It’s been very busy lately(five days in a row) — nothing exceptional, just the meat and potatoes of EMS — vomiting, hip fractures, asthma, hypoglycemics, lift assists, seizures, TIAs, MVAs.
Some of our syringes have retracting needles. After you use them, you hit a button and the needle zips back into the syringe. I noticed that if there is any fluid left in the syringe, it zips out the front when you hit the button. Now whenever I draw up saline to flush a lock, I draw up 5 cc, but only use three ccs to flush the lock. Then I point the syringe toward my partner driving and hit the button. Just like a squirt gun. Some of my partners have figured it out, some don’t notice the fluid landing on their right arm, others are puzzled where the water is coming from.
The public probably doesn’t think this happens — ambulances getting lost on the way to the hospital — but we have all been there. I can’t count how many times I have been in the back treating a patient and then looked out the window and wondered where the hell we were, or why we were heading in the direction we were. “Where are you going?” I shout or “We’re going to X hospital not Y!”
Not every person driving has been on the road twenty years. With the turn over at commercial services and the sheer number of people at volunteer services who don’t work that much, it happens a lot. I’ve looked out and been crossing the river going East when the hospital is on the West side.
To be fair, even when I drive, sometimes I tune out and make a wrong turn or forget where I am going.
One thing I do hate, even when I know where I am going, is when the family member who is following in their car, sees you at the hospital later and tells you “You went the long way.” Its like we should know the way everyone who has lived at one address for twenty years uses to go to their hopsital of choice at each particular time of day. One day when I was in an irritable mood, I said, “Sorry, I don’t know your little ‘secret’ route.” Point taken. Once when I did make a wrong turn, and the patient’s family member said, “You sure went the long way.” I said, “The normal route was shut down due to an accident.” Yeah.
As long as we get there and the patient doesn’t die because of the extra time, everything is all right.
I did do a shooting once in the city, went right by the hospital. “Where the…!!!”
New EMT just bombing down the road, lights and sirens wailing, no idea where they are going, no idea they are lost.
It can be a little stressful, telling them how to go when you have a critical patient.
I wish I had a 100 cc syringe with a retracting needle just for those occasions.
There is a new oriental restaurant in town — a sort of fushion between Japanesse, Thai and Chinnese. We got the lunch box special. $8 bucks for teriyaki shrimp, a California roll, beef gyzo, miso soup, rice, and salad. Not bad. The Shrimp was outstanding.
The day before I went to a place where I hadn’t been for four years — a Southern food cafeteria. I used to go there all the time, and then one day I had the serious runs after eating there — running to the bathroom on the hour, and then praying I didn’t get a call. So I went back — it was good, barbecue — pulled pork, black-eyed peas and collard greens with a slice of cornbread. Plus when I walk in the door, the proprietor goes, “Why Looky here — there’s a tall fine-looking white man standing in the door. Isn’t that something? My, my. I’ve seen you before, haven’t I? You’ve been in here before.” “Yes, I have,” I said. I didn’t tell her why I had been away. “Well, good to see you again. Now what can Mae, dish up for you?”
Someday I am going to write a Paramedic’s Guide to Eating Out. One of the best parts of this job is the array of food choices. Puerto Rican, Domminican, Jamaician, Southern, Oriental, Italian, Brazilian. Not to mention all the different hospital cafeterias — each with their own specials — one has great pasta specials, another a super cheap salad, another a great sandwich bar, another with great lunch deals.
In the last couple days I have done a couple IVs where I had to use 24 gauge needles to get into real tiny veins. While I got both, I noticed I had to really, really squint to see the needle and the vein together. I have never needed reading glasses, but maybe I should get my eyes checked. At least my hands aren’t shaking yet.
I didn’t get to bed until late last night. I was tired this morning with a possible cold coming on. I checked out my gear, and then got in bed. Three hours later, the buzzer goes off. I’m only allowed to sleep until eight, but it was nine. No one said anything. Let the man sleep. I snagged a coke on the way out the door. Off to a hip fracture.
It’s pouring rain today. I am sure glad it isn’t snow. It’s January 8 and still no snow. Fine by me.
The polar ice caps may be melting, global warming destroying the planet, but the good news is I don’t have to shovel snow.
I’m off tomorrow for my monthly regional EMS meetings, which means I can stay up late and watch the NCAA football championship game, have a beer or two, and then sleep late and still get to the gymn.
A Paramedic’s life is okay.