Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bad weather, and worse drivers

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and if you were working like I was, an uneventful shift.

What is it about bad weather that suddenly causes people to forget how to do the simplest of tasks, like driving? Whether it be ice, sleet, snow, or rain, some people tend to throw caution to the wind and do some pretty stupid things while behind the wheel. Then there's the smaller crowd of people who are doing the right thing and simply get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

While I'm on my mini-rant, I also want to mention the stupid drivers that feel the need to do stupid things during beautiful weather. Driving a car is NOT the time or the place to do things like put on makeup, talk on the phone, eat, nap, or read. At some time or another, I've seen all the above and I still wonder how some have survived this long. Then again, go ahead and do all those things, it's job security.

First thing in the morning on a cold, rainy morning, I'm toned out to respond to a vehicle accident with injuries and entrapment. Onscene, we find 2 cars involved, an SUV and a sedan. The occupants of the SUV were walking around and appeared ok. The occupant of the sedan was pinned. As soon as the units with extrication gear arrived, we set to work cutting the car away to free the driver.

There was already an EMT in the back seat holding C-spine, but since she isn't fire trained and didn't have any protective gear on, I kicked her out of the car and took her place. I took the time to tell the patient my name and get hers. She said the EMT hadn't told her what would happen. I explained that we were going to cut the car away so we could easily get her out. The roof would be the first to go, then we would roll the dash away from her legs and get her out of there. She would be put on a hard backboard and moved to the truck where we would cut her clothes out of the way, start IV's, and get more of her medical history.

Once the roof was cut away and removed, the next focus was rolling the dash. All the appropriate cuts were made and the ram was placed. It took a little experimenting to figure out which length ram was needed. Once the dash was rolled, we realized that in order to shift the patient to the backboard, her spine was going to be twisted at a weird angle. We did one of the few things I haven't done since the academy (I believe), and broke out a KED.
This is the best picture I could find of someone in a KED. I have no idea who these people are, but if you find your way here and want the pic removed, just let me know.
KED Extrication

We got the KED on as best we could, the ram (what was holding up the dash) was in the way of the left leg strap. Since it (the ram) wasn't very secure, we just went without the strap and moved the patient. I already knew from talking to her that she had some left-side injuries, but was finally able to truely assess her and see what we had to deal with. In the car, her left leg had been crossed under her right and the emergency brake was under her left knee. Her right foot was tangled in the pedals. Nothing appeared to be broken, but she had 2 lacerations that were to the bone; one near her elbow, the other at her knee. Of course, she was also complaining of knee pain and pain in her hip. The main impact was to the driver's door and there was 6"-10" of intrusion.

In the truck, we started IV's, checked vitals, cut clothing, and bandaged wounds. As soon as they were ready, the ambulance went enroute to Big City Trauma. We called BCT for the crew and gave them a heads-up of what was coming.

Time from initial dispatch until victim freed: 40 minutes.

Before I can barely sit down back in quarters, we get toned out for another entrapment. Single vehicle loses control in the rain, spins out into a tree. Nothing too special there, until we hear the car is now on it's side and the driver is trapped.

The driver wasn't really trapped, she was just in a really weird position and we couldn't easily get her backboarded. We stabilized the car and cut part of the roof away (the sunroof was already missing). One of our guys crawled into the car and helped lift the patient while we shoved a backboard under her. From there, all the care is the same as above.

Not sure of the total time from this one, if I manage to find out, I'll edit it in.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

New, Old, and the Indifferent

Well, things aren't totally different from before, but a little has changed. Still no decision has been made regarding the complaint, I've only heard rumors.

I finally finished testing for the engine license and hope to pick my new one up from HQ tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll be driving full time within a few weeks.

I've had a busy couple of days this week. Of course, there's all the Christmas shopping issues to deal with, traffic, stupid people, etc. I worked a training drill yesterday and had to go through a full decon, it was in the 30's and raining a little. I can't go into details too much, but I can say that the shower was so warm, I didn't want to get out. I also went to visit a good friend of mine that will be retiring soon. He doesn't have any family in the fire department, so he passed his hook down to me. He also took the time to show me how to drive a tiller, front and rear. I had an absolute blast!

Back to the regular old grind tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More drama than a sitcom

Work has been both chaotic and boring lately. Nothing too worthy of mention that I feel like talking about right now. I'm dealing with a lot of unnecessary drama at work and will try to get back into a normal posting routine once this is resolved. I may or may not post details about this case once it's been resolved.

For now, pray for my sanity.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I was bad, I'm sorry. I forgot to post that I would be out of town for a week.

I really enjoyed my time with family and friends. Don't you hate the feeling near the end of a vacation, you're ready to be home, but you don't want to leave.

As for work, nothing interesting to report. All the calls I've been on were just boring, mostly very basic things.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone had a wonderful day!
I'm staying inside today, all day. There's too many idiots out there and the last thing I want is to have to kill someone over something stupid (like a TMX elmo).

The countdown to Christmas has now officially begun!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Sad

All sorts of things have happened to me in the last week, hence the title of this entry. Without going into too much detail (as if I could help myself), here's the jist of things.

Within the last 30 days, I bought not just any new car, but my first brand new car. Everything went fairly painlessly, considering how much money I now owe the bank. A few days ago I recieved a letter from the loan company saying they were not going to approve my loan for the full amount, leaving about $1,400. Thankfully, I have a signed contract from the day I spent at the dealership and the dealership is dealing with them on my behalf.

Yesterday I get a phone call from my bank. Long story short, someone got my debit card number and has been racking up the charges. I now have an investigator assigned from the bank and I'm waiting to see what he/she says about getting a police report and further investigating the SOB. I want whoever did this to rot in jail!

Ok, I'm done ranting about personal stuff. On to the calls!!!!

A couple shifts ago I was working with one of my good friends on the ambulance. Around 4am we get a call for a patient with leg pain. As soon as we pull up to the scene, I immediately groan and my partner starts laughing when he sees why. Our "leg pain" patient, normally walks with a crutch. After talking to him for a moment, we get the story out of him.

His leg pain is a constant thing, never goes away or gets any better/worse. He took a tylenol PM about 5 minutes before leaving his house and walking all the way to the gas station, where he called 911. He was extremely uncooperative, stating at one point "you gonna take me to XXX (hospital name withheld ;) ) and I ain't payin a damn thing!"

Yeah, ok, whatever....Just get in the truck.

Knowing my temper and how irritated I already was at this guy, I told my partner to ride in the back and get his info, I'd do the paperwork.

At the hospital, we had to tell the patient repeatedly to get out of the truck. Don't think I'm insensitive, the guy was a jerk and did not need to be on the stretcher. At one point, he accused us of stealing his medicine...Medicine that he would not tell us the name of, let alone show us the bottle. Finally out of the truck, he had his next run-in with hospital security at the entrance. He didn't want to walk through the metal detectors. I became aggravated and went to the triage nurses to give them my report. They said to put him in the waiting room, exactly like I had hoped they would.

At the desk, the patient didn't want to sign himself in. Again he proclaimed "you gonna treat me and I ain't payin nothin." Their response? "This is XXX, we expect that here."

Thought I was gonna die laughing. XXX is our largest area hospital and is having some money issues due to people not paying their medical bills.

Lastly for this entry, a call from this morning.

We picked up an early call for the offgoing shift. It was a cardiac arrest and the patient was 2 months old. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do for her. She passed some time during the night, rigor mortis had already set in. When we left, PD had the room with the child secured and was waiting for both the medical examiner and major felony detective to arrive. Both are required to respond due to the child's age.

Mom was just standing there, crying. Dad was hysterical, literally banging his head into the wall at one point. Pray for them tonight, pray for their loss, pray for their mental wellbeing, but mostly, pray they find peace.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Truck Day

For lack of an interesting way to paraphrase it, yesterday was boring. In my department, Friday is traditionally truck day. After checking the truck off as I normally would, I broke out the cleaning supplies and got busy. The next couple hours were spent scrubbing and organizing almost everything in, on, and around the truck. We're under a watering ban so I couldn't wash the truck or backflush the pump (I was on the firetruck if you're a bit lost). I did wipe down the dirt that accumulates around the exhaust pipe so the truck wouldn't have a big sooty smudge on it.

Other than that, there weren't any notable calls. We only ran 3 or 4 calls during the day, and I got to sleep all night for the first time in a long time. It was eerily quiet for a Friday, especially considering where I work.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Start your day with a DOA

Not many calls were interesting yesterday, in fact, most were downright boring. Thankfully a couple were legit. One was a run-of-the-mill CHF call. The monkey-wrench was that the patient was on dialysis, so lasix was out of the question.

We had just gone available from another call when we heard an engine and ambulance dispatched to our local CPR training center for a elderly female who had a witnessed syncopal episode. Knowing the history of how many calls are actually cardiac arrests at the location and our proximity to it, we went en route also. Of course we were the first to arrive. I grabbed both jump bags and the cardiac monitor from my side of the squad while my partner unlocked and grabbed the drug box. We eventually made it down the corridors and elevator to the room.

Drumroll please....

Well whadaya know....she's in full arrest, good thing we brought everything with us. I unloaded the intubation kit while my partner hooked up the pads for the monitor. The Doc and nurses were actually in the room for once and were doing CPR, if you want to call it that. Last time I checked, CPR was more than 15 compressions per minute and is centered over the sternum, not the xyphoid process. While my partner shifts to intubate, I start looking for an IV. I thought I saw a shadow near her hand and went fishing but came up empty. Once she was intubated, we got the IV in her EJ (neck for you non-EMS folks) just as the rest of the cavalry arrived.

Everything sped up at this point. The drug box was unlocked, Epi and Atropine popped and pushed. Still not in a workable rhythm on the monitor. More Epi and Atropine, and a BiCarb. Sugar checked out ok, so we didn't push D50%. Since she didn't have a do not resuscitate order (DNR), we called the local hospital to request orders to terminate CPR.
Airway, IV, 2 rounds of drugs, and still asystolic. We had met protocol so termination orders were granted.
We notified dispatch, disconnected the monitor, stopped the IV, picked up our trash, pulled a sheet over the body, and left.

I know it sounds cold and sometimes it really feels that way, but sometimes there's just nothing more you can do. As a public safety worker, if I were to dwell on every bad call I ran, I wouldn't be able to get anything done. I'm not proud of the amount of death I've seen in my young life, but if I don't do this job, who will?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Babies and butcher knives

Last night was bound to be interesting. Not only because it was a Saturday and I was on the ambulance, but also because we were slated to work through daylight savings, a 25 hour shift. We weren't disapointed.

Two calls come to memory, the first, I almost laughed in the patient's face.
The young lady was at work, and just happens to be 7 months pregnant. She has had the unfortunate pleasure of morning sickness throughout her entire pregnancy. We were called because her "water broke." Once in the back of the rig, she admitted that she'd vomitted, and wasn't sure if it was her water breaking, or if she'd simply urinated all over herself.

I don't remember how the other call was dispatched, I've been sick and was working with Rescue Randy. Thanks to him for getting the call info I missed and listening to my giddy-sick babble. Regardless, we arrive onscene with PD and our guy is laying on the grass near the street with his head propped up on a brick planter. After a quick run-down from PD, we learn that our drunken patient claims his brother stabbed him in the head.
"Yeah, da mutha-f**** stabbed me with a butcher knife"
"A butcher knife?"
"Yeah. He had 4 or 5 knives he stabbed me with."
**note** He only had the 1 wound, although he had a good bleed.
We looked to the PD officers, who rolled their eyes. I'm sure they were happy that we would be taking this guy off their hands in a few short moments.

Each time the patient said something about what happened, the story was altered. By the time we arrived at the triage desk in the hospital, he said 4-5 knives and an axe were used.

I also swore that our dispatch center had sensors in my bed. Not 1, not 2, but 3 times in a row the bell rang moments after I settled into bed and stopped moving. It must have been payback for not running our first call until almost 8 hours into the shift.

A new start to an old idea

Welcome, welcome. Pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable. Oh, wait, not that comfortable.

While this is certainly not my first attempt at blogging, it will be my first attempt to put something down on a regular basis. So please bear with me as I figure out how blogger works, and also how to deal with the stresses of being a Firefighter and EMT in a large department.