Category Archives: EMS

In Honor of a Year…

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It’s a year this month since I had to resign from being a paramedic. I just went and visited my EMS friends this past Wednesday and boy do I miss them and my job. AtlantaMomofThree is doing a blog party “Blast From the Past” which gave me the idea for this post. In honor of my job as a paramedic and all the great people I worked with, here are a few of my EMS related posts-mostly silly stuff-for people to browse.

Here’s to You Cumberland in which I rewrite Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me, Maybe” for 911 calls.

EMS Christmas in which I rewrite Christmas Carols for 911 calls.

Musings on the frailty of human existence…and bones. …this title sums it up pretty well.

Driver’s Ed a humorous description of awful drivers specifically dealing with changing lanes.

Favorite Dispatches gosh, I have sooooo many more I could add to this post…Including “26A1 sick person. Patient states she took crack and is sad now.”

Frustration Outlets I used paint to draw a picture of a “Murphy’s Law” call.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

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Here’s to you, Cumberland

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Feeling a bit creative lately, so here goes. Anyone ever heard the song “Call Me, Maybe?” By Carly Rae Jepsen? It gets stuck in your head, doesn’t it? Well it does mine. If you have yet to have the dubious pleasure of listening to this musical torment, please watch the following video before reading the rest of my post.

I decided to tweak the lyrics a bit. Here’s my version:

 

Call Me (911), Maybe

VERSE 1

You stubbed your toe when you fell

You’re just not feeling well

You’ve got bed bugs from hell

And now we’re on our way

 

Hemorrhoids hurt when you sit

Right now you need a quick fix

Your bandaid just doesn’t stick

So now we’re on our way

 

Our lights are going

Sirens, air horn blowing,

Road rage curses flowing

Why are we rushing crazy?

 

CHORUS 

Hey, I just met you

You’re screaming “Save me!”

Well here’s my number

Call me, maybe

 

It’s hard to take your

Head cold seriously

But here’s my number

Call me, maybe

 

Hey, I just met you

You’re screaming “Save me!”

Well here’s my number

Call me, maybe

 

And all those other patients

Truly dying

You have my number,

Call me, actually

 

VERSE 2

They didn’t stop very fast

Your bumper now has a scratch

You need insurance to max

So now we’re on our way

 

You know the steps of the drill

How to fake being ill

Just to get some more pills

So we are on our way

 

Our lights are going

Sirens, air horn blowing,

Road rage curses flowing

Why are we rushing crazy?

REPEAT CHORUS

 

END

Before you called with your complaint

I  was peeing

I was sleeping

I was eat, eating

Before you called with your complaint

I was chilling

And you probably knew that

But you called me, anyway

 

Viola! THAT is what happens to my brain when sleep deprived. Now somebody needs to make it into a YouTube skit and we could all be famous 😉

The grass is greener…RIGHT HERE.

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Brian got Active Duty Green to Gold option!!!!! Yaaayyyy, woohooo!! yeah! He’ll get to keep his salary while he gets his master!!!!! Great! Whoopie! He’ll be an officer by the end of it!!!!! YAY! Exciting! Can’t wait!!

I have now totally surpassed my allotted use of exclamation points for the next two months.

Truth is, I am relieved beyond belief that we got the Active Duty option, it helps a ton with our financial situation and it is the next logical step in Brian’s military career to become an officer. I’m excited and proud of him.

But I’m also grumpy. I don’t like change unless it’s my idea, and this is decidedly not feeling like my idea. I LOVE my job, not just “being a paramedic” but working here, in Cumberland county, with the crazies and the drunks and the nursing homes full of patients already over half way to heaven. I have great coworkers, I have FUN when I’m working, and I’m going to miss it, even the not so fun parts of it. And I’m going to miss the people I’ve connected with here, too. I don’t have short-timers syndrome, I have “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME GO!” internal temper tantrums.

My in-laws are really helping us out letting us move back in with them. They are great people who are very supportive and loving, and they’re not charging us rent-another HUGE help with the finances. But…we have a house here. It’s OUR house. I have one room dedicated entirely to ME that I’ve painted with stripes of varying widths and shades of green. I have tulip beds by the mailbox and grape hyacinths beneath the pear tree out front and neighbors Brian spies on through the kitchen blinds. I’m going to miss this house.

I’m trying to look on the bright side of things, but the truth is, I don’t feel like the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, I think it’s greener RIGHT HERE and I don’t want to leave it.

Alright, alright, I’m done being overly whiney. We’ve prayed long and hard about getting this opportunity and now that it’s happened I’m being exceedingly ungrateful. I guess I’ll never be super happy about change and moving, but one day, hopefully, I’ll acquire the good grace to accept it without grumbling. In the meantime, I’m going to go tape a cardboard box to Remus’s nose and see how long it takes him to shake it off purely for entertainment purposes. I may hate moving, but at least I have opposable thumbs.

Link Up Fail

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So after last Wednesday’s “Wondrous Words” link up by Bermuda Onion, I was all excited to do it again this Wednesday. I picked up King Lear and put it in my bag for work with all sorts of good intentions. Well, I didn’t completely flake out on the reading, I DID read…a little…ok maybe like three pages. Unfortunately, there were no new words on those three pages so I have nothing to contribute to the link up. :/ Shame on me. I thought about going to dictionary.com and looking up some  bizzare words to make it look like I was reading something super smarty pants worthy, but I resisted the deception. Instead, I’m falling back on an old standby and providing snippets from the ambulance.

Background info: Pt calls 911, they talk to dispatch, dispatch sends us on the call. I’ve left out any patient descriptors, but these are some dispatches that have made me laugh a little.

Dispatch: “Pt smoked crack and is sad now.”

Dispatch: “Pt complaining of extreme itchiness.”

Dispatch: “Pt complaining of insomnia.”

Dispatch: “Medic ##, cancel the call, pt has removed item from his ear. No further assistance needed.”

Dispatch: “It’s a finger stabbing, stage for SO.” (Sherriff’s Office) We had two finger stabbings in a row that night.

Dispatch: “Respond to a 29D2 (car crash), pt struck a utility pole….” “…pt is EtOH” (Drunk) … ”  Pt ran into the pole on foot…” (wow. Drunk drivers take out utility poles all the time, but without the car? Impressive)

Hope you enjoyed 🙂 Maybe next Wednesday I won’t have been such a slacker.

Faith in EMS

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Some times I get frustrated with the ridiculous amount of empathy I feel for people. I hid behind sarcasm and literal distance, preferring to deal with my own moods instead of constantly trying to navigate and appease others…and I cry in my car in my driveway at the end of shift. Empathy as a paramedic is useful, but I feel it can also be crippling. I have a hard time brushing off the patients we transport, especially those who die or we find dead. Some are worse than others and from some I have a much easier time distancing myself. Although I always feel sympathetic for the families, it is harder to feel sympathetic for the 40 yo F who strokes out due to constant cocaine use, leaving multiple children who are malnourished and barefoot to be picked up by other family members. It’s hard to feel sympathetic for patients who abuse the 911 system on a regular basis. It’s hard to feel sympathetic for the drunk who swerved out of control off the road and hit a tree-hitting a 5 year old child in the process. There are people I have picked up and I am absolutely amazed by how much they repulse me, I wonder how they could ever have let themselves get to the state they are in, and how they can continue when help-medical and mental- is offered to them free of charge and repeatedly. I get so angry at how selfish they are, what a burden to everyone else, and how they just don’t seem to care. It’s a helpless, frustrating, useless anger because there is literally nothing I can do, and I spend a lot of time in angry confused prayer trying to resolve my own pointless frustration with these people.

A few nights ago I was reading in Romans, and I came upon one of the famous Awana Verses Chapter 5, vs. 8. “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It was the verses before this one though, that really made me stop to think. Starting in vs 6, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” I thought of all those crackaddicts and chronic alcoholics, abusive moms, abusive spouses-some I know by name-those people we pick up that are so extremely disgusting, and realized that to God THAT was us. I know it’s been taught and preached (praught?) a bazillion times, but for me it was an eye opener, and some how, I don’t feel quite as angry at all those miserable, selfish people I transport. My anger dissappeared, I was abashed, ashamed, and extremely grateful. Now, I still get frustrated with some patients, but these verses bring me up short. I may not understand God’s purpose, I may not be able to help those that many in this system deem “worthless”, and feeling anger at the harm they inflict on others is ok, but if God can love me when I was that absolutely foul and revolting-riddled with sin, then I have absolutely no room to hate these other humans. I may not be at the point yet where I can love them, I may not be at the point where I would die for them, but I can at least keep my temper in check because ultimately it’s between them and God, and I have no right to be self righteous.

Just some thoughts that have kept bouncing around in my head. I’ve gotta keep working on seperating the sin from the sinner…

Performance Anxiety

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I’ve mentioned before that my current permenant partner on the ambulance has gastrointestinal issues resulting in varied -and frequent- sounds and smells. He has farts that last 30 seconds in duration and I swear make the ambulance vibrate. Ever make fart noises on you arm or with your hands and sometimes think they were completely unrealistic? They aren’t. Sometimes he farts and I wonder where the lightening has struck.

The smells are no less incredible or varied then the sounds. My appreciation of the different types of gas the human body can produce has expanded rapidly (haha, expanded…gas jokes). Some of the smells are sharp but dissipate rapidly, while others are almost cloying and as he succinctly puts it, “they get stuck in my pants.” He can fart outside the ambulance, climb inside, and the fart follows him. Crop dusting is not his strong suit.

Why all this talk about farts? Because everyone does it, and usually I take the crop dusting approach and sneak a little relief walking from the ambulance to the residence (as long as noone is close by) but lately I find I can’t even do that. As I was driving home after work yesterday morning and seemed unusually gassy I realized I hadn’t farted once since getting to work. Looking back I realized I have been holding my gas at work subconsciously and I think it’s at least partially due to performance anxiety. Not only are my farts usually silent, but the deadliest of smells I can produce would rate an “eh” on the Chuck scale. How embarrassing would it be to say “that was me” and get the response of “what?”. I explained this to him and he started laughing but then acknowledged that there is truth in my assessment because in the predominently male world of fart competiton, those who knew him would stop farting in his presence.

The only being I know who I think could take him in a smelliest fart competition…is Remus. Not only has Remus driven me from the room with potency and duration of lingering, but if Chuck farted at Remus, Remus would probably enjoy it.

Quick note….

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If you can’t afford to get your prescription filled, how are you going to afford the ambulance ride? Oh, thats right, you don’t ever plan on paying.

If you are having a true emergency, I don’t mind in the slightest.
If you seriously have no other means of transport or enough immediate cash for a taxi, I sympathize.
If you have a cold, six cars in your driveway, and at LEAST one other adult with a valid drivers license (who then follows behind or wants to ride up front), I resent you, a lot. It is hard to think well of humanity when THAT is over 50% of our calls.

PetsMart and Patient Stories

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I bought $204 dollars of stuff at PetsMart today. $30 of it was for two calming collars for my brother’s neurotic cat. The rest was dog food. I see other people similarily stocking up, taking advantage of the PetsMart Holiday sales, while their cutsie little lab mixes and cocker spaniels trot behind and the jack russells and chihuahuas pee excitedly in the shopping carts. The two giant bags of dog food they’re buying will last them 6-9 months (Shoot, might last the chihuahuas a year). I’ll be happy if I get two months out of the four bags I bought. FOUR 34lb bags of dog food. 136 lbs of dog food. Remus’s appetite is increasing because it’s getting cold outside again. We’re up to 10 cups of food a day. Actually, it’s midnight right now and I just put another four cups in his bowl, if he finishes it before morning it’ll be 14 cups of food in less than 24 hours. I’m contemplating buying a feedbag…

I shaved him a few days ago. His “Winter Cut”. i.e. I left the clippers on the longest guard and he now has uneven tufts sticking out where the blades bogged down. Not sure if it really improved his appearance too much, but he sheds a little less, his fur is softer, and he no longer looks like a shaggy poof on stick legs. Why he can’t grow a decent fur coat on his legs I will never understand. He just gets these ethereal whisps that trail out from his elbows and spike down his legs like the hair of a balding man attempting to gel spike his wrap around coif. Also, the shorter hair allows for better visualization of the jingle harness, oh yeah.

YES I will get pictures of him in his harness. I’m too proud of the construction of said harness not to post a few photes, but right now my camera battery is dead.

I’m still really not liking the whole “touch screen” smart phone. It doesn’t “touch” where I touch it. It’s always a few milimeters off. If they’re going to make the touch buttons that darn tiny they should work on calibrating the sensors. I’m tired of typing text messages half a letter to the right to get them to make any sense. Otherwise, my text messages “qiyls kiij kujw rgua” (“would look like this”). Irritating.

Funny Things Patients (or their family) say and/or do.

“I’ve only had two beers.” HA! Tell that to your car we’re attempting to peel out of a tree, or reassemble like a jig saw puzzle, or disassemble with the jaws of life….

Spouse-angrily, to me, while I’m listening to his wife’s lungs. “You don’t understand asthma.” Really? Then why did you call me? You’ve got three cars in your driveway and a valid drivers license, YOU take her.

Pt’s mom, “I put the cream on the rash at noon today, and he’s been fussy that it burns ever since.” …it is NOW  4am and pt (toddler) is sound asleep on her shoulder, but she wants him transported…by ambulance…to the ER…for………?

Frequent flyer pt: “I just want some pain medicine, I hurt so bad.” (This is her usual complaint) she continues “can’t y’all give me something?” We respond, “Ibuprofen?” she responds, “If they put me in the front I’m just gonna sign myself out.” We respond, “Then why do you want to go?” She responds, “It’s all those other people that go to the ER for no good reason that make the wait so long!”  Ah, sweet irony.

VERY heavy lady with a sinus infection who literally can’t sit up in her bed without assistance, calling all of her friends with the succinct message, “Ahhh, Diva’s Down! Diva’s down…”

Pt: “I think I’m having an allergic reaction to a cat.” Nurse: “where was the cat, did it touch you?” Pt: “No, I saw it cross the yard. I just want to make sure I’m not having trouble breathing.” ……………….

“Do you have any medical problems?” “No.” “Do you take any medications on a regular basis?” “Yes. Lisinopril, HCTZ, Synthroid, Zoloft, Crestor, Insulin…” (Translation: Hypertension, hypothyroidism, depression, hyperlipidemia, diabetes…)

AH, and I had forgotten about this one. Assault call where patient was in back with my partner (pt had injured knee or something) and pt’s girlfriend rode up front with me and regaled me with the whole convoluted often changing story. It ended with her deciding to check into the ER herself for a bite to her toes from a vicious stripper….yup, vicious stripper toe bites.

That’s all for now 🙂

EMS Christmas.

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Sometimes I get bored on the ambulance. Even in the midst of running calls I occasionally have to cudgel my brain into focusing on the task at hand instead of meandering off on it’s own. Sometimes those meanderings bear pretty interesting fruit, and lately, I’ve been stuck on Christmas Carols. So not only do I blow the air horn in rhythm with my favorite carols while driving lights and sirens (Jingle Bells is especially effective) I’ve come to making up some specifically EMS related variations to the classics relevent to the calls we receive in abundance this time of year.

“There’s No Place like Psych for the Holidays
So if you’re feeling stressed out or alone
A strip search, bed, and gown are all yours for free
For the holidays theres no place like Psych Zone!”

“Tis the Season for Drunk Drivers
Fala lala la, lala, la, la,
Coming home from Christmas Parties
Fala lala la la, lala, la la
Hitting curbs and trees and fences
Falala, falala, la la la
Neighbors call the ambulances
Falalalala, lala, la, la”

“Santa Baby, slip a lawyer under the tree,
for me
I’ve been an awful good boy
Santa baby, and hurry to the precinct tonight

Santa Baby, a get away car with rims that spin,
I’ll wait up for you here, Santa Baby
so hurry to the precinct tonight.

Think of all the jobs I’ve missed
Think of all the people that I haven’t hit
Next year I could be on parol
If you check off my Christmas List, boo doo bee doo”

I admit the lyrics are pretty horrible, but they are entertaining to think up at work. I’ll post more if I come up with any additional. Any other suggestions on how to keep in the Holiday spirit at work without getting fired?

Reverse Psychology, cornoring the grumpy market

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My point for this post is that I love the magic of Christmas, but I often struggle to enjoy it due to the stress and depression that clouds this time of year. For the past few years I’ve taken out some of my grumpyness on Christmas music. I mean seriously, who needs to listen to “Jingle Bells” for three weeks? I still draw the line at people preparing for Christmas PRE -Thanksgiving (be thankful before greedy, people) and that includes playing Christmas music, but after Thanksgiving? Well…three weeks doesn’t seem like such a long time anymore. As I was rolling into work blasting “There’s No Place like Home for the Holiday’s” I realized a big turn in my mood towards Christmas music is due to my work environment.

Let me fill you in on a well known EMS fact. EMS workers are GRUMPY! And boy do I mean grumpy. They rant about calls going to them and after dropping the patient off. They rant about co-workers, they rant about small paychecks, and in this season of increasing money draining stress, it seems everyone has ramped up their grumpyness several notches. At first, I sank right into the persuasive grumpy feelings, after all, I’ve been starting my annual grumpyness cycle in December for years. Usually I had to fight the annoying stream of holiday fervor, but here was a place where grumpyness was extolled! EMS has a good chance of cornoring the grumpy market this year, and I was happily wallowing in fellow feelings. Unfortunately, within a few days I realized how my work time grumpyness had exploded way past normal limits and was bleeding into my home life with Brian and Remus. Thats when I started listening to Christmas music on my way to work.

A little grumpyness is ok, but when it starts making me irritable and quick to anger it’s time to reconsider. Being angry is such a miserable feeling, even righteous anger, for me, holds zero charm. Anger means conflict, conflict gives me a stomach ache and usually makes me want to hide under a rock. Why would I want to encourage a way of thinking that leads to perpetual anger? Yuck! Perish the thought! Since I am stuck in a grumpy environment for 12 hour shifts- more grumpyness than even seasonally depressed me knows what to do with- I’ve decided to be UNgrumpy especially in regards to Christmas. Cue the music! I have embraced the holiday good cheer with a vengence, amping myself up on Christmas tunes and decorating my mantel with ornament bedecked reindeer. I’m constructing a red reindeer harness for Remus complete with silver bells, and considered wearing ribbon in my hair to work just to aggravate the Grinches. It seems the cure for my sinking into winter blues is not to try and cheer me up, but rather to out miserable me.

So, bring on the mistletoe and garlands! Instead of annoying me, I now sing along to Christmas songs on my commute to and from work. I think the true reason for my mood swing may be that it is far easier to be truly thankful for Christ coming into this world when the world I’m surrounded by needs Him so badly!

That said, there are still a few Carols that necessitate changing the chanel instantly, favorites are songs like “Mary did you Know?” And other Christ focused classics (Silent Night, Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, Away in a Manger…) along with the fun “Baby, it’s Cold Outside”, “Santa Baby” and “Let it Snow”.  Songs I can’t stand listening to include anything by Alvin and the Chipmunks, Jingle Bell Hop (that one is just mildly irksome) and my all time, least favorite carol- with lyrics that rival Rebecca Black’s “Friday” for stupidest in existence-“Do you Hear what I Hear?”

Anyone else have favorite/least favorite carols? Any other people/work environments that you think may cornor the grumpy market?