15 November 2005

Lift assist gone wrong

Now I know why I never go to the doctor. Several months ago (more like 8 months ago) I hurt my back at work. It was another shift at the ambulance company. We were doing a return to a home address in the city. The lady weighed about 130 kg and could not sit up due to her MS. She lived it the typical Chicago 2-flat. We asked for a lift assist-they sent us two little girls that looked like they should still be playing with barbies. We had to take the lady up the stairs on the stretcher. So I was at one end, my partner at the other and the girls on either side. We got up about two stairs and one of the girls started dropping her side. My partner tried to correct this, and in the process, pulled the cot towards him, torquing me forward and down the stairs. Needless to say I kept my grip on the cot, and the lady did not fall- but I heard a terrible pop in my lower back. We finished the call, I wrote up an incident report, and got on with my day. My back has been bothering me ever since, but it just got really bad in the past two weeks. I finally gave in and saw my doc. She got x-rays; and I got the news: a herniated disk! Shit. That could put a little damper on my parade. I'm supposed to be off work for several weeks, and be in physical therapy three times a week, but who the hell has the time or the money to do that. Certainly not me. So...I plan on just sucking it up and popping advil every few hours.
Same stuff- different day. Another day at the firehouse that is completely boring. I started at 1200. Basically I have done nothing all day. We ran a few errands this afternoon- picked up film from a fire that is under investigation, went to the pharmacy to restock on advil...bought a heating pad....yeah, that’s about it.
We went to a red shift meeting at 1830 because my day crew partner is assigned to red shift. I'm a black shifter but because I helped them out so much last month (I covered 8 shifts as the medic), they told me I'm an honorary member. Basically that meant I got to eat pizza for free and I wouldn't be sent out to the rig if they discussed anything private. Yeah :)
We got back to the firehouse around 2000. I washed the rig because it was trashed from the roads being so wet. Then I proceeded to do my nightly checkout. Someone left the portable oxygen at 1200 psi. Typically I refill it every night to the highest pressure on the cascade. When I went to use the cascade, after looking at the current psi measurements on the wall, I realized that the highest bottle was at 1000. Not even close to what it should be. Nobody knew who switched out the cascade bottles, but I was informed in the past that I cannot do it myself. I was told to use the portable as it was. Yeah...that's a real good idea if I get a full arrest. But since I am just a probie, even though I am the medic on the rig, I kept my mouth shut and said some prayers that I wouldn't need massive amounts of oxygen tonight. Thank god we don't have CPAP yet.
Anyways, I'm going to call it a night.


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