Sunday, October 31

Halloween Attack Cat

Call this weekend (well before the beer and wine mentioned in my last entry). Man fell. I am in the back of the ambulance, calling resource, and say "... male, tripped over cat...". I finish my report. Man says "You got it all wrong!". I say, "excuse me"? He says, "I did NOT trip over a cat, the CAT tripped ME!".

Watch out on Halloween! Those attack cats will get cha!

Small Town Halloween

We started at the head basketball coach’s house. Saw many people we knew from both the college and the town (ranging from the 1st grade reading teacher for my son to the college’s director of athletics). We drank some beer and wine, ate wings and pizza, watched some football and talked up a storm.

Next, off to the local orthopedic surgeon’s house, were we drank MORE wine (out of a box this time, but at this point, who cared?), ate MORE pizza (also out of a box – coincidence?) and MORE wings, and then went out trick-or-treating. My son was Spiderman and my daughter was a cat. Both were cute, though at six my son is also a bit crazy when it comes to competing to see who can reach the door first. When I start to think he is a spaz I look at the other 6 year olds and relax a bit.

Most doors we knew someone or knew someone who knew someone. This would be a problem if you were trying to hide your coke habit or the fact that you like to make it with sheep (I would say I don’t, but frankly I’ve never tried it…). As it was, I felt VERY warm, safe and comfortable. We were around people who all have their own problems, but in the end, each person there would protect each other to the end. Very nice.

Total take for the night:

Free Drinks: Hard to say. Do we have a problem?

Free Food: Hard to say. Do we have a problem?

Free Candy: Two bags 25% full. No problem for anyone.

Fun: Buckets and buckets.

If only turning back Exam 2 in my stats class tomorrow morning would be so warm and fuzzy…

Friday, October 29

A friend asked me if I had checked my and a colleague's rating on lately. If you have never been there, it is a website where students can rate their professors in a public venue so that other students can decide whether to take a class with the rated individual. Whether I think this is the way students should choose their classes is not relevant to this entry but you can guess what I think.

Clearly a couple (or more) of my students have been up to no good. Individuals give numerical ratings to a few different categories and things are summarized at the top of each professor's page. For example, my summary looks like this (I assume it is ok for me to reproduce this material from

# Ratings: 22
Average Easiness: 3.2
Average Helpfulness: 4.4
Average Clarity: 4.8
Hotness Total: 4
Overall Quality: 4.6

Ratings are based on a maximum score of 5.0

It is the "hotness" that cracked me up. This score is not an average but a count of "chili peppers". If you are "hot" a student can submit their review of you with a "chili pepper" symbol. I don't know where 2 of mine came from, but two are CLEARLY from students who were messing with me and a colleague. I say that, because my colleague's ratings include a couple of reviews that mirror mine but that then say something like "He is hot, but not nearly has hot as Professor [dj]". It is a running joke between me and the students in my classes that the new young gun in my department is pissing me off because students keep talking about how hot he is...

Registration is coming up for the spring, and I will have WAY more students who want entry into one of my classes than I will have space. I want to start so professors can decide who to let in off the waitlists to their classes.

Students will be rated on the following:

More interested in learning than grades.

Is curious.

Doesn't call your house after 9pm with a personal crisis that you can't help with.

Comes to class on time.

Comes to class prepared.

Knocks before coming into your office.

Thinks critically about the material.

Makes comments in class that add to learning experience.

I would not use chili peppers...

Tuesday, October 26

Collective Hatred + I am NOT a 40 y/o male with chest pain

I am in the process of proctoring an exam. A fair statistics exam that is taking some people (the compulsive as well as the under-prepared) all 3 hours of lab time. Nobody wants a fair statistics exam (everyone wants an EASY statistics exam).

I sit in front of a roomful of kids who loved me yesterday and who will love me in a couple of days. Today? The feel of the room is palpable. 60 eyes looking at me with HATE. No other word fits the glares, painful sighs, and twisted expressions.

It doesn’t feel good.

Neither did medic lab last night when it was my turn to be the patient who was having chest pains. The rescuer was supposed to give a general impression of the patient, including age, race and sex (yes please - sorry, got off topic). Age was not part of the dispatch information, and we were to judge it based on the appearance of the patient. MY rescuer’s general impression was of a “40 year old white male…”. FOURTY? Not yet sister! 40? Do I LOOK 40? I don’t want to BE 40. I REALLY do not want to look 40. I certainly do not act 40…

40? I have 10 months still, thank you very much. I AM IN MY 30’S DAMMIT! Respect my athor-a-TAH!

Hope your week is starting out better than mine, LOL.

Time to head back up for more glares...


Monday, October 25

Can we get additional resources on the scene? NOT!

Tones drop at 2135 for 50's female collapsed outside of a residence hall on campus. I'm on the board as EMT and head down to the station.

Five people besides the call crew hanging by the rig looking interested in going on the call. Sorry folks - We are set.

The scene: Behind a residence hall, way in the back of campus, on a one and a half lane dead-end service road. The following people and vehicles are there...

Campus Safety: 2 vehicles and at least three officers.

Fire Department Rescue: One vehicle, two firefighter EMTs.

EMTs from my agency who were already on campus: 2 + a car.

Chief of Ambulance Corps: Ford F250 extended cab, himself + another EMT.

Ambulance: Three of us, all EMTs.

My patient was interviewed by bystanders, campus safety, the first EMT to get on scene, Rescue's EMTs, my chief, and then my crew.

While I was waiting for the chief to do it, what I learned from this call was that I need to start taking control of the scene and making non-essential personnel back OFF.

Friday, October 22

Ironic Bling Bling Broker Moment

My last post mentioned shopping for wine for some visitors to our house.

One of these kinds souls brought a bottle as a gift. It didn't get opened while they were here.

Two days ago I almost opened this bottle for the wife and I, but grabbed another instead. Today my wife notices that our wine store has the same wine as was brought to us as a gift. Cost? $66. YOW! I am sure I have never had a wine that cost that much. Maybe I should have sprung for the $12 bottles after all...

Tuesday, October 19

Bling Bling Brokers for Din Din

The board of trustees for my institution occasionally meets on campus. When this happens the President’s office farms the trustees out in groups to have dinner at faculty homes. My wife and I had four trustees over recently.

While we are semi-experienced hosting dinner parties, this was the first time we’ve had adults so far out of our socio-economic band (we’ve had many well-to-do students over for dinner, but after dorm living and institutional food they think anything we serve them is heavenly). How far out of our league were these trustees? Some of these guys fly to campus on their private jets. One of them recently handed a personal check, nonchalantly and in a plain envelope, to one of the president’s assistants. It was for $10,000,000. A PERSONAL check for 10 million! Suffice it to say my wife and I live nicely, but after making the mortgage and car payments I don’t have 10M sitting around (spare or otherwise). I did just pledge $120.00 (the 00 cents seems to make it look bigger) to my undergraduate school, but I had been drinking wine when they called and was in a good mood…

Planning dinner was hard knowing that these guys (our group was all men) are used to eating meals in the best restaurants in the world (I mean world literally). Mac-N-Cheez seemed like a poor choice, and burgers with the DJ secret ingredients (some red wine, onion soup mix and parmesan cheese) also didn’t make the list. When I was wine shopping I spent some time deciding between an $8 a bottle wine (something we’d have at home if it were just us) and a $12 a bottle wine (something we’d have for a special occasion). After sweating this decision for a couple of minutes, I realized my guests are used to drinking $25 to $50 wine and would think both of my choices taste like cheap wine. I grabbed the $8 bottles figuring if they are going to think it is cheap I might as well save 4 bucks a bottle.

When it was all said and done we had a great time. These guys have stories to tell, and their job at the institution is difficult. Their charge is to make the institution a better place, and to come up with the money needed to institute new initatives, buildings, etc. Several different contingencies have their ears and think they know what "better" is. Faculty, administration, current students, parents, alums and donors all think they are the most important voice on campus matters. Tough job.

Interacting with the trustees was fun and drove home what upper-income really is. Less than 1.5% of US households earn $250k a year or more, and these folks live a very different lifestyle (I *THINK* I know who "Martha" is in the statement "Yes, it is right next to Martha's house". My understanding is Martha is at "camp" right now...). On the whole, though, the ones I met with were reasonable, smart, funny and interesting people. I’ll offer to do it again next year. Maybe they'll offer me a ride in their jet...


Tuesday, October 12

No gag reflex and naturally lubricated...

Quote of the night #1: “I should let you guys practice your tubing skills on me because I can have big things in my mouth and have no gag reflex”.

Quote of the night #2: “I usually don’t have a problem with lubrication!”.

Pharmacology and drug math quiz last night followed by a lab of ETT for adults; ETT for kids; IV fluid replacement, IV bolus, IV Drip, SQ and IM injections (poor orange!) and more stabbing of infant tibias with an IO needle. I was very nervous going into the quiz as there was a LOT of important (I think) information they could have pounded us with, along with knowledge I felt was likely not useful (e.g., do I really need to know the difference between a tincture and spirit?). More on the quiz below. First the Weirdness…

Lab happens in stations, where small groups go from station to station being taught the skills and then practicing them. I was with three other people. One of these other people is a young lady (late teens / early 20’s). Extroverted and funny, she is definitely on the flirty side of things (towards all males) and has moments of immaturity. Last night she stepped WAY past the flirty side into space I am at a loss to qualify. As we get to the ETT station, she says, loud enough for all to hear, quote of the night #1 listed above. Now this COULD have been said in innocence, but the tone and smile on her face were certainly suggestive that she was being purposeful. Any confusion as to whether she was trying to draw attention to herself ended as she was trying to slide an ETT into the trachea of a dummy and was having a hard time. The instructor said, in all earnestness and without a hint of double meaning, “try lubricating the tip first and it will slide right in”. Without skipping a beat, and with a devilish smile and tone, she utters quote of the night #2 listed above. Everyone just looked at her. What do you say to these comments? I am not a prude. I like word play and am more than happy to play the pervert in the right company and setting. However, we were in a professional setting and interacting with colleagues and instructors who will be evaluating our skills later in the course. I was at a loss for words (doesn’t happen much as you can tell by the length of the post…).

Back to the quiz…Short version is that is was 50 points and very straightforward (i.e., it contained the big ideas and the drug math they said would be covered. I finished the quiz feeling like I did well (turns out I got a 100), and was shocked to see someone in lab who had been crying (I assumed due to her experience with the quiz). After lab our instructor had a little “this is where some of us come to realize being a medic is not for us” lecture. Not bullying, not harsh, just matter-of-fact and resigned. A far cry from the “get with the program” hazing speech in my basic class last spring. Wednesday’s lecture on medical assessment has been moved so that we can spend another 3.5 hours on drug math in an attempt to get everyone up to speed. The instructor indicated this was the last shot at remediation before people would be asked to leave the course. There were some very nervous looking faces leaving last night…


Thursday, October 7

4 and 1 for the night, but OH what a 1

Lab last night (IV’s, drug math, SQ, IM, IO, drip, and ETT drug admin stations). At the IV station I stuck the “dummy arm” four times. Everything went just fine. Lab ended a little late and after a stop at the store and the 45-minute drive I didn’t make it back home until about 2315. I was on the board from 0000-0600 as EMT.

Tones dropped at about 0130 – Intoxicated male down and bleeding in front of the hardware store (if you draw a line from one of the bars in town to campus the hardware store is a point on this line). We roll with a paramedic, EMT (me), a driver and a “significant other” (a helper with no official training). We arrive to find a surly crowd of intoxicated college students. Seems they wanted the police to transport the patient, as they were worried he would bleed to death from his wounds. Not a valid concern, but it made for a semi-hostile environment

As we climb in the rig the paramedic turns to me and asks “You have your IV lab yet”? I reply that for the last 3.5 hours I have been ready to rock. He gives the nod and I try my first stick in the field (and my first stick of a human ever). While it would have been nice to get consent from out patient, he was in no position to give it. Given our protocol calls for him to be ALS’d, he does NEED to get stuck, so why not me under the supervision of an experienced paramedic? Indeed.

Funny thing about the dummy arm (the practice arm in lab, not my patient’s…):
It isn’t in a moving ambulance
It doesn’t jerk around as its owner pukes on you.
Lastly, and this difference was important to me at about 0145, the dummy arm’s other arm doesn’t appear to belong to an unconscious person and then SWAT at the hands of the provider , right as said provider was trying to disconnect the needle and protective sheath off where it connects to the cannula (after having seen the blood “flash” in the chamber and sliding the cannula into the vein). DRAT! Drat, drat, drat. The swat sends my hands, and the whole works, away from the patient (and the cannula out of the arm). DRAT!!!!

At this point I STILL don’t know why the paramedic thought this was funny. Really, IT WAS NOT FUNNY. I could have been 5 for 5 for the night, plus been able to say I got my first stick I ever tried. Not only did the paramedic laugh, but he seemed happy for the rest of the call. Sadist.

Obviously our patient was intoxicated. On a school night. To the point that it impacted his life in a negative way. Liz (see link to her blog at right) asked in comment about my thoughts on ethanol abuse and college students. Liz, I started to write something on this, but as it grew to two pages I realized that I don’t’ have a quick take on this VERY complicated problem. If I get a chance to finish it maybe I’ll post it prefaced by a warning about its length, but I don’t feel I can address the issue in a paragraph or two and am not sure it is worth my long diatribe. It is a complicated issue and I have a lot of thoughts but few answers.

As we left the station last night the paramedic said to me that he didn’t plan on starting another IV until I was done with my class. I hope I can manage to get the next one.

Friday, October 1

We get to start poking soon!

Arms. Veins inside arms, actually. Pretend ones. But still, we get to start DOING something vs reading and listening to lecture.

Medic class is going ok. We have just finished an introduction to pharmacology and drug math and are going to start discussion of basic and advanced airway issues on Monday. Wednesday is a drug administration lab and will be our first hands-on experience. So far the instructors have been talking a tough game regarding assessments (e.g., “study hard for the A&P quiz because it will be brutal) but the actual evaluations have been generous (I have a 100 and a 96, and they could have EASILY written questions that would have killed me). Given the last class they ran had over 50% of the students fail to make it to the end, my guess it we are going to get slapped around soon. While they lose a lot of students along the way, almost all who make it to the state exam pass (they claim to have only two failures in last several years).