Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thank you Veterans!

What does Veterans Day mean to me?

That's the question I kept asking myself while writing this post. I know this day is to honor ALL veterans of all branches of the military.

I am currently dating a veteran, he served as an MP in the US Army in several places including Bosnia, Italy, and Fort Myer in Washington, DC. I have a close friend from high school currently serving in the Army. I have an ex-boyfriend who served in Iraq as an Army Reserve Medic. I have several friends who have served and are still serving in the Army, USAF, Navy, Air Guard, and Reserves. Both my father and my grandfather served in the military, my father resigned as a MSgt. in the United States Air Force. I have several childhood memories that take place on an Air Force base.

So again, what does Veterans Day mean to me? It means respect and honor and remembrance of people I love and care about and those who served with them, before them, and after them and those still serving today.

So please take the time and thank a veteran, thank them for the sacrifices they made for the freedoms you and I have today, cause THAT is what Veterans Day means to me.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

the unexpected

Being in EMS we all know things don't always go as planned. You can try to prepare, but sometimes things take you by surprise. Hurricane Sandy was one of those surprises. I have always wanted to go to EMS World, well for a few years now anyhow. I've just never had the means. Well, this year was the same until I was donating money at a local fundraiser (ok I was playing bingo, I admit it!) and I won a nice little chunk of change, enough to allow me to purchase a plane ticket anyways. I talked to a few friends who were going and the stars aligned just right and I was offered a place to sleep so I could attend this year (felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity to me!) and it meant I could attend the wedding of a friend, MsParamedic!! Well, then Sandy hit. I was worried about my flight, I was watching it like a hawk...then I got the news...the friend who had offered me a place to sleep was stuck in NJ with no place to go until Saturday!! By then it would be too late. He tried to make alternate arrangements for me, I tried to make alternate arrangements for me, but I had no extra money to afford a hotel for myself, and everyone who was already there was so wrapped up in the conference and the events surrounding it no one was able to get back to us. I had a decision to much as it pained me and disappointed me, I cancelled my flights 8 hours before I was to board my plane. I'm not going to lie...I cried...a lot for the first 12 hours...then I realized something...what the hell was my problem? I had a roof over my head, heat in my house, electricity, food, water. There were people a mere 4 hours from me who did not have these things, people that I know, people I call friends!! I had friends in New York and New Jersey who were suffering a hell of a lot more than me because of this horrific storm. People had lost their homes, their savings, their LIVES, and I was upset because I couldn't go on a trip! I was being so selfish and self-centered! So instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to pray for those in need. I couldn't do much else for them. I tried to reach out to those I could on Facebook and Twitter and let them know I was thinking about them and praying for them. And I just kept reminding myself just how damn lucky I was and how good I have it...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

making a difference

Most of us can remember why we started this career. And most of the time it was help people, to make a difference in someone's life. We have all learned that making a difference doesn't happen everyday. Occasionally we run that call that we know we have all trained for and that training pays off. I once had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful lady. Our meeting was unfortunate for her. This woman was a nurse of 50 years, still practicing 2-3 nights a week in the local prison. The night of our meeting she was attempting to go to bed when she began having a pressure in her chest. She thought it was just gas from a soda she had earlier in the evening. In just over an hour the pain and pressure increased dramatically, radiating to her neck, shoulder, arm, and back and then she got nauseated and sick. She decided she was just going to try and tough it out until her son-in-law heard her vomiting and checked on her and immediately called 911.

Upon my arrival BLS had just gotten an initially set of vitals. All it took was one look and my gut shouted "not good". Placed a 4 lead on this woman and immediately did not like what I saw and proceeded with a 12 lead. Within 5 min of being on scene I knew this woman, who had very little past medical history, was having a heart attack. My BLS crew helped her onto a stair chair and out of the house and down the stairs to stretcher while I called Medical Command at the local hospital and spoke to a Dr. who had received the 12 lead I sent and agreed this pt needed a cath lab and to proceed to the heart hospital, a mere 30 miles away, but that takes the better part of an hour, even with lights and sirens.

I fell back on my education and got my thoughts in gear.  Zofran given IM before we moved pt to prevent any more vomiting, ASA given orally as pt was being moved into stairchair, IV placed on first try as soon as pt was in the ambulance, and then I began the NTG SL sprays and morphine administration. While my pt remained in a lot of discomfort throughout the transport, I did my best to make her as comfortable as possible. The receiving facility knew we were coming and had received 2 EKGs prior to my arrival, one directly form me and another faxed from the local hospital I bypassed. They also received a phone update from me while enroute. I was greeted by 3 doctors, 2 nurses, and an ER Tech all prepared to help my patient. 

During the ride I got to know my patient a little better. She told me of her nursing career of 50+ years, and how she enjoys keeping herself busy by working at the prison infirmary 2-3 nights a week. She was concerned about not making it to her next scheduled shift the next night. She also  told me she was expecting her first great grandchild, a girl, very soon, that the baby shower was next weekend, and she didn't want to miss it. It wasn't until we were about 3/4 of the way there that she looked me straight in the eye and asked "Is it possible I am having a heart attack?" It was at that moment that I realized 1) I hadn't made it clear to her that she was and 2) I had kept my cool so well that she was unaware of just how serious her condition was. I looked right back in the eye and said "Yes ma'am. You are having a heart attack, but I guarantee I am doing everything I can to help decrease your pain and that I am taking you to the most appropriate place for you to be to fix it."

Normally a patient in this condition would go immediately to the cath lab, but due to another patient already on the table there, the ER team did their best to make my patient as comfortable as possible until they were able to get her in. The patient had to have thanked myself and the ambulance crew a dozen times during the handoff process. 

I have the capability to follow up on patients that I take to this particular facility, so the next day I followed up and found she had a 100% blockage in her RCA.  

It's patients and calls like this that remind me why I continue to do this job even when we run the frequent flyers, the drug seekers, and all the other calls we consider "BS". This woman will most likely walk out of the hospital and return to her busy life, her nursing job, and that great grandbaby that is coming so soon...

Monday, March 5, 2012

EMSToday 2012 overview

Just got back from JEMS EMS Today 2012 this morning. It was a blast as always! It was so great to see old friends, make new ones and have fun while learning new things, seeing new products, and just having some great conversations with some amazing folks. I have so much going through my mind right now. The biggest thing that hit home for me this year was EMS 2.0. I have known about EMS 2.0 for a while now, but something clicked this weekend for me. While I had known about it, I didn't fully understand what it was until I tried to explain it to my best friend, an aspiring paramedic student. When she had questions I couldn't answer I went back and did more reading and research and a whole lot of listening this weekend. I finally get it! AND...I want to help! I want to do more than share a post here and there on Facebook and Twitter. I want to be an advocate, I want to learn more and understand what is going on with my profession, I want to make my way to the front lines! I would never have even heard of this if it hadn't been for the First Responders Network folks, Scott Kier, Sam Bradley, Justin Schorr, Ted Setla, Paul Bahnik, Cayce Justus, Maddog Medic, Patrick Lickiss, Random Ward, James Brasiel and all the others closely involved!

Ok, I have more stuff to talk about from EMSToday 2012 but am hoping to make another post about it.

As always, thanks for stopping by!