Thursday, November 26, 2009

Shift 2: In Which Red Actually Does Stuff

1900: Arrival, sent to rural base 2

1925: En route code 4 to chest pain/SOB. Tearing down back country roads in the fog and rain with lights and sirens blaring is fun - not knowing where we are going makes it feel faster than reality. Assisted with 02, vitals, cardiac monitor and stretcher lifting. ACP partner did 12-lead ECG, gave nitro and put in an IV. I can't watch needle sticks on TV, but in real life I find it fascinating. Monitor shows 3rd degree heart block.

2100: City base 2

2115: Code 4 to SOB/severe headache. Pt. felt a headache come on 'like a sledgehammer' and then started to experience chest pain. No physical evidence of a stroke/TIA, although he has a past history. Monitor, nitro, 02, IV. Monitor shows Atrial Fibrillation with a very irregular beat and 2nd degree heart block. Very sweet, 'pleasantly confused' old European man who tells me the same stories multiple times, calls me beautiful and kisses my hand when we part.

2300: City base 2

2330: Code 4 abdo pain. Moronic drivers stop in the middle of the road and try to race us through a light. I learn many creative sentance-enhancers from my preceptor, who is driving. Code 3, CTAS 3 on the return, walked pt into the waiting room. Possibly cancer-related.

0040: Code 4 overdose. Teenager takes a bottle of Tylenol 3 leftover from a family member's surgery. Worried parents hover as we assess their drowsy and lethargic daughter. She vomits - straight up, and I find myself impressed by that as I step out of the way, hauling the 02 bag with me. She is much more alert now. My ACP preceptor calls me his partner as he steps out of the room to allow me to change her shirt, that makes me smile - internally. Assessing further in the truck, her BP is almost unpalpable and he starts 2 large-bore IVs to push fluid in. He considers Narcan but doesn't want to make her vomit more since she is in no immediate danger. BP has risen to almost normal levels upon arrival at the hospital. Once transferred to the hospital bed, her father asks me about her enlarged lips. I realize they have swollen up since we first saw her, and her eyes are starting to puff. Pointing this out to my preceptor, he informs the nurse of a possibly codeine allergy. After cleaning the stretcher thoroughly, we once again head off into the night.

200: Main city base

430: City base 2 - the guys get the recliners, I sleep in the back of the truck. Ahh, the life of a lowly student.

646: I wake up as the truck starts to move, we're headed back to the main base to clock out.

700: Another positive evaluation in my book and I'm off, sad that rideouts are over but thrilled about the experience.

Shift 1: The Great Base Tour

1800: Main city base

1830: Rural base 1

2010: City base 1

2030: Hospital to babysit a mental health patient due to offload delays and a lack of security/staff to handle another, violent, psych patient - there were already half a dozen in the waiting room

2130: Rural base 2

2:46: City base 2

3:14: Rural base 2

3:44: City base 2

3:53: City base 3 - last truck available in the region

4:04: City base 4

5:56: Main city base

6:00: Home

EMS: Earn Money Sleeping

I recently finished my 2 observational rideout shifts with an EMS service, and I gotta say, the Earn Money Sleeping quip certainly is true. Both shifts were at night, the first one we did nothing, the second was busy until 2:00, then quiet.

I am disappointed in the number of calls we did because I want to see more, I want to do more. I have classmates who have assisted with a childbirth, MVCs, even one who did CPR on a VSA that they eventually got back - fully conscious and talking with no permanent deficits. Ah well, I will get my chance. I made a good impression on both my preceptors and had a lot of fun.

I don't want to go back to studying now - I want to keep working on the trucks. I did realize how much more I need to learn though, so back to studying I must go.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


We've been talking a lot in school about critical incident and post traumatic stress, and it has me concerned. I hear about tortured children, innocent murder victims and horrific car accidents. I see images of this trauma; mangled limbs, bloodied faces and unrecognizable body parts. I wonder if I can handle it. I don't want to fill my mind with these images, I don't want to see things that will cause me to wake up in terror in the dark of the night. I don't want to cry for hours over the horrific scenes I will witness. I wonder if I am to sensitive for this job. I wonder if I can last without it destroying me.

I turn to my faith, immersing myself in uplifting music and reading the bible to cleanse my mind, attend church services to uplift my soul. I hike through the woods to relax and refocus, I stare into the rushing inferno of a waterfall and the sound soothes me. I take comfort in the strong, understanding arms of my Love, knowing that he will understand and go through the same things as a police officer. I revel in the company of my friends and we share stories, fears, hopes and dreams.

I really want to do this; my desire, my drive to be the one lifting those unfortunate souls back onto their feet is ever growing. I care so much about the patients that I have not yet seen. I study into the night to learn as much as I can to become a better medic for them. I want to do this, and I will do this. I know it will be difficult, I know there will be times when I will be knocked down. I also know that I will get back up, I will continue on, and I will leave the profession on my own terms.