Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just one look

Just one look is all it takes, they say, for an experienced paramedic to realise if the patient is "big sick" or only "little sick", if the patient is time critical or a time waster.

Just one look is all it takes for a jaded, cynical & no fun to work with paramedic to annoy the fuck out of me. Sorry for the harsh language, but it really annoys me when people look at the job description, and consistently fob it off as the patient being a time waster.

I don't f&^%ing care, I'll see for myself. We all know that dispatch information is unreliable. And occasionally, the patient who has had constipation for three days and is complaining of a little tummy pain failed to mention the chest pains he is having - bang, there's your 'genuine' patient. But even then that burnt out paramedic will not accept that as a wake up call, more of a 'oh, happened to be a real patient for a change, meh'.

FFS, be enthusiastic about the whole thing. And I'm not talking about girly screams and wishing every patient be involved in major trauma and having massive myocardial infarctions. Just take things serious enough, have some fun, a get some satisfaction and excitement out of it.

I am absolutely over with this awesome job being treated as more daily boring stuff, more everyday boredom, more drab, everybody is there to get me down.

Get out of that horrible cycle, splash some cold water on to your face, slap yourself hard, get back to the days to when you were excited everytime you got a call, no matter what it was.

This job, this life is about enjoying yourself as much it is as helping others enjoy their lives as much as possible.

Do it together. And if you want to go down, get out. Don't pull me with you.

Coz I'm here to have a party.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The October Handover - Wearing is Caring!

Another month has passed by on planet earth - which means it is time for another edition (number 20!) of "The Handover"!

This time we wanted to find out what everyone wears whilst they're on the job...uniforms, gadgets, the lot. Thanks for all who contributed!

We'll start off nice and casual with EMS Chick, who has the liberty of wearing what she wishes at work. Well, suspenders would be taking it too far I believe, but read for yourself:

Cruising along the volunteer highway, let's have a look at how to save for a hot tub. I believe this is ancient ninja technique: a) remove spare change from pockets in order to be able to move stealth-like towards your opponent, and b) wear a ballistic vest for an extra super mario life. Is EMS really that dangerous up there?

Jonathan B takes variety to a new level...from uniform over evening dress to...boy scout uniform? Hell, that's way cooler than I'll ever get to dress up when going on calls. Honestly, I would pay to see that. Kinda kinky too ;-)

Follow the accessory maturation process of a EMT-P (P for Primate this time), over at Life of a Transport Monkey. Like the evolution, keeping it down to the minimum as you realise you don't need everything. Going through that process myself (no offence to those who carry more though!).

The Ditch Doctor takes it to an even leaner level. And I have to quote his three main items: "education, clinical knowledge & experience". Well said, Jonathan.

Firing it up again, Ronnie swings us a 180, and explains why he does like to carry equipment on his person.

James Chadbourne, a.k.a. mack505 shares great ways how to fight the obesity pandemic that is currently flooding the western world: Empty your pockets!

Last but not least, InsomniacMedic takes an entirely different approach on the subject. I really like the post, and can't sum it up nicely, so please just have a read yourself. And don't forget that we are all human at the end of the day.

- ~ -

And so to answer Transport Monkeys question: I don't carry shears in my pants pocket. I'm happy to see you guys and gals contributing here.

Sorry for the long wait. I'd nearly finished typing up version 1 when the interwebz went kerbonkers on me, and lost everything in the ether. Exams came and went, and finally I sit myself down now in between night shifts to re-wrte everything. So many apologies if this read a little twisted/warped. Purely (un)intentional.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A dream.

Second night shift.

We finally head back to the depot in the deep, dark hours of the night. Pfffffftttt, I let myself fall on to the recliner, my dead weight heavily pushing out all the air previously trapped under the faux leather covers. Click click crunch, up goes the footrest. Squeeaaak, down goes the backrest. The chair, although rickety, comfily mould to my tired body, and soon I drift off to...

...the back of the ambulance. I am sitting in the attendance seat, an elderly gentleman on the stretcher beside me. Full treatment is on the way, hooked up to the ECG, IV's running, SpO2 probe on. He is topless, his skin is a pale, mottled, sickly colour. An 'Eau de Old' fills the air, wafting from his pores, his vaguely active sweat glands covering his skin in slippery moisture. 

All of a sudden his arm is in front of my face. Is he angry? Is he attacking me? What is wrong?

I open my mouth, lick his arm, and then half-heartedly bite it as it accidentally (or incidentally?) moves towards me. Salty sweat and weeks of neglected personal hygiene mix on my taste buds to an utterly indescribable taste that immediately makes me dash to the back door of the van where our cleaning equipment is kept. I grab some Isowipes and hastily wipe my mouth out, the salty-stale taste making way for an overpowering disinfectantly, alcoholic clean taste. In order to completely get rid of all yukkybugs I douse my tongue, gums and teeth with alcohol based hand cleaner, images running through my head similar to Mr. Bean covering his tongue in out of date oysters (video from minute 2:38).

Yet the images of flaky, pale skin and the musty taste persist. My body twists and turns, my stomach cramps up in disgust, and...three hours later the alarm goes off for another job.

What a strange dream indeed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


It is 0630hrs in the Emergency Department. We have been working without rest since 1800hrs the previous day. No acute emergency work, just steady, chronic malaise of the population.

Right now, we are standing next to a deaf old dear in the corridor who we will take home to a nursing home. An agency nurse (AN) sees us (US) standing there and starts asking questions:

AN: Are you guys the day or the night crew?
US (grunting, in unison): night.
AN: You do long shift hours. 12 hour nights?
US (grunting, in unison): fourteen.
AN: Wow, you guys must be tired then!
US (grunting, in unison): yes.
AN: How long are your day shifts?
US (grunting, in unison): ten

AN left us alone after that. In retrospect I did like that my partner (on overtime, never met him before) and I responded so well together (pun intended).