Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene · Protect and Serve

WuFlu, Kung Flu, Chinese Flu, or Coronavirus: It IS a big deal, but not for the reasons you likely have been told!

The number of projected deaths, when all is done, is not THE PROBLEM. At north of a million people (that’s one million, or more fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, grandfathers and grandmothers. And aunts, uncles and husbands and wives.), that is certainly bad enough. Particularly if someone you love is enumerated in that group. Life changing. Reality altering. Leaves a hole in your heart, your life, that you cannot imagine, unless you have lived through it.

BUT! THAT is not THE PROBLEM. THE PROBLEM, is the follow on effects, as a tsunami of ill inundates our already (on a good day) marginal health “system”, that it is in no way prepared for.

“Just in time” inventory systems will not bite us in the ass. Nope, not at all. Rather, the shortfalls and absent supplies will make us yearn for simply being bitten in the ass. Indeed, the “bite us in the ass” problem will more closely resemble the “bite in the ass” one might receive from a hungry great white shark, or, maybe, a ravenous tiger.

Ragarding the magnitude of THE PROBLEM, you need honest numbers, and then you NEED TO UNDERSTAND THOSE NUMBERS! See Lawdog’s blog, here , for an explanation of testing error (false positives/negatives, and the implications thereof).

See Aesop’s articles, here, for his description of the second order effects, and how it will make a clusterf…er, HUG! look like a picnic with your Bible study group. I do not know about timing, but, based on 30 + years as an ER nurse, and a dozen as a PA, and several as a medic, well, his assessment of effects is certainly defensible. I pray he is wrong, but I do NOT believe that he is wrong. (While you are there, read his other posts, about the follow on effects, about how this has been mishandled since, oh, 20 or more years ago, and about missed opportunities).

(and, READ HIS COUNSEL [in other posts] ABOUT PREPAREDNESS, BOTH LOGISTIC AND TRAINING! AND TAKE IT TO HEART!)

Good fortune to you all, and WASH YOUR DAMNED HANDS! NOW, DO IT AGAIN! AND AGAIN!

Fun And Games Off Duty · Pre Planning Your Scene

Back From Vacation. I Have Stories!

I just got back from vacation (well, by the time you folk(s) see this, I will have been back for a couple of weeks, but, anyhow…) So, here are two anecdotes, serving as a sort of “Cruise: after action report”

The elevator counseled “Patience!”

TDW-Mark II and I were on a cruise, earlier this year. I had worked considerable extra shifts, in order to avoid financing this adventure. So, TINS©, there we were, soaking up sunshine and living the life, and we were attempting to take the elevator from whatever deck that we were on (say, deck 3) to Deck 14 (which would be “The Serenity Deck”, relatively quiet as well as sunny).

There were numerous other people who had a similar idea (which, on a cruise ship with something like 2,000 + passengers, is likely to be unsurprising). So, when I pressed the button to summon the elevator, there appeared, after some time, to be no response. I again depressed the elevator call button, and was surprised to hear a typical robot like female voice emanating from the elevator, counseling “Patience!”

TDW was very, very amused.

Departure elevator lobby Hide and Seek

TDW-Mark II is, well, petite. At the end of the cruise previously mentioned, we arose early, got out crap together, and joined the lowing herd stampeding towards the gangway. As we were on a middle sort of deck, well, all the folks who had arisen around the same time as we had, and were on upper decks, well, the elevators were full up by the time that they arrived at our floors. (I, of course, lacked the insight that, should we enter the elevator ON THE WAY UP, well, we would ALREADY be on that elevator, once the upper floor folks tried to join us. Alas, THAT insight, however useful it might have been at the time of departure, did not occur to me until, well, just now. Good timing.)

In any event, soon there would arrive an elevator with space for one of us, but not both. After several such events, I directed TDW-Mark II to enter the next elevator, and I would join her downstairs once I myself became the room-for-one-more elevator passenger.

Great plan. Well, except for one issue. Recall that my wife is petite. Consider one readily foreseeable result of lots of people deciding that RIGHT NOW would be a good time to depart, luggage in tow. Yep, I arrived on the departure deck, waited for the crowd to move so far as to allow me to exit, and did not see my wife. She called to me, and I heard her, but could not place her in the lowing crowd.

I decided that this problem resembled the childhood swimming pool game of “Marco Polo”, wherein contestants were forbidden the use of their eyes, and had to find, and tag, other players. “It” would elicit calls from the other players, by calling out “Marco!”, requiring the others to respond “Polo!”.

I implemented my solution. “Marco!”, I called out.

“Polo!” responded TDW-Mark II. I placed her across the lobby, but still could not see her.

“Marco!”

“Polo!”. Ah, there she was, hand a-waving. We “swam” through the crowd, meeting just a little ways “downstream”, and therefrom making our way past checkout, and on to Customs. The rest of our trip home was uneventful, except for the guy who, in the left hand lane of the expressway, decided that he had to exit RIGHT FUCKING NOW!, and swerved, abruptly, across three lanes of traffic and onto the off ramp. Fortunately, it appeared that the other drivers had experienced this sort of shenanigans before, as they braked, and nearly seamlessly allowed Mr. Late Decider off the expressway, and out of our lives.

But, except for that, it was all good.

Pre Planning Your Scene

mURPHY rULES! (and how to try to stymie him)

Among the blogs I visit more or less regularly, is “Notes From The Bunker”, featuring the adventures of the thoughtful and experienced Commander Zero. Today (As I write this it is 5 Sept 2019), The Commander reviews thoughts on idiot proofing your kit, particularly your first aid kit. (see for yourself: http://www.commanderzero.com/?p=6547#comments , “Mylar After Two Years Of Exposure”) He makes a mighty compelling case for, in effect, double bagging your first aid supplies, and he has, indeed, harshly tested his packaging. He has not found it wanting.

Aesop of Raconteur Report (ANOTHER regular read! Find him here: https://raconteurreport.blogspot.com/ ) commented on the original post, (found here, from March 15 2015: http://www.commanderzero.com/?p=2511), and, as usual, his comments are insightful, practical, and reflect studies in Advanced Placement courses at The College of Hard Knocks. I reprint them here, because I don’t want you all to miss them.

“1) Any FA kit that isn’t waterproof is worthless. If not now, then when you need it, which is worse. As you’ve discovered, and as I did the first time I was working on a movie set on a rainy day. It’s a mistake you only make once.
2. Mylar is nice, but you can’t see what’s inside. Consider heavy-duty Saran wrap or equiv. as something still see-through, but easier to tear open than mylar or two-hand zip-loks.
3. If you’re any kind of handy with a sewing machine, turning mil-spec poncho materials into pack and bag condoms is a quick and elegant way to make your favorite bag far more water resistant. It also gives you options as far as external appearance, whether more camo’ed, or more non-descript than Tactical Timmy camo patterns in urban use around the unprepared muggles. YMMV.
4. Given your penchants anyways, you can get single-use heat seal clear plastic bagging material too, and simply resolve that if you tear something open for use, you’ll re-stock and re-seal it at the first opportunity.
5. As far as opening, putting a guard-protected single-edge razor or retractable box cutter in the top of the kit is never a bad idea. For some of the sterile wrap crap used in the ED, I need bandage scissors, trauma shears, and/or a hemostat (think ER pliers) just to open the goddam packaging, and that’s indoors in air-conditioned comfort, with two hands.


(THIS PART THAT FOLLOWS IS GOLD, RIGHT HERE!)

6. As a general rule, whether for first aid or any other kind of kit, anything that couldn’t be reliably used during a year’s service in the WWI trenches of the Somme probably isn’t proper kit to rely on, and you’ll find that out at the worst possible moment. Field-test your gear and eliminate the flaws now, when mistakes are free.


7. Just random curiosity, but for a bike kit, why not something along the lines of a screw-top or screw-twist together PVC pipe or somesuch thing, clamped/strapped/zip-tied/etc. to the frame? Bombproof, compact, and totally watertight, and you could size the tube diameter to the largest items, and adjust the length so everything fits. Just thinking out loud there.”

With that preamble, may I direct your attention to my own humble work, from mid June of this year? (https://musingsofastretcherape.wordpress.com/2019/06/14/do-it-yourself-emergency-care/ )

With Commander Zero’s (herinafter referred to as “CZ”) insights, and Aesop’s commentary, I have been stimulated to consider shortcomings in my own arrangements.

I have never had my own kit(s) fail as in Czs experience. Mine are presently indoors or in my vehicle trunk. Previously, for years, my kit rode in the back seat of my dual cab pickup truck. When we loaded up, kids, luggage and all, it went into a tote in the back of the truck, inside a camper shell. That has/had worked out alright for me. On the other hand, I have never done a rainy weekend FTX, either. THAT sort of adventure might have elicited Aesop’s perspective.

Since one of the objectives of much of my hobbies/avocations/off duty activities is preparing for unwanted possibilities, the next generation of my deliberations will be considering how I can benefit from the above insights, and integrate them into my own preps.

For example, if I am compelled to hike my happy ass home from work, due to EMP/Carrington Event/One Minute After/civil disorder/Zombie Apocalypse, what is the likelihood that it will be sunny and seventy outside, versus raining cats and dogs at night in a gale? (Select option “B”, if you please!) Or perhaps mid January, with ass deep snow and wind, at a daytime high temp of 1 degree (for our European readers, that approximates minus 17 degrees C)?

The “I don’t want to freeze my butt solid, to the ground” aspects are likely intuitive, to anybody who has lived in The Midwest for any length of time, but protecting your equipment from those conditions may not be so obvious. (To be honest, this particular aspect had not made it’s way to the front of my own consciousness, until today!)

Broadening this thinking to other aspects of, say, a “Get Me Home” bag, suggests that packing said bag in sub-modules might be clever, if said sub modules are water proof (or, at least, repellent). Again, as of present experience, I’ve had no issues with water etcetera damaging my medic bag, or anything in my “possibles trunk”. That’s fine, until my 13 year old vehicle develops a hole allowing water or whatnot into my trunk.

Or, until I have to hop home in the Oobleck Storm. (or whatever). In those settings, I will regret not acting on CZ’s or Aesop’s insights.

Fun With Suits! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Hospice Nurse Midnight Shift Call Off

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy not so far from here….

No, wait, that is not quite right. Well, anyway, after I had departed Da City’s EMS, and started working as an RN, my father took ill. Years previously, he and my mother had moved back to The Megalopolis, and resided in The Maternal State, nearly half way across the country from me. My brother the contractor did not seem well suited to the demands of helping care for a sick elderly man, so I volunteered.

As it happened, while I was helping Mom take care of my Dad, I was working 12 hour night shifts in various EDs around The Maternal State, receiving my assignments from this or that temporary staffing agency. The money was OK, and I was able to keep up with my house payment, my car payments, and all that stuff.

Things progressed. My father was dying, and there was no stopping it. I was glad that I could take some of the burden off of my mother, who was nearly overwhelmed in any event by the looming demise of her husband of decades. You do that which you can do, correct? Around this point in the process, my father had been admitted to hospice, and his care needs had escalated to the point where Hospice supplied a nurse to care for my dad around the clock.

So one morning around 0900, I arrived home from work, and went to bed. I was awakened for a phone call around 11 am, to find that the agency was informing me that my shift that night had been canceled. I mumbled affirmation, and stumbled back to bed.

Around 1400, I was again awakened to learn from the Hospice case manager that they were unable to find a nurse to care for my dad overnight that night. “I don’t know what we are going to do!” she apologized.

I wasn’t all that wound up over it. “So, it looks as if you have a nurse, then.”

No, I don’t. I have called, and called, and I cannot find a nurse to care for your father tonight!”

Yeah, you did. Me.”

You cannot care for your father overnight!”

How come? You need a nurse. I’m a nurse. You need somebody who will be reliable. I flatter myself, that I am reliable. You need somebody here. I’m gonna be here, nurse or no nurse. Looks like I know what I’m gonna be doing, instead of watching late night TV!”

Are you going to be able to do this? Can you handle that responsibility?”

Do you have a better idea?”

She admitted that no, she did not.

Well, then, it certainly looks as if I have to do it, and have no alternative to handling it, doesn’t it?”

We agreed, and I returned to bed.

This time, around 1500, I was awakened for another phone call (this appeared to be developing into A Thing!, and I was not liking it!). My agency was calling, and the staffing coordinator perkily informed me that she had found me an assignment for that very night! “Gosh, thanks, but, after you called me to cancel me, I made other plans.”

She was aghast. “What? Are you refusing an assignment?”

Nope. I had an assignment as of 0730 this morning, when I left duty. I was sleeping, in preparation for reporting for that assignment, when you called me, to cancel it. Once you had canceled me, I had no obligations to anyone, and I have made other arrangements since then. Now, you are calling me and asking, at the eleventh hour, may I remind you, if I can take a last minute assignment. No, I cannot. I am busy tonight, with obligations that I cannot ignore. I’m not refusing an assignment, I am simply not able to accommodate your last minute brainstorms.”

We ended the call at that point, and I resigned myself to my (sleep deprived) fate.

Mom and I had supper, I made some calls, and wrote checks for some of my bills. Once 2300 arrived, the afternoon nurse gave me report, and oriented me to the overnight routine.

We changed my father’s bedding, and bathed him. As we turned him to his left, I held him for her part of the cleaning and linen change, and he sighed once, long and loud. I looked into his eyes, and watched them dilate. I felt for a carotid pulse, and found none. “I think he’s gone”, I told the nurse. She and I tidied up the bed, tucked him in, and she went for my mother.

The next couple of hours were not etched in my memory. Eventually, Mom and I were alone in the house. We cried, we hugged, and we went to our beds.

Monday I had an assignment. I showed up, happy, in a sort of left handed way, to be doing SOMETHING that did not involve constant reminders of my dad’s death. The charge nurse for St. Elsewhere greeted me with, “We heard about your dad. We’re sorry to hear it. How are you doing?”

I was surprised. She was a lovely soul, cute, smart, professional, and capable (all things that I admire in a woman). She was friendly, and I was very open to that. However, I hadn’t told anyone about my dad’s demise. I was touched that she would make the effort to offer consolation to me, a relative stranger. I had been hoping that I could immerse myself in ED nursing, and not think about my dad for a while.

I offered my response, thanked her for her concern, and asked what pod was mine for the night.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. I received another call from the agency, and another assignment offer. I had made plans to take my mother out for dinner, and therefore I declined the assignment. (Yeah, THIS one I straight up declined.). The coordinator took me to task. “I’m getting really tired of covering for you all the time!”

What the fuck? My query was edited before being spoken. “Huh?”

I said I’m getting tired of covering for you!”

Uh, what are you talking about? Covering for me? When?”

Remember two weeks ago? That Friday night, when you had made other plans? That’s what I’m talking about!”

I was almost speechless. Fortunately, this was a telephone conversation, not one taken across a desk. That fact alone kept me from big trouble. I put as much ice into my voice as I could, and clarified: “Oh, wait! Do you mean the night my father died? Do you mean to tell me that you are irritated that I could not work on the night my father died, in my arms, and you are really, no shit, taking me to task for not working that night? Did you really, actually, just say that to me, not two weeks after he died? It sure sounds as if you did, and I cannot think, off hand, of any other way to take that. What did your supervisor say when you told her you were inconvenienced by my not working that night? Say, how about I call her, right fucking now, and ask her? Gimme her goddamned phone number, please. I feel the need for a heartfelt chat!”

For some reason, she was, well, “reluctant” probably does not fully capture her lack of enthusiasm for me chatting with the manager of the office on a Saturday night.

I continue to be surprised. By humanity in general. And, in particular, that she was such a jackwagon, and that she did not provide me that number.

Although, not giving me the number might have been a good thing.

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

Car Fire

So, before Mallory and I had begun to live together, I had one of my ex partners, let’s call him Adam, as my room mate. Mallory would come over from time to time, and the three of us would chat, or share dinner, or simply hangout.

One day, she came into the house, and asked us to hurry out and see what was wrong with her car. Now, this was her baby, one she had purchased because, as she termed it, “I look so good driving that car!” It had been her very first new vehicle, ever.

So, Adam and I threw on some shoes, and trotted out to see what was the matter. She had told us that it was smoking, and once we got outside, it became clear why. The smell of burning plastic emanating from beneath the hood told the tale.

Mallory was starting to get excited, hopping around and beseeching us, “Can’t you guys do something?”

Adam looked the vehicle over, and asked her, “Do you REALLY want us to do something? If we let it burn, or call the fire department, then it will be totaled, and you can get a brand new one. If we extinguish the fire, you are gonna have to get all that burned shit replaced, and it may never be altogether right, again.”

Mallory was nigh unto break dancing by now, and simply couldn’t bear to see “her baby” burn up. Adam asked her again, simply to be certain, “Are you REALLY REALLY sure you want us to do something?Again, she pleaded with us to act. Adam looked at me, I looked at him, and we charged the garden hose, donned work gloves, and sprayed it down through the grill as well as we could. Once it had dampened down, I opened the hood, and stood aside, while he blasted it (or, at least, “blasted it” as much as one is likely to be able to, with a garden hose!). It was evidently sufficient to the task, for soon the smoke stopped, the smell abated, and we were unable to identify any further burning stuff after diligent search.

Mallory called her insurance company, they sent a wrecker, and she got a loaner.

Several weeks later, her car was returned to her. She subsequently had repeated complaints about this, that, or the other thing not performing properly. Soon, she turned to Adam, and admitted, “If I had listened to you, and let it burn, I’d be driving a new car by now!”

Fun And Games Off Duty · Fun With Suits! · Pre Planning Your Scene · School Fun And Games

Not Fitting The Mold

So, TINS. I decided after several years as a nursing assistant, that I wanted to be an RN when I grew up. By the time that things lined up, I had already started working for EMS in Da City. So, I set to knocking off the pre-requisite classes I had not already collected, and waited for my Nursing school application to be processed.

Now, at this time, there were very, very, very few men in Nursing. The school I applied to, a community college, had a decidedly  problematic academic tendency among the population from which they drew their students.  So, since I had attended Tremendous State University for a couple of years, it seemed that I was a good candidate to handle collegiate level studies. For these reasons, it developed that I was accepted to this school.

In the course of the intake, I had to interview with an admissions officer. We talked about coursework, and finances. She asked me about what financial aid I had lined up. I admitted that I had none, and planned to pay for school through Da City’s tuition reimbursement program, as well as my earnings.

She did not think much of that idea, for some reason. “Mr. McFee, we do not allow our students to work.”

I was surprised. This was, after all, nearly 1980, and I had thought that liberated women, and various movements to remove barriers had changed things. Simply to be certain that I had heard her correctly, I asked her, “Er, ma’am? you do not ‘allow’ your students to work?”

“That’s right, Mr McFee. We do not allow our students to work.”

“Uh, ma’am, you do realize that I am working full time, have a house, and am my own only source of support, right?”

“Mr. McFee, you need to plan for that. We do not allow our students to work while they are in school.”

“Uh, OK. Uh, ma’am, so, where do you live?”

“Why do you ask me that?”

“Well, I support myself and you are telling me that I cannot work. I suppose that means that I’m moving in with you.”

THAT got her attention! “Mr. McFee! You are NOT moving in with me!”

“Hmm. So, how about you document that you have told me that your experience is that students who work while in school do not perform as well as those who do not. You could note that I have acknowledged that warning, and the school’s extensive experience behind that warning. You could write down that I will elect to work while in school, and therefore, any failure on my part will be in spite of your vehement admonitions. Do you think that will work for you? It is a chance that I am willing to take.”

“Uh, Mr. McFee, please sign here, next to my notes to that effect. Thank you. Welcome to Un-Named Community College School of Nursing. You have selected a challenging course of action, both academically as well as because you have chosen to work. Good luck!”

guns · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City! · Pre Planning Your Scene

Medic 5 Heart Attack

 

So, this one time, at band camp…..no, wait. That’s not quite right.

So TINS©. There I was FDASL©, detailed out to Medic Five from my home house. It appeared that I had offended the Patron Saint Of EMS and Street Medics, grievously, because I arrived to find Cletus, grinning widely, awaiting me. Shit.

I asserted The Prerogative of Seniority, and drove, leaving Cletus to medic. (Remember that. File under “Things That Come Back To Bite Me in The Ass”) The day passed pretty uneventfully, runs came in, patients got transported, and we, of course, fought disease and saved lives.

Now, at that time, nearly 40 years ago, Medic 5 was out toward the western margins of Da City. The firehouse called home was on Bliss Road, close by to the Western Expressway. Western suburbs included Gardenia and Westworld. Our hospital choices included a couple of small hospitals of the plethora that (at that time) dotted the city, or a couple of respectably sized facilities in those selfsame suburbs.

So, somewhat later in the afternoon dispatch invited us to respond to a “heart attack”. This took us nearly to the city limits. As we pulled up, there was a figure hopping around on the porch, arms a-waving, feet a-tapping, directing us to that dwelling. (Uh, you mean to tell me that every other house, lacking front porch frenetic interpretive dance performances, are NOT the scenes to which we were called? This is my shocked face!)

So, of course, Cletus bought into the pandemonium, whole hog. He leapt from the rig, just about as soon as I brought it to a stop, and beat feet into the house, leaving me, the handheld radio, and every other thing (except the medic bag) behind. I placed the ambulance in park, shut off the beacons, and radioed in to dispatch that we were on the scene.

I turned on the handheld radio, and followed him into the house. As the occupants opened the door, I was struck (nearly literally) by the pall of gunsmoke that wafted out into my face. Asking about my partner, I was directed into the rear of the house.

I reached the end of the hall, and, in the bedroom to my right noted my partner bending over a supine soul. I announced myself, and CLETUS TURNED ON ME, SNUB BARRELLED REVOLVER IN HAND. Of course, he was pointing the barrel at my belt buckle. I swept his hand over my head, removed the handgun from his hand, and asked him what the…er, fenomenon he thought he was doing.

“She had it in her hand, as I entered the room.”

“Uh huh. What else is up?”

“I dunno.”

“Howzabout you find out?”

As he turned to assess this lady, I figured that having a loaded gun, on my scene, and not in my control, was A BAD THING. I wasn’t about to remove it from the scene: that seemed to me to be very like tampering with evidence, so, instead, I opened the dresser next to me, opened the cylinder and dumped the bullets into one drawer, slammed that drawer shut, and tossed the revolver into another drawer, which I also shut.

I turned back to Cletus, and saw him reaching for the BVM (bag-valve-mask), as he evidently had determined that this soul was arrested. Hmmm. Trauma code. Kinda expecting a malign outcome.

I handed him the prep (handheld radio), asked what else he thought he would need, and ran to the truck for the cot. We wrestled the patient onto the cot, trotted from the house, and set Cletus up for a restful episode of solo CPR in the back of a moving ambulance. Yeah, totally.

I called to dispatch, asking the location of and directions to the nearest trauma center (it wasn’t my house, wasn’t my district.) I reported , “Medic Five, Code One, Westworld Hospital. GSW Chest, cardiac arrest. Notify police, no scout at scene.”

Sometimes, you can hear the double take over the radio. “Medic 5, did you say GSW?”

“Affirmative. GSW chest, cardiac arrest.”

“Medic 5, are you sure?”

“Yeah, dispatch, kinda sure. My partner retrieved the pistol from the victim’s hands, I tossed it into the dresser drawer next to her.”

“Very good, Medic 5. We’re calling the hospital now.”

So, I navigated the Tie Fighter that is an ambulance running code, through the suburban traffic. I was (pleasantly) surprised to see traffic moving aside, as if I were Moses at the Red Sea, as the siren and beacons made known our intent.

We arrived at Westworld Hospital, and turned our patient over to the ED crew who, unsurprisingly, called the code after a brief attempt at resuscitation. Cletus and I cleaned up the truck, and completed the trip sheet.

We were just about to head out, when dispatch called us, directing us to phone them.

Once I had done so, I was directed to phone another number, because the detective wanted to talk to me. Once I had identified myself, he launched into his inquiry.

“You the medic on the scene?”

“Yeah, me and Cletus.”

“So, this was a shooting, right?”

“Yep, gunsmoke and all.”

“So, where is the pistol?”

“I dumped the cartridges into the dresser drawer, and tossed the gun itself into the top drawer.”

There was a pause. “You know, you have messed up my scene, and tainted my chain of custody.”

I contemplated this for a moment. “Well, sir, there was no officer on the scene I could turn the gun over to, and I was reluctant to leave a loaded, unsecured, firearm floating about on my scene. I did not think it would be clever to (a) remove a gun from a likely crime scene, (b) have in my possession a firearm that had been implicated in a likely crime scene, or (c) carry said firearm into a hospital with me. So, I did not identify any better option, at that time and on that scene.”

Life Lesson Number One: Sometimes, you have to extemporize.

Life Lesson Number Two: to quote John Farnam: “You may be killed when you take decisive action. You may likewise be killed when you do nothing. Either way, dithering is toxic. Indecision and delay will prove fatal. So, size-up the situation quickly. Hit the “go” button. Don’t look back.”

http://defense-training.com/2018/who-dare/ (datelined 14 May 2018)

Overdoses

Marielle and The Upstairs Overdose.

So, TINS ©, TIWFDASL ©. This one time, Marielle and I were working Medic 7. Now, at this point, I’d been working the road a spell, and had, approximately, 2/3 of a clue. So, we caught a run for an overdose, and off we went.

It was my day to drive, and Marielle’s day to medic, so we arrived at the scene, notified dispatch, and beat upon the door, announcing ourselves. “Fire Department!” One of the occupants thundered down the stairs, and announced back up the stairs: “The ‘Mergency Mutha Fuckas is here!” Our host bade us follow. We followed.

Near the top of the stairs lay a gentleman, who appeared nearly completely disinterested in the goings on around him. Everybody else there appeared, themselves, disinterested in the named patient, but there were no threatening nonverbals, so, whatever, another day in Da City.

Our new friend was breathing, sort of. For bonus points, he did, indeed, posses a pulse, and was perfusing nearly all of his organs, as reflected in the presence and regularity of his radial (wrist) pulse. I was entirely happy to place this gentleman upon a stretcher, trot downstairs, and meander off to the hospital of my partner’s choice, but, NNOOOOO!, she felt the burning need to awaken him right there. She applied the BVM, and commenced to resuscitatin’.

Now, among my (small) fund of clue, was the insight that these citizens, who had expressly called the 911 EMERGENCY phone number, and requested an EMERGENCY ambulance, might, somehow, have determined that they were confronted with an EMERGENCY, and likely would be skeptical that said EMERGENCY could be resolved, satisfactorily, in their living room. Indeed, clinically, it occurred to me that, should Mr. Sleepy awaken, that his wakefulness likely had a half life shorter, in clinically significant terms, than the half life of his narcotic of choice. In either event, if did not seem that “customer satisfaction”, clinically satisfactory outcomes, or abbreviating our dwell time here, well within the potential hornets’ nest, would be promoted by awakening this soul, in the living room, and discussing with him his unhappiness at his pharmacologically induced bliss, being interrupted. Then, of course, there was the back injury eliciting potential of maneuvering an irate, dystaxic, nearly overdosed adult male down the stairs, without dropping him. I suggested as much.

Uh, Marielle? Wouldn’t this be simpler, in the truck?”

She looked up at me. “Stretcher Ape, I’ve brought half a dozen of them back this way!”

Unspoken was the Paul Harvey Moment. As in, what was The Rest Of The Story? Like, once you had, indeed, awakened this soul, and then had to implement a follow on plan of care. Would this newly reanimated patient, breathing spontaneously, feel motivated to deliver a soliloquy on your mother’s poor life choices and unusual tastes in romantic partner(s)? Or, perhaps, seek to kinetically provide dissuasion of repeating this Dreamus Interruptus upon himself, or another similarly situated child of God? Or, once the recently dreaming person was woke, might the companions now take an interest in his life circumstances, and feel that, notwithstanding his protestations to the contrary, you HAD to “snatch him on up, and carry him on down to the hossipal!”? Tangential to that, just how do you negotiate with 4-8 angry inebriates? (Please provide a syllabus of your tutorial in the comments!)

I realize that this was not a Teachable Moment for her, nor for me, and handed her the handie talkie, and loped down the stairs in hopes of moving him before he became too animated and restless.

Sigh.

Of course, he WAS animated, and WAS restless. On the way down the stairs, it was a near thing whether he would roll off the stretcher, one, the other, or both of us would tweak our back(s), or some combination of the above.

Well, that day The Patron Saint Of Emergency Motherfuckers smiled upon us, and Mr Formerly Somnolent was safely tucked away on our stretcher, in the ambulance, and he was delivered to TSBTCIDC. After a brief prayer at the Altar of The Ghawd Narcan, he dashed out of the department, before Marielle had completed her trip sheet.

And THAT, boys and girls, is why I am blessed to be doing Ghawd’s Work, fighting Disease and Saving Lives.

Life in Da City! · Pre Planning Your Scene

Nursing Student Ride Along

Doug and I, at “Lucky” Medic 13, had one schedule with Cletus as our third partner. Cletus appeared reasonably intelligent, but had the unhappy superpower, of rubbing folks the wrong way. On many occasions, he would be medic-ing, enter the scene, announce us with “Hello. How can we help you?”, and get a growled response of, “The Hell you mean by that? You can’t talk to (me)(him)(her) like that!” And, of course, in Medic 13’s area, negotiation was a lost art. A night that we didn’t get into some sort of fight with a chucklehead or two, was a night we were not at work. This, even in Cletus’ absence.

 

So, Back in The Day, some of the local RN programs would offer their students the opportunity to ride along with Da Big City EMS, as part of their emergency nursing rotation. Typically, these were women, and they were commonly young, bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed, cute, smart, and agog at the gritty realities of Da Street. We would occasionally get one of these women as our ride along. Considering the aforementioned “Fight Club” nature of our area, we took pains to give them The Talk (EMS Version).

 

This consisted in admonishing the student to NEVER get separated from Doug and me. We showed them the radio in the cab of the truck, and directed them, “If one of us says, ‘Let’s go get the stretcher’, that means ALL OF US go get the stretcher, and then unass the scene. If you get to the truck before us, in that situation, you pick this microphone up, right here. You push the red button, hold it down, and you say, ‘Medic 13! Medic in trouble!’, and keep repeating it, without releasing this red button, until the cops show up. Then show the nice police officers where you saw us last. Got it?”

 

That typically produced wide eyed head nodding. Some of the quicker students would ask, “Why would you both leave?” We would explain that we were reluctant to engage our students in fisticuffs, with folks who did not know who the Marquis of Queensbury was, let alone know his rules for boxing. We would do a pocket dump, showing pocket knives, Kel-Lites (heavy duty, police-style flashlights, useful for illumination, or as a bludgeon), belt knives, neck knives, and explaining the utility of each. More wide eyes.

 

So, this one student was in quarters, getting The Talk, when Cletus arrived. He was off duty that day, yet for reasons not clear to Doug or me, felt the need to hang out at the firehouse. Must not have had cable, I guess. Now, Cletus and I are honkeys, Doug very African Heritaged. Our student, who was a cute as a bug’s knee, was, herself, of the African Persuasion. Cletus sat there, until Doug and I had concluded The Talk, and then I went up front to call my girlfriend on the house pay phone (You may have heard of them. Way, way back, before the I-Phone 3, there were these telephones, connected with wires to the Phone Company. After you deposited money, you could dial a number, and get connected to whoever you wanted, sort of like a cell phone, except with other people’s germs all over them.)

 

So TINS © , there I was, chatting away with my girlfriend, and I saw Cletus and Our Student exit the firehouse, and turn left, towards J’s Lounge. Now, in Da City, the firehouses are not generally in the “high rent” district. Rather, they were scattered around the city, and that tended to place them in what might be charitably described as firefighting target rich environments. Similarly for EMS houses, except substitute “pathology target rich environment”. So, next door to our firehouse was J’s Lounge, whose historic claim to fame was the distinction of being the site of several shootings, conveniently located next door to the medic unit’s quarters. Since, at that time, Da City was running around 130,000 EMS calls a year, with something like 16 ambulances, well, we were seldom home, and so the citizens expected the firefighters to be the first responders. Ghawd, did they LURV that! About as much as they’d enjoy a fully involved structure fire with the nearest 6 hydrants being out of service.

 

So, since our house was located in a neighborhood in the center of Da City, and the majority of Da City’s residents were themselves of the African Heritage Group, well, that left Cletus (honky), strolling into J’s Lounge, with a clientele representative of that corner of Da City, in the company of an attractive young woman, herself a stranger in these here parts, and, for bonus points on Cletus’ part, Black.

 

Now, at this point in Da City’s history, relations between the races were, well, tense. A lot of the Black folks were conscious of White political leaders, and decisions that had been taken by these White politicians that were not advantageous to minority folks. A certain percentage of the White population leapt to the conclusion that, inasmuch as minority criminals were featured in news reports of, well, crime, that therefore, all minority folks were criminals. Neither set of citizens stopped to consider the possibility that some White folks were assholes, some Black folks were jackwagons, and a lot of the rest of either group simply wanted to be left the hell alone, to work, pay their bills, raise their children, and generally get about their days.

 

So it was into this oven that Cletus and Our Student strolled. Once I identified what the frack it appeared that Cletus was doing, I abruptly hung up on my girlfriend, and sprinted to our quarters. Doug looked up from his textbook, and, as I grabbed the handie-talkie from the charger and motioned him to follow me RFN*, asked what was up, I told him, “Cletus just took Our Student into J’s!”, and he bolted from his seat.

 

We had just about made it to the front of the firehouse, when Cletus and Our Student returned, Cletus with a big idiotic grin on his face. Doug and I called dispatch on the HT (“Medic 13, back in quarters, off the air.”), and dragged Cletus back to our quarters. Once there, Doug bade him sit, and began a profusely illustrated, highly evocative, richly turned narrative, filled with esoteric turns of phrase describing deviant familial relations, marital practices, and love of our fellow beast, with the recurrent theme of “What The Fuck Did You Think You Were Doing?”

 

Long around the second or third stanza, Cletus lost his grin, and turned to me for support. Doug tagged me, and climbed out of the ring. I wasn’t quite as polite as Doug had been.

“So, Cletus, you know you’re white, right?”

He got smart. Well, OK, smart assed. “Well, d’uh! Of course I know I’m white!”

“And, perhaps you had noticed, most of this city is Black, right?”

Again, the smart ass. “Well, D’uh!”

“Just like this nice, and naïve, young woman, right here?”

“Yep, I noticed.”

“Have you noticed that folks in this town, particularly the folks we deal with all the time, are kinda tense about that whole Black/White thing?”

“Uh-huh.”

“So, Young Einstein: what do you suppose is the conclusion that our neighbors over there, most recently in our mind for that shooting last month, will jump to when a young white boy, strolls into their bar, escorting a attractive young Black woman? You are aware, are you not, that a primary commercial enterprise hereabouts is, er, um, the ‘escort’ business, right? What, are they recruiting illegal immigrants from Hondouristan to work these streets? Or do these women kinda look like our other neighbors? Hmmm?”

 

He responded with a blank look. I did not let that stop me. Doug nodded, and waved me forward. “So, here’s what happened: my white, and civilian clothed partner, walked into a black bar, in a predominantly black city, in an area whose major commercial enterprise is the sex trade, with a very attractive black woman, who is a stranger hereabouts. He laughs about this, while his partners were anticipating yet another shooting in that bar, only this time featuring their partner. Do you see, yet, how and why we anticipated this going horribly wrong?”

 

Our Nursing Student contributed, right about this point in the lecture series on Appearances Mean Things, “I think I need to go home, now. Thanks, guys for the lessons!”. And, with that, she scurried out of the door, into her car, and puttered away.

 

Cletus started looking uneasy, and suddenly remembered something pressing that he had to do, right now, at home. And, away he went.

 

Doug looked at me, and shook his head. “You sure know how to pick ’em!”

 

 

*RFN=Right Fucking Now