It's a SNOW DAY!!!!! (Unless you work in EMS)

The news had covered the coming storm... "Anywhere from 5-10 inches of snow!" They claimed. "The Storm of the Year" another said.

You can only call "Wolf" so many times before people stop listening. And that's where I found myself this morning. At least four times in the last two months I've watched and listened with baited breath while the local meteorologists talked about the huge snow storms that were going to hit Toledo.

Then one hits.

Here's what greeted me around five am:

Oh shit.

When I woke up just before five am, Toledo Public wasn't even on a delay. Within twenty minutes, they were cancelled. For those of you unfamiliar with the NW Ohio area, Toledo doesn't take cancelling school lightly. It's got to really come down to cancel school.

It came down last night and this morning. And just like in the story of "The Boy Who Called Wolf", well, I didn't make much of the several "false alarms" that had been put out there.... Then it bit me in the backside. Future Cardiologist not only did not have school today, but Toledo was under a Level Two snow emergency (which means don't you DARE get on the road unless you need to be).

Here's a shot from about seven am:

Sooo... what does an EMT in Toledo do when most of the city is shut down? Here ya go:

That's right, we kick our feet up and take a nap. We didn't get a run until well after 11am, which has not happened once since I started at the company I'm with now... Not even on Sundays, which are notoriously slow. Between 6am and 11am I managed to eat a bowl of ramen noodles, consume a cup of coffee, build a snowman, and take an hour and a half long nap.

After 11am my day got a little more interesting.

We picked up a frequent flier who in the past I have never had a problem lifting (Given his sidze, this is quite an accomplishment. Think Jaba the Hut sized). Today, initially, I could not physically force myself to lift him. (He's a regular Dialysis transfer I've lifted him several times in the past with no problem). I was starting to feel pretty bad about the situation. What was different about today? Turns out he put on 45 pounds (yes, that's damn near FIFTY POUNDS of weight) since his last Dialysis appt (a whopping 48 hours ago).

Yikes. The day, which had started out calmly, was not continuing the same way. Thank God I managed to beg the God of Flexoril to give me the strength to get this fellow on his way.

It took us several attempts but I managed to raise that cot three "clicks" over six attempts.

Next up came the "crunch heard around the world"

Yep.. friends and neighbors, an ECF nurse damn near broke my hand today.

Watch who you ask for an assist if you're not familiar with the person. It doesn't matter if their name tag has "DON, BS RN, RN, or STNA" on it. Always pay attention to where your hands are, how you are standing, and how you are lifting. The end result, should you blindly trust the person next to you, is not pleasant.

Honestly, initially I though my hand was broken. The "help" we had was "less than communicative".

The end result is I need to pay closer attention to where my hands are.

Playing EMT

Let's Pretend (02-08 Epijunky)

I need to vent. There has been a lot of talk lately on what makes a Real EMT vs. someone “Playing” EMT. So, a short quiz for you:

A) Is it someone who volunteers and does the job for the love of it? The one who runs out of dinner at the sound of tones coming from his pager?

B) Is it someone who is a paid “Professional”? The one who they show on TV dropping an ET tube while hanging upside down through the sunroof of a crumpled up car?

C) Is it the Firefighter/Medic or the Private service EMT/Medic who works 24 hour shifts 48 or 72 hour weeks?

D) All the Above.

Of course the answer is D. All of the above. I don't know anyone who would disagree. Of course all of the folks in these roles are true EMT's. They're out there helping people when they're at some of the most vulnerable points in their lives. They are out there making a difference.

There is another group of people out there. A group who is often looked over, made fun of, thought less of, mocked, and even pitied. I'm talking about the Day Car crews. EMT's who work anywhere from 8-12 hour shifts (often longer if it's a busy day). They run all day long, from the minute they clock on until they clock out at night. Constant transfer runs. Pick up the patient, take them to dialysis. Pick up the bariatric patient, take them to wound care. Pick up the 98 year old woman and take her to a urology appointment. Your back hurts? Too bad, there's another run to take, and another six after that. You haven't eaten yet? Too bad, you should have packed something. You have to pee? Tough luck. Oh yeah, and we're paid very handsomely for all of this running.

Wow, it sounds like I'm whining. Please don't take this the wrong way, I LOVE my job. I LOVE (most) of my patients. I Love the fact that I work with such a fantastic group of people, and that I have a partner who can make me laugh to the point of tears (It helps the day go by much faster).

What I can't stand is being treated like I'm “Playing EMT”. I don't like feeling like I'm a second class citizen because I'm not out running dozens of emergency calls. The scary thing is it's OTHER EMT's and Medic's who are the most guilty of doing this.

We are every bit as much a part of the EMS system. We are important. We make a difference. We might not be out there saving lives and “Living the Dream”, but we're out there. We're comforting the Grandmother of ten who is in pain and tired from her dialysis. We're making sure the 600 pound gentleman can get to his doctor's appointment. We get abuse from people too... We get yelled at by people who refuse to lift a finger to help themselves. We get screamed at by psych transfers. I've been spit on, bitten, and knocked on my backside.

I respect all EMT's that do their job well. Whatever job that is.

We're all important to the system. So cut us Day Car crews a little break. We might not be working a 24 hour shift, but we're exhausted just like you are. A lot of the day cars do as many runs in 12 hours as you do in 24. We just want to be treated with the same respect that you expect for yourself.

Epi and the haunted station...

The creepiness factor alone ranks this station as one of my least favorite places to work out of.

The building is old. It's in disrepair (quite the understatement). Some crews say it's haunted.

View from the "Dark Room" (02-08 Epijunky)
The "Dark Room" is the only room where there is not much in the way of light (Hence the name, folks!). It's also the only room where I felt uncomfortable. I kept hearing this scratching sound that gave me chills. In reality I'm sure it was a jumbo sized sewer rat.

Paint Job (02-08 Epijunky)
Yikes, I hope it's lead free! Somehow I doubt it, and it *would* explain a lot when it comes to a few of my coworkers.

Under Construction (02-08 Epijunky)
At one point in time (and we're talking a VERY long time ago) This was home to one of the wealthiest women in Ohio. Hard to believe it looking at it now. I would LOVE to see pictures of it back in it's day. (I've done some research online and haven't come across much as far as photographs dating back that far)

Talk To Me (02-08 Epijunky)
Not really sure why I took an interest in this. Maybe it was the crystal clear glass surrounding the older metal. Can't imagine the last time it was used for it's true purpose (as opposed to a change holder. See the dime stuck in there?).

Ghost Of Me (02-08 Epijunky)
There was something that happened during my short tour of the station... As I was walking through this large room with a mirror on one wall I caught a glimpse of someone behind me. Scared the shit out of me. Turns out it was me, reflected in a broken mirror. I could have gotten a little more philosophical here, but I'm lacking the creativity :)

One Year Ago Today...

Detective Keith Dressel was killed while pursuing a 15-year-old male who was involved in a drug deal. That male went to my high school and lived in my old neighborhood. He was sentenced to 15 years to life with an additional three years added for a gun specification.

She Who Rules actually behaving at the Funeral (02/07 Epijunky)

To Danielle and Keith's children... I will NEVER forget him. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Keith's slide show from the Toledo Blade (I had to get my tissues out)

Keith's Officer Down Memorial Page

Hey Fyremandoug... Check this out!

Star Wars Horoscope for Aries

Like many aries, you have demonstrated your penchant for inflicting pain.

You feel you are at the center of the universe and that you must be in control.

You enjoy being a leader... and you find that your aggression and quick temper serve you well.

Star wars character you are most like: The Emperor

Views from the front seat (POTD)

Today was a good day at work. 12 (actually, 13) hours can fly by when you have a partner that makes you laugh.

Nothing terribly notable today other than the weather. It was wild, we had winds come through, constantly attempting to knock us into other lanes. Then the snow hit.

Epijunky 02-18-08

Luckily the snow didn't last long.

Seven more transfers later we headed home. The view was like night and day.

Epijunky 2-18-08

I saw something today that I haven't seen in quite awhile.


Sure, the sun was setting, but I'll take it.

Playing catch up... And a sledding POTD

I realize it's been awhile since I've posted anything of substance, and I'm sorry... The last shift I worked was last Monday, followed my two days off (I'm currently working 12 hour shifts, two days on two days off) followed by two days at a CEU conference (It really stinks losing two full days pay just so I can pay money to take CE's, but it's my fault... I REALLY don't want my National Registry card to lapse.).

I managed to take my little guy out for his first sledding trip on Saturday. I met up with NuPartner and her daughter and we had a BLAST!

Future Cardiologist (February 2008 - Epijunky)

A quick note about my new partner (I've yet to come up with an appropriate name for her, I'll work on that). She's FANTASTIC. A VERY good, experienced, and patient EMT. She's also highly sarcastic and can reduce me to tears of laughter in the time it takes to say a few words. And she's just as scared of filling the O2 thanks as I am.

There's hope for us yet. Now, to tackle the 02 cascade thingy. Anyone with experience here, feel free to chip in.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

First and foremost I'd like to wish EVERYONE a wonderful Valentine's Day. Snuggle up with your loved one, and enjoy a long romantic night :)

I'd like to take a second to recognize my wonderful husband, Mr. Epi.

The man who gave me the most wonderful gift in the world, my children. The man who has put up with my teeth grinding, my mood swings, my writing checks and not telling him... The man who reminds me to charge my cell phone and grabs my ass in the same sentence. The man who has made countless dinners when I've been at school, The man who has rubbed my shoulders, The man who put up with me being on CPAP for six whole months (and STILL managed to make me feel hot). The man who encourages me, calms me when I'm scared, and even after nine years, makes me feel like a newlywed.

I love you. I worship the ground you walk on. You are truly my hero. And the best thing that's ever happened to me. (And there's no one in my life who will disagree.)

Your wifey.

One of the best posts I've ever read.

There's no way I could have put my thoughts into words any better than The Angry Pharmacist.

Clicky here
for the post I'm talking about.

If there's one thing in the world that infuriates me to no end it's ignorance.

I want to believe that most people on welfare/Medicaid are using it legitimately. They're truly in need and working to better themselves.

Then there are those who work the system.

They take their kids to free daycare then promptly go home where they watch soap operas and eat bon bon's.

They call 911 for fucking LINT IN THEIR EYE because they have "full coverage insurance" (his words, not mine) and don't want to waste the gas in the tank of their $30,000 car. (That brings me to something that just boggles my mind. Who approves a loan for a fucking Lexus when the person has no income of their own and relies on assistance?)

They whine and bitch when they have to pay a three dollar copay at the ER.

They live more comfortably off of welfare than myself and my family. We have two incomes. We work between 40 and 60 hours a week (sometimes more). All of my base pay goes to pay for daycare for my two children. My OVERTIME goes towards bills.

So help me GOD I will fucking snap the next time I go into a home decked out with a 60 inch wall mounted TV complete with Bose surround sound and a Hummer parked out front to take someone to the ER with Medicaid because they have a cold/toothache/ingrown toenail. Doubly so if their entire extended family follows behind the ambulance in the aforementioned Hummer. Okay, I may not snap on the outside, but I'll certainly laugh out loud when you get pissed because I'm told to park your ass in the waiting room.

(Disclaimer: As I said in the beginning, I truly believe that the majority of people on assistance are trying to make their lives better. This rant is directed to those who are working the system.)

Eight Years Ago Today...

My baby boy was born.

Future Cardiologist's Birthday
Dear Future Cardiologist,

My little man. Eight years ago you were born, and some days it feels like it was yesterday, and others... Well, other days it feels like it was eighty years ago instead of eight.

I carried you for nine long months. It wasn't easy, believe me, but worth every exhausting day. Some days I couldn't even get out of bed. It just goes to show you that even before you were born you were pushing me to do my very best for you. Everything I've done since the day I found out I was going to be blessed with you in my life, I've done for you.

The day you were born I woke up with a horrible cold. I called my doctor and he made room for me to be seen. When I went to his office he didn't recognize me! Apparently my Blood Pressure was so high I didn't even look the same to him. And here I thought it was because I didn't have my makeup on.

When they told me that I had to go to the hospital immediately I was so scared. I was worried sick about you. Nothing was going to happen to my little boy, not if I had anything to say about it. So I made some phone calls (I called your Dad, Grandma, and your Uncle) and drove myself right over to the hospital.

You know, I've learned a lot about preeclampsia since I had you, and for both of our sake I'm glad I didn't know then what I know now. The nurses were fussing over me, and I thought it was just because of my sparkling personality! I later on found out it was because I was pretty sick, and they were worried about the both of us.

They stuck me with needles, and gave me some medicine to help convince you that it was time to come into the world. It made me feel absolutely horrible, but despite that, I was still thrilled that I was going to get to meet you soon. Then they gave me some more medicine that made me feel even worse. This was to keep us both safe.

I sat in the hospital and waited for your Daddy to get there. He was out of town at work, and it took him awhile. Your Grandma was there pretty quickly. She left work to be with us. I was so glad to see her. She kept me busy while we waited for you. Your Grandma (All of your Grandparents) they love you so much, sweety. They would walk through fire for you and your Sister. You are so fortunate to have such amazing Grandparents.

I remember watching "The Rock" bake Valentines Day cookies for his wife with Martha Stewart. I know you have no idea who The Rock or Martha Stewart are, I'll tell you some day. You won't be nearly as amused as I was.
(The Rock. He's a professional wrestler and I didn't take this pic. I'll explain more later :)

It was a long day that was basically comprised of the absolute worst headache I've ever had, coupled with my being scared to death that something would happen to you. Thank goodness for the wonderful Nurse who massaged my head while assuring me that you would be fine.

With the help of several Nurses (who I credit with saving my life and sanity) and the Doctor who brought you (and your Sister) into this world, you were born. You, little man, were now part of our lives, and we would be forever changed.

My babies (January 2008 - Epijunky)_

Future Cardiologist All Boy (Epi 01/04)

Because of you, your father and I grew up and found out what it was to put someone else ahead of us. We learned what it was to love someone unconditionally. We became parents of an absolute angel that day.

Future Cardiologist and Daddy (Epi 02-00)

Since then I have been so blessed to have you in my life. I've learned more from you than you could ever know. I worry about you every day. Everything from whether or not your Dad remembered to have you brush your teeth to how the other kids are treating you. You've taught me about the joy of learning. You've taught me to be curious again. You've taught ME that I can do anything I set my mind to. You've taught me that when something interests me I should learn absolutely everything there is to learn about that subject. I remember when you were four and you were watching Blues Clues, and Steve was using bits and pieces of sign language. You wanted to learn how to sign your name. You were very insistent. Two hours later you could do it.

A year and a half ago I was in Medic school and learning how to read EKG's. You took my book one afternoon and started recreating the EKG strips on loose leaf paper. You wanted to know what each one meant. A month later we did your first Science Fair project. You decided to do it on "If your heart beats faster when you are sitting, standing, or exercising". It's your EKG that is tattoo'd on my ankle (and my heart) forever. It was YOU that inspired me to pursue my dreams of becoming an EMT (and eventually a Medic). It was you. Do you see what an impact you've had on me?

The point of all this...

I just want you to know how much I love you. I want you to know that you can become anything you dream. I want you to know that every minute of every day of my life, from the moment you and your sister were born until the day I die, is spent thinking of you and She Who Rules. I'm wondering what you're thinking, and if you're having a good day, and whether or not the other kids in your class are being nice to you. Every second that I spend freezing my booty off (again, your words) or studying nephrology is for you.

I'm not telling you all of this to make you feel sorry for me. Believe me, my life has done nothing but improve since you came into this world. I'm telling you this (and showing you too, I hope) so that you don't ever have to wonder if I really do love you. I'm telling you all of this so that you know that you are the most important thing in my life.

I'm telling you this because I want you to know that YOU... Yes you, little man, have made me a better person because of who you are. I will walk across a field of broken glass, I will slay dragons and boogie monsters, I will overcome any obstacle that presents itself in my life because of you.

You and your baby sister are my entire life. You are the reason that I wake up in the morning, and the reason that I do what I do over the course of the day. You are the reason that I run myself ragged. You are the reason that I do everything I do.

Happy Birthday, Baby. (Yes, you will always be my Baby, even when you're 105 years old) I love you more than life itself. Thank you for being my inspiration.

Your Mom.

A Chilly Photo of the Day

Worked a 12 hour shift today, the first 11 hours consisting of VERY cold rain, the last hour, snow.

Let me say something here... There is NOTHING as much fun as carrying a heavy cot up a few stairs with a 300 lb patient on it in the pouring down rain. NOTHING.

Okay, enough with the sarcasm.

Without further ado, a two for one photo of the day...

The Spa (The loading dock out back, at the deepest point it's a good five feet deep. Taken today by yours truly... And no, I didn't go for a dip)

And finally, the snow. It was a welcome change from the ice cold rain that was soaking our uniforms all day long.

My take on the Orton Effect... Picture of the Day

Sorry about my lack of posting, it's been a long week and I'm getting accustomed to working twelve hour shifts. Hopefully in the next few days I'll post something worth reading :)

The Before Shot.

The After shot.
Seeing Red (October 2006 Epijunky)

You may need to click through the image to see the effect more clearly. The Orton Effect is named after Photographer Michael Orton who basically sandwitched two images together, one in focus, one out of focus. The result being an slightly fuzzy, glowing type shot.

It's very easy to do with photoshop. If anyone is actually interested, I'll share the instructions.