Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bookwormin' It

Thanks Bernice over at I Just Call It As I See It for the Bookworm Award.

Rules:Pass it on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences. The CLOSEST BOOK, NOT YOUR FAVORITE, OR MOST INTELLECTUAL!

My closest book is actually a stack of books that my wife and I just purchased for our Hawaii trip. So I'll go five books down into the stack...
On Call In Hell: A Doctor's Iraq War Story by Cdr. Richard Jadick. "... academic year, ROTC didn't amount to a whole lot more than putting on a uniform and marching around once in awhile. The summers, however, were an entirely different situation."

I'm looking forward to the read, especially knowing that I'll be reading it on a white sandy beach many, many miles away.

Now, my five picks:

Yeah, I know he doesn't post frequently, but he's near my neck of the woods.

EMT to Paramedic
Another infrequent blogger, but someone I who I think has great potential. Show him some bloggin' love.

Sam over at
On the Clock
Seriously, it's Sam. How could I
not pass this award on to her.

As the Pump Turns
My new, favorite nursing blog about a very good nurse in a very tough job.

Epi over at
Pink, Warm, and Dry
On any given day her writing can make me laugh, smile, or cry.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The EMS Gods Must Hate Me

Today, I started my vacation. I'm not on shift again until the 26th. Friday, my wife and I leave for Hawaii. But yesterday, the EMS gods, or the vacation angels, or the demons of time-off were punishing me for taking vacation. In order of appearance:
  • A psychiatric making a scene in the dining room of McDonalds at 8:30 in the morning.
  • A sweet, little old lady with recurrent GI bleed needing cauterization in Portland. Of course, she wanted transport to the hospital at the other end of the county.
  • An 60-something female with transient chest pain with previous episodes earlier in the week. She was getting the RV ready to go to Mexico when the pain started.
  • At 1:30-ish, a man having a seizure in the lounge of a local restaurant. Turns out, he almost always has a seizure after one or two drinks. Seems like he shouldn't be drinking...
  • An MVA in the pouring rain. One car rear-ended a pickup when the pickup decided to make an illegal u-turn in the middle of the highway and the car couldn't swerve to avoid. The driver of the pickup, of course, was uninsured.
  • After fueling and getting back into our end of the county, we were called to an elderly diabetic. He was glassy eyed, staring at the TV, had a mouthful of oral glucose (puffed cheeks and all), and with a BGL of 25. He was an easy fix with IV D50 and a no-transport.
  • A 70-something female that nearly-feinted at a grade school fundraiser. She was awake and waving us away as we walked up. i had to yell to talk to her--not because she was hard of hearing, but because the bad cover band wouldn't stop playing.
  • A dementia patient that couldn't walk upright. She looked like Micheal Jackson in Thriller when she tried to stand up and walk.
  • A 50-something female with sudden onset, middle-lower abdominal pain, no radial pulses, no BP, and very delayed capillary refill. She had a diagnosis of pneumoperitoneum in the ER (along with many, many other diagnosis--she was a sick lady).
  • A 40-something male with a GI bleed the vomited blood all over his bathroom and kitchen. Turns out he'd been taking 6-8 adult aspirin a day for about two weeks because of back pain.
  • A hour later (at 12:30 am), we took the above GI bleed to Portland for extended care and returned by 5 am.
Upon returning from Portland, I finally slept away the last few hours of my shift, stumbling out the of senior tech room at 7:45 am by the sounds of the relief crew. I was so tired that I couldn't even do a proper shift turnover. "Narcs are out in the ambulance... somewhere. You're low on oxygen... and other... stuff. Sorry."

I am so ready for vacation.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Storm Ready

Today, I had to bring my newly packed Storm Readiness (as in I'm probably being overly paranoid) Bag to work. A wind storm is supposed to be blowing through the north Oregon coast over the next 2 or 3 days. This morning when I left the house, it was blowing rain sideways. Today, I'm thinking about trees coming down and as I told the ER nurses this morning: "the rain tends to bring out the crazies."

As for my overly paranoid Storm Readiness Bag, I now carry on the unit with me:
  • A hard hat
  • Rain pants
  • Leather work gloves
  • Headlamp
  • Flashlight
  • Safety goggles
At least if I get stuck on a highway this winter, I might feel a little safer while the wind is blowing and trees are falling down around me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ideal Partner

A comment on my last post by Michael Morse got me thinking about who my ideal partner would be--or at least the qualities that I'd be looking for.

1. Comes to work with a positive attitude. This is of utmost importance to me. I'm 25-years-old and I've been able to identify in my self that I an easily influenced by other people's attitudes. It's a flaw, I know. But if my partner comes to work with a positive attitude and keeps that attitude no matter how bad the shift gets, then we'll have a great day together.

2. Leave the ego at home. I appreciate my partner's experience, be it 10 years or 10 days on the job, paid or volunteer. I believe everyone has a different perspective they can bring to the job. That being said, I am the senior tech and with that, I'm ultimately responsible for the station, the ambulance, us (as a crew), the firemen, the scene, and the patient. I want my partner's input on things, but if I say this is how we're going to do it, then this is how we're going to do it. Check the ego and go with the flow. You keep me from having to pull the "paramedic" card and you'll save yourself some embarrassment and headache.

3. Want to be an EMT. My company works Paramedic/Basic crews, meaning that roughly 90-95% of patients are cared for by the medic, most of the time relegating the Basic to a driver. And when the Basic has patient care, typically its for the "neck-pain" c-spine patient or the belligerent drunk we (paramedics) don't want deal with. But if you have a want to be an EMT, then you should have a want to provide patient care. EMTs that are here only to be my driver don't deserve my respect. EMTs that want to ride with patients and exercise their skills will be given more opportunities to do so.

4. Have the desire to do your job. Now this goes beyond that of patient care, this encompasses everything we do in our 24-hour shifts. All the boring stuff that we don't really want to do like house chores, inventory, equipment maintenance, training, mapping, ambulance washing, and everything else that takes away from driving around with lights and sirens. I don't like doing a lot of that stuff either and would much prefer to spend my shift on the couch sleeping or watching TV--but as my boss so bluntly puts it, "you're paid to work for 24-hours." So please, take the time to help me take care of the house work and daily chores--it makes my boss happy, which in turn keeps me happy.

5. Honesty, compassion, trustworthyness, strong morals and ethics, and all the other qualities that make up a good person.

I'm still looking for that ideal partner. Oh well.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


TJ and I had a falling out as partners some months back. He was moved to a night-car after it, but we were partnered again after his return to 24s. This were never the same between us. We used to laugh and joke, we had the same black sense of humour about our job. But when we started working together again, it was all professionalism, to the extent of cold shoulderness. He would hardly say hello to me in the mornings, wouldn't do a rig check with me, or would hardly say a word to the patients or firemen on scene.

I had a conversation with my supervisor last night, and it went something like this:

Supervisor: "I had a conversation with TJ the other night. He said something about you..."
Me: "Oh yeah. What was that?"
Supervisor: "He told me, 'I know that Jeramy and I have had our differences in the past, but at least I never had to worry about his abilities as a paramedic.'"

Not that I ever tried to impress TJ, but I always did wonder if he respected me as a paramedic. Now I know.

And you know, it's nice to have that resolution.