Wednesday, August 31

School's In Session

Ahh, what a nice last few weeks, followed by a slamming.

My mom gave me an IPod for my 40th birthday. So far I love it. My wife and kids gave me exactly what I asked for, including breakfast fit for a king.

My family and I spend several days over the last few weeks at nearby campgrounds and a water park. It was my first visit to a water park, ever, and I had as much fun as my 7 year old son (and he had a blast). We ate well, slept well and had a great time.

School started this week and I am being reminded how much more work a new course is than ones I've taught before. Right now I'm teaching three classes, one of them brand new, and it is sucking up a lot of my time.

EMS Schtuff...

A lot of routine ALS calls - Difficulty breathing, etc. My IV's are back on track, but then I haven't had a diabetic in a while :-).

I did put a 2 year-old in a helicopter yesterday. Due to the nature of the call I feel uncomfortable giving details on this blog, but the short version is that this kid suffered blunt force trauma and needed to get to an appropriate facility quickly. My chief called for a helicopter before we even got on scene, and it was the right call to make.

Monday, August 15

"Dude, we need more 'Dew!"

Approximately 0200 hours…

“… ambulance monitors, request for your equipment. The county sheriff unit requests you meet them {someplace} for a 20’s male who has ingested gasoline.”

Lovely. Out of bed, on with the rags, off to the station.

We arrive on scene to see a car on the side of the road with a police car behind it. The officer reports he pulled the vehicle over, suspecting that the driver was driving while impaired. When the officer approached the vehicle, the driver was holding a wadded up shirt over his face, complaining that he was in a lot of pain as he had burned his nose and had accidentally consumed some gasoline.

I walked over to the stopped car, knelt down by the open drivers window, and the following exchange ensued:

DJ: Hello sir, I’m {DJ}, a medic with the ambulance. What is going on tonight?

Interesting Patient [IP]: I burned myself and swallowed some gasoline.

Note: The patient has some singed hairs on his face, neck, and chest. His skin color is consistent over his entire body (i.e., the skin itself doesn’t look like it is even irritated). His respiratory rate is normal, with no signs of distress. He is perfusing well, and every time he exhales it smells a LOT like metabolizing ethanol…

DJ: How much gasoline did you swallow?

IP: At least a cup. Maybe two.

DJ: How did you end up drinking gasoline?

IP: I was siphoning it.

DJ: How long ago did this happen?

IP: I don’t know, maybe 30 minutes.

DJ: Does your stomach hurt? Any nausea, vomiting, sore mouth, irritated throat?

IP: No, no, none of that.

DJ: Any coughing or difficulty breathing?

IP: No.

Hmm thinks me. I’ve never swallowed a volume of gasoline, but I’ve had it in my mouth, and I remember well how quickly I wanted it OUT of my mouth. And how it made me cough. And how it irritated my mouth for a LONG time. I am trying to imagine how one can swallow a “cup or two” without trying.

DJ: Tell me about the burn and please walk me though how we ended up here this evening.

Let me abstract IPs story for you. IP claimed that:

1) He needed gas, so he siphoned some from one of his cars to the other.
2) IP had a problem with the siphoning process, spilling gas on himself and swallowing some.
3) Minutes later, IP needed a cigarette. SO HE FIRES ONE UP! There is a flash fire, which he puts out with his shirt.
4) IP is a bit freaked out and his nose is hurting him. He doesn’t need a doctor, of course, just some pain relief. So he does “a few” shots of whiskey.
5) IP’s friend is out of Mountain Dew and wants more. IP offers to go get the Mountain Dew, as he now has gas in his car.
6) Since IP lives a good 10 minutes from the store, he obviously needed to bring pain relief along with him, in this case in the form of a VERY cold 6 pack of beer. While he does have TWO beers open in the car with him (the other four are safely stored on the seat next to him), he wants me to know that he hardly had any of the second open beer.

NOTE: At this point, as a gesture of good will I suppose, IP hands me the open beer, still so cold it is sweating, through his open window. Upon seeing IP hand DJ a beer, which must have been an interesting sight, the police officer is laughing so hard he has to turn around and walk away.

7) While driving to the store, IP is pulled over by “the man” for no real reason [this is from IP’s perspective. “The Man” was worried when IP almost ran into “the man’s” cruiser while driving on the wrong side of the road with no lights on].

Final Chain of Events:

IP complains to police officer so he calls us to protect himself, though he is 95% sure IP is trying to avoid a field sobriety test and a trip to the slammer

Ambulance crew transports IP to the hospital because though we were 97% sure IP had no airway burns, we couldn’t be sure (again, he had some singed hair, but his skin did NOT look burned, his mouth was not inflamed, and his nose hairs were intact).

Hospital doc asks for a chest X-Ray to rule out airway inflammation or burns, despite being 99.9% sure he won’t find anything.

My guess is that IP made his way to jail latter that day, but I didn’t stick around to find out. He certainly managed to get a whole lot of people involved in his Mountain Dew run.

Saturday, August 6

It's August - Do you know where your 30's went?

EMS has been relatively quiet. Had a patient with a history of brain cancer and stroke develop sudden onset stroke symptoms on her previously un-affected side. I did the best I could with her but she looked scared (she was non-verbal) and I felt helpless. We all roll the dice each day we wake up, but some people just end up rolling "craps" more than others, and this poor woman has been getting more than her fair share of bad rolls.

I just finished teaching a 5 week class that met four times per week, two hours per class meeting. Well, actually, "finished" is a bit optimistic given I have to grade the last quiz, the final exam and the paper. Between this class and having a research student around this summer, it hasn't felt like summer much. Like my peers, summer is usually reserved for research and writing, which can be done on your own time, allowing for a much more relaxed pace as compared to the school year. This summer has been very "scheduled" and I am not feeling relaxed and re-charged for the school year.

A complicating factor in this, perhaps, is that I turn 40 at the end of this month. FOURTY. It cracks me up that my wife has an easier time with these landmark birthdays than I do, but the fact is that I hated 30 and I am not looking forward to 40. Don't get me wrong; Life is GOOD. I don't want for much (and I have all my basic needs filled), I'm happily married, have two wonderful children who are healthy and happy, and for reasons that still confuse me my employer thinks I am of use. I'm not in the "buy a Corvette and get a honey" way, but I am realizing 40 is NOT 30, and it sure as hell isn't the 18 to 22 my students are, if you know what I mean.


Wednesday, August 3

Tuna = Tough Game?

I've grilled out tuna twice this summer. Both times, just as the tuna steaks were hitting the plate, we got toned out. Both times, the location was the same. The first call was the first time I'd been to this place, the second call was the second. BOTH calls were for injuries to camp counselors. BOTH injuries happened due to a game called "capture the flag".

How weird is that?


P.S. - I was having some format problems and am in the process of changing some things around...