Wednesday, July 19

I did not really know him, but I'll miss him.

(note: all of the information in this post comes from contact that is not HIPPA protected...)

There's this guy who worked at the hospital that I'd see in the ED on occasion. Doc, nurse, resp. therapist, admissions clerk - It doesn't matter what he did. I probably interacted with him 40 times or so after bringing in a patient.

This guy, call him "L", pretended to be a curmudgeon. You'd walk in with a patient and he'd greet you with a scowl and "what are you wasting my time with tonight". But he didn't mean it. You knew he didn't mean it as he NEVER said this on nights when you were not in the mood or the patient might take it the wrong way. You knew he didn't mean it when you'd see him smile as he was walking away to get some equipment. He was so good at what he did that you spent no time wondering if it was done right. You KNEW if he did it, it was done. The kind of guy who was always in a hurry and didn't talk much, but stopped to quietly ask you how you were doing after you just worked a full arrest. Just a decent guy.

I heard while I was in Australia that "L" had been at work and suddenly starting showing signs of a brain bleed. For better or worse they managed to keep him alive. Today, minutes before I had a meeting I HAD to go to, our tones dropped for a full arrest at "L"'s house. Today he didn't make it.

It is odd to "know" people without really knowing them. To be touched by the death of someone you have never eaten a meal with or shared a beer. I don't know where "L" went to college, what his favorite ice cream flavor was, or what he did for fun. I do know the people who work with him will miss having him around and think about him often. My thoughts are with his family tonight, and I dread seeing his wife who also works at the hospital.

Safe travels "L". You made many a night more comfortable for me and my patients and I thank you.


Sunday, July 16

I have risen / "Why isn't this patient on a backboard?"

Regarding my death...
To Verizon's credit (so to speak), they contacted the credit agencies and proclaimed that my death was exaggerated. It is good to be alive...

And then...

Our call last night seemed to be going fine until the doc on duty, who happens to be our medical director, says "Why isn't this patient on a backboard?" There were a lot of reasons I won't go into here. And in the end the patient checked out fine. But it was NOT a good feeling having him ask (it was the tone of voice - It wasn't really a question, but more of a lecture disguised as a question). I wish he would have REALLY asked the question, as I had answers. Maybe they were good answers and perhaps they were not and it could have been a learning experience for me. In the end, though, asking as he did in front of my crew, nurses and others at the hospital bothered me (perhaps I am just being defensive...).


Wednesday, July 12

I am Dead and it Still Hurts

My wife and I are in the process of making a rather large purchase. To achieve this, we need to borrow money. Our credit is very good historically, but we are having a bit of a problem... I AM DEAD.

Well, I do not FEEL dead. I've seen dead. I've smelled dead. I know dead. I even know "almost dead" and "soon gonna be dead". It is my honest opinion as an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician that I, DJ, am not dead.

Turns out my evaluation of my "dead status" matters much less to the credit agencies than this one fact: When I canceled a phone line with Verizon they reported to several agencies that the account was closed because I am deceased. When I get cynical I wonder if this happened so that the call taker didn't "loss an account".

What I have learned recently:

1) It is nearly impossible to talk to a human at a credit agency UNLESS you want to talk to them about buying one of their products. If you want actual help, you are supposed to do that online. I spent HOURS on the phone yesterday.

2) There is a lot of information on how to dispute an "error". In most cases, where you have a "negative report" there is supposed to be a link next to it to dispute it.

3) Being dead is not seen as being negative. There is no online or phone option (in the depths of "push this button" menu hell) for disputing your death.

4) Humans at the credit agencies are relucant to help me because, among other things, I AM DEAD. I guess I understand. Speaking to the dead makes me nervous as well.

There are NO negative reports on our credit history, but the agencies will not provide a credit score for a dead man. They will not let me be alive without written information being snail-mailed to them and them taking 30 to 60 days to act on that information. So Verizon can press a button on a computer and I am dead. Without anyone calling, mailing, e-mailing or otherwise kindly asking ANYTHING about me. Note, Verizon sill receives income from me every month for land line phones, cell phone and DSL service. Since I am DEAD, do I get to stop paying them?

In any event, If you have a spare $70k sitting around give me a call. I may be dead, but I pay back my loans...


Saturday, July 1

U.S.A.! / White Hat / Water

We are back in the U.S.A.! Australia was G R E A T, but I am glad to be back home.

In my absence I could not properly defend myself against being nominated for an assistant chief position. So, now I am a "white hat". Be very afraid...

Just as we were settling in and feeling like the 14 hour time change was being absorbed the floods that have swamped the East Coast hit. Tuesday night was spent down at the station as the village was put in an official "state of emergency". It took me a LONG time to get home as most roads between my house and the station were closed (for good reason). Lots of water damage, but no loss of life in my village. Wednesday things were still a mess when the state called and asked if we could head to Broome County NY to help relieve some of their ambulance staff who had been going HARD for quite a while. My agency sent an ALS rig down to help out and spend 24 hours taking calls as "first due" for an agency just outside of Binghampton. The politics of this were interesting. The agency had not asked for help (as far as I could tell), but the providers were clearly tired. I don't know if we really helped them much, as things were fairly quiet while we were there. I do hope our being there allowed at least one crew to stay home with their families and/or get some sleep.

I had call while there that bugged me and I've had this problem before: Patient with CHF history, with new onset edemia and rales bilaterally. Patient ALSO has fever, recent history of pneumonia, and stopped taking her antibiotics after only two days. What's the best way to treat this patient? Other information: O2 sat in low 90's, no signs of wheezing or air trapping, patient reports the swelling in her legs started right before the difficulty breathing, and that the DB had a sudden onset. Patient is currently hypertensive, perfusing well, and denies chest pain. I gave nitroglycerine and lasix with partial relief which lasted for 10 minutes or so and then symptoms returned.