Thursday, May 27, 2010

Did Anybody Miss Me?

I've been gone a long while, did anybody miss me? I kinda fell off the earth for awhile, due to some health issues.

I never thought I'd be the one to have to say it, but here's the bombshell that's kept me busy: I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Its not 100% sure, but its looking more and more like it. Its been a very rough couple of months as I struggle with adapting. Even on my good days, I'm not a good patient. I HATE this side of the stretcher with a passion. Right now its affecting my ankles, knees, and wrists the most.
So, that's why I haven't been posting much lately. I'm still reading, still in the loop as best I can be. However, there are many days when I still can't type very much. I do have some posts in the works, but they will be slow in coming. The grieving process for my old life is still consuming much of my time as I struggle to adjust to this.
I'm currently still working and running calls...just at a slower pace. Before this, I didn't have a stop button, and rarely even slowed at all. Now, I feel like life is in slow mode as I am forced to rest and relax.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Physical Agility Test

So, Tomorrow evening I take a physical agility test so I can join the local rescue squad. For the most part, I think it is well designed. Its geared toward things we actually do in the field, and not firefighting.
Step one is loading/unloading a cot plus patient from the ambulance
Step two is 10 mins of CPR
Step three involves carrying a patient and STRETCHER up and down a flight of stairs.

Now, all of these make perfect sense to me. Except the stretcher part. I specifically asked if it was a stretcher or if I could us a Reeves sleeve, stair chair, backboard, or some other device. I was told it has to be done using the stretcher from the ambulance.
Maybe I'm spoiled, but I have NEVER carried the entire stretcher up a flight of stairs before. I've hauled many a patient down many flights of stairs, and never found it necessary to carry the entire stretcher up a flight. Maybe up a few outside stairs, but that's it. Reeve's sleeves, stair chairs, backboards, sling chairs; I've used these and more to carry patients down stairs.
So, does anybody else carry their stretchers upstairs? Is this reasonable?
I'm having a hard time even thinking about how its supposed to be carried without injuring the rescuers. Wheels up or down?
So, opinions please. Is this done routinely? Is this a fair test?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

21 and Desperate

WARNING: This is another graphic post, read only if you have a strong stomach.

Remember, this is not a real case, rather a blend of what I have experience. Any similarities to a real situation are totally coincidental.

Blood pooled underneath his head, congealing in blobs that looked liked cooked tomatoes. The clumps of brain matter looked similar to grains of rice mixed in. The single bullet wound between his eyes spoke of a desperation so deep I couldn't fathom it. It also spoke of a young person's rashness, and deep scars. His eyes were open, staring blankly into the gap between the trees. His hand still curled around the gun used to take his own life.
His close friend was about 3 miles back on the two-track leading deep into the woods. He stood there sobbing "I can't go on, I couldn't stop him, Is there anything different I could have done?" He told of a tale of what he thought was a happy lark into the woods turning into a witnessing of a tragic end to a young life. A young person driven to taking his own life. Driven by desperation, by pain, and by tragedy to selfishly end his own life. Seemingly, it was a sudden, rash decision; one made out of the quick decisions of teenage years. But, we'll never know if he really wanted to kill himself, or just made a rash decision. He did it right, and there is no going back now.
The EMT who beat me on scene was valiantly performing chest compressions while her tears mixed with the pooling blood. "He's one of my son's friends, I coached him in Basketball, He's such a talented kid" she gasped out as I came up.
His Mom was further down the road, stopped by Police before she seared her memory with her son's mangled body. She was also sobbing, crying for her bright young son. She kept repeating "He never told me he needed help, I would have gotten him all the help under the sun, if only he would have told me". I recognized her, couldn't place her right away. As I went further, I remembered...She was the sister of the Mother of another recent tragedy in this small town.
As I looked at his body, it was obvious that any efforts we made would be futile. Brain matter was splattered for a large radius, and the back of his head was missing. I ran my strips, and called the time as the EMTs on scene collectively cried. This was a very small town, and they all knew him. Fathers, Mothers, Friends, all stood as witnesses to the tragedy, the end of a bright young life. Even the Police Officers stood unabashedly crying as they recited stories of him being the one who stayed out of trouble, and helped others.
It was a scene I won't ever forget. Later, we assisted the coroner in transporting the body to the hospital for x-rays then to the morgue for autopsy. As we carried him out, the other workers still onscene formed a silent line, a tribute to a community's pain.
That night, I came home late, exhausted yet unable to sleep. I went to the fridge to find something to eat. Several prepared dishes awaited my selection, yet all contained tomatoes, and most had rice as well. For the first time, I couldn't stomach them because of the similarities. I had cereal for dinner and cried over the desperation of one young man.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Desperation in Haiti

So, as you all know, Haiti is facing a tremendous disaster. My thoughts and prayers are with the rescuers and aid workers as they battle the clock there.
The time is quickly running out for finding anyone alive under the rubble. Any trapped are going to perish of hunger and thirst in the next few hours, if they haven't already. Medical aide is being slowed and hindered at every turn by red tape and simple logistics. There is only ONE airport to bring ALL of the aide into. This will continue to hinder relief efforts for many days to come.
Even if they survived the initial quake, the survivors are still facing tremendous odds. Infection, disease, starvation, and thirst lie in wait for them all. Even simple wounds can be quickly deadly in a dirty environment with the stressed bodies of the quake survivors. The pictures coming out are incredible, with people with huge head wounds, mangled skulls, open fractures, and more still alive. Without timely aid, some of which is already to late, many of these will die in the next few days of infection.
The decomposing corpses, lack of sanitation, and lack of clean water will also provide hazards. The risk of disease outbreak is very high with this lack of basic sanitation. Diseases we have never seen here in the US can quickly kill hundreds weakened by malnutrition and injury.
These are just a few of the immediate risks faced by the relief workers in Haiti. I'm no expert, but I know they are facing HUGE challenges. My thoughts and prayers are with them as they work.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Technology Issues, Part 2

Apparently Technology and I have an ongoing battle. This girl is not quite as techno-savvy as I thought! My smart phone and my Internet have both crashed in the past weeks, and have both been down for awhile. I currently have a phone again. However, my Internet is still slow, albeit it works now!
Of course, this happens right after I promise to write more posts! I have more posts in the works, so stay tuned.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Visiting family

So, I'm sitting in my parent's living room enjoying the family. We had an early Christmas celebration this year due to some of our work schedules. Having a couple of people in the EMS/nursing field in the family makes scheduling holidays difficult. Also having the family scattered literally across the country makes getting together difficult. However, despite all this, we managed to get everybody together for an early Christmas celebration! So, no deep post today, I'm simply enjoying my family and will be going out to build a snowman shortly.
I do have a post in the works about EMS 2.0 and another one about EMS vs Nursing education. Keep checking and they'll be up eventually!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beaten by technology

OK, so technology has totally gotten the best of me at the moment. I wanted to submit my post below (AIDS part 1) to Emergiblog for Change of Shift. I've actually tried for the last three editions.... But, somehow, when I click on the "contact me" button on her website, I can't get through. I think its because I use gmail and I don't have my Windows email outlook set up properly. I used to be able to scroll over the link, get her addy and send it her way....but, somehow I can't do that anymore.

I also wanted to comment on AD's post about his blogroll, and request being added there. But, my computer won't let me do it. I don't know if he has comment moderation on and hence has about 10 posts to sort through, or if its my computer.

So, I am attempting to communicate with the greater world and maybe get some readers. But, attempts at mastering technology are defeating me at the moment. Any hints, suggestions, tips are much appreciated!