Well, it’s been a busy few months.
School is helping to consume my life. I finished all my pre reqs for Paramedic school and was accepted into the newest class starting Jan 9 2009. I am trying to go on contract w/ my company to go to school so they will work with my schedule and help pay for it. Plus I’ll be getting a raise out of it, so I think that alone will help when I’m foreced to cut back on working quite so much. I’m really looking forward to school. First semester will be a blast, especially the 4 week internship w/ a 911 service. I don’t do enough of that working transport.
Speaking of 911, this is where it gets interesting. A few nights ago there was an MCI declared out in Torrance county, one of the other counties my company runs in (911 only, since it’s a rural county). A tour bus rolled onto it’s side. 50+ patients out there. We were dispatched out there to lend some more assistance. Since this is a very rural area, there are several vollie depts that responded out there, but some are only trained to an MFR level, and there were only two paramedics (1 was ours, plus we had an ILS truck out there), there were a total of 8 rigs on scene when we were dispatched out.
That led to the fun part. I stock my truck w/ extra supplies for the trucks on scene and we get a third person on my crew, basics all. Told by county dispatch that the roads were clear all the way to the exit off the interstate we were supposed to take. So we head out running code through the city, then slower code when we get to the mountains and Sedillo Hill.
Driving carefully and quite a bit slower than normal, we have clear but sandy roads. Once past the main problem of the canyon it straightens out so we speed up a little, still under the speedlimit. We have sanded roads until suddenly a semi in front of us starts to jack-knife. That scares the shit out of me, so I take my foot off the gas, not wanting to hit the brakes since we didn’t know where the ice started, and not doing much steering wheel inputs. Didn’t help. We start sliding on the ice and wind up rolling over into a ditch.
Lesson 1) Don’t trust county dispatch on conditions
Next thing I know I’m hanging from my seatbelt trying to check out my partner up front who is not concious at that point. I hear my partner who was strapped into the airway chair in the back able to get out and use her cell to call our dispatch and let them know what happened. I try our radio and can’t get any response. Figures, our antenna is probably dead meat in that crash.
The inside of the truck alone was trashed. Our center switch area was sitting on top of my partner and everything was moved. I couldn’t get to my cell or our handheld radios. It was a very scary thing. I couldn’t do anything for anyone, even myself, since if I was able to get out of my seat belt, I would have fallen onto my partner. That would have been a very bad thing.
I am able to get my partner in front talking to me and she says her hips are hurting like that are broken. Before I am able to get anything else from her, we see flashlights in our windshield. It was NM SP and NM DPS cars that stopped on scene. We have an EMT trained cop asking questions as they use ASPs to break out the windshield. I tried to grab something to cover my partner so glass shards wouldn’t go all over her. Stupid laminated glass, since my window punch wouldn’t do anything to it to help get us out. I am able to get some hard cover (the cushion from the airway chair actually) over her, even though I get a little cut up from the shards.
The cop gets in and puts himself under my after he checks over her. He lifts me a little so I can get my seatbelt off and then I’m pulled bodily from the wreck by about 6 or 7 people. My door was facing straight up. I get out and my hands feel completely numb, but I don’t feel anything, not even the little cuts and scrapes from the glass and grabbing for things. I talk to the medic in charge and ask to be able to stay until they get my partner out, but he wants me in a rescue to get checked out.
Lesson 2) Don’t argue with the I/C medic, or you will have police force you to go to a rescue unit
That was a short argument. And not a fun one. I get checked out in the rescue and sign a refusal, and then try to get out to see my partner in the back. I go to Medic 34 (SFCFD) and check on her, she is in pain but not letting the EMTs board and collar her. She won’t even listen to me on that. She’s a baby EMT (fresh out of school) so she knew better than anyone that collaring her was in her best interest. After seeing her be ok, I hop out and try to head over to our rig, which I can see for the first time, and it amazes me that any of us are alive. I’m intercepted by state police and escorted back to Medic 34. They don’t want me in the way.
In my mind I know that they are right, but it does nothing for my heart wanting to be with my partner, especially as she was technically off shift and volunteered for that run with us. I just wanted to try to take care of everyone as I felt responsible.
Me and back seat partner (BSP, my regular partner) are taken to one of the outlying ERs in ABQ so she can be treated. We were going to go to the trauma center, but they were only taking Trauma 1’s. BSP is still complaining of pain, radiating throughout her neck. I’m at least allowed to help the EMTs in the back. We get to KHP where I’ve got a message asking me to call dispatch. I do and talk to the owners son, the mgr on duty that night. He tells me that I’ll be picked up in 20 minutes to get back to base.
I make sure BSP is being taken care of, tell her I’ll keep her up to date with what’s happening and then head to the bay doors. One of the Techs and me talk for a bit and she gets me up to date on what is happening in town. The MCI put all the major hospitals (and ABQ does have plenty) on alert, and caused UNM to be on divert for all but the most major traumas. I guess the cops actually had to work and take the drunks in instead of just calling for EMS.
My front seat partner (FSP) is being taken to one of the downtown hospitals with ‘minor trauma w/ hip pain’ so that made me feel a bit better knowing where she was going
I get back to base when the snobby son comes back to get me. SS was being himself, but there was something else in his attitude. He was actually showing that he had a heart, and was worried about the crews instead of just the trucks. He fills me in with what will need to happen. I am to write an incident report while everything is still fresh in my mind, then help out in dispatch for the remainder of my shift.
I do those things after being greeted and checked over by our dispatcher, who felt horrible for what happened, since he felt that it was partially his fault. The MCI winds up taking almost all night with a patient even being flown out, despite nasty weather. I wonder how much we could have helped out there had we managed to get there.
I have my fiance drive me home, since she was coming in for a dispatch shift (where she works until cleared back to field duty because of an injury). I get to sleep for a couple hours before I am woken up by her coming through the door. My parents and brother are with her. Her supervisor found out what happened and then sent a replacement for her and told her she needed to be with me. She didn’t even ask she just left happily. I’ve got a new respect for her boss.
The owner of the company, turns out, is highly pissed at me, according to my fiance. I was kinda figuring he would be and ask her how much trouble I am in. She suprises me by saying none, and that the only reason he’s pissed at me is because I wasn’t seen in the hospital that night. He wants me to get checked out ASAP, and probably not a bad idea since by this point I have developed nausea, vomiting, and a killer headache.
After all the annoyance of the hospital it comes back that I had a minor concussion(!) and just
tons of bruising.
That brings us back to today. Where I can’t help but get it in my head that this is all my fault. I feel horrible about what happened and wonder how FSP and BSP cannot hate me. I figure they both do. I am hating that fact that they got hurt and I was able to walk away with minor injuries. Why was I special? Why didn’t I get hurt?
And I’m also mourning my truck. Does that sound wierd? I think so. I think I’m sad about it because it was the truck I’ve been in since being put in the field by myself after third-rides. I don’t know what to do about that one.
And now I’m off work pending CISD, a physical exam, drug test, and whatever else…. I just feel lost right now.