22 September 2006

Going Steady

It didn't seem like we ran very many calls today. When I finally counted them up in the evening we had already done six. We were steady all day, but we made it back to quarters several times throughout the day.

We did several psych transports. A call for back pain at a nursing home. The lady seemed completely fine. She was; we took her back to the nursing home with a perfect bill of health several hours later.

We had a lady with an allergic reaction from a cleaning solvent. She wasn't wearing gloves and she got a rash on her hands and said that she had hives on her face. They were gone by the time we got there, but she said her face felt tight and she was itchy. The miracle drug Bendryl cured that. Another save...

We took a 15 year old girl that was a cutter to the psych facility.

No really good call. Just more of the same.

18 September 2006

Nursing Supervisor

Today was way too long. We ran all day...and all night. I feel like I have the flu. I just need a few hours of sleep.

Only one truly memorable call for the shift. I am blanking on most everything right now. We were called to a nursing home for a fall-patient still on the floor. We got on scene and a lady met us at the door. She said she was the "nursing supervisor," and starting giving us report. She said that our patient fell and probably has a broken shoulder. We asked her if the fall was witnessed. She said, "I am speaking now. When I am done telling you the story-then you ask questions." I just looked at my partner and rolled my eyes. So, the nurse finishes her little speech and still hasn't answered us. So we ask again-several times actually, but we never got an answer. Then we asked how she fell. She didn't answer. So we expanded a bit, asking if she slipped or tripped, etc. The nurse said, "When you're 96 years old, you just fall!" Okay...

We got to the patient and she was still on the floor, propped up with pillows and had a sling on her arm. She said her arm hurt, but other than that she was fine. She looked like she was in a lot of pain. She also had a huge knot on her head. We did our workup, got a c-collar on her, put her on a backboard, and did our vitals. She was writhing in pain-her shoulder was obviously deformed.

Because we never got a straight answer from the nurse as to whether it was witnessed or not, we did an ALS workup including an IV. (We also needed the IV for pain meds.) Anyways, when I took her blood pressure it was 206/126. We got the IV, and the woman yelled out in pain. The nursing supervisor came stomping down the hall asking us what we needed an IV for, because this was "just a simple fall." We tried to explain, but she wouldn't listen and stormed right back out of the room. The RN also told us that we must call the hospital before we leave. Well, we didn't call before we left because that's not our protocol.

She was pissed. So, she was calling our company to complain instead of assisting us.

We got the lady out to the rig, did another set of vitals, gave her morphine and meds to decrease her blood pressure. She was doing alright.

We got to the hospital without a problem. Then I got a page saying we need to call operations. I called and the nurse, sure enough, called in a complaint. She said we were rude, we initiated care without her approval, that we did unnecessary treatment and that we didn't consult her before we did anything. She told the call taker that we didn't need to give her morphine IV, that we could have given it P.O., and that she really didn't need morphine anyways, she could have given her tylenol. Nice. I just told operations that we followed our pain management and hypertensive protocols, and that's that. As far as I know the complaint was dropped, but I sure don't want to run into that nurse again.

12 September 2006

Where is Lake County?

We were busy all day. Every called pulled me closer and closer to Chicago. Don't worry-we finally made it.

We were sent on a priority to a home address in Chicago. There was tons on construction, so every street that I wanted to turn on, I couldn't. Ugh. We finally made it-on a one way street with cars parked on both sides. We pretty much shut down the street. We were called for "general weakness." We got inside this apartment building and had to maneuver the cot down and around on a ramp to get onto the first floor. I cut a corner a little too close and caught it with the bottom of the stretcher. Yeah, so I broke the wall! The base board ripped off (about 1 1/2 feet of it) along with about six inches tall of the past 80 years worth of paint. Oops. I just kept walking. We tried to get on the elevator, but the cot wouldn't fit...it wouldn't fit in the freight elevator either. So, we left the cot downstairs, and carried the jump bag and monitor up with us. The apartment door was open, and we were greeted my a very surly guy in a wheelchair. He was a paraplegic, and a very crabby one might I add. I asked him what was wrong, and he said his colostomy and urostomy bags came off. Great. He said otherwise he was fine.

We took him in the wheelchair to the first floor. He was probably about 130 kg and there was no way we were going to lift him out of the chair and onto the cot. He said he "rolled" onto the wheelchair, so he said he would "roll" onto the cot. That wasn't too pleasant. I got his butt in my face, and he only got about halfway on, so we had to pull him the rest of the way up. He was soaked in urine and feces. It was dripping off his legs. And all over the cot and floor. My partner ran his wheelchair back upstairs while I got a history, etc. We got a move on out to the rig. We ran BLS-nothing I can do but get him to the ER so they can put his colostomy back in.

It started to pour rain outside. As it was, I was stuck in the back of a tiny little rig with a smelly man that was covered in urine and feces. Now I can't run with the windows open because we will probably drown. I called report, and turned on the exhaust fan. I was pretty much sucking the wall to get any fresh air I could out of that little hole. Disgusting, I know. Then the rig started leaking again. Sheets of water were falling into the back through the weather stripping-soaking out jump bag. To make things even better, the entire ER bay was full, so we had to unload the patient outside and take him in. I looked like a sewer rat by the time we were done. Yuck.

We did several psych calls, a call for altered mental status, and a call for a guy with a 104 fever. I got off an hour and a half late. I think I only did two calls in Lake county. The rest were south.

06 September 2006


A day full of psychs. For almost the entire day, I just bounced from one hospital to the same psych facility over and over again. We joked that we were the underground railroad for psychs-only we had to take the normal streets.

We took one to Chicago pretty late in the day. She was laughing most of the time and things such as the glove box and the tape on the cabinets.

On the way back from Chicago we acted like complete idiots. We searched, and found, the wierdest radio station and blasted it-with the windows open. Then, when we would pass either a) a car with their windows open, b) a large crowd of people, or c) a semi-truck, we would slow down and start dancing like complete idiots. Think: rave dancers with glow sticks, someone having a seizure, and disco dancing all in one. It was hysterical. By the time we got close to the highway we were playing it over the PA and naming our dance moves, such as "dying octopus" "crazed orangutan" "drowning fish" and "rabid donkey." It was way too funny. The best was on the highway because we would catch up to a truck, slow down so that we were even with their cab, count to 3 and start dancing. A couple of them were laughing hysterically and then got on their CB radios.

We got back up north and were immediately dispatched to another psych for the underground railroad. I recommended that we just rent a bus and take them all at once, but we couldn't figure out how to secure the restraints properly to the bus seats. Yeah.

We got into the ER and started paperwork. I checked on the patient and let him know I would be right back-we just had to grab the rest of the paperwork. As I was leaving the room I thought I heard something like a duck quacking. I ignored it and started getting everything together. We got him on the cot and out to the rig. While we were pulling out of the bay I heard it again. It was definitely a quack. He continued quacking for the entire trip. By the time we were halfway to the hospital we were playing a game I like to call "animal sounds." He would quack, I would bark, he'd quack again, I would moo, or meow, or make any other sound I could think of. He was having a blast, although he wouldn't make any other noises but the quacking. It was fun just the same.

We were called for a chest pain. We went enroute to the facility our dispatch told us over the nextel. It was about 0300. I didn't bother to look at the pager. We were about 4 blocks away and I look at the pager to see what room number we were going to and the facility name was different. They both start with the same letter. I was like, oh shit! Yeah, so I turned around and headed towards the other one, which is about 2 blocks from our quarters versus the three miles I had just driven. Just as I was making a u turn dispatch keyed us up and told us that we were going the wrong way and that we could disregard. The other shift rig was given the call first, disregarded from it when we got it, and saw us going south instead of east. They got the call. Oops. We went to the facility anyways and helped them out. The lady was fine. She has chronic angina. Like, daily. Oh well.

A very long day, although interesting, I am pooped. I didn't use any ALS skills, but I did have fun dancing, playing animal sounds and going the wrong way on a priority :)

04 September 2006


I ran all day in Chicago. I didn't mind too much because for once I actually knew where I was going. We did mostly BLS transfers. Nothing exciting, but I met some nice people.

We took a lady from a suburban hospital to a home address in Chicago. She was in her early eighties and her daughter was with her. Neither spoke more than a couple words of English-only Russian. So, needless to say, we had a hard time communicating. I was in back, and my partner was driving. We got the address, but the daughter was trying to tell my partner where she needed to go. We made it to the apartment complex eventually. It was an odd place, almost like a planned community. It had a nursing home, senior living, regular apartments, school, church, etc. I don't think we would have found it if the daughter hadn't been with because the address was off a main road, but it was just the address to the complex, not the apartment. Anyways, we got there and as I was getting out of the ambulance, the daughter said in broken English, "wait...wait..." and she was digging through her bag. Then she pulled out a box of chocolate truffles and handed them to me. She said, "for you...thank you...thank you." We took her mother upstairs and said our goodbyes. It's not too often that people are actually appreciative-and we didn't really even do anything but give them a ride.

We did a couple more transfers, but got out of the city on a whim. They sent us on a priority from Chicago back up to Waukegan. That was over 25 miles running hot. It was for an altered mental status, but when we got on scene we got the rest of the story. The status was not normal, but had been abnormal for several days already, and they were really sending him out because he had a fever of 100.1 that was down to 98 by the time we got there. Yeah. Good times.

We did several psych bounces, and a return to a nursing home in Cook County. The place isn't the best, but I have never seen it in such terrible disrepair as I did last night. We took the lady into her room and I heard a chirping noise. It was the smoke detector in the room. I told the CNA that they need to change the battery and he looked at me like I was crazy. Then the nurse was on break, so I was sent to the other side of the nursing home to get a signature. On my way over I passed probably 5 or 6 smoke detectors that were either hanging from the ceiling by the wires or that were simply torn down. There were also about 4 large emesis basins lining the hallway because the roof was leaking. Really nice. That place should be shut down.

We went back up north and stopped for gas. I was pumping and a lady walked out of the station and said "Hello!" She sounded rather drunk, and I just said hi and went back to my pumping. I watched her walk to the other side of the building and start dancing. She only had a t-shirt on and it was pouring rain. By the time we left she was deep in conversation with the wall at the laundromat next door.

03 September 2006

Ladder Fight

I have been really busy recently. Work is keeping my social life to a minimum, as usual, and school just started again on the 24th of August. I am taking five classes, just to make sure I have no free time :).

Again, I have been having trouble sleeping more than 2 hours at a time, so consequently, I end up doing all of my chores half asleep. Last shift was no exception.

I was out in the bay checking out all the rigs. I had already checked out the ambulances, the command vehicle, the brush truck and the engines. I only had one engine to go and I would be finished. I walked around the back of the older engine, and my typical sleep-walking self wasn't paying any attention. I walked straight into the ladder hanging off the side (and protruding about 2 1/2 feet off the back of the engine). I was seeing spots for about a minute afterwards. I cracked myself up because the first thing I did wasn't to curse or check for blood; I looked around to make sure nobody saw me make a fool of myself. I had a nice lump on my head (thankfully concealed by hair) and a bit of a red forehead for an hour or so, but I was okay. Thank God, because both of the guys I was working with were into their own little projects. They probably wouldn't have found me until we got a call.

A few brain cells lighter, and I am still pushing through the days. More work lies ahead. I have two days off this month.

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