Another loss for NM EMS

 

 

 

 

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Early this morning there was word that a HEMS bird crashed in rural eastern NM. And it proved to be Careflight 5 out of Santa Fe, NM. This hits a lot of us hard because NM EMS IS such a small community. I’m kinda stunned at all of this. I knew that crew, I’ve talked to them on and off at work. And, because I do aviation photography, I have seen that crew at hospitals and taken pictures of their bird. Tri-state Careflight is a good company, and their crews are amazing. They will be missed, greatly. Good thoughts go out to their families, and to everyone that’s hurting tonight.

RIP Brothers and sister. We have the watch now.

-TJ

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New adventures, Familiar Place

So I have alluded to a new job several times in the past few months on here. And I figured it’s past time to talk about it. As you can tell from the new banner, I have TX and NM represented in that star of life. That’s because I’m now, once again, workin in the state of Texas.

Some of you might remember that three years ago I worked in a small rural TX community as an EMT-I. Well, now I’m back in the same community working as a Paramedic :). I work 7 days on/7 days off. It actually works out well for me. I’ll go into some detail as to what it’s like down here too. But suffice to say, it’s one of my dream jobs. And I’m having a lot of fun overall.

When I worked here before, it was a city run, third service, with pretty typical protocols for this area of Texas. Now, I’m working under flight protocols on a frontier 911 truck. We have some of the broadest sets of guidelines outside of my good friends to the south in Presidio. As a Paramedic I have free reign to use clinical judgement and best practice to deviate from our guidlines, and out critical care medics (more on that in a bit) can perform CVC placements, pericardiocentesis, chest tube insertion, and several other things. The running train of thought is that we can do more in the short term than our little community hospital can, and that they only do scans and give blood (the two things we can’t do at this point).

We regularly transport straight to the airport from scene to meet up with one of our company’s fixed wings for transport of hte patient to a tertiary facility or trauma center (nearest major hospital is a level 2. Closest Level 1 is over 200 miles in any direction). The flight team runs under our same protocols, so in this instance, the flight team doesn’t bring any additional tools (except they carry an ultrasound, ours are coming for ground) or skills to the patient. We use them strictly because we are so far from definitive care.

We also fly out quite a few by rotor. Part of this is that we cover 3000 sq mi of territory, a lot of it is pretty rugged desert. We also have one major interstate running through our county. One of our most common reasons for flying people out by rotor is that we just can’t get safely back down the road the patient is on with any sort of speed, like an oil rig lease road. We have one of the highest numbers of oil rigs in the state of texas here in my county. And with all this, I haven’t seen much abuse of air medical, it’s pretty typical for frontier Texas.

One of hte nice things about our company is that they want all medics to be certified as critical care. And we are 90% paramedic agency (we only have a handful of EMT-I and EMT-B providers. Once myself and four others go through the critical care class, we will be at 100% of paramedics certified as critical care. And I’m in that weird spot because I’m currently an FP-C, which is generally considered critical care level. And the best part is the company will pay for the critical care training. And with the schedules we work, an extra class (like UMBCs 2 weeks course) are easy enough to do trades togo to.

All-in-all I’m excited to be back here. It’s a great place to learn, and I get to play sometimes as a flight medic on our fixed wings. It’s already making me a better provider and it is my favorite type of EMS, rural with great protocols. Plus we have a great crew here. I can’t wait to see what my future holds down here.

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New Goal

So instead of just plodding along with trying to establish my photography business, I decided I needed a goal. That goal is I want to produce a photo book of regional EMS/Fire/Air Medical in the TX, NM, CO area. And then donate the proceeds of said book to the National EMS Memorial in CO Springs. To that goal, I’ve established a GoFundMe page (http://www.gofundme.com/bgvad0) to see if anyone wants to donate. If you’d like to donate I’d appreciate it immensely. Or you can buy some of my prints (http://www.stretchermonkeyphoto.com or http://www.fineartamerica.com/profiles/nathan-zecco.html ). Anything helps! Thanks everyone!

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Is this what I wanted?

The other day we were out and ran into an old teacher of mine. And by old, I mean like 7th grade… For perspective I graduated HS 8 years ago. She was saying something about what I had wanted to do back then. And then she asked what I do now. When I told her I was a paramedic (which honestly, as much as I hate advertising that fact, I’m proud of what I do for a living) she had this shocked look on her face.

It makes me think about what I wanted back then. I was gung-ho to go into the military, or to do some kind of engineering. Something that sounded ‘fun’ to me back then. But a lot of crap happened in high school that started to change my perspective. And then I was involved in one of the most life changing events that I’ve had, I almost died in a motorcycle accident at the end of my Jr year of HS. That killed any hopes I had of joining the military.  And whether I wanted to admit it or not, probably made me consider a career in public safety.

I remember when I decided to become an EMT. I was an explosives engineering student at the school of mines in my high school town. But even though I was just a couple miles from home, I had way too much fun. I thought that college was one big party, with more time spent offroading and shooting guns than actually attending classes. So I was informed that I needed to take a semester off. To figure out what I wanted to do (also read: academic suspension). So I moved to ABQ, for what I thought was going to be a semester, and enrolled in a class that sounded like a lot of fun. EMT-Basic at the local community college.

The class was fun. It was interesting. And full of the usual war stories and ‘hero’ rhetoric. But at the time I didn’t know any different. And at the time I was hooked. It sounded so fun, so exciting, like I would be making a difference. And then I did my ambulance shift for class. I was hooked even more.

That was 7 years ago. In the time since I’ve come to love my career field. I’ve invested an untold amount of hours and money into pushing myself to be better, to do better for my patients.

And now with where I work (which is another post coming up all in itself) I find myself with an abundance of free time. And I think back on where I thought I would be, and where I am now. And honestly, I am rather happy with where I am. I feel like I do a job I belong in. I feel like, now, I can make a difference. It took a long time and a lot of effort to get here. And I can honestly say I’m proud of it.

But now I’m at a crossroads as well. I want to go on to more. And I have a decent amount of free time at work. So I decided I’m going to bridge over to nursing with an ADN from Excelsior College Nursing Program. Afterall, I’m happy, but I don’t want to just rest on my laurels and get stagnant.

Onward to bigger things. Hell, maybe one day I’ll have some bigger fancy letters after my name.

 

 

Also. New banner! Lol after saying for the past 2 years I needed a new one.

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Code Blue, Code Stroke,… Code Green?

Recently, a group of EMS providers and First Responders have come together to make something that is near and dear to me. I present to you, the Code Green Campaign! There has been much talk recently on social media about suicided in first responder circles. Including a medic who committed suicide at his station and his partner attempted to work him. And there has been talk about the stigma that surrounds our profession and others like it about asking for help.

The Code Green Campaign is trying to break those stigmas. Please everyone, check it out. I don’t want to lose any other brothers or sisters, no matter what patches or uniforms you wear. I have lost someone very close to me once before and don’t want to go through that before. Mourning bands are not something I want to break out on a regular basis.

On the site, there is a list of resources geared just to us, the first responder community. There’s stories from other providers about their own issues and problems and how they took it on. There’s even one from yours truly that has been submitted. It’s a great idea, backed by a great group of people.

Even if we can just save one brother or sister from taking their own life, it would be worth it. But please spread this around, give it as much publicity as you can. We need to cut out the stigma that comes with asking for help. After all, we are all taught that our safety comes first. That includes unsafe scenes and unsafe mental states. Take care of yourselves people!

-TJ

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We lost a good man yesterday

NM EMS suffered a terrific blow yesterday. We lost one of our best educators, Cy Stockhoff. I met Cy close to seven years ago when he helped proctor one of my first practical exams for EMT-B. Then I got to have him when I attempted my EMT-I cert for the first time. The man knew what he was talking about, and always pushed for us students to question the norm and push to make our profession better.

Cy taught a good portion of my first try through paramedic school, and was my biggest supporter when I withdrew from the program and took my EMT-I exam instead. He told me that life will never let you follow your plans exactly, and that sometimes things happen and you have to make do as best you can.

The last time I saw him, it was a fun little reunion when I came by his office to ask about starting their degree program with my current paramedic cert. He remembers nearly all his students, it seems, and I was no exception. He asked me how it was going, and congratulated me on my paramedic cert and asked how I was liking my rural 911 service (I  was in uniform at the time, so it was an easy jump).

Even then, he asked if I had thought about doing any further training and education, including getting my instructor certs. After those years away from being his student he still wanted me to do better than the status quo.

Cy, you’ve helped mentor me, helped me learn how this EMS thing works. You’ve made me question the ‘why’ about why we do things. I’m grateful to have been one of your students, and I will keep striving to be better, and to make our chosen profession better. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us. You’ve helped teach a state full of providers who will fight to the last, with what little we have to work with.

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Well now another update

As I’m sure some of you thought, looking at the timing and dates on that last post, that it was an April fool’s joke :p I’m not going to Detroit at the moment. But I do have some real changes soon I’m hoping.

 

And now for something that just made me go “What?”… I found out that my social anxiety actually gets much much worse when I’m at the hospital.I never gave it much thought, and thought I was just nervous cause I’m still newer to working there… But I was just talking to one of the docs I’m friendly with and they made the comment that they think working in the hospital is making me very anxious. Talk about throwing me for a loop. And make me miss working on the bus even more.

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A big change in the wings!

I’ve been rather quiet lately… But I feel now is the right time, with The Happy Medic’s newest announcement, to open up with my newest opportunity on the horizon.

I have been asked to come onboard with the new Detroit Unified Healthcare Service, as a field supervisor! We will, together with many other innovative and progressive EMS professionals, be forming the core of the new Detroit EMS. We will be building it from the ground up and making it a place everyone who is interested in more than being a taxi ride to the hospital will want to travel to!

Stay tuned for more information ASAP about this exciting new service! Click the link above if you’re interested in joining us on this adventure!

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It is like an addiction

Well, I’m now seven weeks into working in a hospital. I haven’t stepped foot in an ambulance for seven weeks… And god do I miss it. But I might have some options coming up.

I honestly knew I loved working an ambulance, and it’s been years since I haven’t worked full time with a service somewhere. But I haven’t even volunteered due to some personal issues. I find myself missing the rush of certain calls and the camaraderie of EMS crews decompressing after a bad call. But this is ridiculous. I go to work in the ER loving what I do. But I do get jealous of the crews that come in.

So my options coming up… I have a written test tomorrow morning at 1000 for a company I first got my start at. I was terminated there years ago for an MVC, but now that I’m a medic and it’s been 6 years, they are looking at bringing me on again it looks like. I applied for PT work in the greater metro area. So probably on their CCT truck they are trying to stand up or their little 911 contract. Guess I will see.

The bad part? I get off work after 12 hour night shift tomorrow at 0700. Gonna be a long day.

My other option is that I applied, with my hospital preceptors recommendation and urging, to a local fixed wing operation here in the metro area. They are a good company and I’ve loved their crews when I’ve had to transport them to and from the airport and hospital. Plus I work with multiple RNs and medics that work there now that I’m at the TC. I was told they might be able to work with me being juts under experience due to my having worked two concurrent full time jobs for close to 2 years as a primary medic, plus having my FP-C already. Waiting for a call to interview, but I was told I’ll get that call. The rest I’m on my own for, lol.

And the last option is going back to the rural county I volunteered for. It’s tempting, as they’ve had a massive change in leadership recently. And from what I’ve been told it’s for the best. I still have an in there if I want it, at least that’s what I’ve been told.

All this combined with going back to school next semester, getting my photography business off the ground, and continuing working full time at the TC leaves my head spinning… but that’s what I want :) I like keeping busy.

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New pictures and changes

So now that I’m actively promoting my photography venture, I figured I’ll post a couple of my newest pictures and the link to the site. I have updated some of the content and the formatting. Let me know what ya’ll think.

http://www.stretchermonkeyphoto.com

 

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