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...