Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Bad Diction

Back In The Day, as you may have surmised, I worked for Da City as a medic. In those misty days of yore, we were dispatched by voice, our dispatchers contacting us on FM radio channels, on the VHF High Band. (that means that there were these things like cell phones, only way, way larger and heavier, and they weren’t dialed. Instead, like one of the old fashioned telephones, there was only one “line” and that “line” connected us with dispatchers who would tell us about emergencies that they had learned about via their telephones. And, ours had no wires. These “radios”, for that was what we called these things, used radio waves similar to those in your parent’s cars, right around the sorts your parents use to listen to their old, old music.)

Now, the radiotelephone devices we used were, to be charitable, NOT “high fidelity”. Sometimes, it was listening to a conversation in a crowded and noisy room. In addition, not every one of our dispatchers were blessed with voices and diction that reflected well on the musical qualities of the English language. Indeed, some sounded as if they were practicing their Demosthenes Imitations, dispatching around mouths full of river pebbles.

So it came to pass that one dark and stormy night, my partner and I were dispatched to a run someplace in Da City, for a person with, and I swear to Crom that this is what I heard, “rectal breathing”.

Now, there was generally a random correlation between what we were told, and the actual nature of the run. Several occasions featured runs for “sick person”, who, it developed, had noticed that they were suffering from lead poisoning, likely right around the time that the last gunshot finished echoing. Another featured a run on a “shooting”, which, once we were on the scene, featured nobody shot. As soon as it was clear that the jackwagon complaining of “sinus problems” was the source of the call, we departed, telling the nominal patient, “Gotta go, somebody hereabouts got shot, and we gotta go find him!”

So, we chalked it up to extraordinarily bad diction and a low fidelity radio system, when we found our patient complaining of “rectal bleeding”.

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Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Another Stoner

 

So TINS ©, TIWFDASL © in the clinic, sometime in the past year or two. Remember how happy, Happy, HAPPY! I have been about marijuana legalization? Yeah, about that: so, I was interviewing this happy go lucky soul, who detailed his allergies, his (physician prescribed) medications, and medical history. I asked him if he smoked, a common enough question particularly, among those with breathing difficulties or a history of asthma or COPD.

Well, yeah, but I don’t smoke cigarettes!”

I pointed out that placing burning material into your face, particularly with the intent of inhaling the products of combustion so produced, was not a good health choice.

But, it’s medicine! I have a medical marijuana card!”

I responded that the existence or non existence of his medical marijuana card did not change the fact that inhaling carbon monoxide, tar, complex cyclic hydrocarbons (such as are commonly found in smoke) is not smart, and does deleterious things to your lungs, at the very least.

Getting directly into the spirit of the conversation, and demonstrating a prompt grasp of my observations, he informed me, “But! I have a card! It is medicine!”

Side note: that linear thinking, clear insight, accountability for self, is why I simply LOVE dealing with marijuana users. Or, maybe not.

Sir,” I told him, “every firefighter knows that inhaling products of combustion is very, very bad for you. That is why the city spends several thousand dollars, for each and every firefighter, to equip them with apparatus that prevents them from breathing in that crap. Since that has become the standard, firefighter deaths from heart disease, lung disease, and carbon monoxide poisoning have dropped to the point that they are almost uncommon. Now, you are telling me that the fact that you, yourself, have a medical marijuana card over rules all that accumulated hard earned experience, bought with firefighters’ lives, and that, due to the miracle of this card, it is healthful to inhale smoke from burning things. Cool story. You’re wrong. I do not care about whatever you tell yourself about marijuana and it’s use as a medication. Inhaling smoke from burning stuff is bad for you. If you want to bake brownies, bake cookies, use marijuana snuff, rub it onto your toenails, or brew a nice hot marijuana stew to bathe in, I do not care. You simply need to realize that smoke is bad, breathing smoke is bad, and your lungs do not care what paperwork you do, or do not have, when they turn brown and stop working. Now, do what you want. Good luck.”

So, yeah, that entire teaching moment went about as well as it sounded like it did.

Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Pre Planning Your Scene

The Great Chocolate Explosion Of 2018

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL©…. Well, alright: I wasn’t FDASL© in this story, I was in my kitchen, fixing to cook some fudge.

The women in my office (where I was a mid-level in an urgent care) had been teasing me about my domestic abilities, and so I had threatened them with offered them home cooked fudge.

The recipe I selected required that I melt baker’s chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Of course, I did not have a double boiler. Instead, I selected two pans, poured some water onto the one, and settled the other into the first, and turned on the range. I noted, in passing, that the fit seemed a bit tight, but, whatthehell, I did not act on this insight.

Remember that thought.

So, I arrayed my ingredients on the counter, and then checked on the progress of my chocolate melting. Experimentally, I wiggled the top pot. At that point I noted a seemingly tight friction fit, and told my wife, washing dishes behind me, that I was starting to be a bit concerned about that. My words were, prophetically enough, “Boy! I sure hope that this top pot doesn’t suddenly loosen from where it is stuck, here! That could be messy!”

My wife came over, gave it an experimental wiggle herself, and concurred with my assessment. “Yep, might want to turn the heat off!”

Of course, I did not. Bright idea, right there!

I diddled around in the kitchen for a few minutes, and then went back to my double boiler/pressure cooker (without release valve). I was explaining to my wife how I planned to safely extricate the top pot from the lower, when my explanation was interrupted. By the top pot ABRUPTLY separating from the lower. At speed. With force. And, with a considerable “BANG!”

The next thing I knew, I was holding the handle of the top pot, with molten chocolate running down my face. I turned from the stove, depositing the pot into the sink, and noted that more liquid was running down my face. Wiping it, I discovered that it was blood. Nice. I returned to the stove, and my wife saw the blood herself.

Ohmigawd! You’re bleeding! You’re on blood thinners! We have to take you to ER!”

Let’s turn off the stove, first, ok?”

She was fixated on my bleeding. “You have to go to urgent care! You’re bleeding!”

I was still sorting out what had happened, and what ought to be done, first, and then next, etc. “Honey? I sort of do this for a living, right? Let’s sort out what’s happening, and then decide what we indeed have to do, first, okay?”

But, you’re bleeding!”

I’ve already figured that much out, thank you. Now, let me take a second to see how badly I’m bleeding, and what else, if anything, is going on, before we panic. Once we know what’s happening, THEN we can panic, Okay?”

She hustled me into the bathroom, and handed me a towel. I sponged off the majority of the blood and chocolate, and saw a superficial appearing wound in the center of my forehead, approx 2 cm long. The blood appeared to be sluggishly dripping from it, and I did not see any other injury. Palpating, I did not feel anything suggesting a depressed skull fracture. My vision was at baseline, I had no numbness or tingling. My ears were sort of ringing (some of that was not new, some of that was readily attributable to the explosion). Otherwise, aside from chocolate EVERYWHERE, I appeared to be unscathed.

I applied some direct pressure, and the bleeding stopped after a couple of minutes.

The Darling Wife and I re entered the kitchen, and set to cleaning up the largest chunks.

A day or two later, my wife and her daughter in law were detail cleaning the kitchen, and discovered a large chocolate chunk behind the stove, and another on the top of the refrigerator. How the heck did they wind up there?

Fun And Games

The Metric Calendar

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL© as a midlevel in an urgent care, when one of the medical assistants in my office announced that she was going to hit the coffee shop on her lunch break, and canvassed everybody to see if they wanted her to pick anything up.

I told her that the coffeeshop was closed, it was a federal holiday, St. Swithin’s Day.

She looked at me, and turned to her computer, tapping furiously. Minutes later, she emerged from her search, triumphant, announcing, “St. Swithin’s Day is July 15th, this is October, and you are wrong!”

I smiled. “Well, St. Swithin’s day is a European holiday, and in Europe they use the metric calendar. On the metric calendar, it is July, and today is St. Swithin’s Day! You could look it up!”

She did. At length. Repeatedly. The NP who was my partner pulled me aside, grinning large, and whispered, “You rat! You know she is gullible, and you fed her that line of manure! What, you gonna carry on until she is spinning around, biting at her own tail?”

I assumed a faux-hurt look, and lied through my teeth. “Who, Me? I would never do such a thing! How can you accuse me of such a thing?”

She settled back on her heels, crossed her arms over her chest, and replied, “Oh, could it be because I have seen you in action? Multiple times? Just like this? Yeah, that would be it!”

Two weeks later, one of the other assistants teased her about the “metric calendar”, and my friend turned to me, “I blame you! You started all this idiocy about a metric calendar that does not exist!”