Coming Home

It seems that we can't make a successful trip to the hospital and back to quarters without something happening. We're sort of like a black cloud for the police department, because we always end up sending them to check things out.

One night after a particularly lengthy trip out to Clearview Regional, we finally make it back across the water. As we hit the last bump of the bridge, I feel the medic slow a little bit.

"Did you see that," Drew asks me as he looks in his side mirrors frantically.
"Uh...see what?"
"Some guy was beating the shit out of a girl!"
"While they were driving?"
"No, no...the car was pulled over and he was hitting this girl or something!"
"Yeah. Medic 1 to central; be advised..." As he calls it in, I inspect my mirror closely but see nothing.
"10-4, Medic 1, we'll send an officer out there."

We've had a few other times where we see a car behaving strangely and call it in. Tonight, however, was exceptionally odd.

"We've got a drunk one," Eric and I say in unison.
"Really? It's a Wednesday night..." Drew peeks his head up from the back and observes.
"Definitely not right," I chime in as the car nearly hits the median.
"You calling it in?"
"Yeah, I'll get it," Eric says as he picks up the radio.
"Medic 1 to central; be advised we're westbound on Main, headed into town behind a vehicle that's having a bit of trouble staying in its own lane. Virginia plates. Dark 4-door sedan. We'll stay behind them."
"10-4, Medic 1, we'll have an officer en route."

We follow the car for a while and observe. Driving slowly and often crossing lanes, this seems to be a driver who's under the influence. We listen to the police dispatch as they approach. Moving over, three police cars fly past us. I watch for a moment and see the blue lights come on.

"Unit 218 to central; traffic stop." Drew, Eric and I high five as we head back to quarters.
"Nice," we say as we walk back to the day room.

We find out later in the night that while the driver wasn't drunk, he was driving on a suspended license.

Us-1, Drivers-0.

On the way back from the hospital again that night, Drew and I are chatting sleepily. The car in front of us flashes its lights a few times, and I look up. An old car is smoking from the hood, hazard lights flashing ominously in the haze.

"Medic 1 to central; be advised that there's a possible car fire in the westbound lane of Main and 1st. North Carolina plates."
"10-4, Medic 1; we'll send fire out there."

Drew and I laugh a little, knowing the firefighters are going to be so happy about being awoken at 0400.

We listen to the dispatch all the way home and once we crawl back into bed.

"Central, appears the driver hit a deer and fluids are draining out of her car. Will advise."

Us-2, Drivers-0, Unfortunate Deer of Clearview...well, 0

Turning the radio down, I hear Drew sigh.
"We always bring out the crazies, don't we?"
"Yeah, but we're young; we can still handle it."
"Mmm, here's to that," he murmurs into his pillow as we try to get a few final (futile) minutes of sleep.


Close to Home, pt.2

I can see the concern on our nurse's face when he hears my report. I sound less like a family member, and more like an EMT.

"Seventy nine year old female presented with sudden slurred speech. Cincinnati Stroke Scale wasn't exactly passed, but wasn't exactly failed either. No other complaints, other than excessive thirst. No history of diabetes. Some left sided facial droop. She's just acting...strangely."
"Good catch," he says as he puts his hand on my shoulder.
"Whatever happens, you did a good job."

I just nod as I go into my grandma's room. I watch the tech start a great IV, and sit down in the corner. The doctor comes in, starts talking, and before I know it, she's in the CT scan. I am exceedingly tired, and I try not to take a little nap.

"When can we go," I hear my grandma say as she's wheeled back in the room.
"I don't know, Grandma. We have to get you checked out and make sure you're okay."
"Then we can go to New York?"

I look to my mom and she just sighs.

"I don't know, Grandma," I say again.
"What do you mean?"
"Well we'll just have to see what happens, okay?"

Time passes and my vision starts to blur. I work so hard to keep my eyes open, but every now and again I let them shut. I drift off for a few minutes, but when I open my eyes, I see the doctor.

"Everything looks fine, Mrs. Montgomery. I think you had a TIA, but I feel comfortable discharging you with a prescription for Plavix. Now if you need anything don't hesitate to come back here, okay?"
"Okay," she says, "now how about New York?"
"G...grandma," I pause, "I don't think we're going to New York."
"What? Why? Of course we are."
"I just don't feel comfortable driving all the way up there with you having just had a TIA."
"But we have to go! Let's just go now and we an get there early in the morning, okay?"
"No, we're going to get something to eat and then go back home."
"Fine," she sighs, "whatever you think is best."

I feel so bad, but I know it's what's best for her. I help her to the bathroom one more time, and on the way she stumbles over nothing, catching my arm. Once in the bathroom, she falls and I catch her before she can hit the ground.

"Hey, Doc, I don't know about taking her home. She just fell in the bathroom and tripped in the hall...I just don't know."
"I say just take her home, and then have her see her doc there. Maybe he can direct admit her to the hospital there."

We find a place to eat in this military school town, and I eat quickly. I just want to get home so we can get her taken care of, but time seems to be moving so slowly. I get up to take her to the bathroom again, and two military guys eye me hungrily. I sigh heavily and help her into the bathroom.

"I don't feel so good," she says.
"How so?"
"Just don't feel so good."
"Okay, let's get you out of here, alright?"

We go back to the table to get the check, and she reiterates this sentiment to my mom. Mom looks at me, I look at the car, and she nods.

"Pop-pop," I say sort of quietly, "we're going to go back to the hospital."
"She's not getting any better, and now she's saying that she feels bad. Mom and I just don't feel comfortable taking her home."
"Well okay then."

So we start the trip back.

An MRI and carotid doppler later, they decide to admit her--finally. Mom and I manage to snag the last available hotel room in the city and collapse onto the beds tiredly.

The phone rings.

"Hey honey," I hear my mom say, and I laugh as I realize Dad's calling from Antarctica.

I roll over sleepily, and mom starts the story.

"So you'll never believe what happened today."


Close to Home, pt.1

"What should I make for dinner," she asks me.
"Grandma, it doesn't matter. Ben's a twenty-something member of the male population. He'll eat whatever you put in front of him."
"But, does he eat chicken?"
"What about beef?"
"What's his favorite thing to eat?"
"Whatever's in front of him, Grandma."

She sighs and adjusts her jewelry. She's sitting behind me in the car. Mom's driving and laughing at the conversation taking place, and my grandfather is inspecting the GPS. I roll my eyes as I adjust my pillow. This is going to be a long roadtrip.

"I just want the dinner to be perfect when you bring your boyfriend home to meet us."
"Grandma, it will be, I promise."
"What about desserts?"
"You know you're the queen of desserts. He'll love whatever you make."
"Well maybe I could make..."

I turn around to look at her from the passenger's seat.

"Are...the cookies...are the cookies too big?"

She's started slurring her words, and something inside me snaps. TIA. CVA. My mind is blank, except for the word "STROKE" flashing in big, red letters.

My mom locks eyes with me from her seat, and I reach over to the GPS. I click "Hospitals," and click the first one on the list. We're somewhere in the mountains of Virginia, and I silently thank God for the GPS.

"Do you think we should stop and call 911," Mom asks me quietly. I check my cell phone and see that I have no service.
"N...no, just drive to the hospital...quickly."

I turn back around to look at grandma. I see a little bit of facial droop, but it's nothing significant.
"Could you do me a big favor and squeeze my hands really tight for me? Just squeeze them as hard as you can."
"Okay," she says as she obliges. Her grip is strong and equal.
"Now I want you to smile really big for me," I say as I demonstrate, "show me those pretty teeth!"
"Like thissh," she asks as she smiles.
"Perfect," I reply. I don't bother asking her to say a sentence for me; I already know she's slurring.
"Now put your arms out in front of you like a zombie. Okay, now close your eyes."
"Thisshis silly," she slurs as her left arm drifts away from the left. I try to chaulk it up to being in the car, but I keep it at the back of my mind.

I panic. The Cincinnatti Stroke Scale is great and everything, but what do I do for the next 10 miles until we get to the hospital? I have no equipment. I have no partners. I imagine the worst case scenario in my mind and prepare for that.

I check my cell phone again, and I have one little bar of service hanging on for dear life. I dial the number quickly and wait for it to ring.
"Ben? It's Sam. 70-something year old female, rapid onset slurred speech, no history of diabetes. Go." I'm not really breathing or thinking at this point, so I realize I've probably completely confused him.
"Uh...CVA, TIA, I'd check her blood sugar. When's the last time she had something to eat?"
"This morning."
"Yeah I'd think CVA or TIA."
"Okay, thank you."
"Are you driving to a hospital?"
"When did it happen?"
"Like ten minutes ago."
"Everything's going to be okay."

I hang up the phone and sit in silence for a second.

"I'm soo thirshty," she says, and for some reason this triggers something in me.
"Hey Grandma, remember when I was little, and you used to tell me about Magic Mountain?"
"Ohh yessh," she says.
"Tell me about it again. I've forgotten."

She starts explaining it to me. Everything she says makes sense, it's just a little off. She smiles and giggles every now and then, but it's not the usual way she acts. I get chills every time I process what's happening, so I stop processing and just keep her talking.

Mom's driving with a purpose, and I try to use some hidden powers of telepathy to move the cars in front of us.

Move, move, move, move is the silent mantra I'm repeating in my head in time with the tattooed staccato the road beats out. I urge the car to become an ambulance, fitted with lights and siren. I close my eyes and assure myself that when I open them, the familiar controls will be inbetween my mother and me--not the two cup holders.

When my eyes open, I'm let down. Grasping for straws. My composure is slipping, my emotions creeping their way into my mission.

With teary eyes, I turn back to her. She's snoozing against my grandfather contentedly.

"Grandma, I need you to stay awake, okay? I know you're tired, but just keep talking to me."
"Wellll fine."
"Let me tell you about Ben."
"Oh tell me about him."
"He's a firefighter," I say as my voice waivers.
"Ooo very shtrong."
"Yes, and he's a medic. He's very caring and sweet, and really knows how to take care of his patients. He's smart, and funny, and you know what?"
"His hand is like...the size of five of yours." She giggles and I continue telling her about him, focusing on the dinner we'll all be having together soon. The dinner we'll be having when everything is okay, and no one is panicking.

As we pull into the emergency room parking lot, I turn back around.
"We're going to the hospital, Grandma, I'm afraid you could be having a transient ischemic episode."
"But whyy the hoshpital?"
"Because it's for my peace of mind. I'm sure you're okay, but if we keep driving to New York like this, I'm going to be freaking out the whole time. Is that okay?"
"You know I'd do anything for you."



On my last post, I got a comment from an anonymous person.
Get another job, you're obviously over this one.
Patients don't have medical knowledge and can think they're very sick.
Now, I wasn't mad or mildly perturbed; I didn't even laugh it off. I was actually really hurt. I'm a very sensitive person, obviously, but let me explain.

I know that the things people say from an "anonymous" handle really shouldn't bother me. Obviously this person didn't have the chutzpah to say it to me face-to-face, in a private email, or even using his/her real name. That's fine. I don't allow anonymous commenting so that I can be attacked; I allow it so my friends, family, and other readers without accounts can comment. But whatever; it's a risk I take.

But to say that I'm "obviously over" this job? Wow. That couldn't be less true. I absolutely adore my job--both volunteer and paid. If I didn't love it, why would I give 18 hours of my heart, soul, and time to the rescue squad without pay? If I didn't love it, why would I forgo parties, plays, speakers, and other fun things on campus and with my friends so that I could try to help others? If I didn't love it, why would I want to do it for the rest of my life?

I curse because it is cathartic. I have seen too many things in my short time in EMS; I have to have a catharsis. And, anyone who knows me can tell you, I do not wake up easily. It is a miracle that I'm able to function on these calls. I can sleep for thirteen hours straight (easily) if I'm uninterrupted. When I wake up, I'm not happy about it. But like I said in the post, it's not about running the call, it's about waking up. I have to get myself ready to run the call, or else it's not going to go well.

My "b.s. flag" went up on that call because by now, I can tell when certain things aren't an emergency. I didn't mean to say that this woman wasn't in real pain. I'm sure she was; I'm a chronic migraine sufferer, and there have been headaches in my past where I literally thought I was dying. But what I do know is that this was not an emergency. The first call--the man with the chest pain--warranted an IV, an EKG, and lights and sirens all the way to the hospital. He needed immediate, emergent attention. The second woman did not need immediate attention, and could have driven herself to the hospital (or been driven by her boyfriend). At the very least, she could have called a taxi.

I treated her like I treat any patient. I asked the appropriate questions, did all the things I needed to do, and explained to her what would happen upon our arrival to the emergency room. Just because I think her complaint is not an emergency doesn't mean I'm going to risk her care and my license by not doing a full work-up.

And, in the words of EE, she who put it best,

The patient wants some dope. It is painfully obvious. The patient is also impeding the care of a very sick man...
Feel free to give me advice, or suggest other ways I can go about it. Feel free to say whatever you want, really; it's a free country after all. But if you say that my attitude is wrong, or that I'm jaded to the profession...well, you just couldn't be more wrong.

Ask my partners, my coworkers in the emergency room, my boyfriend, or my family. Ask my mom about how I beam when I tell her about a call I ran where I had the chance to save someone's life. Ask my fellow lab-tech about the victory dance I do every time I get an important IV (it's a sight to see, really). Ask Drew about the way I held a patient's hand all the way to the hospital, or assured the woman with "radioactive urine" that she wasn't going to hurt me and that I took her complaint seriously. Ask Ben about how frustrated I am when my best efforts fail in the ER or the ambulance and I feel like a failure myself.

Hear what they have to say, and then tell me I need to find a new job.

To the rest of you who commented; thank you. Thank you for sticking up for me, for relating to me, and for supporting me. You guys rock.

Take care out there,



There's this thing I do when a call comes out in the middle of the night, waking me up. Well, let's be honest, it's usually Drew that wakes me up, after I sleep right through that annoying ringing in the hallway. I wake up, stick my feet in my boots, grab my glasses, and curse. I curse like a sailor all the way out to the medic. I usually stop long enough to mark up the radio, but that's about it.

It's one long string of profanity, punctuated by the occasional article or noun. It has more to do with being woken up than actually running the call, I think, but regardless, it happens every time.

So tonight is no different.
"Sam, let's go."
"Uggggh, but it's chest pain, that's ALS and buhhhh..."
"Yeah but the paramedic is sending us to check it out. We've got Eric; he's a medic."
"Fine...let's go."

And then starts the cursing. A heavy length of profanity leaves my mouth, and then I pause, breathing for a second before starting in again. Drew just laughs from the back, and Eric barely acknowledges anything as he drives. Nearly running us off the road, I curse louder, this time including his name.

"Is that really necessary," I sigh, "you have the medic pegged at 80, so you're probably going at least 90!"

Well, I say that, only with more color to it.

I see our destination approaching on the right, and take a deep breath. I close my eyes, rub my temples, and I'm ready.

"Hello," I say with a smile that doesn't betray me, "my name is Sam; I'm with the rescue squad."

But my smile fades quickly as I take in the situation. He's in his late fifties, and clutching his chest. He breathes heavily, about twice as fast as the normal man, and I see sweat dripping from his forehead. The cursing starts in again in my thoughts, but this time it's due to the man's condition.

Eric and Drew's concern shows in their face as well, and after getting a set of vital signs, I stay with our patient as they get the stretcher. I glance out the door and see Eric on the phone to the paramedic.

The radio interrupts my thoughts, cutting in with a prealert.

"Station 1," I hear, and my heart drops immediately, "headache." Three of us are tied up on this call, and the paramedic is the only one at the station, who we desperately need. Getting this sorted out is going to be more than difficult. I curse some more in my head.

We load our patient quickly and I set up an IV as Drew drives back to the station to swap out crews. I try to spike the bag while maintaining my balance, but I know that's hopeless. I'm thrown back into the IV box while yelping a bit. I finally manage to get it set up about the time we're pulling back into the station. Drew and I hop out as the paramedic gets in, and we run to a different ambulance.

"Medic 2 is en route," I pant into the radio as we pull back out of the driveway. I flip through the map book and find the address. It's way out there, and I let myself relax for a moment.

Dispatch comments on our rip-and-run saw that a 20 year old female heard something pop in her head. My b.s. flag shoots up immediately, and I relax a bit more, even though the cursing continues inside my mind.

We arrive on scene and I see a woman, two men, and a dog in the living room. The dog seems to have the main goal in life of tripping me. He almost succeeds twice.

"Ma'am, can you tell me what's going on today?"
"I've had a migraine all day long, and then I coughed and heard something pop in my head."
"Did it hurt any worse after that?"
"Well, no."
"Okay. How bad is your pain on a scale from one to ten?"
"Like a seven."
"Do you want to go to the hospital?"
"Do either of you want to follow behind us or ride up front," Drew asks the two men sitting sleepily on the couch.
"Oh hell naw," is the response her boyfriend offers up. Great.

She wants to go to Clearview regional, where I work, so I pull my ID out of my pocket and clip it to my shirt. I ask her some more questions, get her vital signs, and get her situated in the ambulance.

We take off, and she says nothing. She answers my questions, but sits in relative silence. She asks me once if I can give her anything for pain, but I tell her that at my level of certification, I can't. Something about her just isn't quite right, though. She never looks me in the eye when she answers a question, just when she asks for pain medicine. She picks at her nails and yawns.

Switching the radio over, I call in report.

"Good morning, Clearview, this is EMT Montgomery. I'm en route to your facility with a twenty year old female whose chief complaint is of a migraine. Patient is alert and oriented to person, time, and place, and appears in minor distress. Vitals are within normal limits, and patient has no other complaints, except for nausea. Interestingly enough, Clearview, patient states that she coughed a few hours ago and felt something pop in her head. There was no increase of her pain. Not requesting any orders as I'm sure you may have guessed; do you have any questions?"

There's a brief pause on the other line, and when they key up the microphone, I hear some laughing.

"Uh, negative Medic 2...wait...did you say she heard something pop?"
"That's affirmative, Clearview."

Another pause, some more laughter.

"10-4, Medic 2, see you when you get here!"

We pull into their bay and park next to Eric's ambulance. Unloading the patient, he and I exchange sighs. We move her to the hospital bed, I give my report to the nurse, and hand her my already-finished narrative.

"Hey, Montgomery," I hear from the EMS room, "you call in that report?"
"Oh, hey!" I see one of my favorite paramedics as I walk in.
"So that was you?"
"Yeah," I smile sheepishly.
"Loved it. Enough facts with enough sarcasm; I give it two thumbs up," he laughs.
"Aw, shucks, you're too sweet."
"Hey, I'm just telling it like it is."

I hear the prealert again, and I'm cursing more, praying it's not us. We climb into the medic, and I'm relieved to hear another station toned out. Finally, the cursing stops.


Face Down

I always expect "ground level falls" to be nothing more than the life alert commercials we all know and love. The first call of this nature I went on, the woman on the floor actually called out to us as we knocked on the door, "help, I've fallen and I can't get up." I guess I've just gotten used to helping a little old lady up, getting a signature, and going about my day.

But when I walk in the room, I can tell this one's going to be a headache. She's lying face down with her head in the bedroom and her body in the bathroom. Christ, I think to myself as I see her pantyhose still bunched around her ankles. The bathroom is, of course, tiny. It's a wonder she managed to fit in there with a shower, sink, and toilet.

Her husband, obviously deep in the throes of dementia, sits on a portable bed pan/toilet contraption next to the door, with the cordless phone in his lap.

"Hi, my name is Sam, I'm with the rescue squad. Can you tell me what happened?"
"I fell," she replies with a mouth full of floor.
"Right," I sigh, "but what happened?"
"I stood up from the toilet, bent over, tripped over something, fell over the toilet, and here I am."

At this point, I have c-spine control. She denies hitting her head, but at this point, I'm not taking any risks.

Now we have a problem, I'm starting to realize. She's face down in a tiny room, and we have to backboard her. There's no possible way to log roll her or even fit the backboard in the same room independent of her.

"So...we'll get the board under her, bring her out, log roll her off of it, and then log roll her back onto it?" Drew scratches his head a bit as he makes his way into the bathroom without stepping on our patient.
"Yeah," I pause, "I uh...guess so."

My favorite police officer has shown up, and is offering to help. This is why he's my favorite. We start the tedious process of sliding the board under her, from head to toe, while maintaining c-spine control, and while trying to keep from hurting her.

Finally, we manage to finagle the board all the way under her, and start lifting the board out of the bathroom, over the portable bed pan thing, and onto a flat surface. This is not an easy task due to her weight and the obstacles, but it happens.

Tired and sweaty, I look at Drew and the officer from my position at her head. We're each wiping sweat off in some form or fashion--it's gross.

"Okay, let's roll her," Drew says. On my count, we roll her off the backboard, do a quick assessment of any injuries, and then roll her back onto the backboard. It's a bit cockamamie, but if it works, I'm happy.

Carefully, we carry the backboard out of the room and onto the waiting stretcher. Every move we make warrants another agonized yelp from our patient, but I can't tell why. She's got nothing more than a little swelling where her glasses hit her face, but nothing is apparently wrong.

"Ma'am, what hurts," I ask her.
"Nothing, really, but I get scared when you move me," she says.
"Oh okay," I reply, "we're going to buckle you into this stretcher, roll it out to the ambulance, and put it in the back. You'll feel some bumps, but don't worry, I haven't lost a patient off of one of these yet," I say with a wink.
"Okay," she says with a little smile.

"Which hospital," I hear Drew asking family.
"I want to go to St. Mary's," she says quietly.
"Ma'am, we can either go to Clearwater Regional or Sacred Heart."
"But...that's not where my doctors are!"
"I understand that, but if we took you to St. Mary's, we'd end up driving you for an hour, which means another hour back for us after getting you situated there. That's a good two and a half more hours from now that we'd be out of service, and we need to be able to go back to our station quickly in order to help other people."
"Oh. I really want to go to St. Mary's," she sighs.

I leave her side to go check with the family. I explain to them the choices they have. They decide to send her to Lakeview, a small ER only facility associated with St. Mary's. I doubt they'll take her since she's a trauma, but I'm eager to go. The winds are howling and the rain is coming down.

"Lakeview ER, this is Clearview Medic 1 contacting you on the HEAR, do you copy?" I hear static coming back at me, and I wait for a few seconds before repeating my traffic. I call again, and still I get no response. Frustrated, I check the medic's cell phone. Every ER's number is listed, save Lakeview. I call again on the HEAR, and get nothing. I call two more times, and no one answers. We're roughly five minutes away, and I have never shown up to an ER without calling report.

I call Eric, back at the station, and have him look up the landline number. I have no service on my phone, so I creep up to the driver's seat and take Drew's. I finish my report as we are pulling into the parking lot.

"Standby," the nurse says on the other end, "we may want to divert you to St. Mary's."
"That's a negative," I respond, "we are in your parking lot now."
She sighs before coming back with a simple, "10-4."

We can't figure out the doors. We've never been here before, and I'm not sure if it's a keycard, or a number I have to punch in. Frustrated and banging on the door, I try to control myself.

Finally, the one and only tech comes to let us in. He reminds me of someone who's taken speed; he simply cannot stop talking, moving, or twitching. He leads us to the bed and helps us move her over. There's one other patient here in this 10-bed facility, and I can spot possibly two nurses. I snag one to give report and find myself the EMS room.

The tech follows me in there and stands awkwardly beside me, as I begin to write my narrative.
"Um, so you look really familiar," he begins.
"Oh? Um...I...I don't know."
"Or maybe you just remind me of someone I know who's as pretty as you." I'm in no mood. I sigh as I push the hair out of my face.
"Maybe you've seen me around Waverly," I nod.
"Oh really? Do you work out there too?"
"No, but my boyfriend is a career firefighter medic out in Waverly."
"Oh," he says, "that's cool. I'm going to go get a drink."

As he slinks out, I mark myself a point on my imaginary scoreboard. Sam-928,327, Cliché members of the opposite sex-0.

I finish up my narrative, find Drew, and basically drag him out the door.
"Let's go, let's go, let's goooo!"
"Eager much?"
"I'm tired, sweaty, cranky, and just got hit on by Speedy McRaceRace back there. Let's get out of here!"
"Okay, okay," he says as he forces his door open against the wind.

A few minutes pass on our way home. We listen to the radio and sing "Nights in White Satin," really loudly and out of tune.

"'Cause I love youuuuu, ohhhhhhh how I love youuuuu!!!!" Drew's voice wavers, and mine follows suit. I can't stop laughing. This is why I love being Drew's partner.

After a boring song comes on, Drew sighs.
"If you had to explain that call in one word, what would it be?"
I think for a second, and reply with, "obnoxious."
"Why, what were you thinking?"



Overheard while starting an IV last night:

Nurse: So what brought you to the ER today?
20 y/o female: I just can't catch my breath.
Nurse: Do you have a history of asthma or any breathing problems?
20 y/o female: No, not that I know of.
Nurse: Have you ever had anything like this before?
20 y/o female: Yeah.
Nurse: Why was that?
20 y/o female: Well you see, I smoke pot about every other day...

A real post coming hopefully tonight :) Thanks for putting up with my absence!

Take care out there,



67 y/o drunk man: "Why are you poking me?"
Me: "We've got to give you an IV so we can give you some medications and fluid."
67 y/o drunk man: "Oh. You're cuuute."
Me: "Yes sir, I'm always cute when they're drunk."
67 y/o drunk man: *buuurp*


Tiny Rant

Disclaimer: Anniforscia, dear, don't read this post. Please. No one should read this post with an intense fear of needles or IVs. Thanks.

Dear Paramedic Student who shall go unnamed,

There are several things I keep in my IV bucket. Let me tell you about them. I keep a latex and non-latex tourniquet. I keep a whole bunch of Vacutainer tubes to put the blood in. I keep gauze, alcohol swabs, saline locks, syringes, tape, and Tegaderm site dressings. I even keep a whole ton of saline flushes. There's a lot in there, I know.

But here's the important part. I carry two types of needles. One type of needle is for IVs. It's called an angiocath. It comes in gauges 14-24 for the IVs I use. It has a plastic catheter over the needle, and that part stays in the patient. Easy, right?

I also carry hypodermic needles that go on the END OF SYRINGES so that after I get the blood in the syringe, I can distribute it evenly into the vaccutainers. I only carry one size--18 gauge.

I keep them in SEPARATE parts of the IV bucket. You KNOW this. But yet, every single time I've started an IV, you hand me a regular needle when I need an IV needle. I've told you time and time again which is which, and even wasted supplies by opening countless needles to show you the difference. Let me see if I can clarify more.

This is an ANGIOCATH.


Get it? No?


Hypodermic needle for a syringe...

They do very different things. Please learn which is which before continuing in your paramedical education.


p.s.--This rant brought to you by Sam's raging impatience with students who don't learn. I'm not being unfair, I've told him roughly fifteen times. I don't mind correcting him, but I do fear for his patients, when he sticks them, and then realizes that he's using a hypodermic needle, not an IV needle.