It was supposed to be a quiet night

24 May

Emphasis on both ‘supposed’ and ‘quiet’.  A Wednesday night before tourist season starts in a week with two crews running out of the same station.  Should mean that it’s uneventful and that I should get quality time sleeping on the couch in the day room.  For the record, we do have  a bunk room with bunks.  I refuse to sleep there because it’s the most disorienting room possible – also a bomb shelter.  I don’t need any more help waking up wondering WTF prompted Satan to flip her moodlight and set off the tones.  (we have these red lights that come on when the tones are set off when we have a call). 

So about Wednesday night…

Call 1:  Domestic at Trailer Town.  Either she hit him with a door or he hit her in the head with the door knob as he was leaving.  Never did get the story right because nobody was home when we arrived.  Good thing too as the outside motif for this particular residence was apparently ‘goblins are gargoyles’.  I didn’t want to see the inside. 

Call 2:  Fall at “If we Change Our Name, People Won’t Think We Suck So Bad” Nursing Home.  Bariatric, mentally-handicapped woman with a history of CVAs is placed in a wheelchair, and not belted in or supervised.  To nobody’s surprise, she falls out of her wheelchair.  However, no bump, bruise, laceration, abrasion, swelling, redness or any other sign of trauma is found.  The lead “nurse” already called the Default Big Hospital to let them know we were transporting.  Apparently (and not surprisingly) the paid transport company just had too long a wait.  In a desire to not be at Suck City Nursing home any longer, we take the patient to Default Big Hospital. 

Call 3: Dinner – Pizza with a side of Asthma Attack.  My partner and I are sitting at a local pizza place finishing up dinner when a heavy-set woman rushes in.  Her daughter is in the car and is having an asthma attack.  We head out and yup, patient is having an asthma attack.  She’s also 4mos pregnant and not a lithe girl and she was panicking.  She’d already taken 3 hits of her inhaler with no relief.  Start her on a NRB at 15L, get her into the ambulance.  I pull out the IV box because that’s where our breathing treatment supplies are and we start transport.  ALS meets us enroute.  The paramedic is one of my most favorite paramedics out there – DryWit-Medic.  I’ve precepted from him before and he gets in, hands me the box.  I start the nebulizer treatment, he gets the IV access.  Amazingly enough, when the patient’s momma is not in line-of-sight, the patient calms down, breathing difficulty abates a little bit.  Take her to the ER.

Call 4 – Suicide “attempt”.  16yo female has barricaded herself in her room and is a cutter.  She’s sliced at her wrists.  By the time we get there, she’s in her room but Mom is with her.  I am the only female assigned this case – all the guys – the fire fighters, the 2 cops, my partner – all do that collective step-back when one of the cops says that ‘one of you’ (refering to us ems providers) needs to go check her out.  So I head back to the bedroom and she and I have a really good conversation.  When it came time for the awkward questions – ‘is there any chance you could be pregnant’ / ‘do you want to kill yourself?’ / ‘do you want to kill anyone else’, the patient had her mom leave the room.  She invited me up on the bed and we had a really good conversation as I cleaned and bandaged her lacerations.  I really felt bad for the girl because whenever we’d talk about her family / mom / boyfriend, she’d kind of curl up inside herself but when we talked about school, life in general – just girl talk – she would light up.  Being 16 sucks – and it doesn’t get any better for a long while.  But she didn’t want to go to the hospital and the officers were comfortable with us leaving her in their care. 

Call 5: (before I start this one – I did get to lie down for a whole hour or so before this call came out.  I was so disoriented by getting up in the middle of the night that my partner had to wake me, I tried to convince him that we were ‘just for show’ after midnight and I ended up walking out to the rig carrying my boots.  My partner said if it wasn’t for my sour personality, my confused state, vacant looks and carrying my boots might have been adorable.)  Anyways – back to the call…Breathing Difficulty at ChainSmoker with Emphasyma and COPD.  I’ve been to this woman’s house before.  She’s a heavy chain smoker on 4L O2 by NC. This night had the added fun of her locking the door while forgetting to leave the key under the mat.  Her son had to come from wherever he lives to bring us the key.  Get her loaded into the back of the ambulance where I not only was able to give her her albuterol / albuterol – atrovent, but also to start her line and push Solu-Medrol.  When we take her to the ER they start her on Bi-Pap and give her some narcan….apparently this woman was sampling something other than her Marlboros and was VERY NOT HAPPY upon the administration of narcan and Bi-Pap.  But since she’d been very NOT nice to me, I figure karma came around REALLY FAST. 

So this is the part of the night where things got really interesting.  Some fool decided that 0300 on a Wednesday night / Thursday morning would be quiet enough to take down the system that my city uses to dole out the calls.  So the computers, the tones in the stations – all that stuff – no worky no more or at least not for a couple of hours.

One crew had a 30 minute lag-time between being dispatched and going enroute.  Two other crews were assigned the call before they woke up and took it.  And the only reason that they woke up is that DryWit-Medic drove to the station and woke them up.

To add to that fun, the ambulance that my partner and I had been in decided to spazz out at 0300.  I put the key in the ignition, turned the ignition one click and the airhorn went off.  Please note – the battery wasn’t engaged and my foot was no where near the airhorn.  So I took the key out, turned on the battery and the airhorn went off again.  So we put the vehicle down as 10-7 mechanical, drove 4 miles to go pick up a 2nd truck from another station. 

That’s when we were sent to another call with DryWit Medic.  This one came out as a ‘cardiac’ but it was really a kidney stone (very similar, huh?).  It was at one of the permanent beach houses but the roads are hella narrow.  Thankfully, the patient was in such pain he was doing a sprint out to the ambulance.  DryWit Medic got orders from the ER doc to give morphine and zofran and all of a sudden – patient is hella mellow.  Calm, relaxed – it was like he’d just smoked a joint. 

Took kidney stone to the ER and after cleaning up and restocking – got to drive back to both stations – one to drop off the ambulance and the other to get in our cars and go home while watching the sun rise over the ocean.


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