|Searching for creative outlets is like having a
nasal pharyngeal airway shoved sideways up
your nose. Some of my colleagues play
music, some draw cartoons, and yet others
go and shoot inanimate objects. I have done
all of these at one time or another; but I still
have not found my niche. Today I venture in to
THE EMS DIARIES:
Dispatcher: "For unit 230, ambulance
requested at lot 33 2nd Avenue reference
Unit 230: "Dubois County we're enroute."
Dispatch: "230 the patient is complaining of
heavy cramping with discharge. The patient is
2 months pregnant."
230: "Clear! Have the caller place what she
has passed in a baggie for us."
Dispatch: "Clear 230" (rather queasily)
I looked at my partner who is enjoying the
queasiness in the dispatchers voice. It
seemed that she was paying dispatch back
for all the little battles that EMS has had with
dispatch lately. I just shook my head and
laughed at it all.
Dispatch: "230 be advised-- (pause) the
patient is in the back bathroom of the trailer."
Slam! Dispatch got us back!
Screaming down the turn lane light and sirens
I imagined the the upcoming scene.
Of course, you must understand that trailers
can be an EMS nightmare. Murphy's law of
EMS predicts that if you can stuff a 400
hundred pound pregnant female into a trailer
bathroom, she will deliver, be unconscious, or
Arriving we find the front yard a swamp of mud
from a weeks worth of rain. The yard is so
terrible that we left the cot on the most solid
piece of earth we could find; praying that the
patient could walk, or better yet maybe we
could get a Signature of Refusal.
We enter the trailer, feel our way down the
dark cluttered hall that is only three feet wide.
My partner almost kills off an entire collection
of Happy Meal knic knacks in the hall with the
Finally we get to our patient. "Phew" I sigh to
myself, she's 27 years old and weighs
approxemately 110 pounds. She is sitting up,
conscious alert and oriented. Her vital signs
are stable. The patient has passed
approxematley 100 c.c.'s of blood and clots.
A family member hands me a cartoon
sandwich bag full of clots. Wanting so badly
to be a smart-ass, and say "No thanks!, I
My partner proceeds to assess the patient,
asking the usuals. She sends me out to get
the cot ready. The patient will walk out. Amen!
Once back at the hospital, the nurses had a
"hay day" with our bagged goodies. Not
knowing what else to say to them, I said "EMS
is all about improvising and being able to use
what is on hand even if that means using a
super hero sandwich baggie. Don't worry I
kept your hamburger up front in the
Slam! One more point for us in the EMS/
nurses war! Ha! Ha! What fun!
The Young Medical Director
Ah yes, I remember the day that Dr. Beero
came to us fresh from from his residency. He
was so wet behind the ears that we gave him
a towel as a gag gift.
Our first standing order from Dr. Beero was
that anytime we went to the ice cream shop
we had to bring back a strawberry malt for
him. Did I mention that this new doc was a
kid? Well okay, he has the mentality of a kid.
Great ! I can only imagine what is in store for
Ouch What a Headache!
It had been one of those typical Saturday evenings in the e.r. , busy but not swamped. Busy is always a good thing in the e.r. It makes your shift seem shorter. During the busy time of our shift one Saturday night we were paged to a "gunshot wound".
"For unit 230, ambulance requested at 102 East 10th Street for a male with a gunshot wound to the abdomen."
"For unit 230, ambulance requsted at 102 East 10th Street for a male with a gunshot wound to the head. Request you stage back scene is not secure!!"
"Clear county! Request you start the chopper my way! Is the wound to the head or abdomen?"
"230 we are not sure. The caller had advised us of both. Are you clear that the scene is not secure?"
"Affirmative! What's the E.T.A. of the officer?"
"230, we are unsure... the officer is coming from across the county."
"Clear" Our hearts sank.. We would have to sit and wait until we got the okay that the scene was secure.
A few minutes later which felt like hours, we were given the okay to enter the premises.
We found our patient sitting up and talking to the police officer. There was a slight amount of blood but it was not at all what we expected. The young man was a little slow to answer our questions but we figure that was from the alcohol intoxication.
After a closer inspection we found the self inflicted wound. He had put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. He must have flinched because the bullet lodged in the hinge of his jaw. We could see the bullet protruding just under the skin of his face. It was one of the "coolest" gun shot wounds I had ever seen.
While we assessing the patient he told us why he had done this to himself. "I was at a party with my girlfriend and she got mad at me and asked me to leave. I just wanted to be with her forever." he cried. Now reader please remember this is the reasoning of a drunk man.
After all the usual precautionary packaging procedures we transported the patient. We had a firefighter drive us the nine blocks to the hospital. While we were driving in the patient began to cry and moan. When I asked him what was wrong he said "It hurts!" I guess my patience had worn thin with his drunken whining. I could not help it I just had to tell him "Hey, guess what? You know when you put a gun in your mouth and pull the trigger?.... It's going to hurt! Especially if you don't do it right! And just what part of you thinks that shooting yourself in the mouth will make you and your girlfriend be together forever!!" I got this all out in one breath. I could hear the firefighter driving the ambulance snickering to himself.
As we arrived at the hospital I understood what my patient was thinking. His girlfriend was all over him crying and giving him exactly what he wanted. Attention. I just threw my hands up in the air and walked away glad to be sent to the helipad to pick up the air crew.
We flew the guy to our nearest trauma center. A few days later he was sent home with the bullet still in place. It seems that he had no insurance and the removal of the bullet would be a cosmetic surgery.
As far as I know he is still walking around with a bullet in his mouth making a nasty little lump on the side of his face. Yup! He sure is getting all kinds of attention now. I understand that the lump catches your eye right away and it tends to make folks stare. Hell of a way to get your attention.
....The Wheelchair Race....
December 23rd was a damp 40 degree night. It had been raining off and on all evening. Inside our little cozy e.r. Lisa, our nurse, was trying to throw together Christmas decorations to make the place more cheery. My partner, Nighty, (yes that is her real nickname) and I were not in the holiday spirit so we chose to annoy our nurse by attempting to race wheelchairs up and down the hall. We raced around her half decorated tree. Trying her hardest to be stern and aggrevated with us she told us to go elsewhere with our chairs. Lisa's sterness only lasted for about a second as she could not help laughing at us.
We were quite the sight. we had turned a simple race into a demolition derby up and down the hall. NASCAR has nothing on two aggressive EMTs in wheelcahirs.
Deciding to save Lisa's decorations we raced down tha hall, skidded around the corner and out into the ambulance bay. Slapping the door opener as we zoomed by we had to slow down to keep from getting a head injury from the slow rising door. I looked over my shoulder to see Lisa standing at the ER doors shaking her head and yelling that if we got hurt she was not going to take care of us.
Nighty soon pointed out that the perfect racing area was the hill leading into the lower parking lot. We both powered to the top of the hill and with out a word the race was on. It was as we started to really gain top speed I found out that my new wheelcahir was out of alignment.
The faster my chair wobbled down the hill the more it pulled me to the right. At this speed I could not grab the wheels without breaking my fingers. I could not apply the brakes without flipping head over heels. I looked up to see the curb coming faster and faster.
The last thing I remember right before I attempted to imitate Superman was Nighty turning around from her perfectly aligned speeding wheelchair and cackling like a witch.
Bam! the wheelchair hit the curb and I was propelled into a beautiful lay-out Superman pose. All I remember Nighty yelling at that moment was "Tuck and roll!" SPLAT. Tuck and roll my arse I thought. I had landed flat on my gut and then skidded on my left side. My tuck and roll had been too late.
In between convulsions of laughter Nighty came to check on my damage. I had road rash on my palms, elbow and knee. I had worn holes in my pants and the sleeve of my shirt. Once I was able to breathe without pain I started laughing so hard that I had tears rolling down my cheeks.
I stood up and tried to dust myself off. That was impossible since everything was wet from the earlier rains. I righted my wrecked wheelchir with it's wheels still spinning and began the trip back up the hill.
As I hobbled into the ER Nighty's laughter gave our mishap away. Lisa rounded the corner and somehow did not seem suprised to see me dirty and bleeding. Trying to stifle her laughter she reminded me that she was not going to take care of me.
Lisa did give in and helped me tape a dressing to my elbow while Nighty continued to laugh so hard that she had to run to the bathroom.
About an hour later as I was starting to get stiff and sore from my accident we were called to a motor vehicle accident with multiple patients.
An hour or so later after we had taken care of all those patients I took off my jacket and found that I had lost my bandages and was bleeding again. This renewed our laughter about the whole situation as I descirbed to our ER doctor my new found skills as the flying EMT.