Sunday, November 14, 2010


Sometimes, you try hard to find an epiphany to get you out of whatever funk you're in. You know, something cliche and tacky yet uplifting and inspiring that will at least trick you into thinking you've overcome something. Truth is, you haven't. What you are doing though, is trying. You're here. You're breathing. Maybe you're going through the motions... Well then just stop fucking doing it. Make little changes, go a different route to and from work... Stop a diner and grab lunch... Hell, get a decaf coffee just to try and figure out why it even exists. DRIVE AIMLESSLY.

Words are just words. Put them into motion.

(see how I made all this just sound like all cliche bullshit? Fuck this post. Go out and do something)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


"There are never uninteresting patients. Just uninteresting providers" were the words spoken by my new medic partner, as a precursor to his story. (We were on our way home from a 3 hour long transfer... Which actually was interesting and sad at the same time)

"When my father, who is now a cardiologist at a hospital in the Berkshires, was in his residency, the chief resident would come around and ask his residents if they had any interesting patients today. When the chief resident arrived at my father for this question, my father said that there was nothing particularly interesting about his patient. She had a fractured arm due to a fall, no prior breaks, no real interesting past medical history.

The chief resident slowly began to "dissect" this patient as he did his head-to-toe physical examination, finding several interesting things wrong. His chief resident was trying to make a point and it was a point that my father understood clearly. He felt embarrassed but took the lesson to heart.

Years later, my father had residents of his own to look after and one came to him and said "I actually have an uninteresting patient, doctor."

So my father did exactly what his chief resident did... and thensome. He went over to the patient, who again, only had a fractured arm oddly enough, did his head-to-toe physical examination... and simply spoke with her. "So you seem to be doing pretty well! Do you have any other medical history?" he asked. "No... I've never had really any medical problems... except that I broke my leg when I was a little girl" she said. This piqued my father's interest... just a little. "Oh and how did you break your leg?" he asked.

"Well, you see, a sea trunk hit it."

"A sea trunk? What do you mean?"

"I was on a boat and when it crashed into an iceberg, a piece of luggage hit my leg."

"Huh, interesting... What was the name of the boat you were on?"

"The Titanic"

My point is, and my father's point was, is that you can never have enough information about your patient. Transfers like any, may seem sometimes boring... But they never are... If they're boring, you're not doing your job."

Thank you, Adam.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"What are you doing?"

"What does it look like?"

"Well it looks to me like you're throwing a tennis ball at a brick wall, not catching it whatsoever, and running in the woods over there to pick it up. Over and over, never missing a beat."

"Got me."

"Need help?"

"It's kind of a single-player only game. And are you lost or something? Can I help you so I can carry on with this, without being interrupted so rudely?"

"I'm not exactly sure. Can I watch?"

"I am... and I guess."

"You are what?"

"Lost. I was always just a little bit lost... Knowing what I do, I should have fought."

"Can I help with that? I think we'd both benefit from it... If I were to help."

"Maybe. Here... Catch."

Sunday, September 26, 2010


No one, even if you enjoy your job, likes Monday mornings. Shit just goes wrong. You're not into a weekly routine.

This past Monday, like any other, was like that for me. It was just the kind of morning where you need to keep resetting your alarm for another 15 minutes of sleep, and in the end, you wake up raging that you need to now rush to get to work, while fighting with traffic and knowing that you still need to stop at Dunkin Donuts for your XL hot mocha, 2 splendas, skim, with a turbo shot. Slid into work at the :55 mark (usually I'm a good 15 minutes early, check my schedule, see which to truck I'm in for the day, and do my truck check before I even punch in) and the day started off like any other.

I was paired with one of my favorite mentors for my second one-on-one and we were off.

At around 11:30, we get a page for a transfer, standard, no needs. We show up to the hospital about 15 minutes early. Nurse is finishing up paperwork and the med nec. We're standing across from our patient's room, ready to introduce ourselves and ask for a sig, when, well... Shit goes down. Like MOVIE SHIT.

The room next to our patient's... goes into code mode. We hear it over the speaker. I look at my partner, he nods, and just to confirm what he meant, he mouths "go". Following his lead, I take off like a gunshot to the room and see this woman, appearing to be in her late 70s, not breathing. And I work. I get the bed down so that she's flat (I'm not sure if all hospital beds are like this, but ours are built and made to be able to do CPR on) and start going through the motions. I'm doing chest-compressions only at this point and humming "staying alive" in my head. I hear the rush of doctors coming, with the crash cart. I hear my partner yelling "DON'T STOP HIM, IT'S ADEQUATE CPR! DON'T STOP HIM!" and the doctors start to intubate. They stop me. Then the next thing I know, I'm seeing chest rise. The doctors have taken it from there.

I back away.

I walk past my partner, who I now see has an AED in his hand, head to the bathroom, and proceed to puke my guts out.

We don't stick around. We grab our paperwork, patient, and go.

I didn't think it'd get this cliche so quick.

Mondays mornings. No one likes Monday mornings.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nope. I'm just awkward.

For as long as I can remember, I've always been an awkward person. There's always been little quirks, sometimes small things, as in how I word things on the Internet (I've been told twice now by two different people that they can in fact tell who I am when I'm -trying- to be anonymous, just from the way I type and word things)... Sometimes it's bigger things... I have a habit of walking on my tiptoes and it adds a sort of hop. It's something I've always done unknowingly until about 3 years ago when it was pointed out to me at my previous job... at which point, I acquired a certain unfortunate nickname... "Twinkletoes".


After that, I made a conscious effort to walk "normally" for the longest time to no avail. It didn't feel right. Then I stopped caring how it felt and just wanted to be seen as normal... and not have a awkward hop to my stride. If I focused, I could do it and then at some point, focusing became second nature and for the most part, I could pass off a normal walk... as long I kept it in the back of my mind somewhere to not let the hop take over. It worked... as I said, for the most part. Occasionally, in situations where I was forced to put all my focus on something else, perhaps because I was nervous, THE HOP WOULD RETURN.

The hop made itself known again at my job this past Friday. It returned with a vengeance.

My preceptor (I'll just call him Updraft, since that's what he calls it when he needs a smoke... "I need an updraft"... the first time I heard this, I thought the guy needed a nebulizer treatment, that is, until he whipped out his pack of menthols) pulled me to the side and asked me this:

"Hey... I'm going to ask you a serious question and I need you to be honest with me." Serious Updraft was serious. "Sure, man, what's up?" I asked, hesitantly. You always get worried when someone says something to you with an opener like that... Shit, I've only been on the job two weeks now and this guy is asking me something "serious"... What could have I possibly done? Oh wait, that's right... Earlier in the day, I almost forgot to get a signature from a patient, almost threw up on a patient due to not being used to riding in the back and having extreme motion sickness from typing up PCRs, and I almost dropped a patient... I know... I was readjusting but I caught him/myself from doing the unthinkable. It was a bad day all in all, truthfully and now I was about to get asked something "serious" by my mentor. Fuck. And then he drops this bomb on me:

"Do you have high functioning autism... or Asperger's? I only ask because of the way your posturing is, you happen to walk on your toes, and because you word things oddly in sentences. My son has it and has the same symptoms as you."

I was taken aback. I promptly said no and let out an uneasy chuckle... But then, I started to think about it a bit more and wondered if I did have either of those things? Had I ever been tested? Maybe I had and my parents were trying to protect me, because the symptoms were not -that- noticeable to the point where I couldn't lead a normal life?

It turns out that my parents thought the very same thing when I was young... And did have me full-blown tested for all sorts of things, including HFA and Asperger's.

Turns out... I'm just a fucking weird awkward kid. I could have told you that though.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


"Why did you become an EMT?"

"To save lives."

John, my mentor-of-the-day, looked me over, clearly exasperated.

"Wrong answer, kid. That's what every newbie rabbles off when they get in here. I'll ask you again. Why did you become an EMT?"

"I didn't have anywhere else to go as far as my life went and the only thing I knew I could do half-way decent was help people."

"That's a pathetic reason but an honest one. You're what we call a lifer. Take that however you want."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Rookie

 August 18th, 2010

"So tell me, the three of you, what brought you to us? What is your experience in EMS?". My supervisor looked over us with a beaming smile. I liked him. Genuine. Actually liked to engage people and hear the stories behind other lives besides his own. My fellow new recruit, The Dinosaur, responded first. "I originally was a maintenance guy until 1990. In 1990, I realized EMS was a growing field and I got involved. Back then, the money wasn't as involved as it is now. I knew it would change and it did. I've been a certified EMT since 1990 and got my EMT-I 2 years ago. I'm now enrolled in a Paramedic program."

The Dinosaur had a certain smugness about him that I didn't quite care for. I mean, yes, it's something to be proud of, without a doubt but the way he presented himself about his profession was... off. The kind of guy that had to have all these patches on his EMS jacket (hell, including his CEVO), that had about a million bumper stickers on the back of his truck (with lights, of course with lights... a siren too undoubtedly), and used unnecessarily big words whenever possible (and while I do this in satire, I never do it seriously) in normal conversation. And of course, this guy was an instructor as well.

My supervisor then turned his attention to another recruit, who I named in my head, Lurch. Lurch was about my age... but about 6'2 and I'd say roughly 300+ pounds. With that said though, Lurch is a nice kid. Kind of a goob, but knows his stuff without coming off sounding like an ass or too cocky. "I've been in EMS, as a Basic, for a year and a half now, working with my town FD. I've worked with a couple of youth programs in my area as well." "Hmm. Cool. Despite your ginormous size, you're alright, kid" were my thoughts.

And then, my supervisor looked at me with a glint in his eye. "Well... I took my EMT-B class last September, finished up this February... and this will be my first EMT job. I've never even been on a moving ambulance besides being a patient numerous times." The Dinosaur and Lurch looked down at the table at me, stunned. "I'm a student and while I'm in EMS for a profession, I forever will be a student. I came here to learn and to understand how to do things right."

August 19th, 2010

"Alright kid. The first thing you need to understand is that when you drive the chair van, you're alone and you will have to take this job from time to time when no one else can, if we're on vacation. You don't have a partner and you're not going to have a police escort all the time for psych patients. Pay attention because when I show you how to strap their chairs in, is how you need to do it every time. Otherwise, you're not going to have a smooth ride."  This is my mentor for the day, Miguel. Miguel has been running a chair van for 5 years. He tells me upfront that the reason why he works the chair van is because he doesn't like partners and generally, doesn't like people. I'm hesitant but after saying that, he's very kind to me.

Patient transfers go smoothly. One of them can easily tell I'm the new guy and starts making snarky comments to Miguel, who apparently is a regular patient of his. He smiles and I can tell he feels bad, mouthing "I'm sorry" from behind her. I smile and shake my head and then smile back at the patient. "Whatchu smiling at, white boy? Ain't nuttin here to smile about". "Sorry ma'am. It's just a gorgeous day out, huh?" "Yea, it's alright." I shut up and she begins chuckling. We take her to her street... which is a street that I had only seen in movies, help her out up a flight of stairs, and take our leave. "I'd recommend that you don't come down here, in this neighborhood, alone unless you absolutely have to. Even I try and steer clear as often as I can." Miguel says.

More patient transfers. We end up somewhere closer to home and while waiting on a patient that's at their appointment, we stop into a family-ran convenience store and have a lunch of whoopie pies and orange juice. We talk a bit and take our patient back to her facility. Everything went smoothly and finally, report into base a half hour after 5. 

August 20th, 2010

My nickname, as cliche as it is, has clearly become "The Rookie" amongst my peers/co-workers. I'm ok with this. It reminds me of something out of  a buddy-cop movie, which, if spent enough time thinking about, I chuckle at.

I'm with my supervisor and the other two new recruits. We're stopping for lunch at Subway... in our newly fitted uniforms. I'm not dumb enough to get a Meatball... Give me some credit.

Well, I should've ordered no sauce at all cause instead, a big splash of chipotle southwest ends up directly on the front. We get back to base and I'm awkwardly folding my arms to try and cover it up.

"Jesus, rookie, is that blood on your uniform on your third day?"
"Um, no, that's chipotle southwest sauce"
"Always say it's blood"