Back when I was a high-school student I was completely enamored with EMS. I just couldnít wait to slip into a uniform and get out on the streets of an ambulance. While in retrospect maybe I could have refocused the energy I spent researching the EMS gig into something a little more profitable, the sheer amount of stuff I read about EMS in my formative years helps me in my job to this day.
One of the earliest EMS blogs I ever read was one that I found back in High School. I forget the name of it now and I would guess that it isnít even still up there on the interwebs anymore. However, the writerís acerbic descriptions of his own life under the lights of an ambulance were hilarious and fascinating to me. Iíve never forgotten the words he wrote.
I was reminded again of one of his stories this morning when I was getting off shift. Iím finally back in the back of an ambulance after spending some time at my secret-squirrel job and Iím loving it. While I wish I got paid more to do what I love, I do truly love what I do. This morning was no different. Again, the EMS gods had me laughing until I cried while an elderly lady screamed in sheer terror.
Yes, I said that. No, Iím not a monster. You would probably have laughed too. Hard.
This morning the radio decided to wake me up around 0430 for the tip-up of the uninjured fall victim. I went, assessed, found nothing, and tipped the poor guy up back into bed. It was a simple call. He signed off on a refusal form, and all was right with the world again. I went back to the station to write the report and after some time spent in between dozing and typing on the Toughbook, I finished my report around 0600. By then it was too late to go back to bed and sleep for an hour, so I stayed up to wash the ambulance and make sure the shift chores were done. Itís the custom at our company to leave the quarters pristine for the oncoming shift, so we do a full cleaning in the morning before shift change. It works for us.
Around 0630, my partner and protťgť Chadwick sauntered in to the station. The poor kid had been ran hard and put away wet the day before and looked unapologetically fresh in contrast to as haggard as I looked. Darn Kids. As he helped me dry the trucks and sweep the floor, I was teasing him about catching a late call.
ďCan you feel it, Chad?Ē I would ask. ďRight now, thereís some guy thatís waking up and walking up to the toilet for his morning dump whoís gonna vasovagal out and seize on the bathroom floor. Itís your call so when you kneel down, try to avoid the skid marks.Ē
I kept razzing him as time went on, and when we finished washing the trucks we walked outside to enjoy the crisp, bratwurst-and-cheese-scented Wisconsin morning.
ďDid you hear that?Ē I asked, ďthat was someone hitting the floorĒ.
And amazingly, right then the tones went off. It was for a medical alarm that had been activated at a non-medical senior-living high-rise in town. Coincidentally, it was for a fall victim in the bathroom.
Chadwick mumbled something that might have been profane Iíd think if he wasnít such a Bible-Thumper and hopped in the truck. I drove because it was his call. On went the lights before I opened the bay door. I think itís more dramatic if I turn the lights on before I open the door. It just looks cooler that way. Johnny and Roy did it, so I can too. I also wear my helmet like they did. Yay me.
We arrived on scene right before the less-than-optimally-caffeinated police officer who was responding with us. He was able to finagle the key out of the knox box and let us into the building. Apparently last week one of our crew had gotten fed up with the key not being in the box at this building and had opened the lock in a gentle, professional way using his foot. Apparently the building management wasnít happy with them for doing that, especially since it was for a call that turned out to be a false-trip of a medical alarm. Today we found the key in the box… weird how that happens.
Chadwick and I deftly navigated the long hallway and the small elevator up to the third floor with our stretcher and all equipment in tow. Hypo-caffeine Copper tagged along, and we found the door to the apartment locked up tight. Luckily for the maintenance man, he had the key right handy for us to use.
We entered the apartment with us yelling ďAmbulance!Ē and him yelling ďPolice Department!Ē† I thought it was redundant, but heyÖ he needed to wake up and yelling something helps that. We heard the sound of a running shower and walked towards the bathroom yelling our respective titles.
The patient heard us, no doubt, and did her best Wicked Witch of the West impression as she yelled ďOhhh Myyyy GAAaaawwwd!Ē We explained again about the whole ďAmbulance!Ē and ďPolice Department!Ē thing, but she was having none of it. We told her that somehow her button had gotten pressed and that the machine had called us, but that didnít seem to ease her fright at having three strapping young men in uniform show up to help her shower, apparently.
After much consternation on her part, and my starting to laugh the tears out of my eyeballs we thanked the lady, apologized for her fright, and cleared the scene to head to the police department for the fresh pot of coffee the officer said he was dreaming about. We hung out, and since Iím a renaissance Medic I tweeted in a HIPAA friendly manner about the call.
Some of the responses included such things as:
†ďSo I guess the Medical Alarm button is now the ĎBring Someone to Wash My Back Button??Ē
ďIf she pressed the button and got three young public safety types to show up and help her in the shower, is there a way that I, personally could get the button for my own use? Weíd have to have a gender setting, of courseÖ As I require attractive young members of the other gender to help me with my showering endeavorsĒ
(something that was absolutely HILARIOUS regarding ďOld Lady BoobĒ that I have redacted from my blog site, youíll just have to get on to Twitter to see humor of that caliber)
So after this morningís antics and activities, I can safely say that I absolutely love my job again. I never stopped, but Iím happy that I came back refreshed from my hiatus. I missed the people we see, their twisted humor, and their acerbic personalities. Itís just like the first EMS blog I read said it would be and I praise whomever he was for his accurate description.
Sorry about the lapse in posting, yíall. Iím back and am loving it. Hope you are all too.