What's In A Name...

As an anonymous commenter pointed out on my last post, you can see my real name in that newspaper article. Yes, you can read it in the online version, too.
You can hear it in the interview I had over at Radio Free Nation, and read it on their site. My name is out there; my name is Meris.
It's not a big deal though, in all honesty. The blog isn't about Meris, it's about Sam. To most of you all, I am Sam; and at certain points in my life, I am Sam to myself. Naming the main character "Sam" wasn't really out of anonymity, but rather because of a promise I made to my friend Anni (I mention this promise in the radio interview, by the way).
I suppose you all are free to address me by my real name (you're free to do basically anything you want, after all), but I'd love it if you keep calling me Sam; it makes me smile every time I hear it!
Thank you to the commenter who was kind enough to consider my privacy--much obliged!


Just Newspaper...

Yeah, I know you can't really read it, but I just wanted to prove that I was *actually* in the paper, haha!
Incidentally, I just want to let you know that we are seriously working hard on getting this campus rescue established. We have a meeting with the Chief of Police here on campus tomorrow, and then a meeting with the admin of the surrounding FD soon! I'll be sure to keep you all posted; if this goes through, then I'll be VP Sam Montgomery, haha!

I'll write again soon!


Guns and Newspaper

Sam: EMT; Full-time student; total badass.

Guys, I know I don't have a real post for today (but I'm pulling duty tonight, so there's a good chance I'll have something to write about!), but I am way too excited about this not to share.
Yesterday, Chris and I went to the firing range, and he taught me how to shoot. It was probably the most fun I've had in the past few weeks. Both my parents are good shots, so it was nice to see that I have okay aim for a beginner; a "chip off the old block," says my dad.
When I get better pictures of my targets, I'll definitely post them. You can read my full post about this over here.

On another exciting note, my campus newspaper just published a front-page article about Drew's and my efforts towards starting a campus rescue squad! You can read it here, and I'll probably be posting a picture of the actual paper soon. Oh, and just so you know, the guy in the picture with me isn't Drew, it's Andrew. I don't think I've ever mentioned him, but he's a good guy too. Used to run with us on Wednesdays, but then he decided that he was too good for us and left for another night. But they used one of my most favorite pictures. It's framed and sitting on my desk right now :P

Anyway, this has been a very interesting couple of days, and so I thought I'd share! Hope you enjoy the article!

"You have always been a part of me
You will always be a part of me"



It's a busy night at the station; it's Wednesday, which is known by many to be the night of the clown cars. On any given Wednesday night, you're bound to have at least three and a half full crews ready to go. But, of course, nothing ever happens.
The county is quiet, save a few fire alarms here and there, but they all end unspectacularly.
I sit on the couch, yawning as I work on a cross-stitch. My fingers are numb, but I push the needle through again, watching as the teal thread slides its way through the fabric. Mesmerized by the rhythmic sound of the needle, I jump as our tones drop; I didn't even hear a pre-alert.
"Flu-like symptoms," I hear the dispatcher say, and I groan. It's BLS, and that means that the first run BLS crew is responding; just so happens that tonight, that crew is Eric and me.
"Station 1 copies," he says as I grab my coat. This house is way out in the boonies, and I sigh as I snuggle into the passenger seat sleepily. There's no rest for the weary, I remember as he lays on the air horn. Cars in front of us weave out of the way like small, frightened animals, and I grab onto the door handle. My eyes as wide as saucers, fearing for my life which is in the hands of a maniac driver, I grab my cell phone. "If I die en route," I text, "tell them it was Eric's fault. Seriously."
I do little more than glare at him after we arrive on scene, about 5 minutes later than we should have, due to his poor directional skills. I remind myself that it's not even worth it, and I grab the jump bag.
The dispatcher did not steer us wrong; inside we find a seventy-something year old man who has been nauseated for a few days, and has recently developed fever and diarrhea. A female neighbor who looks to be about his age comes into the living room and tells us that she just doesn't think that he should go another minute without seeing a doctor. It's flu season in the county, and I know that he'll be triaged upon arrival. Every other bed is taken by somebody just as flu-like as you, sir.
He doesn't want to go, because he doesn't feel very sick.
"I'm an old man," he reminds us, "old men get sick."
Like a burr in his side, though, his neighbor pushes him into going with us. I had been taking information down on the PPCR, and when Eric looks to me and says, "I'm assuming you want me to take this nice and easy to the hospital," I smile back at him and say "I sure will, partner." I push the clipboard to his chest as he looks back dumbfounded.
Climbing into the driver's seat, I hear our patient start to vomit. Yes, turnabout is fair play, my friend.


Ground Level Fall

As I'm returning to the station from my ITLS (International Trauma Life Support) class with Drew, I hear the tones drop for a ground level fall. I'm almost 100% sure that we won't be going, but Drew grabs my arm as he heads for the medic.
"Let's go," he says with a sigh.
"Why us!?"
"Everyone else gets off in an hour; we're here all night. Let's go."
Eric, Drew and I climb into the medic, and I'm beyond frustrated. I'm tired from class, I have studying to do, and to top it all off I'm missing the lunar eclipse. I call my mom en route so I can hear her describe the eclipse.
"Blood red," she says. "You won't see this again until 2010, so try to look up when you get to the house." The sirens wail in the background, and since Eric is driving, the airhorn drowns out smatterings of what my mom is saying.
"Jesus, Eric" I hear Drew say as we approach the intersection, "they heard you coming an hour ago!"
When we get to the house, I see a woman lying on the floor of her bathroom, strategically wedged between the bathtub, the door and the bedroom.
"Hi, my name is Sam; I'm an EMT with the rescue squad. Try not to move your head, just answer my questions verbally; I'm going to put my hands on your head, is that okay?" She shakes her head to say yes, and I groan.
"What's your name," I ask her with a smile.
"Wendy," she replies. "I feel so stupid."
"Why stupid, Wendy?"
"I fell and hit my head on the bathtub and my friend called the ambulance and now here you are. The neighbors must think I'm so stupid." I smell the alcohol on her breath, and I ask her if she's been drinking.
"God yes," she replies, "lots."
I notice a nasty laceration at her hairline; it's stopped bleeding, but I can tell it hurts. She has a pretty bad bruise on her cheek, too. Eric shines a light for me to see better, but has the uncanny ability to shine it right in her eyes. I ask him to turn it off, and she smiles and whispers, "thank you."
I ask Drew to get me a C-collar, and as soon as I say that, Wendy looks up at me and says as serious as a heart attack, "I'm not going to the hospital."
I shoot a look over to Eric and sigh. He asks her the standard questions: person, place and day. She answers them all beautifully, and he tells me to let go of c-spine. Reluctantly I do, but not without protest.
"She's drunk."
"She's A&O x 3. She can refuse."
"I don't care. She's drunk and she hit her head hard enough to bruise and slice her scalp open." I look over at her, and see that she has her eyes closed. "Wendy," I ask, and she opens them slowly.
"Wendy, are you okay?"
"My hands feel tingly," she says, and I look very pointedly at Eric. I take her hands in mine and ask her to squeeze; she does, and when she's finished, she looks at me and says, "will you just hold my hands?"
"Well sure," I say slightly confused.
"My hands just feel so much calmer in yours." I sit next to her and hold her hands in mine, squeezing them every so often to see if I get a response. I'm not ready to leave her just yet.
"Did you black out when you fell?"
"Do you know why you fell?"
"Because I'm drunk."
"Do you remember falling?"
"No," she admits with a sigh. "But I do remember you getting here, and I can tell you my last name and everything."
I ask Eric to call medical control to see if we can't treat this as implied consent, what with the alcohol consumption, and head injury with memory loss.
As he does, I talk to Wendy.
"Do you feel nauseous, dizzy or weak at all?"
"No," she says hesitantly.
"Are you lying to me to get me to go away?"
"I'm just tired." I don't like that answer, so I try to keep her awake.
"You know, if you don't let me take you to the hospital, I'm going to go back to the station and sit up all night worrying about you."
"I just want to sleep."
"So do I, but I won't be able to if I don't know you're okay."
"I'm okay. I promise I'm okay." She squeezes my hands as if to prove her point, and then she looks me straight in the eye. With a little crack in her voice, she says "I'm really sorry."
"Why sorry?"
"Because I fell, and I hit my head, and now you're here. And you shouldn't have to be here. This is my fault. And I'm drunk. And here you are, holding my hands and worrying about me. Don't worry about me."
"Let me take you to the hospital then."
"I don't want to go to the hospital."
Just then, Eric comes back.
"Doctor says that if she doesn't want to go and she's A&O x 3, then she doesn't have to." I look him in the eyes, begging him to call the doctor back and tell him something--anything--that will make him change his mind. I look to Drew for support, but he looks back at me helplessly.
"Yes Sam," she replies, obviously pleased with herself for remembering my name.
"You have to make me a promise."
"If you start to feel worse once we leave--and I mean worse in any way--you will call us back. If you get nauseous, dizzy, weak, or you just feel a little funny, you will call 911 and tell them to send us again."
"I promise."
"I'm not done," I say, and she laughs. I stare her down sternly, and she stops, looking back at me earnestly. "Tomorrow morning, you will go see your doctor and you will get that stitched up." She tears up a bit and nods.
"Okay. I promise."

As we leave, Eric sighs. "EMS is just a game of cover-your-ass," he says. "At least if something happens, it's not our fault."
"I don't care whose fault it is," I say through gritted teeth, "she needs to go to the hospital. If something happens, I will never stop beating myself up for not carrying her out to the medic over my shoulder." I look at my watch and see that it's 11pm. Longest scene time of my life.
I look up, but the eclipse is done.

[[So normally I don't ask for feedback, but I'd like to know your opinion. I believe that since she was intoxicated, she was not in her right mind, and even though she was "alert and oriented", she was still not in a state of mind to make decisions. Eric believes that since she could answer our questions, she had the right to refuse. We both agree that we covered ourselves legally by contacting medical control. But with our hindsight-goggles on, what should have happened? She didn't end up calling us back, so I assume that her friend who stayed the night made sure she was okay. Thoughts, feelings? I know that personally if it were my family member, and I weren't there when it happened, I would want the EMS personnel to call PD to get a temporary custody order. Anyway, let me know.



Radio Free Nation

I had the privilege to be interviewed by Marty Owings for Radio Free Nation. It was a completely painless experience (no scary questions, unlike my philosophy final), and I encourage you all to shoot him an email should you know someone you'd like to hear interviewed!

There's a link at the top of the page to the interview, and it can also be downloaded in podcast form. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

Now go show some support for independent radio. They's good people.




Exciting news! I'm being interviewed by Radio Free Nation tomorrow! I'm not exactly sure when the interview will be available, but as soon as I know, I'll be sure to tell you. In the meantime, go check them out; they have interviewed some really cool people.

Also, to those of you who have an account over at Firefighter Nation, I was asked to be a featured blogger. So eventually, I'll show up on the right hand side of the page.

Thanks for your constant support, it means the world to me.



It's Valentine's Day.

Hope it was a good one.



AD recently had a post up about misheard song lyrics. Well, I was talking to Kyle earlier today, and the fact that I had a mild fever came up. Kyle has a tendency to mumble, and I have a tendency to get easily distracted/not pay attention very well at all. I didn't mishear any lyrics, but I sure misheard what he said...

Definitely check out his most recent post (I'm a bit too lazy to post it here) for the hilarity that ensued during said conversation.

That's what happens when you mix two EMS personnel, folks. Nerdy, awkward hilarity.



Cute Moments

Hello, my name is Sam. I like the color green, giraffes, passion fruit, and ruining my roommate's adorable moments with her fiancé with my spastic arm flailings!

Take care,


I was listening to Shawn Mullins's song "Lullaby", and these lyrics were really striking. They're super comforting, I've found. Hope you like them as much as I do and that you have someone to sing you a lullaby.

"Now, she feels safe
in this bar on fairfax.
And from the stage I can tell that
she can't let go and she can't relax.
And just before
she hangs her head to cry
I sing to her a lullaby; I sing

'Everything's gonna be all right
rockabye, rockabye.
Everything's gonna be all right
rockabye, rockabye'"



I feel a little silly, but I just realized that I had been doing Google Analytics wrong. By that, I mean I was only ever looking at one month at a time, not the whole time span, and therefore missing out on the true numbers.
I have had more than three times the number of visitors I thought I had, and now I'm completely dumbfounded.
So thank you for continually reading, commenting, linking and all of that. I'm beyond floored.
And to the person who found my blog by searching for "everybody loves cold cinderblock"...what was that all about?



It's 3am and I hear the tones drop for a bleeding call. Sounds like ALS, and I'm not first run, anyway. I roll over in bed as I try to ignore the sounds of my partners moving around. The light in my bunk room turns on, and I hear Drew telling me to get up.
"No," I say adamantly.
"No. I'm not first run."
"Come on dearheart," he says, "it's a BLS leaky catheter call and the career staff doesn't want to get up." Cursing them as I throw on my boots, I head out to the rig. "Why the hell do I have to get up when I'm not first run and it's obviously just a..." I keep mumbling obscenities to myself as I tie my boots.
"Hey," he says to me across the medic, "if you're the attendant-in-charge, then I'll get to be your tech." I smile, because we've both been talking about how we've never really run a call together.
We arrive on scene to find that Clearview Police are already on scene. I see an officer talking to a tiny woman through a screen door, and I assume he just arrived and that she had just made it to the door moments before our arrival. No, as I come to find out, she doesn't want people in her house because she believes herself to be radioactive.
I look at my partners with a quizzical eye as I ask her how exactly she is radioactive. She pulls back her robe to show me a catheter bag filled with a small amount of what appears to be bloody urine.
"Radiation for my goiter," she says as she points to her chest. "If you're pregnant, I suggest you stay away from me."
"Ma'am, if I'm pregnant, we've got a bigger issue than radiation," I say to her with a wink, and I hear Eric snort in the background.
"Shove it," I think to myself a little bit louder than I intended as I turn back to her. As it turns out, she had the foley inserted two days ago and feels as though it has been leaking ever since. There's no apparent leakage, but who am I to argue at three in the morning. She wants to go, and by this point I'm awake either way.
Waiting for her to gather her things from her radioactive house (and let me make it perfectly clear, I'm glad she wants to protect me and my hypothetical unborn child), we talk to the police who are with us. For three in the morning, they're a lot more chipper than I am, but they're eager for us to leave so they can too.
We help her into the back of the ambulance, and she immediately starts telling us about how mistreated she was the last time she called. Just so happens the offending provider is snoozing happily in his bed back at the station. With a gleam in my eye, I tell her that we are more than happy to take her, and that all we want is to make her comfortable as Drew pats her shoulder reassuringly. Immediately she asks Drew and me for our names, and tells us that she'll be calling our supervisor to let him know how wonderful we are. I tell her that I'm not getting paid, but I'll take the brownie points where I can get them. Drew laughs sleepily as he affixes a blood pressure cuff to her arm. Her blood pressure is sky high, and he and I communicate silently. He starts talking to her about things that are seemingly unimportant as I gather information from her driver's license.
I'm impressed by Drew. He has this 'meaningless banter' thing down. I'm pretty sure that he could make anybody feel more at ease with a few words and that famous smile of his. I can visibly see her relaxation, and with each blood pressure we obtain, it falls more and more. Thank goodness for partners who know how to function this early, I think.
The rest of the call is routine. We don't do anything other than get a few sets of vitals, call the hospital, and talk to our ninety-one year old patient about doctors, hospital visits and past ambulance runs.
"Thank you for caring about me," she says after we transfer her into her hospital room. "It's not often that young kids like you will listen to an old lady's ramblings this early in the morning and take them seriously." I give her a big cheesy smile and tell her to get to feeling better soon.
I'm still so tired from waking up, but after a call with a thankful patient, it kind of stops mattering what time it is. Drew and Eric are both dying to get back to sleep, but they stick it out with me while I write my report. Just as we're getting ready to leave, a call goes out.
"Station 1, lift assist for public transport."
I look to Drew and Eric who both start laughing uncontrollably. Even though we got out of bed at an ungodly hour for what appeared to be a stupid call because our partners wouldn't, the career guys wound up having to get up to help lift a heavy patient. As a sleepy medic marks up to show that they are en route to the apartment, Drew looks at me and says, "karma."
I sleep well.


Difficulty Breathing

It's 10pm on a Friday night and I'm fast asleep on the couch, laptop whirring busily on my legs as my two female partners talk about their children. I hear something about a daughter selling Ritalin in school, and I roll over in my sleep. The other mother mentions something about how her son is going into professional baseball. I rub my eyes, sit up wearily and ask myself if this is the seven year old son I met last year. I shake my head and stretch, hating the fact that it's not even close to midnight on a Friday and I can't keep my eyes open. I'm in college for heaven's sake, I think, and I shake my head with disappointment.
The tones drop and I hear a call for difficulty breathing--one of our most frequent calls. I stand up and grab my coat, imagining one of the little old ladies we pick up bi-weekly for the same complaint. But no, as I head for the door, I hear the dispatcher mention that our patient is five months old. Everybody stiffens at this news, and I can visibly see a change in how we're treating this call. It's a shame, I think, that we've become so jaded to difficulty breathing calls that it takes a child to shock us back into the reality of our jobs.
Everyone is silent as we race down the highway. I quiz myself on a child's airway. It gets narrower at the bottom...children have a proportionately larger tongue...respirations are increased. I sigh, wishing I remembered more, as I imagine a five month old gasping for air in her mother's arms.
We arrive on scene to find two police officers already there. We walk into the room, and I balk at the oppressive haze of cigarette smoke that tumbles out the door. Without realizing it, I roll my eyes as I notice five children lying on the floor watching TV and eating twizzlers. One of the youngest girls looks up to me and says "why everyone wearing blue!?" She turns to her brother and whispers something, and they both laugh loudly.
I turn my attention to the mother sitting on the floor, baby sitting up happily in her lap. She has chill bumps, which is understandable, as she is wearing nothing but a thin t-shirt in the freezing house. She looks up with me with big gorgeous eyes, coos happily, and sneezes violently. Snot running down her face, she giggles and reaches for the mizpah coin hanging around my neck.
According to her mother, she does this monthly. She gets a cold, sneezes, and freaks everyone out around her. The young girl on the floor stands up and says "it's true! She sneezes on me sometimes, and I say 'Tezia, that's gross!'" I find it hard to keep from laughing, so I turn towards the jump bag on the floor, pretending I'm looking for something.

Predictably, we get a refusal.