Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Overheard at ITLS

I took this excellent course last weekend, after a feverish three days of reading as much of the textbook as I could in 72 hours while still sleeping and giving a full time job due diligence. It was a great weekend, having practical time alongside Paramedics and RNs as well as EMTs from other stations was an excellent opportunity to sharpen skills, learn new things, and share what works with people from other departments. Even through I didn’t ‘get a weekend’ rest-wise, I came back Monday morning with my Patient Care batteries recharged. Hearing one of my former EMT instructors say how proud she was of her ‘graduated students’ reminded me what I like about doing this ‘free job’ I’ve got.

As usual, there were occasions for a few laughs.

During a lecture on ‘Patients Under the Influence’ our instructor told us a lot of things about what is going on in schools that convince me that I made the right decision limiting my children to the four legged, fur bearing variety. Apparently the ‘new and improved kegstand’ involves inverting oneself while beer is inserted into the anus. It would seem the alcohol crosses into the bloodstream faster and one can get drunk more quickly on less beer. Good grief, people. I feel like I’m taking a walk on the wild side when I eat a sleeve of Sprees and drink a Pepsi. Many questions spring to mind, as well, including but not limited to:

What about the carbonation?
Is there a separate keg for people who want their beer the old fashioned way?
Is there a surefire way to differentiate same that doesn’t involve sniffing the tap?
If you can actually stand on your hands and let someone do that without falling over (or, even more compelling, do it YOURSELF) is there a better outlet for your talents that might be in some way financially lucrative? Oughtn’t you check this out?

We’re all shooting the breeze during lunch on day 3 of class, discussing other training opportunities. A student (who is frequently an instructor) was telling us about Wilderness EMS, and I said we should have that this summer. I volunteered to be the ‘S’Mores Officer’ for the weekend.

(I realize the last couple of anecdotes seem unrelated. Bear with me.)

Said student went on to say that when he took Wilderness EMS the ‘patient’ he had to ‘keep alive’ in his scenario was hypoglycemic and unconscious, and that they had considered ‘putting chocolate up his butt’ as a possible solution.

There was a moment of silence while this was considered. Then I said,
"I guess that would be like a ‘S’mores Stand’. Though I don’t recommend using the graham crackers." (general laughter)


Oh, and I passed. Not as high a grade as I’d like but I’m obsessive about such things. So if you wreck in the 'Boro on a Wednesday night, if you'd keep your injuries around a B+, I'd appreciate it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Its paid for, but please don't......

I finally got to ride in our sweet new ambulance Tuesday night. After countless bone jarring ambulance transfers in a 4WD vehicle that would have eventually resulted in breasts I could kneel on, we got a 2WD that offered a smooth ride and steps you can negotiate with a wide butt and short legs without looking like you just fell off a Mardi Gras float. Yaay for me!

It still has that 'new ambulance' smell, which is kind of like the 'new car' smell, if new cars came with extrication tools and the smell cost about $160,000 extra. Everything is shiny and unused.

We set off with a patient onboard who had difficulties that were not of the elimination variety, so I was alarmed when she had a whispered conversation with the nurse on board that ended with said nurse saying, "You have to POOP?" This was followed with a reassuring explanation of how very close we were to our destination, a place where she could do what needed done, possibly even without three onlookers in close quarters. This reassurance lasted exactly 45 seconds. I was at the head of the cot so I couldn't hear much of what was being said, only "Right NOW? Are you sure?"

A bedpan (which I prayed to the Patron Saint of Inopportune Defecation was actually IN the storage bin) was located, and we pawed through the layers of straps, tubing, non washable and very vulnerable-looking wool blankets, and ether blanketing to get to the patient and slip it in place.

Have you ever gotten on an elevator and experienced that awkward silence that settles in after the doors close? Or been witness to the 'party lull' where everyone stops talking at the same time for no particular reason? I would submit to you that these experiences run a distant seventy-third to dropping trou so you can poop in front of strangers in a moving vehicle.

We got the patient sorted out, then field tested something called the 'Power Vent'. (Ambulance manufacturers, whoever thought of a ceiling-mounted fan that sucks smells out of the back so they can hover malevolently over random municipalities, THANK YOU. It works like a champ.)

And nothing cheers up the staff of my favorite ER like walking in with a big red biohazard bag and saying, "Do you have someplace I can put this?" I wish I had one for them every day.