Fun And Games · Fun With Suits! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · School Fun And Games

“Engendering Collectivity In Nursing”

So, TINS, TIWFDASL, and I had been admitted into the BHSU College of Nursing. I had moved on from Da City’s EMF (“The ‘Mergency Muthafuggers!”, as we had been so colorfully denominated on so many occasions), and was nursing in the ED of one of the nearly dozen small (at that time, around 300 beds) hospitals dotting Da City. I went from being chief steward of the union representing the medics, to a staff peon working nights.

Another of the nurses working with me was also pursuing her BSN, and so we study buddied up. We both had been old schooled in The Wisdom Of The Student, as so found ourselves in the rear 1/3 of this cavernous several hundred seat lecture hall, where the Blue Hive State University held it’s class on “Transitions in Nursing”. This was aimed at those of us entering the BSN program. The instructor of this particular class appeared enamored of Florence Nightingale, the Victorian English woman whose work caring for wounded and ill British soldiers in The Crimean War laid the foundation of contemporary Nursing.

This infatuation was reflected as this instructor read to us all from a book of Nightingale’s life. Amusingly, from time to time, she (the instructor) would hold the book above her head, turned towards us so that we could “see” some illustration or another, and detail the citation accompanying the illustration. (“Did you bring your binoculars?”)

From our seats, some 50 or more meters away, this was not as informative as our instructor appeared to consider it.

Once she had exhausted her store of Florence Nightingale trivia, she (the instructor, not Ms. Nightingale) moved on to instruct us in the advantages to be found in group efforts to improve the workplace. She described these efforts as “engendering collectivity” (and, do we not all wonder if, forty years later, in The Enlightened Twenty First Century, if the Thought Police would allow any of us to speak in those terms?), and appeared to believe that this was an unmitigated Good! Thing!.

Let me follow a tangent, if you please, for a brief intermission. I had mentioned that I had been a steward for the union representing Da City’s EMS. Interestingly, my father in his own youthful years, had had a hand in the formation of the American Newspaper Guild, which was a union for (surprisingly) newspaper folks.

So, I kinda grew up steeped in old school, Democrat political world view (think Scoop Jackson and Jack Kennedy, Not Occasio Cortez or Gavin Newsome), including the value to be found in an organized workplace. In that world view was the “real politik” perspective of the cost paid by the organizers initially struggling to create that organization. Examples such as The Fight Of The Overpass as the UAW attempted to unionize the Ford Motor Rouge Plant, or the Homestead Steel Strike, and other struggles as folks attempted to start, and foster, unions, including organizers being blackballed, being intimidated or outright assaulted.

So, as the instructor droned about “engendering collectivity in the workplace”, I eventually let my boyish enthusiasm overcome my naturally shy nature.

I raised my hand, was called upon, and stood. “Ma’am, I was a steward for the union representing EMS in Da City. My father helped organize the American Newspaper Guild. In the professional labor circles with which I am acquainted, we have a technical term for those who seek to engender collectivity in a previously unorganized workplace. That term, is ‘unemployed’.”

I sat down. Oddly enough, I was never again called upon, for the balance of that semester!

Fun And Games · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene

Random Thoughts, Part IV

You may have heard of the ChicomFlu. It has been all over the news, and, evidently it is all Mr. Trump’s fault. Interestingly, the same folks voicing concerns about Mr. Trump being a fascist dictator, who is planning on a putsch in order to become President For Life, also are criticizing him for failing to seize control of the economy, and not dictating the minutiae of our lives in order to Halt! This! Scourge!. Apparently, that entire Federalism thing, and Tenth Amendment thing, bypassed these commentators in Government class.

Or else, our government schools failed them. Again.

So, in clinical medicine, in 2020, we now have drive in care. Care, that is, of a sort. So, folks drive up (remember that point), announce themselves (no clown’s mouth, thankfully!), and our registrar trots out and registers them. Our MA does preliminary interview, and obtains most of the vital signs (except BP). I then suit up in an impermeable gown, goggles, N-95 mask, with another lesser mask over top of it to prolong it’s service life, and gloves, and stroll out. I interview them through the vehicle window, examine ears, throat, auscultate heart sounds and breath sounds (and, by the way, I can tell you things about your engine and transmission). With this information, I form a diagnosis, formulate a plan of care, and instruct the patient in that plan.

I nearly always ask if my patient smokes. If the answer is affirmative, my response if “Stop doing that!” Occasionally, when the answer is “No”, I have indisputable olfactory evidence that this is an untruth. If I can smell your marijuana fumes through two masks, you are doing it wrong.

*History Lessons*

If you live in Bagwanistan, or Cuomo Valley
 New York, or, really anywhere, KNOW 
YOUR DAMNED MEDS!

It's commonly considered to be A GOOD
 THING if I avoid prescribing a medication
 that, in concert with whatever crap you
 take daily, will turn you into a flaming 
zombie, or cause your ears to drop off. So
 write that shit down someplace where 
you can find it. This appears to be a novel 
insight to a significant fraction of the
 population.
 

And, while you're at it, ask your pharmacist 
what you're allergic to, and WRITE THAT 
DOWN, as well. 

And, for those of you who are thinking
 that “All that is in my record!”, uh, well,
 if your records are in, say FREAKING
 FLORIDA, it might be a bit difficult for
 me to access. Particularly on 
weekends, or after 1800 hours their time.
 By the way, this also applies to folks
 whose records are in Milwaukee, and are
 visiting Flambeau Hospital, since that is
 the nearest healthcare to Copper State
 Park in BFE, Wisconsin.  Big City Hospital
 in Milwaukee may not see us as an 
entertainment subsidiary of their 
megalithic hospital system, and your info
may well be securely hidden away, 
from us. 

Jes' sayin. 
Fun And Games · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

The Fellow Who Would Not Go

A long, long time ago, in a Blue Hive not so very far from here (In truth, not nearly distant enough!), I was a nursing supervisor. This one time, TINS©, TIWFDASL©, and I received a phone call from one of my nursing floor charge nurses.

It developed that one of our physicians had written discharge orders for this one gentleman, let us refer to him as “Mr. Man”. Mr. Man was apparently of the opinion that our physician was mistaken, and that he, Mr. Man, was not sufficiently recovered to return to his home. I responded, spoke to the nurse, and then spoke to Mr. Man. He pretty much recreated the report that I had heard from the nurse, culminating in his ultimatum: “I’m not going anywhere, and you cannot make me!”

I phoned the physician and relayed my conversation. This doctor asked me a few questions, corroborating his assessment of the patient’s clinical circumstance. Having done so, he reiterated his plan of care: “Mr. Man does not meet the criteria from the insurance company, who is paying for his hospital stay, and they are not going to continue paying for his stay. He is discharged, I have written prescriptions, and arranged a post discharge office visit. If he has issues, we can discuss them at that visit.”

I relayed this to Mr. Man, and he again indicated his determination to remain. I returned to the nursing station, and invited my friend the security supervisor to show his smiling face, so that we could confer. My friend the security supervisor had no new input, although he sent a couple of officers to stand by the floor, in case Mr. Man decided that some interpretative dance, so to speak, would make his case more effectively.

Shortly, the med nurse was passing by, surprisingly enough, passing her afternoon meds. I stopped her. “Do you have any meds for Mr. Man?” She consulted he med book. “Yep, he has (whatever) due at 2 o’clock!”

“Hand it to me. I’ll take this one over from you.” I placed the meds securely in the med room, and returned to my chat with security. Sure enough, as I had expected, Mr. Man put on his call light, shortly after he noticed the med nurse pass by without stopping. I answered his light (security dawdled just down the hallway).

“Yes, Mr. Man, what can I do for you?”

“I am supposed to get (whatever) around this time. I just saw the nurse pass me by.”

“Why, yes you did, sir. You see, since the doctor has discharged you, you are no longer a patient here, you are now a visitor. It is not our practice to administer medications to visitors, and so the med nurse did not have any medications for you.”

“How am I supposed to get my meds?”

“Discharged patients usually obtain their medications from a pharmacy.”

“I bet you think you’re smart! You cannot make me leave! I’m staying right here!”

“Yes, sir, I understand what you are saying. Is there anything else?”

“No. Go away!”

With a smile, I departed. A couple of hours later, supper time arrived. I removed Mr. Man’s tray, and sent it back to dietary, with the admonition that he had received orders for discharge, a therefore would not require meal service. Indeed, shortly he noticed the aides passing supper trays, and, again, he engaged the call light. Again, I responded.

“Mr. Man, what can I do for you?”

“You could serve me my supper tray!”

“Oh, sir, I’m sorry! We do not feed visitors. You have been discharged, and therefore are present here as a visitor.”

“How am I supposed to get something to eat?”

“A lot of people find that a grocery store is helpful in this regard. Other folks find restaurants to be more to their liking.”

Again, I was dismissed.

In our facility at that time, visiting ended at 2000 hours. Our switchboard operator announced this fact, and bade all visitors a good evening. I popped my head into Mr. Man’s room, and reinforced this message. Security, this time in the person of the security supervisor, accompanied me.

“Sir, you will have to leave soon.”

“I dare you to throw me out!”

Security responded. “Sir, our usual practice is to ask folks to leave. Those who do not depart, are trespassing, and we ask Da City Police Department to handle that. I imagine the responding officers will ID such a person, run a LEIN check, and either walk that person out, or, if somebody were to have outstanding warrants, arrest that person, and lodge them in jail”

Mr. Man again indicated that our audience with him had come to a conclusion.

Outside the room, we heard one sided conversations as of telephone calls, and, from what we could discern, seeking transportation. Again, shortly, we were summoned by the call light. Mr. Security and I responded, and I (again) asked, “Mr. Man, what can I do for you?”

“I don’t have my prescriptions, and my ride will be here in a couple of minutes.”

“Yes, sir, I’ll get right on that!”

I secured his prescriptions and discharge instructions, and Mr. Security and I returned to the room, where I delivered the instructions and prescription, and then the security supervisor and I wheeled Mr. Man to the door, where he sprang from the wheelchair, entered a vehicle, and exited our lives. Whew!

Fun And Games · guns · Life in Da City!

“Doc, am I gonna die?”

 

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL©, and we caught a run for a shooting. Being full of excitement, because, gosh, THIS was an opportunity to, ya know, SAVE A LIFE!, we coded our happy way to the scene, there to meet the police. They pointed out the named patient, who, to our surprise, was NOT hovering at death’s door. Rather, he had sustained a small caliber gsw to his lower leg, had intact pulses downstream of his injury, and no evident bony injury. We walked him to the rig, buckled everybody in, and set out for TSBTCIDC.

We had dressed and bandaged his wound, and I was busily documenting same, along with the vitals we had obtained, when he asked me a question.

“Doc, am I gonna die?”

I looked at him, and shook my head no.

“Doc, really, am I gonna die?”

Sighing, I tucked my pen away, and addressed him. “No, you are not gonna die from this wound. You may not even be admitted to the hospital overnight.”

Hearing no further inquiry, I turned, again, to my charting. But, it was not to be.

“Doc, really, I can handle it. Am I gonna die?”

Some people, and one track minds. “Sir, you are not gonna die today, and not from that wound. Really, I’ve seen hundreds of shootings, and your injury is in no way life threatening. Okay?”

He nodded, as if in understanding. I (attempted to) return to my charting.

Shortly, he spake again. “Doc, really, I can handle it. Tell it to me straight, Doc. Am I gonna die?”

I was about over the “Doc” idiocy. “Sir, I’m not a physician, I’m a medic. And, do you really think you can handle the truth?”

“Yeah, I can handle it! Give it to me straight?”

“You sure you can handle the hard, icy, no bullshit truth? Because, if you are really, really sure, I’ll tell it to you straight! No punches pulled, no bullshit, no evasions. Is that really what you are looking for?”

“Yeah, Doc! Tell me the real deal!”

(Ah, well, it appeared that ‘listening to and following directions” was not at the very forefront of my friend’s skill set.) I rubbed my forehead, as if confronting some weighty ethical dilemma. I looked skyward, as if seeking Divine Guidance. I gazed at him, and delivered my response.

“Ok, if you’re sure you can handle it, here’s the real deal! You are not going to die! Do you know why, you are not going to die?”

“No, Doc, why?”

“Because you are not going to live that long!”

The rest of the trip was in blessed silence, as he endeavored to make sense of my revelation.

Fun And Games · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City!

Dumpster Diving

This one schedule, Doug had elected to rotate onto day shift. Likely something about a wife, family, and wanting to spend some time with That Bright Thing all up in the sky, while he was awake, might have figured into his calculations. In any event, TINS©, TIWFDASL© on night shift at Medic 14 (let us say). I was partnered up with Johnny Wadd (not his real name), who was, even among the collection of characters that made up the crews of EMS in those halcyon days, a character. He was book smart, street wise, quick on the uptake, head on a swivel, and, despite a very crusty persona, good hearted.

So, this one time, at band camp….uh, wrong story. So this one night we were cruising around between runs, and, as commonly happens in my “sea stories”, well, we caught a run. In the misty distance of all these years, I cannot tell you what the nominal nature of this run was. I do, however, remember (a) that the police were NOT dispatched to this run, and (b) once we arrived, and began to understand what the happs were, well, item “a” began to appear to be a big, big mistake.

So, we arrived on the scene to discover not a light on in the alleged address. Calling on the scene, we verified that the house number on the house before us, was, indeed, the address dispatch wanted us to report to. Check!

I knocked upon the door, while Johnny looked around the front of the house. As he reached the edge of the house adjoining the driveway, he heard something from the back that caught his attention. We meandered back to see what was up (notifying dispatch, on the way, of our explorations).

The sounds Johnny had heard were moans, and they were emanating from a wheeled trash bin. That made sense, as my flashlight illuminated two legs protruding from the top thereof. Johnny peered inside, and beheld a gentleman curled up inside, much the worse for wear.

We figured that any conversation to be had, would be had with greater clarity should our new friend be extricated from the trash bin, and so we began to attempt to lift him by his legs.

BAD PLAN! At least, in his view. He screamed, convincing us that this was NOT the course of action we desired to pursue. I ran to the truck, and retrieved the cot, a backboard, and backboard straps. Johnny and I then slowly levered the bin onto it’s side, and tried to gently place Mr. Trash Bin onto the backboard so as to remove him from his nest with minimal discomfort (to him) as we could manage. In his opinion, we were not particularly successful.

Once he was out in the light, such as it was (MagLite light, it was!), we could discern from the angulation of his thighs that he had sustained two fractured femurs. Further evaluation revealed a couple of gunshot wounds, as well as several stabbing wounds.

We determined that further time on the scene, with our basic life support asses, would be unprofitable, and so secured our guest onto the board, strapped him onto the cot, loaded him up into the truck, and coded our happy way to TBTCIDC.

Once we had turned him over to the ED crew, and they were poking, prodding, needling, radiating, IV-ing, and generally getting to know him far, far better than anyone else in his life ever had, we cleaned up and restocked the truck. Johnny turned to me, reflection written deeply in his eyes.

Ya know, Reltney, I wonder if someone, somehow, got a little angry at our guy there! Somebody does not seem to have had his very best interests in their heart!”

Fun And Games · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City!

Night shift lost the medic bag, a fact we discovered *AFTER* we caught a run!

So, TINS©, TIW©, all psyched up to FDASL©, chatting with the off-going crew, with my partner Doug. I had just about completed dropping my bookbag full of nursing school homework on the desk, when the phone rang with a run. Unaccustomedly, we were on day-shift, this being summer and my class load being light.

Of course, our very first run of the morning was Not a “sick person”, was not a “stomach pain”, no, indeed, it was an arrest.

It was Doug’s day to drive, so I settled into the passenger seat, buckled up, and we were away.

It was the custom, in those dark days of antiquity, to gather our immediate aid materials in a “mussette bag”, generally mil surp, olive drab, canvas. With a capacity of around six liters, we could carry several roller gauze bandages, a dozen or more sterile 4 x 4 dressings, several 5 x 9 ABDs (variously translated out of acronym into English as Army Battle Dressings, or ABDominal Pads), tongue blades, plastic oral airways (NOT endotracheal tubes: in those days, we were running an entirely basic life support operation), and, most relevant to Today’s Lesson in Life In Da City, a bag-valve-mask resuscitator.

Mostly, Da City bought the Laerdal brand of bag-mask, branded as Ambu, Therefore, of course, we referred to these as “the ‘Bu”.

You may wonder why I am assaulting y’all with these details of my far gone workaday life, amirite? Well, ya see, on this particular day, on this particular “cardiac arrest” run, as I settled my bony ass into the passenger seat, I did NOT have to step around the green bag. This caused me to look around, as we sped to the run, and NOT find the bag. I twisted around, and gazed into the module from my seat, and, again, did NOT! See our bag.

This was not encouraging.

Shortly, we arrived on scene, and, fortunately (for certain narrowly defined values of “fortunately”), our named patient was not only arrested, but, also, in rigor mortis.

Please recall that “narrowly defined values of ‘fortunately’” thing, cited above.

This soul was not going to benefit in any manner from CPR, ventilation or any other intervention in our (missing) bag of tricks. Therefore, we pronounced him on the scene, called dispatch for a scout car to take report, and went in service.

Returning to the firehouse, we examined the log entries from night shift, listed several likely locations of our errant bag (and I retrieved my personal bag from my vehicle, so, in the interval, we would not face performing mouth-to-mouth on some unlucky stranger). Then, we went visiting.

On our second or third stop, a pleasant lady answered the door. “I was wondering when you fellas were going to come back. Them nice fellas last night were in such a hurry that they left this on our living room floor!” And she handed us our bag.

I asked how her husband was doing, he being the subject of night crew’s visit last night. “Oh, he’s staying in the hospital. The doctors said his belly pain was from his appendix, and he’s gonna have an operation today, but they say he’ll be fine!”

Doug and I applauded this news, thanked her for holding our equipment for us, and bade her farewell.

And, boys and girls, THAT is why I forever afterward placed my own green bag in the ambulance, for the duration of my days on EMS!

Fun And Games · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Bradycardia and The Cough

TINS©, TIWFDASL©, nursing in the ED of this community hospital in Northern The Un-Named Flyover State. A gentleman arrived, somewhere in his forties, and he told his tale of chest pain. He shortly thereafter sported the latest fashions in IVs, EKG monitoring, oxygen, and much blood drawn and sent to lab for analysis.

Two things you should know about me. I am a bottomless well of generally useless trivia, for one. For example, the relevance of which will become apparent shortly, I read a bunch of stuff, including a report, years and years and years ago which asserted that individuals undergoing a cardiac catheterization would be instructed that, should they be commanded to do so, they should cough vigorously and repeatedly. This would, or so the article asserted, increase pressure inside the chest, compress the heart, and thereby expel blood from the heart. This was important because occasionally the catheter, introduced into the heart, could produce irritation sufficient to produce fibrillation. (an uncoordinated trembling of the heart, which produces no blood flow. A Bad Thing.)

Once they drew in another breath preparatory to coughing once again, the negative pressure inside their chest so produced would encourage their heart to again fill with blood, which would be expelled with the next cough. This could temporarily produce enough blood pressure to keep things idling along, until the cath lab staff could intervene and set things right.

The other thing about me, is that I am somewhat chatty. (“No! Say it isn’t so!”). Okay, very chatty. So, there I was, chatting with this gentleman, and noting his cardiac rhythm and heart rate as displayed upon his cardiac monitor.

I noticed that his heart rate, originally in the 90’s, was trending downward. (normal is around 60-80). Once it dropped below 55, I stopped congratulating myself on wonderful patient care, and began to worry.

He began to report feeling dizzy and weak. I directed him, “When I tell you to cough, do not ask any questions, simply do it!”

He, of course, asked me why, but at that point his heart rate had dropped below 30 (Very Not So Good!), and I was a bit terse. “Stop talking, and cough!…Cough!…..Cough!….”

I repeated myself at about one second intervals. Now, I am sure that the other nurses heard me, and wondered what variety of insanity had afflicted me. Once they came in to investigate, and I waved my hand at the monitor, continuing my coxswain like commands of “Cough!….Cough!….Cough!….”, they noted his very, very slow intrinsic heart rate. That, coupled with this guy, eyes fixed upon me, coughing every time I commanded him to do so, told them everything that they needed to know, and things got considerably more active in short order.

He soon received a temporary external pacemaker and and an ICU admit.

And we all lived happily ever after!

Fun And Games · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City!

“Fittin To Throw Down!”

When I worked the road for Da City’s EMS, several of my colleagues were simpatico with the majority of our service population. So, the habits and mores of the folks on the street were not much of a novelty for several of my colleagues.

Indeed, one gentleman who was my partner for a schedule or two told a tale of a cousin of his who, exchanging words with another soul, found their conversation adjourned outside the bar in which they had crossed paths. Words grew more and more heated, in my partner’s telling of the tale, and the party of the second part drew, displayed, and announced his intent to employ, a handgun.

My partner described subsequent events. “Well, my cuz stood up tall, and challenged the other guy, saying, ‘Well, hell! SHOOT me!’. Which he did. My cousin did not survive the exchange.”

Tough crowd.

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL© with my regular partner, Doug, and we (of course) had our squelch open so we could hear radio chatter from other medic units. If one of them got into trouble, well, THAT might be a handy thing to know, so we could begin to sidle our happy asses over closer to their scene, to lend a hand should medical hands be required.

Over the radio came the memorable tones of Abbie Smith. He was able to recreate the richly evocative tones, rhythm, and nuance of the patois of the street. Partly this was due to the fact that he was of the street, and partly because he was an old hand on the job, and therefore wise in the mannerisms of the citizenry from that perspective as well.

So, anyhow, he drawled out his greeting: “Dispatch, this is Medic Nine!”

The dispatcher on duty that night was another old hand, who had been dispatching since Marconi had first dispatched “S” from Cornwall, England. He, in contrast to Abbie, was an old white boy, who was renowned for knowing off the top of his head where every ambulance was, and what they were doing, at any given time. When you are in a tense, hostile scene, is is reassuring to have a sort of radio bodyguard looking over you!

So, he acknowledged Medic Nine’s call: “Medic Nine, go!”

Dispatch, could we get the po-leece out here?”

Very good, Medic Nine. Why do you need them?”

Dispatch, these folks are all hot and bothered, and they fittin to throw down!”

Remember, our dispatcher was a white boy. He had not immersed himself in the vibrant, and ebonics speaking, culture of the street. In contrast, our friend Abbie, had. Dispatch sought some clarification.

Medic Nine, what are they going to throw down? And, from where?”

We could hear the sigh from Abbie, before he even keyed up the microphone. “Dispatch, this is Medic Nine! They fittin to throw down! You know, get it on! Fight!”

That cleared things up for our friend the dispatcher. “Are you involved in this fight, Medic Nine?”

Naw, we down the street. But, they gonna get to fighting pretty soon!”

Dispatch got it. “Medic Nine, clear that scene! Clear that scene! Police are on the way, repeat, police are on the way!”

Dispatch, this is Medic Nine! We clearin the scene!”

Again proving the importance of speaking, so that they can understand you!

Fun And Games · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City!

Sleeping With a Chainsaw

A long, long time, in a galaxy not so very far away, I was working for Da City’s EMS. Since I was in school during the daytime, I worked nights.

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL©, and it was my turn to take the detail. In those days, several of the medic houses on each shift had three medics assigned. In the event that another unit had a sick call, or somebody off injured, well, “Tag! You’re IT!”, and somebody got to pack their crap up, drive across town, and work an unfamiliar house with a (occasionally) unfamiliar partner. The night of this tale, it was my turn.

EMS, in those days, was sort of a small town. There were around 160-170 personnel on the rolls, and what with shift rotations, details, and commonly running into a couple of the dozen or so hospitals in Da City, well, nobody was an unknown quantity. For example, during several of the years I was on the road, I was dating one of my nursing school classmates. She was, let us say, “of the African persuasion”, whereas I am purely white bread. One fellow, who I was acquainted with only in passing, had occasion to work with one of my former partners, and was quoted, by that partner, as inquiring as to the status of my relationship with my classmate. The exact quote was relayed to me as “Is McFee still seeing that (‘N-word’) bitch?”

(clears throat) Uh, well, ya see, (a) the pejorative referenced nowadays by the circumlocution “The N-Word”, was not acceptable among persons of education or pretense of good upbringing, even in those benighted times. (b) My girlfriend was in no way, shape, manner or form “a bitch”. Indeed, the time we shared lifted my own life in ways that, now, nearly 40 years later, I am still discovering. And, of course, (c) My partner stood up for me, inquiring of Mr. “More Mouth Than Sense”, if his mother was still employing her skills as a practitioner of The Oldest Profession. For some reason, in my partner’s report, further conversation ended right about that point.

So, nearly everybody on the job in those days either knew everybody else, or knew of everybody else. So, it came to pass that I was detailed out to work with Lonnie Evans, let us call him. He was renowned as working two, perhaps three, full time jobs. This led to his reputation as the soundest sleeper in the department. In addition, since it seemed that he was acutely-on-chronically something like 2500 hours in arrears on his sleep allotment, well, when you add obstructive sleep apnea to that recipe, stir lightly, and allow to rise overnight, you get to observe what 40-60 seconds between breaths sounds like. And, due to the fact that he snored with a sound like a tractor trailer starting up on a very, very cold morning, well, if your 8th cranial nerve was functioning, you were not going to miss it.

I had a sleepless night, with only a few runs. (talk about mixed blessings!). The next night I reported to Medic Four, and regaled my partners, Doug and Andy, with a review of my night across town. Andy had had a similar experience, a few weeks previously.

He reported, “Yeah, Lonnie snored like a chainsaw starting up, alright. That wasn’t the bad part! Every time he stopped breathing, I snapped awake, wondering if I would have to start coding him! After considering this possibility for several minutes, I decided that I was NOT going to do mouth-to-mouth on him, so I got the bag-valve-mask, an oral airway, some tongue blades, and positioned the handie talkie where I could reach it in a hurry. While I did not sleep any better, at least I knew I wouldn’t have to wind up kissing his wrinkly ass!”

Fun And Games · Pre Planning Your Scene

Blizzard in Da South.

I did not always work for Da City. Nay, I eventually moved Up North, married, and found myself living in Cincinnati. To my disappointment, once our little family was settled in Cincinnati, I learned that they had, somehow, resolved the Nursing Shortage, raging everywhere else in our fair land.

Shit.

I contacted a travel nursing agency, and sought employment. They accommodated me, finding a placement in another, Southern city. Something like 120 miles distant from our home.

Realizing that “beggars cannot be choosers”, I gave thanks for this job, and settled in for some commuting. Conveniently, the hospital needed a unit nurse, and I had, indeed, worked as a unit nurse. In addition, adding to the convenience, TDW-Mark I worked Monday to Friday 0900 to 1700, and the hospital needed somebody to work weekends. Score!

Therefore, I motored my way to work, and worked my 12 hour night shift. They had a need on 3-11 (or, more precisely, 1500 to 0300) the following day, and I volunteered to work it, if I could avoid working until 0700.

They were agreeable, and, indeed, I could work 1100 to 2300, and go home Sunday night, around 8 hours early. Worked for me!

One weekend, I headed for home immediately ahead of a storm that swept in from the west, chasing me back to Cincinnati. I got home as the flurries materialized. I am from Northern Un-Named Midwestern State, so snow, meh? Nothing I haven’t seen before.

We awakened the following morning, and found ourselves in a low budget winter wonderland. Maybe an inch of accumulation, dusting in the trees. This being not-the-snowy-north, well, let’s just say that the snow management infrastructure was, well, lacking. They closed everything, and the evening news talking heads breathlessly filled us all in on the Horrible! Disaster! That the snow had occasioned. (yawn!)

Being an Amateur Radio Operator (“a HAM”), I listened in to the wide area repeater, taking note of the communications supporting shelters for those who could not stay home (for reasons that I did not understand), as well as other disaster relief communications.

The week passed, and my next fun filled weekend fighting disease and saving lives (betcha were wondering if I was gonna work that one in there, weren’t you?) arrived. I loaded up the truck, packed my meals, kissed the wife and kiddies goodbye, and set off into the wintry wastes.

I took just a little longer than I was accustomed to, since there were stranded tractor trailers scattered here and there on the interstate. Evidently, the snow to my west, and therefore closer to my workplace, had been more serious and more serious than atmy home. Things were not particularly better as I approached Southern City. Monitoring the local repeaters, I heard, four full days later, communications supporting shelters, (still!), as well as other, related, communications.

That malign prognostic indicator was only supported as I exited the expressway, and bunny hopped my full sized truck across nearly frame deep ruts in the frozen snow layered over the roadway.

I had lived in Da City for years on end, and had been impressed with the inattention paid to snow removal. Gotta tell you, Southern City passed them on the fly! On the other hand, the little “no snow removal infrastructure” thing might have played a role.