Memories, and new beginnings?

I’ve never like Albuquerque, not since before I moved here for school. When I left last March for Colorado, I thought that was it. I swore I’d never willingly move back to Albuquerque. But somehow in the course of talking to you the NEXT March… we agreed to find a place together in Albuquerque, and I would have been so very content to stay here for the next 18 years with you if you’d have had me. That’s when it hit me. You were what was missing the first few years here. Even staying at your parents (which I’m still so very grateful they put up with me :p), being with you felt like home. You were my home, the place I felt the safest. The place I felt most comfortable. The person I loved being with so much.

Now Albuquerque is a bunch of memories, of things we did. Of places we visited. Unfinished plans that we made together. Albuquerque feels empty to me now. Worse than before you, it’s now a black hole that seems content to suck out any happiness or wanting to do anything. This is not my home any longer.

I guess that’s why when this hospital district offered me the opportunity to come out and test, I took it without a second thought. I knew you would have been ok with it. That’s why I bristle a little when people accuse me of trying to run away from my problems here and run there. And to be honest, that thought gave me a panic attack on the drive back today.

For a little bit, I didn’t know why I was doing it. Was I really running away? Or was I doing it because it’s something I wanted? Because it’s something I thought would be the best idea for me? I really didn’t know. That made me feel horrible. Then I thought about it. Both of us loved travelling, granted you hated TX, but we both had plans to move as much as we could. And this would really be a good opportunity for me. Maybe I’m doing it for a little bit of all of those reasons? But you know what, if it’s better for me in the long run, who cares right this second why I’m doing it?

But that means I need to try and put some things behind me. Sweetheart, losing you is something I’m still having a hard time dealing with. I listened to a song on the way home and these were part of hte lyrics

“I don’t wanna not remember
I will always see your face
In the shadows of this haunted place
I will laugh
I will cry
Shake my fist at the sky
But I will not say goodbye”

That’s rather how I feel towards you. The last month I’ve gone through so many emotions… Gods know that there have been times I’ve been so very pissed off at you. Pissed that you left me alone here, pissed that you wouldn’t talk to any of us, pissed that you were gone. Pissed in general. But it reminded me too that I wouldn’t have been anywhere near that mad if I wasn’t in love with you.

What I can do, though, is remember the memories. Remembering you so many years ago, walking into the interview for that trip with me. I saw you back then, braces, frizzy hair, and all, and it was like something inside me clicked. Like my heart went “Oh! Hi! I’ve been waiting for you!”

And that trip was amazing. I know you had some rough spots during it, and so did I. And I’m sorry I ever took it out on you then. But we enjoyed each others company so very much. And I loved squirelling a smile out of you when you were in a bad mood. It helped my mood so much too. And then  when we got home… This blushing little girl, so cute and innocent looking, walking up to me and kissing me on the cheek, then walking away. You left me standing there breathless and staring. I still smile when I think of that memory.

Then we had some bad times. I was dating the one-who-will-never-be-named (yes she is that much of an evil bitch that she would give Voldemort a run for his money) and she took great exception to the fact that I might have been falling for someone that wasn’t her, or that I was even talking to someone that wasn’t her. So she took it upon herself to make sure we’d never talk again… and for several years we didn’t. I remember spending hours trying to find you online, looking for any sign of you. And come to find out you were doing the same thing to find me.

I remember the first day I saw you again. It was after you and my mother realized who each other was. I came down from ABQ for just a chance. We called each other when I got on campus and left my mom’s office. And in a typical Zita moment, and Nate moment for that matter, I look ahead of me and see someone talking on the phone… making arm motions that looked very familiar. I asked you what you were doing and you told me walking. I was smirking to myself the entire time, and I asked you to turn around. God, seeing your face for the first time in years was amazing. You had just gotten even more gorgeous and grown up from that little girl I remember. The smile on your face when we both realized we’d been on the phone with each other from about 20ft away is still one of my favorite memories.

Remembering how you smiled at me this past Valentine’s day when I surprised you with flowers at your parents. You were always so hard to surprise because you hated them and tried to get all the info you could before it happened. That’s why I’m amazed that me and your mother managed to pull off me sneaking by without you knowing. The happiness you had on your face when you saw me walk through the door was amazing, and then the surprise and smile when I handed you flowers. I was hoping that flowers to you on V-day would become a normal tradition with us, the first time I’d ever enjoyed that day at all.

Or how a month or two later when I walked into your parents house again on a mini-vacation from TX. I had been working up the courage to ask if I could kiss you on that trip, so can you imagine how surprised I was when the first thing you do as I walk in is kiss me on the lips, kiss me very soundly? Heh, I think it was almost a repeat of the airport and me just standing there. You smiled so sweetly and just giggled at me. That was the turning point of us becoming an ‘us’ even if we didn’t want to admit it to anyone.

Those are just a few of my favorite memories of you and me. And kind of why I think I might be running away from ABQ… there are memories of you, of us, of all three of us, everywhere in this state. And I really am having a hard time dealign with it. I still wake up and expect to be looking into your gorgeous hazel eyes, or hear you giggle at me whenever I do something stupid. I miss your gentle touch when I’m upset, and boy, lately, I could have used that wonderful touch so often. I miss just being able to cuddle you to me when you were upset. All in-all… I miss you honey. Miss you so much that the pain makes me want to curl up into a ball and stay there.

I think what really gets me… is that we didn’t really have a chance. We were good together for the short time we had, and it kills me that I’ll never know how we would have turned out. I think it would have worked, but now I’ll never know… and that, to me, is one of the things that makes this so hard.

So, yea, maybe I am running away. But I’m also trying to move on. You would want me to move on. You’d want me to become a better man. You knew of my love for EMS, and you told me shortly before I lost you that you could never tell me you wanted me to give it up. So here I go. I’m trying to get on with one of my dream services (the only one I can get on with as an EMT-I as opposed to a medic). I’m trying to become that man you would be proud of. I’m just hoping you keep watching over me. Keep visiting me in my dreams, for that’s the only way I can see you now, and gods know that I miss you. I still think of you every second of every day, and I can’t see how that will change any time soon. But for now I just need to keep pressing on. Keep trying  to push forward. It’s what you would have wanted for me. and it’s what I would have wanted you to do if the situations would be reversed.

I know I still can’t tell you goodbye. Like I said earlier, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to tell you goodbye. But I will not, cannot, ever forget you. You’ll stay in my heart forever. And I think you took the best part of me with you when you left, so at least you have some company. Until I see you again lover, watch over me and help keep my dumb ass safe when I do something stupid.

“The blackest night must end in dawn, the light dispel the dreamer’s fear.”

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So… I just got back to NM last night. I left NM on sunday to go to SE Texas to test for a large hospital based agency. From everything I have heard, they are in the top three services in the state of TX and they’ve always been one I wanted to work at. But man it was a long drive. 15 hours or so from here.

The hiring process consists of a written test, three practical tests (airway incluiding pedi and adult ETI, vital signs, and LSB), an interview, and a PAT. I passed the written with an 88%, passed all three practicals with only one retest (vital signs?! I think I just got nervous and started counting my own pulse), and had a great time on the PAT. It was actually a very fun PAT, and one of the few for private, non-fire EMS that I’ve seen that has you do a full course, not just a stair test. The interview I think I did ok on too. Now I just have to wait till Friday to hear if I got the job or not. If I did, orientation will start on July 18th.

And it’s not just orientation. They run a 3 week academy followed by 4-6 weeks riding third before you’re released as a probationary crew member under a mentoring medic.  I love the idea of the way they do new hires. So… fingers crossed that I’ll get the call once I get off duty on Friday. I go in for a 36 down here in ValCo tonight. I’m hoping I’ll have a resonably busy shift.

I’m tired

I’m tired. Very Very tired right now. Over the last week my sleep schedule has been in the toilet, and I’m working on the bare minimum…. er… actually put that at under the bare minimum of sleep I’m used to. I worked 1 40 hour shift at my service that should was pretty much a standing shift (no rest). I’ve been looking for work too. Anything to keep myself occupied.

This post will be ranting and might be disorganized more than usual and not make much sense.

I was told by my partner at work last week that he knows why I’m working myself so hard. And it didn’t hit me that he might be right until just recently. He told me that he thinks I’m taking care of perfect strangers and doing my job on a bus so I can distract myself. That much is true, I’ve said that from the beginning. But he also said I’m wanting to take care of strangers because I’m avoiding letting myself grieve and I don’t know how to take care of myself. HE might just have a point there.

I’ve spent so much time trying to take care of others that I’m not sure what to do to take care of myself. I’m afraid one day I’m just going to break down into a sobbing heap and not want to move. I’ve come close a number of times already and I’m afraid to let go like that. And I really can’t bring myself to finish greiving I guess. IT’s just too hard right now. I’m hurting, yes. But I’m afraid of what will happen to me if I just let myself go. I’ve had some scares in the last few weeks, so much so that all of my handgun ammo is now locked in a case in the trunk of my car and the key for it is in the locker at work (where I ride my bike to, not drive the car).

I’ve also been doing a hell of a lot of thinking. Trying to figure out if there’s anything I could have done to prevent this. I could have stayed in TX, as miserable as I was there with her here, and finished out school. I don’t know if that would have done anything to help or not though. Or I could have kept a closer eye on her. I could have noticed warning signs… But I didn’t. Even though I’m playing a lot of what if’s, I still don’t know that I would have changed anything. It’s like I told her from day one, I wanted her, and I wanted to spend every second possible with her, and I wouldn’t change even one single of those seconds for anything, unless you could add on to the total number I spent with her somehow.

I guess the main thing is I feel guilty as all hell about everything. I know I shouldnt. I’ve been told that a lot. But I can’t help it. I feel that there’s something I should have been able to do. I guess not knowing why is what’s really eating me up and making me feel this way. Maybe, just maybe, if I knew why things happened it would be different. But it’s only been three weeks, so who knows.

I guess other news now. I’m still looking for another job. I’ve got an interview at Starbucks on Friday after I get off dutyfrom a 36. I’m trying to keep going. I’ve applied at several Security companies, every hospital in the city, the other two major ambulance services (left the standby job I had with Tiny Crappy Ambulance Service) in the area, Starbucks, local coffee shops, and electronics stores. I mainly am looking to keep busy, but also as several people lately have told me, I’m expected at EMS Expo in Vegas this year, so a second job will help immensely to get there.

There is also a Tactical EMS course being taught at City University that I want in on. It’s almost $900 for hte class, so without a second job, I can pay for my classes in the fall and either A) Got to Expo or B) Take the Tac course. If I have the extra cash I can maybe do both.

Speaking of school… I’ve decided something. I’ll most likely still go the PerCom route to get my disco patch. I want my medic worse now than ever, if for no other reason than to leave NM and get my RN somewhere else. It seems like no matter where I turn or who I run into here, I have memories of my angel. And that’s something right now that hurts more than I ever thought it could.

But anyways, enough for now. Come tomorrow night, I’ll drag myself out of bed, put on my uniform, pack my gear, and head into work for a 36. If helping people is how I’m ‘coping’, then I’m gonna do my damndest to do it well. Although if one more person tells me I look like crap tomorrow night, I’m gonna throw em off my bus.

Ya’ll stay safe.

Just keep swimming…

This post is probably the hardest one I’ve ever had to write. And will probably be the hardest one I’ll ever write. This past Sunday, my world was kicked on it’s top and then shredded. For those of you that don’t know, I moved back to NM for a few reasons…

One of which is that my father took ill very suddenly and was not doing good there for a while. I moved back home to be close to family. The other reason I moved back… The Girl, the wonderful, amazing, perfect, special Girl, agreed to move in with me if I did.

The last couple months have been perfect. We got ourselves a nice 2br apartment and started to get into a routine with each other, and started getting even more comfortable with each other. I loved it, and I know she was happy too… Or at least I thought she was happy.

This past Sunday however, all of that happy wonderful life came crashing down. That beautiful, smart, incredible woman that I loved… she died that afternoon. I still can’t believe she is gone.

We have been friends, hit or miss, for over nine years now. And I’ve been in love with her for the majority of that time. I mean madly, would do anything for, willing to die for them, love. We were so comfortable around each other, made each other happier than either of us had been in ages… It’s something I just can’t get over.

Since we reconnected this last time in February she has been my angel. She kept me sane when I was out in BFE. She helped me stay on the right track and remember who I was, not what the people there wanted me to be. She was there whenever I needed a friendly hug, a friendly ear, or a swift kick in the ass. I still say she liked doing that last one a bit to much. I loved coming back to NM to see her. And during those trips I felt something start to come to the surface between us.

We both knew at one point there were feelings from both of us towards the other. Both of us thought they didn’t exist to the extent they once did. I think we were both wrong. Since Feb, we had been more and more honest about our feelings, and it helped us in a big way. Just being around each other was enough to make us smile. Everyone around us thought we were a dedicated couple, and just smiled or smirked when we denied it. And deny it we did.

She had had a hard time in past relationships, but told me she eventually wanted one. We both agreed to just see how things turned out with each other and not try to label things. I was ok with that, and would have given anything to just have a chance to be with her. It was actually a good setup. Last week we were at a bar with some friends and we just eventually gave up on trying to convince people we weren’t together and just had fun and acted however felt natural. It was one of hte funnest nights I’ve ever had.

Up top is my half of a necklace  a friend gave us while I was working in TX. It’s called a Miz Pah pendant. I also have both halves of our coin like that. I will continue to wear my half for quite a while, as long as I can actually. The two halves, when united, say “May the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from another”… Right now it seems like that saying is more true right now than ever before.

I’m trying my best to stay busy lately and not think. I know sooner or later I’m going to have to think about all of this… try and figure out what I’m going to do… but it hurts, more than anything I thought I could ever feel.

But I now I shouldn’t feel guilty, as hard as that is… adn I know she would want me to get my life back to as normal as possible as soon as I could. It’s just hard, but I just need to keep pressing on.

I chose to go back to work as soon as shifts opened up. I needed to distract myself and not think, and getting into the zone while treating patients seemed to be a good way to do it. My bosses here have been watching me like a hawk just in case I broke or something, and I had the offer that if I didn’t think I could handle to finish out a shift, I could go home with no negative consequences.

In fact I’m glad I came back to work. I had the scariest call I’ve had in a long while, but it came out with a good result. I got sent to an abd pain on Tuesday night and it turned out to be a woman that was ’19 weeks’ pregnant. She said she’d had some bleeding, some pain, and cramping sensation. We got her in the truck and I told my partner to get going quickly. I expose her and what do I see? Two feet and a butt trying to come out. Not exactly what I wanted to see at this point. I get her delivered ok and the little baby boy is blue and not moving or breathing, and I couldn’t feel a pulse. The boy looked bigger than he should have for 19 weeks so I just let myself go and let training take over. I started CPR and bagging the kiddo. I screamed over the radio for an ALS intercept and wanted to get the kid to a medic ASAP. I kinda ignored the mother except to tell her I was doing everything I could. I notice as I started bagging the kiddo, he started to get pinker. And While doing CPR his little chest collapse inwards when I wasn’t pressing on it to take a breath. By the time I handed him over to the medic unit he was pinker, taking some breaths on his own, and had a palpable umbulical pulse.

I just got an update today that the baby is still hanging on and they’re hopeful for him. It turns out her might be up to 26 weeks gestation, barely. Calls like that made me glad I wanted to work to put my mind on something else. The Girl was also so proud of what I did as an EMT, I figured it’s fitting way to honor her memory. She liked the saying I told her a while back, and I guess it’s fitting in this case:

“No matter what happens, the political games or personal crisis going on, the doors go up and the trucks go out.”

This next part is my little bit to her… I couldn’t care less if anyone else reads this from here down.

Sade, I miss you sweetheart. I wish we had more time together and I still do blame myself for what happened. I love you and always will honey. When you died I think a little piece of my soul went with you and will always stay with you. I hope it keeps you company until the day I get to see you again.

There have been a couple of days so far that I would have done anything to see you, and I had thoughts of making it soon, but I know you would kick my ass for all of eternity if I did something like that.

I knew you for 9 years, and yes I know it’s my fault that we didn’t talk too much for 5 of those. But I cherish every conversation, every laugh, every hug, and every kiss in those 9 years. You became my best friend, my angel, my love, and my heart. You always will be in my heart and I know that means you’re not gone completely. I wish I could go back in time and change things, like we had always talked about. But then again, I’m happy with how it was at the end. We were happy and having fun. It was the best few months of my life, even though I spent part of it still in Pecos.

I know how much you wanted to see me get that gold patch, and walk across the stage to get my nursing degree… so I will keep my promise to you and get both of those or die trying. It doesn’t seem real that you’re gone, but since you are I will do my best to keep every promise that I made to you.

I will get to say goodbye to you tomorrow and Tuesday, but I don’t think I will ever be able to get out in words just what you meant to me, what I felt for you. Keep watch over me, help keep me safe while I’m here, so I can make it to you in the end at the right time. Remember what our necklaces said when put together, like I’ve said before, it’s true now more than ever. But I feel better knowing that you’re with me in some way. That’s why the necklace will not be coming off.

I love you honey, I can’t wait to see you again, and I know I will. I’ll miss you every day.

Lets try something newish

Please bear with me. This is my first attempt at a video blog entry… I needed to talk and get some stuff off my chest… I couldn’t get it typed out so I figured I could yap about it. This is the first part. I’ll finish the second part tonight…. if I don’t have any callouts.

It’s like a roller coaster.

The last two and a half weeks have been both the best weeks and the worst weeks of my life professionally and personally.

It all started on what was supposed to be a 36 hour shift over New Years Eve and New Years day. Great time to work EMS right? Good calls, fun times.

Well it didn’t quite work like that. First few calls of the shift were all routine. A drunk or two, a minor MVC or two, a drunk doing CPR on a fully alive drunk person (“Sir, if the patient is saying ‘OW!’ every time you compress his chest, he DOESNT need CPR!”), and then it started to get interesting.

We worked a nasty tractor trailer rollover about 15 miles from town. We get on scene and see a pretty much demolished tanker truck laying on it’s side. The roof of the cab had been peeled back by the wreck and the patient was laying about 10 yards from the truck. He was laying on the ground moaning but not really responsive to us at all.

We quickly get him collared, boarded, stipped, and strapped and then haul into the bus. Just a quick look at him showed what looked like a grossly deformed femur, shattered left arm, distended neck veins, and no breath sounds on the right. Left pupil was sitting pretty at about 4mm and slow to respond while the right was about 2mm and non-responsive.

Our second bus pulled up on scene as me and my medic were getting him situated in the back. We pull the medic from the second truck to come with us while her basic drove. A PD officer drove our second truck back into town. It was decided by my medic that we would call the local fixed wing transfer service to get them ready and just meet them at the airport to get the guy to the Lvl 1 200 miles away from us, since the rotor would take at least a half hour to get to us, and the airport was in town.

We took off towards town and started our thing. Pads and electrodes on, 1 14g in the good AC, an EZ IO in the good leg. Started giving him a fluid bolus cause his pressure was in the dumps. My medic darted his chest and got a little air out, but not much, which led us to believe maybe a hemo. I cleared his airway with suction and tossed in an NPA, then tried positioning and tossed in an OPA.

I noticed his breathing was getting more and more ragged and irregular, so I double checked with the medics and grabbed a scope and ET tubes. Snap on a Mac 3 and grab a 7.5 w/ stylet. Go in and take a look and I can’t see crap. I suction him out some more and still can’t see anything. Ask for cricoid pressure and finally see that white winking of the cords. I sink the tube, pull the stylet.

Grab the slipstream, hook it up and start bagging. Listen to lung sounds? Yep they’re there. ETCo2 looks good too. I look over the patient, who is looking more like a train wreck every minute. His femur that’s deformed looks like it’s quickly collecting tons of fluid, which between that and the chest would very easily explain his low BP. We get about to the airport when I notice that I can’t feel a pulse in his neck anymore. I look quickly to the monitor and notice flatline (like the monitor making all sorts of noise doesn’t clue us in). My medic starts CPR just as the back doors to our bus open up and the flight team hops in.

Since we’re not sending him by flight we beat feat to the ED and get him in there as soon as we can. They work him for another twenty minutes but never get any organized rhythym, let alone pulses, back.

We take our time cleaning up from that call and get paged out to an 911 hangup call that PD went to and then called us out on. The PD officer sounded frantic which made us wonder what was really going on. We get on scene and find something that goes down as the worst call in my career so far.

“PD, Medic 4, we’re pulling up now, does the officer have an update for us?” I casually ask into the mic, wanting to make sure the scene is still safe for us to enter and see what we might need.

“Medic 4, PD 214, get in here quick, young child unresponsive, trauma related!” This PD officer used to be one of our EMTs back when we were a volunteer agency, or so I’m told, so we know we can usually trust his judgement. Hearing him that upset rattles us a little bit though.

We bail from the unit, grabbing our pedi-board, collar, first in bag and toss it all on the cot. As we get inside we get the story from the officer.

“The husband and wife were apparently having an argument, and the kiddo dropped and broke something. So because the father was upset and the kid broke something he beat the kid until the kid was quiet. Wife called 911 then hung up after she thought better of it,” The officer tells us. We take a look at the kid and my vision goes red.

He is completely unresponsive to us as we get in there. He has bruises already forming on his face and neck, along with old bruises that we reveal when we start cutting into his clothes. He has several lacerations to his face, along with several to his forearms that look like they are defensive injuries. His face appears to have several fractures, but we can’t tell just how bad.

My medic and I work quickly and silently as we get the little boy packaged up onto our board and call our local fixed-wing service to get the boy transferred up to the childrens Lvl 1 250 miles+ away from us. I drive the bus so the medic can be in the back with the kiddo but we wind up staying in the ED to help prep the kid for the flight out. During transport my medic had intubated the kiddo because he had stopped spontaneous respirations, and reported that the kids’ pupil was blown.

The kid was transferred to the flight crew without any more problems and flown to Big City Hospital Lvl 1. I’m still waiting to hear more, I would love to hear that the kiddo would be ok, but I don’t know if he is. He is still on my mind and I can’t get him out of there. It’s just… I don’t know…

Seeing that just shook me to the core. I don’t like kids, but I want them eventually. My ex-fiance and me were supposed to have one, but working in the field made her miscarry, at least that’s what the docs said. There’s another little girl that I would help take care of in a heartbeat if the mother decided she wants to come out here with me. I love them both more than anything and I haven’t even met the little one yet.

What makes this even more like a roller coaster is the fact that the call that I term as the best call of my career. I had my first delivery in the field as a lead EMS provider. It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. I helped deliver a healthy little girl into this world without any problems for her or mom. I.. I can’t even begin to put into words how this felt. It felt like it made up for all the bad calls I’ve had since I moved here, all the bad stuff I’ve seen since I became an EMT 3 years ago (BTW, I realized that earlier this month marked my third year anniversary as a certified EMT). It has given me the energy and drive I need to push me forward, to continue on and keep going. To keep on riding hte bus day after day.

Then again, life is like a roller coaster to begin with, and EMS just exemplifies this.

Yay… new year… new challenges

Well, another year is over. I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers looking back on the last year, and figured I might join in. But, take note, that I hated 2010 for hte most part, so there will be very few good things I can say about it.

Last year:

My ex-fiance got married to my ex-partner,

I quit my job and moved to CO on the promise of a job (which never materialized),

found a job at a private IFT ambulance, then promptly got fired for doing something stupid.

Fell BACK in love with a girl who had been out of my life for years, had my heart stomped on in front of me, set on fire, and then the ashes scattered by said girl.

Moved back in with my parents,

Spent a lot of the rest of my money that I had saved applying for state certs in bordering states and going to places for interviews.

Got a job in BFE TX on a 911 truck (probably the highlight of my year)

Applied for, and get accepted to, paramedic school in the City.

Strengthened a lot of ties with #CoEMS friends and other great friends I’ve made on Twitter. I’ve found out who really will be around when I need a friendly avatar to talk to.

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Yea, that’s my list of 2010. This next year will hopefully be easier to make better. I’ll have new challenges. Like working FT, PRN, and being a full-time paramedic student. But I know I can make it through everything that gets thrown at me. I’m used to being on my own, and I’ll prove that I can make it all on my own.

Although the year is off to a rough start with us here in BFE. I pulled what was supposed to be a 36 hour shift over NYE and NYD. It wound up being a 24 since we had a busy day and 1 really bad call. We worked 3 major MVCs and one of those turned into a trauma arrest while we were transporting to the airport to meet a fixed wing to get him to a Lvl1 Trauma in Big City 250 miles up the road.

Curiously I didn’t really feel anything with any of those patients. Sure it was sad they got into accidents over a holiday weekend, but I just did my job and walked away with no questions in my mind or doubts about why stuff like that happened.

For the most part, calls that day had been routine calls. Headache, dizziness, drunk, the usual for a holiday weekend. No suicide attempts or people doing grossly stupid things… Until we got the call that got me sent home early.

We got dispatched out secondary to PD for a 911 hangup call. They got on scene and sounded pretty damned flustered when they were calling us, so we got there relatively quickly.

Now, keep in mind, I hate kids. With one very large exception I don’t want them. And the person that I would have helped them raise their daughter… well, long story. Longer than I wanna go into. That and kids on calls scare me, since I don’t deal with them well.

Anyways, we get on scene and find a kiddo that has been beat to within an inch of her life. Why? Because her low life dad was a fuckign drunk and apparently she had dropped something that broke. His solution? To wail on the kid until she was quiet. The mom called, then apparently ‘thought better’ about it and hung up.

I don’t wanna talk too much abotu that call, since I know it’s already going to give me nightmares. But yea, this year is not off to a good start.

So anyways… new year, new challenges. Let’s hope things go well. School, work, work, school. That will be my life this next year, and I can’t say I mind. Keeping busy is good. Keeps me from thinking too much. As I’ve found out this past year, thinking hurts in more ways than one.

Oh and I decided to not give up caffeine like I was planning this year. That would be suicidal I think. So I decided to just give up carbonated beverages (like my Monster  O_O), with maybe the exception of a beer a week if I ever am off duty long enough to have one. So, the drinks and losing weight are my only new years resolutions other than rocking the paramedic course and earning my disco patch by the end of the year.

I am one very tired TransportMonkey. It’s been… well, it’s been a week.

 

Some very good calls, and one that left me with a horrible feeling afterwards. And several transfers that really had no business being sent up to the City Medical Center. All in all, not a bad week, really. Even with that one call hitting home in a bad way.

 

One thing I’m finding out about working in this rural area… For the most part, the 911 calls are usually legitimate calls. I’ve seen more people actually drive themselves to the ED for minor things than have called us to take them to the ED. I have run one call that would usually be considered BS. Compared to when I pulled medic internship in NM I could run a twelve hour shift with 8 or 9 calls and they’d all be BS.

 

Our transfers on the other hand… If Rural County Hospital even think it might be a patient they can’t handle, they will transfer them out. Some high acuity, legitimate transfers get flown out on either fixed or rotors. But they will usually turf some calls to us that leave us scratching out heads. For example, these are some of the type of calls I’ve seen, personally, come out of that hospital:

Finger that needs sutures

Chest pain, non-cardiac in origin

Pt needing a lapcholy

Any cardiac chest pain.

Abcessed tooth.

 

In fact one of the medics I ran with joked that the criteria for transferring chest pain patients to Big City Medical Center is… Chest pain. They have yet to keep a single CP patient in the last 9 months.

 

One of our transfers runs an average of 3 hours of time from start to finish. That is if we run into no delays picking up or dropping off the patient, run into bad weather, or stop to eat while we’re there. When you wind up doing three of them back to back with patients that a Lvl4 trauma center should be able to handle, it gets old quick. Especially when the patient gets back to Small Town before my bus does cause the ED in Big City discharges them right away.

 

Add onto this that my department now thinks I’m a gigantic black cloud. In the last two weeks I’ve seen… 5 dead bodies, plus the two I’m gonna tell you about later. Only one of them was a viable code. That’s more DOAs than the agency has seen in the last two months put together. Between that and the fact that we ran a 5 pt rollover along with 7 other calls last night on the 1800 to 0600 shift (that I wasn’t even on duty, just on call for… although I was on duty for 10 of those 12 hours), it just seems like the call volume has gone up steadily as I’m there.

 

Now… onto the call that made me just question even if I want to do this job forever. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and couldn’t imagine doing anything else, but when I see things like this I question things.

“Son of a…!” I curse quietly to myself as I shocked myself on the battery terminal on my car. One of the advantages of this job is I can try to get my car fixed once station chores are done and no calls are dispatched for us. And since I have gotten stuck at the station during my oncall shift cause it wouldn’t start, I wanna get it fixed so I can got to my apartment and sleep.

 

“DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-BOOOOOOOOOOOOP!” I hear the radio on my belt signal the EMS tones. “All EMS Personnel, please respond to neighboring county, rural route highway, marker 20, for reports of several patients with GSW.”

I quickly sprint from the driveway back into the station to slip on my uniform shirt and grab my stethoscope from where it was hanging by our little closet. My partner passes me as I head out to the rescue we’re taking out there. He hops in the driver seat while I pull out our map book.

 

“Rescue 1, leaving quarters, en route code three to call location,” I say quickly into the radio, letting dispatch know that the station was empty. We flip on our beacons and siren to clear the road so we can get out.

 

“How far out are we?” I ask my partner, since I’m not familiar with the area we’re headed to.

 

“Not too far, about 8 miles out.” He replies as he scans the intersections to his side.

 

I return the favor and scan mine. There are only a few intersections before we’re out onto the rural route and don’t have to worry about cross traffic. “You’re clear on this side. Glad to hear it’s not too far out.”

 

“Rescue 1, Dispatch. New update from deputy on scene. Looks like two codes. LEOs are investigating looking for shooter.” Our radio squawks at us, I pick up the mic and answer in return. “Copy dispatch. Advise of any further updates.”

 

We spend the rest of the time running out to the scene in almost silence, punctuated only by conversation when we need to clear intersections or my partner is telling me what he wants me to haul into the scene. As we get closer we can clearly see the area of the shooting, since there are many emergency lights strobing the air. We turn into the street and just see a deputy shake his head at us.

 

I keep my head on a swivel as we pull onto the scene, trying to take everything in at once. I see what looks like two bodies in a heap beside a vehicle. There appears to be family all around the bodies, and PD is doing next to nothing to control the scene. I think to myself that this is not a good looking scene.

 

I hop out as soon as we stop and reach into the cabinet on the outside of the box behind the cab to get the first in bag. I’ve already gloved up just prior to us getting on scene, so that’s one less thing I need to worry about. I walk over to the patients and just from looking from 10 feet away I can tell this is not going to be a workable situation.

 

I look over the patients as I get close. The male patient is lying on top of our other patient, blood spilling out of his mouth with gray matter in a pattern behind his head. Yep, that’s an injury that definitely is not compatible with life.

 

I turn my attentions to our other patient. She is lying in a pool of blood. I get in quick to check a pulse and feel nothing. When I look for where the injury is, it looks like a grouping of 4 rounds right in the area of the heart. I turn the patient slightly looking for exit wounds and see three. My medic makes the call not to work the patient, and I have to agree, since it looks like the rounds most likely took out the heart and pretty much her entire blood volume is in a puddle under her.

 

We get up without opening our bags, being careful not to contaminate what is now a crime scene more than we have already. When the family sees this they let out that sound. That god-awful sound that I have only heard a time or two in the past. A sound that I could go the rest of my life without hearing again it it would still be the worst sound I’ve ever heard. It’s the sound of realizing that someone they love isn’t going to be getting up off the ground. I’ve heard it most commonly called by other EMS providers as ‘The Wail’. It’s probably the most disturbing sound that you can hear while doing this job.

As we get up the family that is surrounding the scene starts to surge in towards us. They are upset that we aren’t doing anything. They feel like we’re not doing our job. Then I see something that just breaks my heart. The victims two small children (both elementary age) kneel down in front of their parent and just cry. It’s not a sight I don’t think I’ll ever get out of my mind.

 

There are some days that this job really sucks

 

 

So… yea. It’s been one hell of a week. The last two weeks I’ve racked up over 100 hours of time on duty, plus 80 or so of on call hours. And tomorrow I have to head up to the city to turn in my application for medic school that starts in January. I need to find something to do to distract myself from work. That’s the only downside to working in a small town.

 

Ya’ll stay safe out there.

 

 

 

 

http://transportjockey.com/2010/11/16/165/

Rural EMS can really suck sometimes

“Dispatch will be changing frequency to dispatch ambulance.”

As I hear those words I grab my boots and quickly slip into them and start running, carefully, down the stairs. I know from experience, quite painfully actually, that if I don’t pay attention while going down these stairs, I’ll wind up head first heading towards the floor. I quickly grab my steth and hat off the table where they lay after we got back from our last call.

“EMS, EMS, Ambulance requested in tiny south-county town. Called in as a difficulty breathing. Deputy is responding to scene,” The radio on my belt squawks. I stop and think about where exactly they’re sending us. I can’t recall that little town being on any of our response maps.

“EMS to PD Dispatch, copy call, clear page,” I say into my radio as I pull it from my belt. I head into the bay and hop into our rig. The senior medic I’m riding with is right behind me. We start the rig up and he flips the lights and siren on as well pull out of the parking bay.

“Hey, OldMan, where the hell are they sending us?” I yell over at my partner, while flipping through the map book trying to see where we’re headed to.

“It’s just north of SmallerTown. Usually their vollies will cover that area, guess they can’t raise anyone again, so we’re covering the county,” He tells me as he scans the road ahead and to his left as we blow through town. He gets on the radio to ask dispatch if the volunteers are responding at all.

“Negative on that, EMS. Volunteers are out of service today due to insufficient crew available. SO is sending a deputy out to assess the scene for you. He should be there in ten minutes.”

“Copy that. We have an ETA of 45 minutes to the scene,” my partner tells them, shaking his head in frustration.

The South Town Volunteers might only be BLS capable, but they could still make a difference in this call if it’s anywhere near serious. But since they are unstaffed, a common occurrence lately from what I’ve been told, the patient has to wait for our EMS service to show up. Since we are a paid department, and the only other EMS agency in the county, we are always staffed. Luckily.

We hit the highway once we’re out of town and OldMan gets on the gas for all he’s worth, trying to get there in time. It’s a long trip there, even running flat out with lights and sirens. Luckily it’s pretty much all flat and straight till we get into Tiny South-County Town.

“Dispatch to EMS, SO reports that the patient is not breathing and has no pulse. He is starting CPR.”

“Shit!” My partner curses in the radio’s general direction before picking up the mic. “Copy that dispatch, get EMS2 rolling once they get into station.”

“EMS2 to EMS1, copy direct,” The voice of the OldMans son comes back, since he is the on call lead today. “We’re rolling now.”

Thirty minutes still till we get to scene. No telling of how long the patient has been down. This could wind up not being fun at all. I just hang on and watch the terrain fly by to either side of us, keeping alert for cross streets so I can tell my partner if something looks like it’s gonna come out in front of us. I know what to do if we have to work a code, so I try to relax and just be ready.

As we pull up on scene I notice it’s a single family dwelling, with a slew of vehicles parked in front of it. This gives me a little hope that maybe we got called the minute something started to go wrong. There’s also a deputies truck parked in the driveway with it’s lights still twirling. I quickly glove up and grab the first-in bag from the side compartment behind me. I see my partner grab the cot first thing.

“There’s that working a moving code mentality again.” I think to myself.

We rush inside the residence and take a look. The deputy is in the middle of the floor of the living room with an AED attached to the victim, while performing CPR. I see a face mask there too, so it looks like he’s been doing everything right. Judging his compressions I see that they are good, solid, and deep. Perfect.

The OldMan has him stop and he does his quick assessment. By the way the body moves when we roll it, this person has been down a hell of a lot longer than 45 minutes. As we look at their back we notice lividity present as well. We both look at each other and shake our heads. As he talks to the family to get the story, he motions me to talk to the deputy to get his viewpoint since he got there.

The family is of course not happy with us when we do not continue CPR. They are mad at everyone, especially us, for how long it took their call to go through. It sounds like they tried calling the Small Town Volunteers station to try and get response from them for about a half hour before calling 911. They told the dispatcher that she wasn’t breathing. So why did we get paged out for difficulty breathing? Ya’ll know dispatchers as well as I do. Guess.

Apparently the family thought that calling the vollie station was just as good as calling 911. And they couldn’t figure how the station could be unstaffed in the middle of a weekday. They apparently weren’t happy finding out that the vollies have real jobs and don’t have the staff to maintain a crew 24/7. They were blaming us for taking so long to get there from town, even though it’s impossible to get there faster than we did.

The deputy said he got there and started CPR as soon as he checked for a pulse and got none. He never thought to look for rigor or lividity, but then again that’s not his job. I get some more information from the deputy for our report and watch as he goes to call the JP and make arrangements.

I meet up with my partner again after I finish loading the cot into our rig and put the bag back in the side compartment. As he sees I’m done putting things away he asks, “Still so happy to work in a system like this?”

———————————————————————————————————

This is the first time working here in Rural Town, TX that I wanted to pull my hair out. I wonder if this will be the call that gets the county and my town to decide that our service needs to spread to cover the entire county and needs a station down south in Small Town. In a situation like this it might have made all the difference.

So we’re now moved pretty well onto wordpress, and I must say I like it more than blogspot :) Lots more options to do what I want, and it seems a little more stable.

So, what have I been doing lately? Well it’s been a long week. I’ll take it day by day to start with

Monday I had an interview and testing session with Pridemark Paramedics. Got there about 15 minutes early and there were already 4 other candidates there. They had us give them copies of our MVRs and then put us in a big conference room to take their written test. By the time everyone was there we had 9 candidates total (3 medics, 6 EMTs) there to test and interview.

The written test itself wasn’t too bad. A lot of simple stuff on it, even if the wording on it wasn’t the best. But I’m finding out that that’s pretty standard on employment pretests. A couple of the questions didn’t really have a good answer, so I did just as my instructors have always told me. “When in doubt choose C!” No, really though I just picked the answer that was the least wrong out of the ones presented.

The ‘practical’ portion wound up being nothing more than a verbal scenario. They wanted it a little more detailed than a lot of places, but nowhere near as detailed as I had to learn for the NR oral boards. It was a simple down and out scenario in an office building. I’m sure most of you can come up with some ideas for that but it wound up being one that I’ve actually ran in real life several times. Yay for D50.

Lastly was the actual interview. I didn’t think that I did too badly, but some of the questions weren’t what I was expecting. It wasn’t quite like the ACA interview by any means, but still different.

So got home from that feeling pretty confident on everything. They told us we’d hear back from them within 48 hours.

Tuesday dawn a nice pretty day up here, but any happy feeling evaporated pretty quick with a phone call from my mother. All it basically said was ‘your grandmother’s not doing good, the hospital called us and told us she most likely won’t make it past tonight.’

Great way to kill a day huh? I was told not to make it the 8 hour drive south since they weren’t sure I’d get there in time anyway. She didn’t want me coming down and possibly killing myself in the attempt to beat the reaper. I felt, and still feel, horrible that I didn’t head down and ignore my mother.

That day the only thing that kept me sane really was my friend who I’ve mentioned a few times before. She kept texting and talking, trying to keep me distracted and from dwelling on what was happening. Keep me from dwelling on what I couldn’t have any impact on.

I’d said it on Twitter and I’ll say it again here… As ridiculous as it sounds, I felt like if I had been there, there was something that I could have done. Something that the MDs and RNs there missed. I hate being on the sidelines and not able to influence the course things are taking, especially when it involves medical and my family.

Wednesday, my grandmother was still hanging in, but had spiked a fever of 108. They ran a CT and found that she had had a stroke in her ‘temperature regulation area’ according to the MD through my mother. He didn’t want to go into any more details with me since I wasn’t there and he assumed being 22 I couldn’t understand what he meant (have I mentioned that I hate some MDs?). Nothing was breaking the fever and none of her meds were working for anything at that point.

Thursday morning the fever broke finally but she was in a vegetative state. No reaction to anything. No change for Friday either.

Oh, Wednesday I found out from Pridemark via email that I was not selected for the job, but that they would keep my app on file for later if they found a job that matched my qualifications. Nothing still head from the middle-east company, and no good news from any other job fronts that day.

Thursday I found out on Acadian’s website that it shows ‘Schedule interview’ for SE TX. So hopefully that’s a good sign.

So it’s not been the best week I could have had. I’m planning how to get to FL for what we’re assuming is going to be my grandmothers funeral (she has DNR/DNI signed and wishes no extraordinary measures, and my family and the staff is honoring those wishes), along with probably needing to get to OC TX and maybe Baton Rogue LA for interviews. I’ve also been making plans to go ot TN and visit her for a few days. I have something I really need to tell her and I’d rather do it in person.

And on to her… it’s amazing how perfect she is and she doesn’t realize it yet. Every time I tell her that I know she can do everything she’s up against she just acts flabbergasted that I’ve got any confidence in her. One of the nice things is she doesn’t think that she’s perfect, she knows she has flaws, but at the same time she thinks those flaws make it so no one wants her.

She told me that she really wants to stay with me wherever I move to (right now as just friends since I haven’t told her anything), even if it is TX. She has told me many many times how much she hates TX and yet she’s willing to move down there to be around me.

Well, I’m done for now. I’ve got a few more apps to finish and send out.

http://transportjockey.com/2010/06/26/64/

WTF?

Hasn’t my family had enough bad luck the last few years to last a lifetime? Got word this morning that my grandmother in Socorro just had a turn for the worst. She’s been in the hospital for the last couple of days for a fall at the SNF she was at. The RN staff called my mother this morning just as she got to work telling her that she needed to get to the hospital.

Apparently my grandmother has had several CVAs in the last 24 hours and several seizures as well. She has spiked a fever that nothing seems to touch and is hypotensive compared to her baseline. They are saying that she most likely will not last the night.

And I’m up here in Denver, 8 hours from home. No money to get down there, not able to help, not able to do anything. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this helpless. I’m an EMT, I don’t like just sitting up here and not being able to do anything for someone I care about. I should be doing something, anything to help her. But sadly I can’t.

If it weren’t for a very special friend who I’ve mentioned a time or two recently I think I would have gone insane. She’s been patient with me through all the texts I’ve sent her and keeps telling me that everything will be alright. And funnily enough, I believe her when she tells me this.

I’m gonna go back to pacing and getting frustrated. I just wish I could get more news. I might break down and call the hospital she’s at and have them confirm with my mother that I’m allowed to get information and just get it straight from the source. Maybe I can help explain some of it to my parents as well.