I’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”→
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.
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”→
This post authored by Ventricular Escape Beats contributor siren911.
I 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”→
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
There 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”→
Everyone in EMS experiences stress. Some of us work for rural, remote EMS services that make only a few runs a month. Some work for busy, urban services that make hundreds or thousands of runs a month. There are many ways in which such services differ, but no matter the size or type of service, we’ve all been stressed out by a call, by a patient, by a coworker, by home life – and at one point or another, you will have a hard time dealing with that stress. Continue reading “Code Green – Mental Health in EMS”→
We’ve all been there… Toned out for another “unresponsive/unknown” call, and arrive on-scene to find a known “junkie” has “overdosed”…again. But, is this really an overdose? Continue reading “Overdoses and Junkies”→