Siren Malfunction?

ambulance-siren-lights-07012015I’ve been working in EMS in one form or another for about 10 years. So, although I am new to the system I currently work in, I am not new to EMS. I had still never encountered this issue before.

My partner, Bob, a true veteran of both EMS and of the system I work in, was in the passenger seat. I was driving the ambulance as we responded Code-3 to a call in a neighboring city for a fallen person/lift assist call. It was early evening rush hour, and traffic was heavy. The way our system works, when we respond to other cities, we switch to their radio channel and identify our unit and our ETA so that first responders know that EMS is enroute to their location. As we were heading down a busy state highway, I changed the siren tone a couple times to help move traffic along. My partner (again, keep in mind, a veteran with over 30 years of service in EMS) selected the proper channel on the radio and picked up the mic to call the neighboring city on the radio. He keyed up and said (city names changed for anonymity) “Anytown Fire, this is Main City EMS Medic 3, enroute to 123 Main Street. ETA 15 minutes.” Continue reading “Siren Malfunction?”

The Socially Awkward Medic

03ff4d26895997.5635dddabbf33I’m awkward. I’m introverted. I struggle sometimes with depression and anxiety. I’ve been, at one time or another, diagnosed with clinical depression, major depression, social anxiety, social phobia, and an anger disorder. You might be reading this paragraph and wondering aloud, “how the hell does he function as a paramedic?” – and you’re not alone. I wonder this sometimes myself.

There is a part of me that is unsure of myself, self-doubt abounds, especially when I’ve made a mistake, or think I’ve made a mistake. I try to always do right by my patients, to ease their pain, settle their mind, make them more comfortable. Some patients are unhappy no matter what I do. Some patients die no matter what I do. I’ve been in EMS for about 10 years now, and I’m starting to accept this reality, that dissatisfaction and death are a regular part of my job, and that there’s not always anything I can do about it except smile, do my best, and then move on to the next emergency. Continue reading “The Socially Awkward Medic”

Like my own Gramma

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My  Gramma’s hand, held by my sister’s, a few days before Gramma passed away.

We  were dispatched for trouble breathing. It had been a busy night, back-to-back calls, all kinds of patients. The day had felt rather hurried and frantic. My partner and I were both a few PCRs behind. We arrived on scene at a single family home and a woman waiting out front for us. “It’s my mom…. something’s not right…” she trails off, obviously upset, fearing that we’re going to bear horrible news when we see her mother.
The house is old, with narrow hallways and tight corners. We leave the cot in the hallway leading to the back bedroom because it won’t make the tight turn. I carry my monitor and airway bag.

As I make the turn into the bedroom, my heart skips a beat. The frail, white-haired, quiet woman in bed could have been my Gramma’s twin. Continue reading “Like my own Gramma”

A Bad Day in EMS

bad day

What does a “bad day” in EMS look like? First you have to ask if it’s a “bad day” for the EMS provider…. or for the EMS recipient. As a provider, I’ve had all kinds of days. I’ve had days where I feel appreciated by my employer, the general public, my coworkers, and my patients. I’ve also had days where I feel insignificant. In the way. Replaceable. Patients who don’t want your help, or worse, need your help and there’s nothing you can do. Family members who discover a loved one at home, deceased, having never gotten the chance to say goodbye, not even sure how long they’ve been dead. I’m a religious person, and I believe that a lot of things happen for a reason, but I also think that sometimes bad things just happen. Babies don’t die because they’re bad people or they’ve done anything wrong. Innocent drivers don’t get killed by drunk drivers because they wanted to buy groceries. In EMS, it’s our job to make scenes and create calm, direct patient care, and try to make a bad situation slightly better than how we found it. Continue reading “A Bad Day in EMS”

End of Shift

This post authored by Ventricular Escape Beats contributor siren911.

bootsI may be hanging up my boots. I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2007 but was probably infected long before that , perhaps even before I was a Medic in 1996. It was diagnosed as Chronic Tertiary (or end stage) neurological Lyme disease because of the length of time that I had had it, that it was in my CSF and brain and that I was as far, stage wise as I could be. I honestly didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. After all, I got sick every 4 years and always recovered. Continue reading “End of Shift”

New Home, New Site!

Welcome to the new home of my EMS-related thoughts and rantings! For those of you who followed me on The Nightshift Squirrel, thank you so much for making the jump to this site. I’m not entirely sure what happened to the guys I was working with on that site – they’re still active on facebook, but have completely stopped updating the site and have stopped responding to my emails and messages. So, rather than just continue to manage their facebook page for them, I’ve decided to step out on my own. I plan to recruit a couple other EMS and public safety type folks to contribute here, as well.

For those of you who are just joining us out in TV land, WELCOME!! Thanks for joining me. This should be an exciting adventure. I plan to post as often as I can, but in all reality, the life of a paramedic is an unpredictable one, and some months I might post several times and other months you might not hear from me. If YOU would like to contribute, please email me at dave@ventricularescape.com and I’ll happily add you as a contributor to the blog or the facebook page, whichever you’re interested in.

Take a look around – I’ve reposted my favorite blog posts here, and I plan on migrating over some of my other, older entries, too. Stay tuned!

Best Job I’ve Ever Had

 

ambulanceThere are some nights that I wonder how I ever got myself into this career. There are other nights that I wonder how I ever thought I had a meaningful job before I got into EMS. Most nights are a blend of both extremes. Toned out in the middle of the night for an MVC on the interstate. A drunk driver has crashed his car into a guardrail. Continue reading “Best Job I’ve Ever Had”