Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wanderlust......... If that's even a word?

pssst, by the way, my girlfriend hates the hat I'm wearing in this pic! I love it, its one of my favorite hats.

As the snow falls up here in the great white north, there is no doubt that it will be a white Christmas this year. I wish I was some place that I could hang Christmas lights on a palm tree. I have often considered myself an Islander without an island. I guess if I really wanted to I could pack up and head south for the Caribbean. The biggest problem with this plan is my friends and family are all up here and the idea of starting somewhere new without my support team, job, and a home just scares the shit out of me!

I could see myself as a charter boat captain in the islands or a SCUBA diving guide on the many reefs of the Caribbean. Either job would be ok with me. I think after a while I would start to miss the excitement of saving lives or fire fighting. Still, I find myself day dreaming, wonder what it would be like to see the reflecting sun off the sea and sandy beaches instead of snow and ice.

I seem to be more depressed today than normally in the winter. Its a combination of knowing that an old friend died this morning (it was his time), or maybe its that the holidays seem to hold nothing special for me anymore, or maybe its because I know its going to be six months before I enjoy the warm sun on my skin, behind the helm of the boat. At any rate I think I need an adventure. The loud Jimmy Buffet music and rum just isn't doing it for me anymore. I need to quench my wanderlust!

Don't get me wrong, I've had some great adventures, but the older I get the fewer they become. I'm going to spend a week in the Caribbean in about a month and a half, and that promises to be a great trip filled with my family and my closest friends. What can I do to quench this thirst on a public servants salary until then? I'm open to ideas (or donations) from you, my friends.....

I guess this post said a whole lot of nothing and really had no meaning, but this what you get when I sit down at the computer without a direction to write in. So, Happy holidays my friends. I pray the next year is better than the last! Fins up! JS

Monday, December 21, 2009

Unresponsive? (Pick of the shift)

We had a busy morning today, this is the most interesting call. We get the call as an unresponsive female at BLANK address. We arrive to find a 38 year old female laying on the dinning room floor. She is purple and turning ash in color. She looked dead. But she was barely breathing at about 4 times a minute. My partner and I start working her asap. We talk to another women on scene to find out that our patient has a history of drug abuse.

The first thing we start doing is bagging the patient with a BVM at 15 lpm of O2. Her pulse ox was 20% when we started. We tried to intubate but she bit down as soon as we tried to open her mouth. I inserted a NPA to assist with maintaining an airway. My partner then started to attempt an IV in her left AC, but was not successful. Rather than try again in her arms we placed the IV in her juggler. She had a blood sugar of 537 and a BP of 106/64. She did not have a history of diabetes. her eyes were pinpoint and fixed. Her friend reported that she had smoked crack the night before and was using pain killers.

Bagging her brought her pulse ox up into the 90's. We pushed a total of 4mg of narcan, but had no response. While trying to push the drug our patient's mother arrived and started screaming at the other women on scene, then they started fighting while we were working our patient. It took the police department to break them up. We loaded our patient up in the rig and took off lights and sirens for the closest hospital. We took our patient right into the trauma room and met the code team where we handed over patient care. They RSI the patient and try more Narcan, but they seem just as stumped as we did..... What would you have done? Any ideas what was going on with our patient? Tell me what you think! JS

Friday, December 11, 2009

pics and quick trip to the tattoo parlor

The pic above was taken of my partner joy riding around the ER at our local hospital.

So we go to pick up a patient from the hospital. Our patient is nonverbal and not alert. He is returning home after being treated for an infection. My partner is teching and I'm driving. All I have is an address on a major street in Detroit. As I am driving down the street I notice that this is not a residential area. All that I see is old store fronts suffering the wrath of urban decay.

I drive past the address because I am looking for a home. I turn around and drive back still unable to locate this house. I decide I'm going to pay closer attention to the store fronts.

I find the address. Its a tattoo parlor, not a house. It looks like the tattoo parlor is not open for the day yet. I get out and go around to the back door and knock. To my surprise a women with a shaved head and covered in tats answers the door. I ask if I'm in the right place, and she tells me that I am. We go in the door with our patient on the cot. At the back of the tattoo parlor they had built a small kitchen and bedroom. That's right our patient lived in the tattoo parlor. Can you believe that? I see something new every time I go to work. JS

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


As many of you know I work on a paramedic/EMT ALS unit. Most of the agencies around us are required to run paramedic/paramedic ALS units. We were granted special permission to run this way by our local medical control. This is important to understand. My department normally staffs one BLS unit and one ALS unit. In the event we catch a fire the four of us hop on the engine and the on-call firefighters staff the rest of the trucks.

I'm on duty the other night working on the ALS unit. The BLS unit is also up. We get toned out for a car vs women. Both units respond. We arrive on scene first. We are told right away that 2 people were hit, so I advise dispatch we have multiply patients. We requested mutual aid from our next closest station, we asked for one more ALS unit. My partner and I started working on the most seriously injured patient while the Basic crew started care on the other patient.

My Paramedic partner does his assessment of our patient. Our patient is A&Ox3, denies any LOC, but has a nasty open fracture on her left ankle, her foot was hanging on by the skin only. By now our mutual aid is arriving. I tell my partner I can splint the ankle and get her back boarded and he can go get his IV and other ALS equipment set up in the truck.

When our mutual aid arrives on scene they show up with 2 ALS engines, and a BLS transport truck. We only requested one ALS unit. We are not union and we are happy not being union, our city takes good care of us. Our mutual aid paramedics are IAFF union members and some times that creates some issues between our departments. Don't get me wrong I was a union firefighter for years, and I have no problem with the unions.

Our mutual aid personel swarm our scene like bees. Not asking once what we needed. I had three of there personel come up to me and try to take control of my patient from me. When I told them what I was doing and what was going on, I was told that I was not being talked to. I said to them that we were an ALS unit 3 times, they ignored me. I told them that it was my patient and my paramedic partner and I were transporting this patient to the local trauma center. They said they were putting our patient in their truck. I said no way, my patient was going in my truck and yet the continued to ignore me. Finally I had to yell for my partner to come out and help me. He forced our patient to our truck. Once there the medics from the other department saw the monitor and IV bag hanging they said "Are you guys ALS?". I could do nothing but shake my head.... We transported our patient priority one to the trauma center. Then we chatted about what had happened. So my question to my readers is how do we stop this from happening again in the future? JS