Thursday, December 13, 2012

I still exist!

Alrighty..after an ungodly long delay in posting, I figured I should remind you all I still exist. I promise (and this time I mean it) that I will be updating this more frequently.

It is December, which means the holidays are upon us. November flew on by, with your's truly turning another year older, a fantastic Thanksgiving spent with family, and we are rushing headlong into the Christmas season.

Thanksgiving was wonderful! Myself, SWMBO, Big and Little Man went to both of SWMBO's families for Thanksgivings on turkey day itself. I as usual was stuffed to the point of being uncomfortable on great food, and did not really eat at our second stop of the day. Also did not help that I was coming off another night shift and had only a brief nap. Then, after a much later start then I would prefer, we were off on the road to my parent's. SWMBO drove for a little bit, and then I took over duties as chauffeur in chief, and we arrived safely at the Parental Unit's. We spent Thursday and Friday nights up at the parents, with Terri and Little man commandeering Little Sister's bedroom for the duration.  Big Man and I slept out in the camper, which turned out, at least for me, to be a bit of a frigid affair. Saturday afternoon we packed the circus back up and headed back home.

Slowly getting ready for Christmas here at home..SWMBO has done an amazing job decorating the house and getting it into the holiday spirit. Big tree is up out on the porch, put up and lit by SWMBO. Big Man and I put all the ornaments on..I think I did less yelling this year...

Little tree decorated entirely by Big Man is up in the dining room, and Little Man is fascinated by the fiber optic lights. Christmas here at the house will be relatively light again this year, but SWMBO is to be commended, as always, for her eagle eye for finding some bargains so we can get gifts for the littles. As usual, the grandparents have gone nut's with gift buying, but I think we have made some progress with the kids instilling the fact that Christmas is not about the presents, it is about family. All of us, minus Little Girl will be headed up to Aunt Paula's the weekend before Christmas to celebrate with SWMBO's mom's side of the family. Christmas day will be here at home with ALL the kids, then heading over to Nana and Papa's house to do the holiday thang over there. Last but not least is a to be nailed down yet date for my parents, and whatever siblings tag along, to come down, have a nice turkey dinner, and do a holiday gathering here sometime after the first of the year.

Little Man is getting huge..he is 5 1/2 months, 22 pounds, and is in 12-18 month clothes already. Luckily he has his momma's good looks, and unfortunately he has my gas. He is getting bigger by the day, and his hand-eye coordination is improving rapidly. We have found that he enjoys all the various kinds of squash we have cooked for him, pumpkin, carrots, and broccoli..all mixed with some apples for sweetness of course. He is even starting to sleep through the nights more often, which is greatly appreciated by both regularly exhausted parents.

Ok...some kind of medical update next time..I promise.  Not sure yet whether it will be a scenario based post with your feedback (yes, dear lord you can leave that stuff) working your way through the solution. Should be interesting with the mix of paramedics and nurses, as well as various other medical specialties that read this to see what we can come up with.

Until next time...


Monday, August 13, 2012

I Are Back!

Welcome back Loyal Readers..

Today marks the dawn of a new era..the era of TS&T via Mobile Hotspot!!!  SWMBO has had Sprint for 8 years now, and it has taken her almost this long to realize what a joke her cell service is. Dropped calls, busy network, 1g speeds all the would think that might be an indicator that you are not getting what you pay for...

Today we finally got some money and she has made the amazing, brilliant, stupendous move to join me on The Network That Actually Functions. In the process of doing so, I had them check my old calling plan versus their newfangled Share Everything plan..and it actually worked out about $30/month cheaper to switch..Sadly, that is with adding a 2nd smartphone, upping my data limit by 2 gigs a month, and continuing insurance on everything. Yay saving money, and not having to listen to her complain that The Now Stuff Still Doesn't Work Network is not letting her call me, and oh, sorry about the 48 copies of the same reply.

Another added benefit of this is that I can actually use my nice, fast 4g phone as a hotspot, therefore allowing me access to The Intarwebz again from an actual computer. Huge bonus to you folks since it means I can update this here blog rather effortlessly again.

Littlest One is continuing his ascension to Sumo size..he is 7 weeks old now, and has almost doubled his weight. He is usually the shining epitome of fat and happy. Little One is also here, along with G-man..both of whom were the shining epitome of Screaming Birth Control Ads today while we were out and about..I should rent those two out...cuz I swear, if they were not my chilluns, I would never want any of my own...Granted, most days they are quite well behaved, but when they are not, look out world.

Oompa Loompa EMS called me again today, trying to nail me down to work one 12 hour day shift per week. Apparently my contingent jobs have not realized yet that trying to schedule me on a regular basis is like trying to nail Jello to a tree. Plus, they are asking ME to work while the sun is out..what is up with that?!?!?? I tried explaining, yet again, that I work a completely random and indecipherable night time schedule, where no week is same as the one before, or after, or resembling anything written by a human.

Big Green EMS also approved me to work a shift for them Saturday night..with the caveat that since we got bought by MegaloExpansionEMS from down South, that I now need to come in for a "paperwork inservice" before I can actually work. Let's of course set aside the fact that I was one of their supervisor's who was actually responsible for doing said paperwork audits less than a year ago...Or that I need to learn how to document medical necessity, which is something that I have only been doing for 10 years now..Oh least they upped their pay scale slightly to make it a little more worth my time to go hang out with my buddies.

Not much new happening at Big City Trauma Center..other than that they are actually allowing some overtime for us lowly paramedics here recently, which is nice. The downside to that of course is that my moronic self recently completed 8 nights in a row, due to this newfound ability to approve an extra shift for me apparently.

Tips and trick's for you tonight are courtesy of our local Big Red Truck driver's, who also staff the Big Red Boo-Boo BLS Trucks. When one is dispatched to a call, and goes enroute to said call, one PROBABLY should turn on the really neat expensive LED disco light's that my tax dollars paid for. Especially if one is driving around with that there siren activated. A good hint that you may have forgotten this is the local Donut Protector's turned THEIR blinky red and blue lights on, with no traffic around, in the middle of the street when you went by. Liability wise, the city, and in my own special way, my fellow taxpayers and I thank you. People drive like enough of idiot's without you adding to the confusion, passing through red lights at dusk with no visual indicator of what the hell you are doing.

Till next time kids..


Thursday, August 9, 2012

I am still alive!!!

Greetings Loyal Readers..since by this point if you are still reading that is the only explanation.

I sincerely apologize about the delay in posting a new update!!! I have been so busy with life in general that an update just has not happened. Apparently I forgot how hectic life gets with a new baby in the house...

Little man is now 6 1/2 weeks old, and growing bigger every day. He is beginning to settle into his routine a bit more, and has finally decided that he does not need to scream at me all day if Momma is not home. He is doing much better with his feeding, and his jaundice is finally cleared up. Momma is cleared and healthy after her 6 week checkup earlier this week, as is Little Man. He also got the ol snip snip done and is now circumcised.

I am still working like a madman. Last week did 8 shifts in a row..that was a bit much by the end. On day number 8 I had fully re-affirmed my dislike of most of society. Was amazing to get a few days off, and on Sunday I drove down and picked up Little One for 2 more weeks. Last night I worked a shift at the Oompa Loompa EMS squad and skated out of there with only 2 runs for my 12 hour shift!

I have today and tomorrow off, gotta figure out what me and Little One are gonna do yet. Maybe a trip to the zoo tomorrow..we shall see.

Even though it has been forever since I updated, I am going to keep this brief, as SWMBO, Little Man, and Little One are all at home sleeping. Only reason I am updating is because I had to drop something off here at Father In Law's and add a website to his favorites since he couldn't find it.

Still no intarwebs at home, a luxury not needed at the moment, so I am sure there will be a bit of a lull before the next update.

Please, feel free to leave any comments or questions for me below, and I promise I will address all of them!

Till next time...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sorry for the wait

Hello loyal readers..Sorry for the long wait for anything new..been real busy here in the TS&T household.

Little Man has made his appearance, on 6-24-12. Stressful delivery with a few complications, with the end result of a beautiful healthy little boy. Obviously that kept me a little occupied for a while, especially with the several false starts that we went through. Even on the day of delivery we dealt with hassles, including a L and D nurse who was insistent that SWMBO was only having a kidney stone...

I managed to have enough time off built up to take 2 weeks off of work. Have spent the time off getting the Boss Lady and Little Man settled at home. Everyone is adjusting well to the new member of the household. I also have been lucky enough to have Little One for a bit over 2 weeks for my summer visitation. Has been absolutely amazing getting to spend that much time with my lil girl!

When I have some more time, and am not using a borrowed computer I will get some pictures posted. Since I am the only income in the house, a few cuts have had to be made. TV and Internet were the first to go, since we have shloads of movies in the house, and both me and SWMBO have the intarwebs on our phone. The only real downside to this is that I just can't bring myself to sit down and write a full post on my phone.

I go back to work tomorrow night, which means I get to stay up late tonight to transition myself back to a nocturnal schedule after 2+ weeks of being up during the day, that should be interesting. I miss the routine of being at work, doing what I do best, but by the same token I will definitely miss spending my days relaxing with the family. I certainly have a nice non-nocturnal tan going from all the time outside and in the pool with the Kids.

Huge thanks to family and friends who have given/bought us clothes, diapers, wipes, and assorted other goodies for Little Man. You all have been a HUGE help to making this a bit easier on us all.

Since I am at the Father in Law's, I will sign off for now, with promises for more regular updates, and a return to your friendly, bitter EMS rantings!

Till next time...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

No real changes, and a trip in the Wayback Machine

Hello again Loyal Readers..

Waiting game continues..had the 38 week OB appointment with SWMBO this morning. She is still only dilated to 2 cm and the baby is still high, although to me at least it looks like she is starting to drop. Heart tones are still good and everything still looks healthy. Plus, the doctor discussed the intricacies of the cervix which was rather interesting. 

Went down and picked up my check from orientation and training at Oompa Loompa EMS. The ALS coordinator tried telling me that he needed some more hours covered by me. I explained to him when I interviewed that I was only looking for extremely part time, and that I was NOT giving up hours at overtime pay at the full time gig to work for peanuts. I think it helps that the pregnant one was there to point at and remind him that I am not picking up any extra hours ANYWHERE till after Little Man is born.  

Work is getting busier at Big City Trauma Center. It is summer, and Darwin is in full effect. I have never understood the why of increased activity by the Knife and Gun club when the temperature rises, but it is definitely true. This weekend was not too bad as far as the Club's activities, although we did have plenty of assaults. Saturday was spent in a wonderful Xray vest and oh so breathable plastic trauma gown for most of the night. The fat man sweats when the temperatures increase much above what most people would consider cool to slightly is much worse when I am put in a plastic sweat bag with an extra 10 pounds of lead. Sunday got to go in a bit later since I had Little One until 730. Tomorrow I get to go in 2 hours early to make up for it, so hopefully the wonderful citizens of my town stay quiet and give me a bit of a break..we shall see.

Since the stories about what I have done with my time in EMS seem to be rather popular, lets hop into the Wayback Machine and take a trip back to when I was but a newbie in this career field.

As the esteemed Mr. Grayson would agree, there are those calls that will always stick with you. For me, the one that I think I can remember most vividly is the one that hearkened the end of my time as a Probationary Medic. It was a typical warm summer evening and I was working with Corey. Corey had been a medic for years and was stuck with me as his minion. We worked an odd 16 hour shift, from 10am-2am. 3 days a week, made it easy to pick up overtime or have a social life. We were sitting post somewhere, relaxing and talking. "Dispatch to Medic 36." "36, go ahead" we answered. "Priority 1, MVA at not so high speed intersection near campus." "Clear, enroute." Grab the VHF radio, lock in the city's dispatch channel, and call "Life Medic 36 is responding." We go bombing through town, sirens wailing and light's flashing. Move quickly but carefully through the usual traffic near campus, and pull up to the scene. I notice the usual collection of City and Campus Police cruiser's blocking the intersection, along with Engine 6. I see one car parked near the side of the road, not really noting a lot of damage too it, and the other car is nowhere to be seen. While not unheard of, you can usually find either a second vehicle, or an object that the lone car hit. Did not see anything like that here. Jumped on out, like a nice eager lil probie, and noted that Bennie was grabbing a backboard and collar bag from the engine. Odd...the city usually did not take much initiative on their own. Then again, it was Benny. Where Benny was, Larry was usually there also, and they both were EXCELLENT First Responders, the kind who not only did not mind EMS runs but actually enjoyed them and did a good job with them. Glance over, and see Larry kneeling down on the ground in the grass island/median. Started sauntering on over to them, hands empty, while Corey called us on scene with our dispatch and the City. Pulled my gloves on, full of my usual swagger. As I got to within a few feet of Larry, Benny ran past me with the backboard and bag, and Larry looked up with panic on his face. My mask of cool, calm, and collected slipped a bit. Larry shouted to me, "I think she just took her last breath." Tunnel vision broken, I looked down and saw my patient, a young lady with a rather bloody face and chest lying on the ground in front of Larry. I turned, shouted to Corey to get me everything, and rushed the last few feet. Larry gave me a quick run down, 20ish female, hit at moderate speed while crossing the street, unresponsive with agonal breathing until I showed up. I dropped an Oral Pharyngeal Airway in place without any response, and began ventilating with a Bag Valve Mask. Ok, so far so good. Good equal chest rise as best as I could see in the fading twilight, decent compliance. Corey jogged up, stretcher loaded with airway bag, suction, drug bag, and monitor. I could still feel a decent carotid pulse, but still no respiratory effort from my patient. I grabbed the suction unit, and cleared out blood, dirt, and who knows what else out of her mouth and airway. I told Larry to take over bagging while Benny got a c-collar in place. I grabbed the Combitube, pulled it from it's nifty plastic case, and traded places with Larry. Luckily, the Combitube slipped right into place without difficulty, and we very quickly verified lung sounds. Like a well oiled machine we rolled her onto a backboard, secured her, and it was off to the truck. Corey re-verified tube placement while I got a quick set of vitals. Grabbed a firefighter to bag for me while I dropped a 16 into her AC, first shot, no problem. Corey began running us in hot to the closest trauma center. The next 7 or 8 minutes went by as a blur. Quick trauma survey showed several broken ribs, unknown internal injuries, and not much to find externally. A second IV was started while rocking and rolling towards the hospital. Vitals were crappy as to be expected, but she maintained a pulse during transport. I turned her over to the waiting trauma team at Bronson, and wrote my report. The next shift day, found out she died from massive chest trauma. Although the thousands of patients I have treated in my career are mostly a blur, I will never forget Rayma. She was the patient that showed my ability to maintain my calm and treat a critical patient during such chaos. She also was one of those patients that remind us all of our own mortality, since she was close to the same age as me. Always humbles you a bit when you are taking care of someone who could very well have been you had circumstances been a bit different.

Well, enough rambling from me for one day. Time to relax, try not to melt in the 90+ degree heat, and maybe slip on down to the Casino to use my $10 in free slot play...

Till next time.


Friday, June 15, 2012

The Waiting Game Begins...

Hello again loyal readers!

As promised, I have not waited nearly as long to update as my last little hiatus. Not a ton new has happened, but figured I should write ya something new to read anyways.

I worked Monday and Tuesday, had Wednesday off, then went to go pick up Little One on Thursday. Today was spent being pretty boring, hanging out inside due to her still recovering from sunburn from last weekend. Tomorrow, if she continues to improve, I think we will have to test out the new Amazing Kiddy Pool of Wonderment. The one from last year sprung numerous leaks in the inflatable ring, as well as several in the sidewalls. I am quite certain that a number of those resulted from my unceremoniously dragging it down the concrete steps to the basement due to the snow that was falling. I put the old pool up 2 weeks ago, and then spent a fair amount of my time chasing down and attempting to patch all the leaks I could find. Despite my best efforts, there were still a number of leaks in the ring around the top that I could not find. Wednesday I busted out the new 12 foot pool that actually has a metal frame to it that the Father In Law bought. He originally purchased it to put up at his house, but due to his fear of ever marring his lawn and it being 2 feet larger than the identical pool that we had it would not fit on his deck he never put it up. I should have known as soon as I saw the "Simple 1-2-3 setup" written on the side that it was gonna be a bit of a pain to put up. I was right...My back was not so thrilled with me by the time I finished installing the frame. SWMBO came out and helped me to install the legs, and then I grabbed a Frosty Cold Adult Beverage and waited for it to fill..and waited..and waited. Apparently it takes quite a while to fill a 1550 gallon pool with a garden hose that leaks and pipes that are cobbled together and are 100 years old.

Yesterday, SWMBO pointed out that the water coming from beneath 2 or 4 points of the pool was likely a bit more than just old water left from the last pool. Of course, as usual, she was right. Found 4 small tears in the floor of the pool already. Today, a trip to that god awful Wally World produced the new chlorine tabs that I needed, a bag of shock that should last most of the summer, and a neat little $10 patch kit that claims to work underwater. Added a handful of new chlorine tabs, rinsed the filter element, and discovered that for once the advertising did not lie. That stuff not only sticks underwater, but the cool little fiber swab for slathering on the adhesive somehow did not stick to it or hold the glue at all!! Now, no more leaks, and I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that the solar cover had warmed the pool to a comfortable temperature already. An hour of water from the super-fantastic hose and the pool was filled again.

I have to work tomorrow and Sunday night..I will get up with the Kiddo's in the morning, hang out with them until mid-afternoon, and then catch a bit of a nap before going off to Save Lives and man triage. Sunday will be coming home and crashing for a few hours in the morning, then get up and hang out with the lil ones for a bit before saving even more lives.

Yesterday morning was spent with a trip to go see the O.B. SWMBO is now dilated to 2 cm, but Little One is still sitting up high. She is ready for him to come out, but I already asked her to wait till after the weekend so I can have a bit more time off to help  I have 2 weeks worth of time off and holiday pay banked up to help out, get them settled and bond with Little One before I go back to the grind.

Speaking of the grind. About a month or so ago had a really nasty case there in the ER. Got a tiny lil infant brought in by the Big Blue Whirlybird from an outlying facility. Apparently a family member's dog decided to take a lil taste of the baby to see what the new squirmy thing was that was squeaking and it did not end well. The little one was small enough that I spent the entire time holding the head in position to maintain an airway, including through several episodes of arrest. Continued holding the head while family came in to see the little one and make the final call. I managed to hold myself together, professional detachment and all, throughout most of it. I will admit that the tears started flowing as some of the family came in to say their goodbye's and talk to the infant before the call was made. I was quite appreciative of the fact that those of us directly involved with the several hours of care were allowed to stand back as the parents held the baby when life support was terminated..brought a bit of the closure to that experience that is sometimes lacking in EMS. I stepped outside once it was all done, said a prayer for the family, and had my little bit of a breakdown. Got to call and talk to SWMBO for a few, which made me truly thankful that I have a partner in crime who is in the same business as me and can understand. Went back in, and helped to make the impression of the hand for the family to keep, and to finish up the few things that needed to be done before the baby could be released to the coroner. Then, cleaned up the room, and went on caring for the other patients in the department.  I must say, it is times like that where the fact of how amazing my ER is comes out to shine. EVERYONE worked together perfectly even with the stress of the situation. Our Charge Nurse (coordinator, that night handled the family with dignity and poise, more than I think I could say if the situations had been reversed. He was a fantastic leader and guiding spirit throughout it all. Definitely blessed to have such great co-workers.

The other night at work we had another nasty peds patient come in, and one of the other medics was sent in on it..Good for him..I have had my fill of nasty pediatric cases for the moment. Not that I would not jump in and do what I do best if I needed to, but he could have that one..

Well, since despite my best hopes and dreams, the dishes do not appear to be cleaning themselves. I suppose I should go take care of that and a few other things before I try to get some sleep.

Hope you all have a great and safe weekend..

Until next time...


Monday, June 11, 2012

June, heat, and rain.

Good morning friends..Yes, I know for many of you odd daytime folk's it is far from morning, but not for me and my nocturnal brethren..

Life continues marching steadily on, although at times it seems to be it is charging headlong with no apparent brakes.  Had another great weekend with the Kiddo's, and even had my brother and my dad come to visit. Was definitely nice spending time with them. Mom couldn't make it as she already had other plans.  Little One and the Gman spent pretty much all day Saturday and Sunday in the pool, splashing, fighting, and generally being kids. Sunday SWMBO's sister and boyfriend also came over, bringing the grand total to 6 children acting like hyperactive chipmunks on cocaine to the pool.

Friday, SWMBO lost her mucous plug..combined with the pre-term labor she has been having, I think I am going to have my very own Little Man quite soon.  She has been on Terbutaline for the labor, but is scheduled to stop taking it on Wednesday. Last week she missed 1 dose and ended up at the hospital, having contractions nice and regular and strong at a 6 minute cycle..somehow I am thinking I may very well be having my own Father's Day Party up in L and

The weekend was also spent doing the assembly on the stroller/infant carrier combo that my grandparents very generously purchased for us, figuring out how the heck the baby carrier pack thing that CompuSciBro bought for us, and getting the diaper bag assembled. Today was spent putting together the swing that he also bought, and unpacking the Baby Bath.

Last weekend, we took Little One with us, hit a few garage sales, and also a really cool new resale shop that opened down the road from us to buy some baby clothes, since SWMBO apparently gave away ALL of the newborn and 0-3 month clothes that she had from Gman. If you are in the Toledo area, I would recommend checking them out for ANY kids stuff you might need!

SWMBO's Gramma is supposed to be taking her out shopping soon to get some more clothes and some diapers, which are always needed. We bought a pack of the newborn size the other day, but have not even come close to stockpiling what we need.  We are thinking that we will have a post-birth Diaper Party in a few weeks..just have to figure out where we are having it and such, since parking is such a beast here.

Has been amazing to have the last 2 weekends off with my daughter. This weekend I am scheduled to work Saturday and Sunday (booooooooo) but I suppose 3 perfect weekends in a row is too much to ask!  I am back to work tonight and tomorrow, then off until the weekend.

I have been asked to help co-write a blog post with EpiJunky so that should be coming out soon as well. Should be interesting, and looking forward to the experience.

Alrighty..I have dishes to do so that we can eat dinner, and other assorted minutia to do before work. I apologize that this post is rather incohesive and lacking in major substance..

Until next time...


Thursday, May 31, 2012

wow..apparently it has been a while..

Hello Loyal Readers!

I have neglected you, left you in the corner to starve like small pitiful creatures, and I apologize for that.

I have been incredibly busy for the last few weeks. Between working my full time Big City Trauma Center job on nights, picking up a few shifts at my contingent squad gig, working Big Rock Concert, and getting rolling with the Oompa Loompa EMS Co, I have had very little free time.

At the Big City job, the warm weather event type patients have been coming in with more regularity. More patients are coming in with extra perforations that they were not born with, whether formed by sharp pointy objects, really fast and small lead ones, or using their own motor vehicles to unleash Mayhem on themselves, people have been leaking out more fluids than they intended when they left their humble abodes. Granted, true Summer has not arrived yet, so there is MUCH more to come. Since I have such fantastic staff that I work with, I look forward to the challenge. Between the nurses, respiratory therapists, residents, attending doc's, and my fellow medics, I think we got this.

Big Rock Concert was a blast as always. One of the best things about working in EMS are those rare occasions we get paid to do something fun. Big Rock Concert is definitely one of those things. Saturday kinda sucked, as I was stuck on a transporting unit, in a city that I was not familiar with, with a partner (ambulance driver) who also was NOT from the area. Granted, we pulled through and rocked the job, but definitely not as much fun as getting paid to watch the shows and the crowd. Had several critical patients we took in, including a nasty trauma-alert head injury that was not discovered until well into the transport. Was pleased to receive several compliments on my assessment and field treatment, which I chalk up to my new experience from Big City Trauma. Sunday was amazing, as I was up at the main stage almost all day. In short, for being some people who are getting to be some Old Farts, Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie F#$%ING rocked! They put on such impressive shows that we had many less injuries than during headliner shows in the last few years...I attribute this entirely to people too busy actually enjoying the show than thrashing and dropping each other.

Picked up a rare shift on the road for what I guess is now Big Aquamarine EMS..worked with someone I truly enjoy spending time with, and had a blast. Got to pick up one of our regular dialysis patients that I had not seen in almost a year, and happily attended. Got to drive out to BFE and do a ridiculously short tote to a doctor's appointment and back...approx 1/40th of the mileage for that trip consisted of the transport....

Got hired on with the Oompa Loompa EMS Squad, which consisted mostly of "You are a paramedic? *insert drooling and fawning here*." Gotta say, the only reason I went over to this agency was at the request of Epijunky..apparently she would like to work a shift or two with me. Orientation was a disorganized mess, at least to someone who has worked at several different agencies over the last 10 years. Had my "training" shift today, which consisted of getting quizzed over drug dosages (have I mentioned I have not seen the protocol book yet??) and writing all the reports. Oh, and I drove back to the station to prove I won't recklessly play bumper cars while being supervised...yeah. All of my patients today were neck bubblers. For those of you who have not had the joyous experience of deep tracheal suctioning, I think there is no way to put across in words what a nausea inducing experience it is..Between the sounds of the thick mucus and sputum, to the vibrations of the suction tubing..UGH..grooooosssss. Yes, I understand it is part of the job. Yes, I understand it is NOT the patient's fault that they have a trach. No, it does not make it any less hideous and disgusting to me.

On a separate note, Oompa Loompa EMS is not as bad as I thought it was going to be, based off of what I was told by many people. They are a small start up company in the already flooded EMS market here in Big City. They have issues as does any EMS agency, be it private, fire dept, or some other system. However, they are trying, and by all accounts things are improving. Plus, they have several contracts for special events in the area, AND they pay an extra $1/hr for working them. I like the sounds of that.

For now though, it is time for this Nocturnal Medic to head to bed. I have my princess this weekend, and have to drive to pick her up tomorrow, and then work tomorrow night.  Sleep well, be safe, and as always, until next time!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Overdue Update

Welcome back Loyal Readers!

I know, I know, it has been a while, and you were actually beginning to forget I ever existed!!! I have had a busy start to the week already, after another fantastic weekend with Little One.  At the request/urging/begging of a friend, I applied for a 2nd part time job, bringing me up to 3 total.  Interview was cake/a joke, and I have my orientation next Monday.  I work full time in a big city Trauma Center on nights as a medic, I am extremely contingent at my former employer still as a road medic, and I am now a proud member of the Oompa Loompa EMS squad. If you had ever seen the uniforms, you would understand...

At my full time job, we use a 2 step triage system. The first step just covers vitals, a very brief narrative, and is designed to get the patient into the computer system and able to be placed in a room. The second step is much more thorough, covering full medical, surgical, psychiatric, and social history, along with review of meds, allergies, and "What does very good care mean to you." I worked a short lil 8 hour shift today, and spent the first half of it, dodging from room to room doing the second step triage. Needless to say, I got more practice at it than I would have preferred. On the other hand, I learned how to do full visual acuity checks, found out how fast a pregnancy test can come up positive (about 10 seconds!) and figured out how to put in orders for the radiology department.

The second half of my shift was spent out in the Land of Unicorns and Rainbows, or as more commonly known, Triage.  As usual, I worked my non-sunny magic on the waiting room, and turned it from a steady but consistent flow of patients into a morass of huge numbers registering, and then waiting for a room. Of course, that is not nearly enough fun, I had to throw my usual Winged Simian Minion into the mix, and come up with several rather acute patients for the nursing staff in the back to untangle. Among those, just hitting the highlights of course, was a wee one with some impressive respiratory distress, and a younger lady with a history of cerebral aneurysm who felt like she was having another one. Always a good time when you deliver a patient from triage and head directly to the Attending physician to make sure they are aware of the happy happy good times you have just blessed them with.

Now, it is home, and time to curl up with SWMBO, who has long since headed to the land of Nod.  Tomorrow brings a regular 12 hour shift of fun and excitement, plus trying to make sure I am conscious in time to see The Family before I go to work.

On a better note, next weekend will be spent with 50,000 of my closest friends working EMS for that there Former Employer, working Rock On The those who are at least somewhat familiar with modern Rock Music, take a gander at this and I am sure you can see exactly how I will earn money doing nothing but listening to great music (*insert eye roll here*). Just looking at the headliners for both Saturday and Sunday night, we gone be biiiiiizzzzy.

Till next time kids!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Weekend with the Kiddo

Well, I have been enjoying a fantastic weekend, both because I am off work on the combination Cinco De Mayo, College graduation, prom, and Full Moon weekend, and because it is my weekend with my daughter.

Since it was rainy and nasty out yesterday there was not much that we did other than hang out inside and play, although it did get nicer enough in the evening that Little One got to go outside and play while I grilled some steaks up. Today has been a nice lazy day..Went grocery shopping and restocked the rather bare shelves in the fridge and the shelves, then just hung out for the afternoon. This evening SWMBO and I took Little One to one of SWMBO's friends weddings. Nice ceremony, not too churchy. Outdoors at a nice park with an attached reception hall.

Both Little One and I enjoyed the reception, and "danced" several dances together. I say "danced" because there is not much in the way of coordination and cooperation from a 3 year old lol. SWMBO even took LO out and danced the Cupid Shuffle. LO caught on pretty quickly, and it was quite entertaining watching the two of them out there having a blast. SWMBO sat out for most of the dancing, as apparently being 31 weeks preggo takes a bit out of ya.

Tomorrow is the last day for LO being here until she returns to purgatory for 2 more weeks. SWMBO's sister is coming over with her two kiddo's to hang out and play with LO. Should be lots of loud, raucous fun for all!

The only thing that has really brought the weekend down was a letter I received in the mail today from the lawyer..Apparently The Ex called MY lawyer, complaining that I was actually exercising my rights to vacation time this summer. Since she infuriated her own lawyer to the point of dropping her as a client, she has made the oh so logical choice to complain to the lawyer who was working against her..yeah, that's the kind of logic I am forced to deal with when it comes to LO. She apparently made the brilliant move of threatening my lawyer and me on voicemail to him that if I continued to pursue my court appointed (and agreed upon by HER as well) vacation time this summer that she would stop allowing me to see LO, claiming that I am "disregarding the court order." Understandably, I must be, since I am following the exact language of it (roll of the old eyes here...).

She then goes on to claim that I am nothing but "basically a part time father". Umm yeah, that is the unfortunate truth, since I am limited to 3 phone calls per 2 week period, and seeing her every other weekend, by her refusal to allow me to play a more significant part of her life..

Sorry to vent to all y'all...just gets a bit frustrating at times. Wish the court system around here was not such a "mother rule" system and would allow a father who does EVERYTHING in his power to be there for his daughter a little bit more leniency when the mother is being unreasonable.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy's back to the grind again next week...which is probably better for the paycheck anyways!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Back after a few day's off...

Well, since there seems to be a small but steady following here, it appears that I am overdue for a new post!

Tonight is day 4 in a row of working, hence the lack of updates. Before you get too sympathetic, tonight and Monday were my only full 12 hour shifts. The other two were shortened due to shift trades!

For lack of a better topic at the moment, I guess this will be another about me post.  As I mentioned before, I work full time as a paramedic in a busy Trauma Center. I have only been here for a little over 6 months, but I love it! One of the common questions I get from both patients and other EMS providers who aren't familiar with us, is what exactly does a medic do in the ER? Well, here we go!

Triage, lots and lots of triage..Pretty much at any point, you will find at least one of us out front, manning the triage desk. After registration enters the patient into the computer, they either come straight to the triage area, or go to the waiting room, depending on how busy we are. From there, we snag patients, check vitals, obtain a quick history of current complaint and related medical history, meds, and allergies. We determine (if we are busy) the severity of their complaint and whether they need a room immediately or if they can wait a bit. If we are not swamped, they go straight back to a bed regardless.  Busy nights it is a very stressful place to be, with people coming up every few minutes demanding to know when they will be getting a room.

In the ER itself, we assist with getting patients into gowns, getting them hooked up to the monitors, and obtaining full medical history, confirming medications and allergies, surgical history, social indicators, etc.

IV's and 12 lead EKG's are a big part of what we do, bouncing from room to room helping the nurses out.

"Bedside Testing" such as glucometers, urinalysis, and blood chemistry's using the I-Stat machines.

Since drawing Blood Culture's takes a bit of time, on night's that we don't have a phlebotomist in the department we are usually responsible for these. On nights that we do have a Phleb, we still usually end up helping out.

When we have a trauma come in, we are responsible for establishing the IV's and/or IO lines, getting the patient on the monitor, and any other assistance as required.

In general, we function as nurse extender's, functioning fully to the scope of our practice, with the exception of medications. We also place foley catheters, as well as Orogastric and Nasogastric tubes. We also do a whole lot of patient transpots, be they taking someone in a wheelchair up to the observation units, or taking a cardiac patient on a monitor and med drips over to the Cardiac unit.

Being in the ER has a ton of new learning opportunities and a nice variety of patients that I get to encounter. We are a training hospital as well, so new changes to healthcare as they come out are regularly being brought up and utilized. All in all, I really enjoy my job.

When I feel the need, I can still go get my "squad fix" as I still work (very)contingent at one of the private EMS companies in town. Later on this month in fact, I am working back to back days at one of the premier Rock Concert/festivals around for said company..should be a blast!

Till next time, be safe, and have fun!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Welcome back, you wonderfully deranged individuals who take time out of your day to read my ramblings! As I sit here sipping on a frosty cold beverage, I am reminded that Prom season is approaching. Obviously, prom is a pivotal moment in the formative years of the youth crowd, in both negative and positive ways. I know I enjoyed prom from the having a fun night with friends and classmates aspect, and never felt the need to drink. Too many times however, be it with or without parental consent and support, the idea of consuming large amounts of alcohol seems to be a fantastic idea. Coupled with both the emotions and hormones of the night, the addition of alcohol to a lack of driving skills is a potentially tragic combination. Every year there are stories of the horrible accidents caused by this fateful decision.

I have participated in a few Operation Prom events in the past, all of which got mixed reactions. While a number of students always just blew it off as an excuse to get out of class for a bit, there was usually a group that it struck home to. The sight of their friends being pulled from destroyed vehicles, either "dead" or "injured" shook them. The arrest and detainment of one of their peers being handcuffed, Mirandized, and placed into a cruiser. The extrication from the wreck. The landing of LifeFlight. Add in well done moulage to make it all nice and bloody for the full visual effect.  The moans and screams from the victims. Add in a few parents acting out what is a not impossible scenario, and it makes for an eerie, disturbing scene. It may not get through to all the students, but it is hoped to get through to those who are paying any attention, and with any luck will pop up in their minds when they debate whether or not to take a drink.

East Baton Rouge Parish DA office video

Fantastic video done by the East Baton Rouge Parish DA's office for their Prom Safety efforts. Great editing, and just an overall wonderful job. Worth watching, and definitely worth sharing!

On a different note, thank you to everyone who has been reading! I hope to continue with regular updates and postings. Please, feel free to post comments, questions ,etc. Share the blog on your facebook if it so suits you and you feel it is worthy. There is nothing on here that is limited to just my friends and family.

Till next time kids-

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Me, As A True Hero...

Welcome back Loyal Readers..

A lesson, if you will, for the EMS Newbies.  Listen to your patients. Engage them, actually talk to them, not over them or around them. They called you, because they needed help. They did NOT call you for you to spend your time seated in the back conversing with your partner who is driving. Talk to them and find out what is really wrong. Listening to them, and interacting with them can make a world of difference in how a call turns out.

A while ago, I got called to a private residence for leg pain, non emergency..Showed up, walked inside, and found an older gentleman sitting in his front room. He explained that he has gout and arthritis, and the pain had become unbearable. Using the super fantastic pain score, he rated his pain at a 9/10, and I believed him. He could barely stand up, let alone walk around at home. He was widowed, and family only came to visit once in a while. He was obviously a bit lonely, which was understandable. We loaded the patient onto a stair chair, and then lifted him as gently as we could onto the stretcher, and took him to the squad. I got my initial set of vitals, finding nothing remarkable.  He wanted to go to a hospital across town, and before we began the transport, I apologized about the roads and the bumps that we would encounter along the way. While talking with him I found out he was actually a Physician, who had lived in Barbados for many years. We got to talking about his experiences and what life on the Island was like. He told me a bit about a prominent point on the Island that is named after some of my somewhat distant family. We joked, laughed, and just enjoyed talking. I was rather disappointed when it came time to call in my report to the receiving facility, and asked him his pain score to give them an update while I re-assessed his vitals. He looked surprised for a minute, and told me he didn't even notice the pain anymore.

Was a life saved or heroic's preformed? No. Simple, basic humanity was shown, along with a little bit of humor as medicine. A patient who initially was near the point of tears was actively engaged in conversation and joking banter, and became pain free, off of something that simple.

That is what patient care is about...

Till next time kids..


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A little more about me, and some thoughts on the night life.

Welcome back..Surprised to see I had several other people actually read the first post, so why not continue on some more, eh?

As I said before, I have been a medic now for almost 10 years, and have worked in a variety of systems. I have done the BLS first response side of things, moving to ALS once the squad was on scene as needed, worked as both a basic and a medic on the truck, worked on the fire department, and was even a supervisor at one EMS agency. I am still learning, and probably always will be, given that healthcare is a continuously evolving career field. Anyone new to the job who happens to be reading this, keep that in mind! I have a few years experience under my belt, but am by no means one of the "old timers" who have been doing this job for as long as I have been alive.

When I became a medic, it was in a system that had, and still has, a GREAT field precepting program. Just because you have a pulse and a P, does NOT mean that you got thrown onto a truck and told to go save lives. There was an extensive training period where you could ONLY work as a medic if you were with a Field Training Officer, who was a seasoned medic. After most of a year, and having a number of high acuity patients, both medical and trauma, you could go test out with the Medical Director. He would quiz you on anything and everything that he wanted to out of the protocols, and expected you to know and understand not just what was written, but the rationale behind it. The Good Doctor used to work in EMS, and would show up at random on scene's where he might be of assistance, so he was an involved director, who knew his crews and what they were going through. Once you became a proud new Level 1 paramedic, you still were not going to be working with anyone other than other paramedics. After another year or so as a level 1, you could once again go back to the Director and test out again on protocols, with harder questions and a higher standard of care, to become a Level 2 medic. Again, still working with other medics until you tested out to the Level 2 Platinum status, which would allow you to work with a basic. After some time at the Platinum level if interested you could pursue becoming a PFI, Paramedic Field instructor. Only once one had reached that level could you be training new medic's on the truck.

I was privileged to start my career in a system such as this. It developed me as a strong, well rounded medic. It allowed me to work with a number of different PFI's, taking advantage of their experience to add to my "toolkit" of skills, tips, and tricks to make me a better provider. I feel so bad for those that are thrown to the sharks, and expected to function proficiently as an Advanced provider without that guiding hand their to help them. I also was lucky enough to do a large chunk of my training time as a probie on nights. I soon discovered that much like Dear Old Mom, I was a night person. I despise mornings. The sun is evil, and exists to make it uncomfortably warm, and to hurt one's eyes. Maybe that isn't the case for you weird daytime folks, but to us Nightwalkers, it is. I quickly learned that night people are a whole different type of animal altogether. From the gas station clerks we hung out with, drinking coffee and pop, to the staff at the hospitals, there is an entirely different attitude than the day shift. Yes, most of us have our quirks, but overall I think the night crew was much friendlier and entertaining.

I had to convert to evil daytime existence when I began working a 24 hour shift, which I did for about 3 years. Back in October, I got lucky enough to find a new full time job, working nights, 7pm to 7am. I quickly adjusted back to my nocturnal routine, and have been living every minute of it.  Since those day's of starting in EMS 10 years ago, many changes in my own life have come about. I have a daughter now, who is 3. I have a fiancee, who has a 4 year old son, and is going through her own Paramedic program currently. We also have a new little one on the way. Unfortunately, at least in my case, the rest of my family are those weird "normal" folks who are awake while the sun is up. That leads to creative sleeping arrangements so that I can still see those that I love. Most of the time, I just keep to a mostly nocturnal schedule, but every other weekend, when my daughter is here, I have to switch back to days. Man, that is rough! It is even worse when I happen to have a scheduled shift on that weekend..trying to juggle spending time with her vs being well rested enough to safely and efficiently perform my job duties. So far what seems to work best is for me just to get up in the morning with the kids, hang out until noon or so, then take a few hour nap. I wake up feeling rested, get to eat dinner with the family, and then go to work.

Alright..I just noticed how much I have been rambling..I blame the Burning Ball of Hydrogen...

Till next time folks! Be safe, and have fun!

Welcome, and a little bit about me...

Hi! Welcome to my blog. I know there isn't a whole lot here yet, but hopefully over time this will change! This will be where I post stories, news, and other bits that I find interesting and hopefully you will too.

I am a Paramedic, and have been since 2004. I have been working in Emergency Services of one type or another for 10 years as of this summer (what a scary thought!). I started out taking an EMT-Basic class my senior year of high school through a program set up through the county board of education. Originally, I took the class because I knew that I wanted to be a Park Ranger/Naturalist, and having my EMT certification would help me to find a job. To those who know me, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that that fell by the wayside. I fell in love with the job, and the people that do this work, and decided that working in EMS was actually my calling. I finished my Basic class, took the National Registry exam, and then promptly went on vacation with my dad. We went to Texas, and I spent a good portion of the two weeks there doing ride time with my Uncle, who is one of the dinosaurs of this field. He has been working a squad and teaching since the 70's if I recall correctly. Since I was a nice eager beaver in school, I had already done significantly more ride time than what was required, having a blast the entire time. I got a feel for how things were done to provide prehospital care. All of my ride time was done with a private EMS company that had the contract with a number of townships and cities in the county that I lived in. There was no city/township/fire department based ambulances, all emergency and non-emergency transports were done by private services contracted with the various municipalities. When I was doing my ride time in Texas for a County Based government service, I was definitely in for an eye opener. Helicopter based transport was used much more than it was in my area due to the long transport times to Level 1 trauma care, as well as definitive care for any serious medical emergency. Call volume was significantly lower, and there was no non-emergent trips. I had a blast, and learned several new tricks (including how to attempt to explode pig lungs during advanced airway training) as well as got to experience a different system's operation.

After my brief vacation, I returned to the Snowy North in July, and promptly found myself a job working for "The Competition" from the service that I did my Basic ride time with. I started out, and worked for many month's driving the wheelchair van. Not much glory in that job, but I am a firm believer that it helped me to develop my patient interview skills and increase my comfort in dealing with a wide variety of people. Driving the wheely-van also showed me how little I knew about the streets in the town I grew up in. I continued to drive the wheelchair van full time throughout my Paramedic school, which I began in 2003. I began to pick up a shift here and there as they came available on the squad, just filling in. This allowed me to develop my skills as a basic, which is absolutely critical, and also presented me with the opportunity to see some of that Advanced Medical Schtuff in action outside of the classroom and clinical sites. After completing paramedic school, I had moved over to a full time spot as one of those Ambulance Drivers on the squad.  I tested and eventually passed National Registry (missed by a few questions the first 2 times) and began the wonderful world of Advanced Prehospital Life Support.

From there, the rest is history..I have worked in a variety of settings, be they Private EMS, Fire Department based EMS service, dialysis center, Amusement Park and a Zoo, even worked building those shiny yellow ambulance stretcher's for a brief time. Since then, I have considered, and decided against, working oversea's in a combat zone, changing over to working as a dialysis technician, and at the urging of everyone within earshot, pursuing a career in karaoke. I now work full time in an inner city Trauma Center as a Paramedic, and am loving it.

Future blogs will have all kind of funny stories, reflections on my experiences, some more about who I are, and where I done been, and maybe even some bits of advice and knowledge that I have picked up along the way. Hope the whole 2 of you that may have read this have enjoyed it, and maybe you will even come back again!

Until next time, it is time to go hide from that Burning Ball of Hydrogen in The Sky...