left after the first flood and RUIN it by dumping some more shit water in her basement. That's what she get's for having a few beers and driving home in a downpour."


Mr. EpiJunky is referring to our one basement drain as the "Bowel of HELL".

I have shopvac'd until my back gave out, and now Mr. EpiJunky taking his turn. I'm sitting here drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette... YES I'm SMOKING A FRICKING CIGARETTE for those of you family members who are reading... I'll quit again tomorrow.

Okay, Mr. EpiJunky is talking me down off the ledge. It could be worse. There were people a few blocks away that actually LOST THEIR HOMES. So in that respect I'm being a bit dramatic. I am a drama queen at times. We just can’t afford to have this house that we just bought a year ago, fall in on itself.

Okay, I'm calmer now. I've had a few beers, and I'm not floating on a raft in my basement, so I'm doing okay...True, I'm probably going to lose my sense of smell for the next week because I’ve got to BLEACH MY BASEMENT AGAIN, but... *breathes in, breathes out* I'm calm. I'm calm.... I'm fucking calm...

And God??? I apologize for accusing you of smiting me... Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. Yet again.

Another Angel. (Originally Posted 6-30-06)

I was sitting in Occupational Health yesterday trying to find something to divert my attention away from the impending TB shot I was going to get. National Geographic from 1999, AARP magazine, Popular Mechanic or yesterday’s obituaries. Good Lord, decisions, decisions.

I realized that I had actually read the Popular Mechanic issue last time I was in, so I grabbed the obituaries. Yes. Morbid. That’s me.

I instantly got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach… The one you get when you realize that you know one of the faces staring back at you. One of my favorite regulars.

I realize that in our line of work, loss is something we deal with often. But this was the first time I read the obits and recognized one of my patients. It hit me hard. Later on I broke the news to Pseudo Dad. I think he realized that I wasn’t taking it well, and I’m glad he was gentle.

“It happens, EpiJunky. You know he’s in a better place…. Think of what the last two years of his life had been like. You have a big heart, kiddo.”

He was such a wonderful man, very intelligent, well spoken... Had such a loving wife... She was there every morning, at the crack of dawn, when we'd bring her husband in for his treatment. And we're talking 5:15am here. And she'd be there with a smile on her face. She would thank us for bringing him in. Every single time.

As I read his obituary, I learned there was even more to this man than I had suspected... Three degrees, a Masters degree, and even more. A teacher for years who impacted so many young lives, an artist, a religious man... A man who lived his life the right way. I can just imagine what it would have been like to be one of his children. To have a father who stressed the importance of religion and education, and the arts...

I’m heartbroken for his family.

God gains another angel.

When it rains... (Originally posted June 30, 2006)

Everyone has one of “Those Days” from time to time. Most people even have a few of “Those Days” in succession. I’m having one of “Those Weeks”. It’s been a variable plethora of exhausting… crap.

Yes, my vocabulary has gone downhill since having kids. I need to work on that.

The first incident in my week of fun and excitement… “The Storm”. (Could also be titled “The Deluge”, “TAKE COVER!”, “Why is God Smiting Us?”, or “What In The HELL is a CODE GRAY?”)

I knew it was going to be a big one. One of those storms that keeps all three major networks on the air all afternoon throwing out terms like “Tornadic Activity”, “Storm Cell”, and “Projected Path”. I wasn’t thrilled with having to head into work just as the rain was starting to fall, or having to leave Mr. EpiJunky home alone with a paranoid of storms Future Cardiologist and She Who Rules The House. I had a feeling they were going to end up hiding in the basement, which would probably send the Future Cardiologist into a complete meltdown.

Staying home and calling off wasn’t an option. Who would be around to take the patient with a six month old infected hangnail to the ER? Duty calls!

As I started the 15 minute trip to The Closet the skies were turning gray. Rain was starting to come down, nothing heavy yet. The commute was uneventful. Which is just how I like it.
Within thirty seconds of arriving at The Closet/Local ER the skies opened up and began to dump what ended up being almost 10 inches of rain on the city.

Pseudo Dad met me at the doors to the ER.

EpiJunky: Looks like we’re gonna get some runs tonight, good thing, I’ve been bored lately.
Pseudo Dad: Please don’t say the “B” word.
EpiJunky: Bored bored bored bored bored.
I stick my tongue out at him for good measure.

We stand at the doors and watch the parking lot which is quickly flooding.
Then came the voice from above. No, not that voice.

“CODE GRAY, all personnel report to your designated stations!” This message repeats about fifteen times.

EpiJunky: What in the HELL is a Code Gray?
Pseudo Dad shrugs. He calls dispatch on the radio and asks.
Pseudo Dad: Tornado sited. See what happens when you get bored?
EpiJunky: I’m MELTING I’m MELTING… Oh what a world, what a world…. (Pseudo Dad gets the reference but is not impressed).

We continue watching the parking lot and assisting patient and visitors into the building. It’s about ten minutes later when we get approached by a security guard.

Security Guard: Ya’ll are gonna have to head downstairs, they’re evacuating the ER..
Pseudo Dad: We can’t do that…We’re essential personnel.
Security Guard: No, really, you’re going to need to--
EpiJunky: We have a duty to the County, if they call us, we need to get to our squad in two minutes. We’re staying here.

The security guard gives up and moves on. Everyone who could walk, patients, visitors and staff started to line the inner hallways. It was totally chaotic. Those who were bedbound were moved to the innermost areas of the floor they were on. I felt for these folks. It was not a fun experience for most of them. I’ve never seen Local ER empty. It was…eerie.

Our radio fired up. Code three county run to the local apartment complex for abdominal pain. I nominated Pseudo Dad to drive. I was not going to be the one to get us killed driving through what looked like a solid wall of water.

He flipped the lights and sirens on… The rain came down so hard and fast that the wipers had no hope of keeping up. It was the slowest we’ve ever driven Code 3. Luckily the local apartment complex was only a mile and a half away. Still it took us almost ten minutes to drive what would have normally taken two.

Two minutes away from the scene and my cell phone rings. It’s Mr. EpiJunky. There’s water coming up through the drain in our basement where he, Future Cardiologist and She Who Rules the House are hiding out thanks to the sirens that are going off. I can hear the panic in the voice of my son in the background. The daughter is laughing like a maniac. Mr. EpiJunky is not happy. I don’t know what to tell him at this point. We’re on scene. I have to go.

In the fifteen seconds it takes me and Pseudo Dad to get to the front door of our patient’s apartment we are totally and completely drenched. It was like we jumped into a pool completely clothed. My shoes make that fun squishy noise as I walk. The Firefighters on scene laugh at me. I look like a drowned rat. I love my job. With the intensity of a million hot burning Suns.

We get Pseudo Dad’s patient packaged on the cot and protected from the deluge of rain as best we can… Our efforts are basically futile.

The wonderful firefighters give me a quick run down on which major roads are still open and which ones have several feet of water flooding them. The hospital is about three miles away by our normal route.

I’m navigating a major road enroute to the hospital. I’m listening to the radio. Reports of police cars stalled out, an ambulance swamped in four feet of water “We thought it was a puddle”, Another ambulance from a local service was swamped so quickly that they fried their lifepak. (“Oooooh, someone’s gonna have to answer big for that one” my partner remarks from the back.) Everywhere I go is a dead end. I’m not taking any chances of driving through something that may or may not be five feet deep. Half an hour into our drive I start seeing people in row boats. Just down the street there’s a guy on a wave runner.

You can’t make this shit up folks.

The patient is starting to get anxious. Pseudo Dad is trying to navigate me around yet another flooded street while simultaneously reassuring our patient that I did actually know where I was going and that yes, his partner had indeed driven an ambulance before. We should have been to the ER 20 minutes ago and we’re still a good ten minutes away under ideal conditions. The good news is the rain is slowing down to a sprinkle. I’m mumbling all sorts of fun obscenities in my head.

Finally I back our blue and white rig into a parking spot at the ER. We offload our patient, Pseudo Dad completes his paperwork. Our patient with the indigestion is resting comfortably in her room. All is right in the world.

Time to head back.

An hour and fifteen minutes later we arrive at The Closet/Local ER. Pseudo Dad picks up the radio.

Pseudo Dad: Unit 28 to Dispatch…
Dispatch: Go Unit 28
Pseudo Dad: The Good Ship Lollipop is back in port.
Dispatch: *stifled laugh* Got you back in the barn 28.

Oh Ben... (Originally Posted 6-12-06)

Oh Ben... Why didn't you read my previous blog about WEARING A DAMN HELMET???

And I hope whoever hit you get's a massive body slam in the court system, but still... A helmet, honey... *sigh*

For My Motorcycle Riding Friends... (Orig. post 6-10-06)


Pseudo Dad and I had to drive a 32-year-old Motorcycle rider in a halo to a Nursing Home/Rehab two hours away because he broke his neck. He had been in a nasty accident, and was not wearing a helmet. He was in a horrible mood (which I can understand) and was in general depressed because he was going to be on his back for the next two months.
"So much for this summer..." He said
He's lucky he'll be able to walk.

Mosquito Bites? (Originally posted 6-4-06)

The last week has been pretty slow at The Closet. Now that I said that I'm sure the next few weeks will be absolute insanity.

Now last Friday, that was an exception. To get the whole story out, I have to back up a little.
Last week I had a dream, a nightmare really, that Pseudo Dad and I were working out of Very Inner City Station and that we were getting shot at. Woke up in a cold sweat, heart racing... Wow. Didn't really want to go back to sleep after that.

The next night I get to work and my partner finds out he has a pager waiting for him at the main station of the Little Private Service. Excellent. We've been waiting for these pagers for over a month, so we hop in the rig and head down. We knew that if we were heading that way we'd probably end up picking up a run.

We did. No big shock there.

Then we get asked to go post at Very Inner City Station. I had told Pseudo Dad about my dream the night before. He looks at me and starts with this nervous kind of laugh. "If I hear gunshots, you're getting out first" He said. Thanks :)

We sit at the station for awhile, then it starts to pour. I don't have my sweatshirt or my coat with me, so naturally, we get another call. Car accident. I took that one. The patient was pretty upset, but physically okay. She was boarded and collared and delivered safely to the ER.

I didn't even get time to finish my paperwork when we got another county run. I drove. Here's all I have to say about this... Kids should not be inhaling fumes from various household items. Mom's oblivious. For God's sake. The kid couldn't even stay on his feet. And I loved his explanation. Mosquito bites. I call BS.

The rest of the night was a mix of paperwork, runs, rig check, and exhaustion. Passed out in the recliner around four am, alarm went off three hours later.

Wow... I just reread what I've typed and I can't believe how boring it is. My apologies. :) Boring is better than something horrific happening. Like actually getting shot at and having to use Pseudo Dad as a human shield :)

Multiple MI's... (Originally posted 5-26-06)

My first shift with Pseudo Dad.


EpiJunky: “The Closet”

Dispatch: “I have a run for you out of St. Holy Hospital of the North End to Very Large Hospital in Cleveland.”

EpiJunky: Copy that. Enroute.

Pseudo Dad and I get out to the rig… He asks me if I want to drive.

I turn a shade of red. It’s raining and I still am not proficient at parking at St. Holy Hospital.

Pseudo Dad: “We’re going to work on that. I’ll drive for now.”

We meet my Patient, a very pleasant but somewhat anxious woman, very close to my age. I take a few minutes to talk to the patient, gather her belongings, and make sure the correct paperwork is completed. It’s going to be a long drive, the weather is awful, and we want to get on the road. Here’s where I made a mistake. More on that in a bit.

As we’re leaving St. Holy Hospital I get a starting set of vitals, and start to go through the extensive amount of medical records being sent with the patient. At this point I start to ask the patient some questions that I really should have asked before we left the hospital.

EpiJunky: “You’re having surgery?”
Patient: “Yes, I’m actually having a heart transplant”
EpiJunky: “You’re so young… A heart transplant?” I start to read into her medical records a little deeper.
EpiJunky: “You’ve had SIX heart attacks in the past six months?”
Patient nods.
EpiJunky: “You’re going to the best place to have your surgery done…”
I could sense she was very anxious, and I didn’t want her picking up on the fact that I was close to panic.

According to the paperwork she’s had two MI’s in the last ten days. She needs to be on a monitor, and we’re a basic car. We’re driving through a monsoon, two hours to a large hospital, with a cardiac patient, BLS.

What the HELL?

Was it dispatch’s fault for not sending ALS, the hospital’s fault for not relaying to dispatch that this patient needed ALS, or my fault for not picking up on the fact that this patient needed ALS BEFORE we left the hospital. I definitely find myself at fault for not reading her paperwork thoroughly before leaving with her. How could I be so stupid? How could I assume that I had the whole story and just assume that if they called for a BLS truck, it was because the call only warranted BLS? How could I not ask more questions before we left the hospital?

What happens if she starts having chest pain? We’re out in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes 20 miles between towns.

I stifled my panic and kept a close eye on the patient. We talked, joked, discussed jobs, families, etc. I took her vitals every 20 minutes and told the patient that if she had any discomfort whatsoever she was to tell me immediately.

We arrived at the huge hospital without incident and the patient thanked me for making the drive go by so quickly.

You have no idea… I thought… Two hours had felt like two days.

I later questioned my supervisor about it… Maybe I had blown the situation out of proportion. My supervisor, a Paramedic in a management position, blew me off.

“I don’t think it was an ALS run.”

That was all she said.

I came to a realization last night. I want to further my EMS education. I don't know that this will be my career... I'm far too new for that. And I almost feel like it's wrong to move on to EMT-I or Paramedic without getting more Basic experience... But I feel like I would be more of an asset to my patients and my employer with some more education.

I guess the positive spin on it would be at least I wont have any long term bad habits to break... Shoot, I haven't been around long enough to have developed ANY habits. This patient last night sealed the deal for me... If something, GOD FORBID had happened during our transport, with my education, I would not have been able to do anything for this patient other than give them aspirin. Cardiac Arrest? Get out the AED and start pushing, no ACLS drugs coming from me.

This isn't going to cut it for me, I have a feeling.

Maybe my intermediate this fall, Medic next year or the year after, and RN after that.

I’ll never be done learning.

A Night Under The Stars... (5-22-06)

I had a run yesterday that I'll never forget. And I really don't want to.

Some people are going to think that I'm being over emotional about it, and maybe I am... Maybe I don't care.

It was paged out as a routine run, a transfer. Pick the patient up from Hospital A, take them to Nursing Home B. Then go home and go to bed.

Since we're already at Hospital A, we find the patient, who's sleeping in his bed in the ER, and his wife who's doting on him... I make small talk with his wife, who appears to be my mom's age...

Pseudo Dad goes off to find the appropriate paperwork.

After several minutes of conversation, our patient's eyes open and he makes an effort to look at his wife.

A huge smile crosses her face..... She places her hands on his face and speaks gently to him. He makes some unintelligible noises. At this point I realize I have no idea what this patient was being seen for.

He's in a coma. He's in a coma and he just responded to his wife's voice. She's gleeful. Apparently he's been in this condition for about two years, they've been married for 30. She's stuck with him, even moving from their home into an apartment several hours away just to be near him while he's in acute care. (Thanks to insurance crap he can't stay in a home near his home or even in his own state...)

She speaks to him as if she expects him to answer her, as if he's the same person he was the day his heart stopped beating. And I understand that, I've seen the medical shows, I've seen the movies where the nurse takes the spouse aside and explains that the patient may still be able to hear you....

On the way out to the hospital, she encouraged him to look up at the stars... Then she told me that he doesn't get much opportunity to see them... I had to bite my lip to hold back tears...

Once he was safe in his bed, I had a nice talk with his wife... Apparently he's making some progress lately... It's slow going but promising. I could see it in her face... The love she has for him... Wow... It broke my heart for her, what they've been through, different nursing homes, the nightmares that go with that, so man hospital visits.... Her being accused of having "unrealistic expectations"...

She's a special kind of person... They're lucky to have each other.

I learned... once again... to be so very grateful for every little thing... Even just a night out under the stars.

Some People (5-21-06)

My thoughts... Nothing earth shattering today... Just basic life kinda stuff.

There are some people who can make a 12 hour shift seem like 48 hours. And there are some people who can make a 12 hour shift seem like an hour and a half. I realize this is true for any job and any shift, but in a job where you have a partner that you live with... It's even more true.
I've been very fortunate over the past several weeks...

A little backstory first. Due to my unfortunate hire date and a new driving policy, Pseudo Dad and I have to be temporarily split up. Being that neither of us can drive code 3 (even though he's got more driving experience than most of the other employees at the Little Ambulance Service That Could, again, that driving policy... I digress) we have to work our shifts for the next couple weeks with other people. Basically, we show up for our shift and dispatch directs one or the other of us to go to a different station to switch with one of those people. Most of the time they're cool about it. Sometimes they seem totally put off. And I understand that, I do. As long as they remember *WE* didn't ask to be put in this position.

Wow, I'm not horribly articulate this morning.

Take last night for example. I worked at 33 with two people who have consistantly made me laugh. And as an EMT, laughter is directly related to sanity. Or insanity maybe... But mostly sanity. There aren't enough cool people like them in the world.

Okay, enough about that. Here's a little mini-rant for you.

Who calls 911 because their back hurts? We're not talking about having your back go out, which has happened to me (I still managed to drive myself to the hospital, btw.) and is seriously painful. We're talking "Oh my achin' back". Seriously? Some of the county calls (911) we get are mind blowing. You have a toothache at 3 in the morning... So the first thing you think is... I better call 911? WTF???? SERIOUSLY.... DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT COSTS TO RIDE IN AN AMBULANCE??? It's cheaper to call a cab, jump on the bus... call a friend for God's sake!

The Future Cardiologist knows when it's appropriate to call 911 -- AND HE'S SIX!

I guess it's job security. And I'm still going to be polite, courteous, professional, etc to each and every one of these people, but lord...

Oh well.... *shrug* Maybe that's why I enjoy transfers so much... These are people who have a legit reason for needing an ambulance. AND they're the runs that pay the bills...

A Universal Truth (5-18-06)

I learned something last night... A universal truth.

3am. It's pouring down rain. It's cold. It's a weeknight.

Someone somewhere is drunk and high.

Someone somewhere is pissing off their girlfriend to the point where she'll beat him over the head with a lead pipe. Then he'll call 911.

I, of course, will be nice and warm, dreaming a lovely dream at this point. Until the phone rings.
Of course I wont have my warm coat with me at this point in time, which means I'm reduced to a sopping wet, shivering, drowned rat.

All In A Night's Work (5-17-06)

So I worked yesterday. I got to stay at The Closet for once... I wish I had taken a picture of our quarters there, you can't possibly picture how tiny it is. It's a 10X10 ft. room with a couch and a recliner, but I still don't think that's doing it justice. Tonight if I'm lucky enough to get stuck there again I'll be sure to get a good pic. In two short weeks I'll be stuck there indefinitely. YAHOOOO! At least I get free coffee and non stop action courtesy of the Local ER (10 feet away from The Closet).

It was a slow night. We got one call around 2am... It woke both of us up.

Let me backtrack a bit. I should probably mention that the overhead lights in The Closet are controlled by a motion sensor. We had it rigged with masking tape several layers thick in an effort to keep the lights from coming on whenever someone coughed. It worked just fine until OCD Partner for the night decided to "redecorate" The Closet. (I should probably add that OCD Partner for the night normally works in a much more spacious station.)

OCD Partner managed to move every piece of furniture in The Closet (ALL THREE OF THEM) to a different wall. In addition to that she decided to peel the several layers of masking tape off of the light sensor in order to apply "a more uniform" layer of tape.

Needless to say every half hour or so the blinding lights would come on, waking us up. This was unacceptable to my partner for the night. She was on the second half of a 24-hour-shift and really just wanted to crawl into her nice bed back at HER quarters. Which I might add (once again) are palatial compared to MY quarters. I digress.

So we had just fallen asleep for the third time when the phone rang with our county call. My mind just doesn't jump into high gear when I'm woken up yet, which is partly why I have such a hard time sleeping on my shifts. So anyway, the call is literally three blocks from my mom's house.

We're lifting the cot into the back of the rig when *HOLY CRIPE* my hand gets caught in the cot once it's collapsed. Ow ow ow ow OWWWWWWWWW. It's not broken, thank GOD. (Mental note... my hand does not go *there*... It goes *there*).

At this point my partner tells me she's heading home, she can't sleep at our quarters due to the slippery leather couch and lighting issues. So I'm going to get to sleep the rest of the night because we'll be out of service. What the HELL? Seriously? OCD Partner is going to go home for the night because she was stupid enough to take our intricately applied layer of tape off of the motion sensor AND NOW SHE CAN'T SLEEP?

A postscript: I did discover that when tired enough, one can sleep through the lights coming on and turning off every half hour or so.

Kindergartners Scare Me (EMS Week 2006)

Okay... so tomorrow I'm going to take a rig to the Future Cardiologist's school and give a little talk on EMS.

I'm terrified.

Don't get me wrong, they're a great bunch of kids. They really are. But the idea of keeping their wandering attention spans kinda freaks me out. I don't want to bore them, because as any teacher knows, a bored kindergarten class can be dangerous.

I've got some basic points that I want to touch on... When to call 911, when not to... Who will show up if they call 911, what happens on an ambulance... The importance of seat belts... I'm going to let them climb through the rig, sit in the drivers seat, run the lights and sirens (briefly)... I want it to be fun and exciting for them. I don't want them to be... bored. :)

I don't know who I'm going with, I hope it's someone who's not afraid to talk.

Why is it that I'd rather spend an hour with a drunk homeless person than a kindergarten class? What have I gotten myself in to?

It should be a treat :) Can't hardly wait.

Do I need stitches? (5-6-06)

Well, apparently since Pseudo Dad and I are both new employees we can't work as partners for 30 days. Never mind the fact hat Pseudo Dad has 16 years of Ambulance and Firetruck driving experience, he still has to serve the 30 days... You gotta love the Little Private Service that Could...

As a result I'm working with any number of partners between now and then... Tonight's partner, Irritated Burn Out. It's Cinco De Mayo. I'm in a predominantly Hispanic area.

Drunk person #3: "Do you think I need stitches?"
I look at this person, who's face is split open above their eye, nose is bleeding, a few other minor lacs... ETOH on board to the degree that I'm catching a contact buzz.

EpiJunky: "I don't know, I'm not an expert."

Ten seconds later...

Drunk Person #3: "Do you really think I need stitches?"

EpiJunky: "I'm no expert, but I'm guessing, yes, you probably need stitches."

Drunk Person #3: "My buddy is a cop, I hope he can find my car."

EpiJunky: "Well, cops are good friends to have for that."

Drunk Person: "Do you think I need stitches?"

EpiJunky: "Probably."

Drunk Person: "I'm going to have a cigarette."

EpiJunky: "Not a good idea.... See that big oxygen tank over there?"

Drunk Person: "Oh.. Okay... well then, as soon as we get to the hospital then... Do you think I need stitches for this?"

I suspect a head injury in addition to his lacs.

(This continues for another five minutes or so... Then this person realizes I have them strapped to the cot, not restrained, just secured.)

Drunk Person: "Hey, why am I strapped down? Am I under arrest?"

EpiJunky: "Think of them as extra seat belts... can't have you flying through the back doors if we were in an accident..."

Drunk Person: "Am I under arrest?"

EpiJunky: "I'm not a cop."

Irritated Burn Out Partner: "I don't think they're following us, you're probably safe." (Probabloy the nicest thing he said to ANYONE all night.)

Drunk Person: "Thank God they didn't search me, I have all this Coke on me. Wanna do a line?"

EpiJunky: "Not tonight, thanks..."
(Drunk person reaches into their pocket to pull it's contents out)

EpiJunky: "HEY... keep that in there, I don't want to see that."

Drunk Person: *giggles* "Do you think I need stitches? Do they have a plastic surgeon at *hospital name*? Do you think I'm going to have a scar? I'm sexy you know..."

I'm mentally rolling my eyes at this point while simultaneously praying to the gods that we get to the hospital soon... very soon... like yesterday.

This patient also proposed to me. Just what I need :)

I survived my first shift... It was interesting... I'm just too tired to write much more... maybe later.