Ten Signs...

This is my (very late) contribution to Normal Sinus, an EMS collaborative writing project. Go check it out! I promise the other posts are much better than mine :) I had a really hard time with this post for some reason, I meant to make it humorous, but apparently most of my humor is written unintentionally.

Ten Signs it's time to get off of the Transfer Truck...

You can can fill out the billing information, PPH, and medications to most of your regular patients, by memory.

You've ever uttered the words “I love the smell of dialysate in the morning.”

You've accumulated over 100,000 Speedway points on the Reward card thanks to diesel purchases. (Or as an alternative, you tell your friends that you need to go “fuel your car” as opposed to “you need to go get gas.”)

You can map a path past a good coffee shop to any Hospital/Nursing Home/Wound Care/Pain Management Clinic/Dialysis Clinic in the city, and do it efficiently.

You're on the local Wound Care clinic's Christmas card list or you get an invitation to the Dialysis Annual Memorial Day Picnic.

You realize that you know the entry and exit codes to over 45 Nursing Homes and Hospitals.

You sleep better in the truck than you do in your own bed.

You can't remember the last time you “Lit up” the truck, or used the 911 radio.

You have standing prescriptions for Flexoril or Soma, and own or have access to at two of the following: ice packs, heat packs, Bengay, Absorbine jr., a back brace, a massage therapist, a chiropractor, or a really cute friend with great hands who loves to give back rubs.

You realize that in the last six months, 15 out of 17 of your original “Frequent Flyer” patients have died, and you can name them all.

This was meant to be humorous, I had every intention of going that route, but the truth is that those of us on Transfer units have a tough job.

It's not glamorous, it's long hours for low pay.
It's constant runs, and no station to call home.
It's being looked down upon by the "Professionals" on the dedicated 911 trucks.
It's more and more bariatric patients and the inevitable back injuries.
It's the constant risk of exposure to any number of diseases and infections that are resistant to antibiotics.
It's growing attached to your regular patients and watching them die.

It's a hard job.

Unfortunately for some it's the only way we can be a part of the EMS system in our area. I have some "time to serve" before I can work on a 911 truck regularly, I understand that. I just hope that I can survive that time on the Transfer unit without becoming completely burned out and apathetic.

The day that I discover I don't care anymore is the day I take off the uniform.


Matt said...

You're right. It's not glamorous.

But it's something you are passionate about. And you make a difference in your patient's lives. They're lucky to have you as a part of their lives.

Remember that.

Please call me. I'm not opposed to embarrassing you in public if I have to.

Epijunky said...

What am I going to do with you?

Thank you, for the kind words. It means a lot.

asthepumpturns said...

"You've ever uttered the words “I love the smell of dialysate in the morning.'"


I love your posts...and if I lived where ever you live, my dialysis clinic would so challenge your station to a good ole game of softball...our EMTs always kick our ass, I'm not sure why, but its getting embarrassing.

Douglas said...

"You realize that you know the entry and exit codes to over 45 Nursing Homes and Hospitals."

Does it really count as knowing 45 different exit codes when they are all 234* or 567*? I'm just asking. :-)

Witness said...

Douglas makes a valid point.

I feel your pain - I, too, often times am just another transfer bus. Although in my system, I can be a real, live EMS unit too.... but I've spent my time doing interfacility moves, and feel your pain for each and every one of those items.

Rogue Medic said...

There is no reason for one to look down on the other. I have generally done both, among my various concurrent jobs. The burn out can be worse on the transport jobs.

Camryan said...

You hit the nail on the head- in my previous medical life- if anyone wanted to know anything about a patient or office incident in the past- I could recite verbatim and I am still convinced that I could spout preop orders without looking if given half a chance. I always joked they would put them on my tombstone for epitah. I really enjoyed the post! Take care.


Medic61 said...

Ohhh transfer trucks. I'm not sorry I work for one; before I settle down as a career FF/Medic, I want to see as many "sides" of EMS as I can.

And, of course, your post is awesome.

rookie bebe said...

I've also done both transfer and 911. One 911 service was also a transfer service. We were the only ones serving the county.

There is nothing wrong with transfer trucks. Because 911 doesn't mean every call is legit. We just transfer the trash sometimes, not the really sick, like you do.

This comment may offend or just didn't come out right, but you'll know what I'm trying to say.

Jeff said...

Another commenter here via AD -

I can't imagine doing what you guys do. Every time I even think about someone having to take care of someone in a first responder kind of way, I tear up. I suppose training and experience help though.

And now for my dark side humor... :)

"The day that I discover I don't care anymore is the day I take off the uniform."

Suppose I could come by and you could pretend that you don't care anymore?