Back to Reality

Well, life has begun again…great. Had a day in hell yesterday and go back for the next 3 days…great! : ( Being away from there was just wonderful, I’m hating being back! A combination of the stress and some electrolyte imbalance has caused my heart problems. Last year I was diagnosed with WAP (Wondering Atrial Pacemaker) and orthostatic hypotension, if you know anything medical wise, this isn’t a big deal. Had a full cardiac workup, echo, monitor for 48 hours…blah, blah, blah. Basically my heart never changed rhythms then and nothing out of the “normal” showed up. Cardiologist just said to watch it, but nothing to worry about. All my days at work, we weren’t able to catch anything on the monitor either. Did several blood work too, but I was always feeling “fine” during that and it never showed anything out of the normal.

Sunday I wasn’t feeling right, my heart felt like it was racing but my pulse was normal. I felt light headed and dizzy, was just…feeling “weird”, I’m not sure how else to describe it. So I called my friend, he was on duty just down the road at my local ambulance and I was lucky he was at the closest station too. My man was concerned about me driving, but I wasn’t going far. Drove down and him and his partner got me hooked up to the monitor and did a workup but nothing was showing up. Hooked myself up to the 12-lead, still nothing. I wasn’t feeling my heart flutter at that moment, so we waited…then it happened. My heart started racing and I looked at the monitor…Afib…uh…shit! Told my friend, he didn’t believe me, looked for himself and he freaked. Started printing like crazy, my heart was jumping in and out of it. I could feel it each time too. This was the first time we caught it on the monitor.

So we started reading, there’s a good chance I have a lack of magnesium, potassium, and calcium…all important to keep your heart ticking right. See, I’m at the age where I should be gaining weight (not complaining) but my body is not absorbing the nutrients it should. Took some vitamins, that seemed to fix the problem. I can’t afford to go back to the doctor, so I’m just going to take some vitamins for a while and see if that keeps working. For now it seems to. Below is my heart from the night of, then the night after.

12-Lead EKG showing my heart in Afib

WAP to Afib

Afib back into WAP

The next morning at work after some vitamins

Back to normal…sort of…

My man is worried, naturally, but I told him it’s not a big deal. I’m determined to get it figured out. I think I just need more nutrients, but we’ll see. I’m going to try these vitamins first, if that doesn’t change it, then I’ll call the doctors. I just really need to find another job, this place is killing me one way or another!

 

Students

I’m not sure what the deal is, but for some reason I always end up with the lazy students. When I say lazy, I mean not only will they not help with chores, they won’t do anything on the calls and I had one student downright refuse to call the hospital. “I don’t like calling in reports.” My response? Get over it! I’m sorry, but you’re about to test for your medic license. What are you going to do when you become a paramedic and are the only one in the back, just not call the hospital?? Negative!

If her goal was to become an “ambulance driver” (as some people refer to us), then going for a medic license failed her in that goal. Believe it or not, there are some departments (boarding one of my jobs) that hire “ambulance drivers.” You require zero medical training for this position, not even a first responder license, you strictly drive the truck. What fun…not! However we do have an employee at one of my job that wants to do just that, drive the ambulance only, I should refer her. She’s horrible with her EMT skills and just applied for medic school. I’m sorry, if you’re EMT skills are that shitty, you’re really going to be a horrible medic.

I was one of the rare students in my paramedic class that actually has a job in the field and had for a while. In fact, only 2 other people in my paramedic class worked/or ever have worked on an ambulance, and I can tell you…it showed! It showed in class, it showed during clinicals, it showed on the ride time…it was horrible. Too many students go straight through and too many schools let them.

Once class was over and we all finally managed to get our license, only 4 of us have jobs. Out of those 4, ONE got a job after medic school with zero ambulance experience. 16 of us completed class and 4 have jobs. The other students are complaining they can’t get/find a job and won’t listen to me when I tell them it’s because they went straight through class.

Back to being a student, I don’t know about anyone else out there but we weren’t allowed computers, no sitting down, no couches or recliners, and you ALWAYS helped with chores. When there was down time, you spent it studying not playing computer games. Schools have rules of what you can/can’t do and I know these kids would be in real trouble if their teacher showed up but it’s more than that. It’s about being respectful and doing the right thing. Are people not taught that these days?

And So It Begins

Warning: This post will be random and all over, I’m not sure where exactly this post will go, just so you know.

First, the game has begun. The Captain was notified that he is to report to the Assistant Police Chief as soon as he reports for duty. He if flipping out! He’s texting everyone, asking why he needs to go there, and honestly, the people he is texting do not know. I know why but I’m not about to tell him, besides he never asked me.

This guy is the type of person that if you told him his mom was here looking for him, he’d flip out and question you non-stop until he got here on why his mom was here, he’s just that guilty and scared all the time. I have this problem too, but it’s not because I’m guilty of anything, it’s a product of my past, something that I am also working on. So now we wait…in about 3 hours he should be arriving from class, given his letter, escorted to his car, then escorted out of town by PD, mostly for the safety of those employees on duty today, more specifically for me. The Chief is concerned about him trying to come after me and blame me for this given our history. Honestly I could take the guy, but I’d rather not have to try.

More on this soon, for now, the next topic.

While I’m discussing topics, let’s talk about Topix for a moment. Have you seen this crap?!?! If not, it’s probably better you never look at it, especially if you live in a small town like where I work. People are brutal! It’s horrible! Posting peoples full names, addresses, bad things about people..it’s just horrible! I am all for protecting my First Amendment right, but this site really needs to go. It’s cause a suicide in one of the towns I currently work in…it’s just bad news bears!

People recently got on there and started bitching about the ambulances being left running when the crews go out to the store or eat and just being out of the station to begin with…I’d like to discuss this a moment for all you people out there, especially those that are bitching about this.

First, crews leaving the station in the truck…”you’re wasting our gas and tax dollars”…fair point, but let me show you more sides of this. Where I work we are allowed to take a pager and go anywhere within the city limits we’d like, cool, but we RARELY do this if we are on the next up truck to be dispatched. So lets say I’m on the next up truck, you don’t like us using the trucks to run and get food, I decide to take my own car (not a big deal). I drive down the street, have to cross the highway because the stores aren’t on this side, wait in traffic and stop lights, get down and start getting my food from the store. As I’m inside getting food the pager goes off. I have to drop everything, go to my car, get back across the highway and wait in all the lights because it’s illegal for me to run them, get to the station, look up the address, then respond. How long do you think that takes? No instead, we took the truck to get food…a call came in. We drop everything, go to the truck, look up the address, and respond…no driving to pick the truck up. If you were the one that needed me at that very second, you’d be happy I had the truck right? It’s only ok if you need me, right? Is that how it works?

Now the second, leaving the trucks running, and this seems to be a major problem with people, especially with “tree huggers” (pardon my choice of words). We carry life saving equipment, including medications which are designed to only be stored within a certain temperature range, some of which is about 10 degree range. Without the truck running, it’s unable to maintain a certain temperature. In the winter it can keep the cold out better, but in the dead of summer those trucks heat up FAST! It can be very bad and VERY expensive to replace all the medications. Have you ever noticed that trucks are always parked inside “bays” when at the station? These bays are temperature regulated and help protect the medication from hitting the temperature extremes. So you don’t want us to leave the truck running…fine, lets turn it off and let it heat up in our 100 degree summer. Now you call 911…we respond but can’t use the medication to help you because the temperature is too hot. You’re also mad at us because it’s burning up inside the truck. Sorry, you bitched about it being left running. It takes a while for the AC to be able to catch up, we don’t have the money to afford specific AC units for the box part of the ambulance like some places. Have you ever tried to warm up or cool off a van or SUV from the 1990’s or older…takes a while, doesn’t it?

It is a proven fact that you can’t please 20% of people. You can offer 100 people $100 and 20 of them will not be happy. Some will be mad that they now have to pay high taxes because they are in a different tax bracet. Other’s might complain that your $100 “gift” means they have to pay $120 to their accountant to fill out different paperwork, so now it costs them more money. You can never please everyone. So despite everyone complaining, we will still continue to eat and when the temperature is extreme, we will be leaving the trucks running. Sorry, you’ll just have to bitch and complain, it’s not going to change. I’m off my soapbox…for now. : )

I’m still looking for another good book to start reading. I feel lost right now not reading anything. I loved Fifty Shades but man I wish I hadn’t read it so fast! It was SO good and I couldn’t wait to keep reading, but it ended too fast for me. I miss it, miss the story and heading the next adventure in their lives. Now what…? I don’t know what to read now, I need another good book! Help!! Any suggestions out there? I really hate when a good book ends!

The wait continues…I have typed all that within 30 minutes and now I wait some more…

Tonight I’m going to meet my man and we plan on talking some, discussing our future together. I can’t wait to spend my life with him and we have the same ideas about raising children. He currently has 3, and though I get along with them, they are pretty useless. The oldest has no job, bumming off his dad, living at home, about to lose his car cause it can’t pass inspection. The second youngest got knocked up early, living with her unstable boyfriend, no job for either of them, living off state money, and bumming off her dad. The youngest at least has a job, but she’s a royal bitch and downright evil to her dad. They are horrible. And he feeds it a lot, though that has changed more recently with my guidance. He gives them everything and allows them to feed off him. He complains that they are independent but he continues to allow that, which he’s been working on. I can’t blame him fully, his wife ran off when the youngest was just 4 and he’s been on his own, giving them what they want to make up for what she did.

We’ve both agreed how we want it when we have kids, we want the same things. We want them to be independent and strong, hard workers like both of us. I refuse to be a crutch for my child, not having that from my parents made me the person I am today, however I refuse to treat my kids the way my parents treated me. I want them to grow up in a loving, caring, and nurturing house but teach them the skills it takes to succeed in life. I really hope I do ok. I’m determined to break the cycle! I pray I will not treat my children like my parents treated me, I don’t want them to suffer and be on their own, I want them to know I’m there for them! I don’t want them struggling with suicide like I did. I just don’t want that.

This has been quit the post today. I don’t want it to get too long. I have been full of words more lately, opening up more, this is all thanks to my friend/counselor. He has helped me SO much and is helping me get to the place I want to be. One day I will be where I need to be and it will be thanks to him. I can’t wait to be “normal” and have a “normal” life and get past my past. One day.

Now, I continue to wait…if I am unable to entertain myself, expect more posts…don’t worry, I will update you once the Captain is escorted out. I really do hope, for my sake and any other girl that might start working here, that today is the last day we ever see him.

Lazy…A Common Illness

I try not to let the little stuff bother me but the pure laziness at work is driving me crazy! No one cleans! EVER!! Trucks stay bug covered for weeks, nothing gets wiped down, dirty dishes left in sink for weeks, no sweeping, no cleaning…it’s just gross!! Even worse is when it comes to the trucks and equipment! I hate germs but apparently my coworkers enjoy them because I came in after a week off this truck and cleaned it to find this…

This was after just a few wipes and only about 1/4 of the truck! WTF people?!?! Then after spending two hours cleaning and wiping down the entire inside I spent 3 hours scrubbing weeks worth of bugs off the front of the truck. I mean the lack of respect and work ethic is making me crazy! I bust my ass daily with very little help, especially none from the full time staff!! I can’t wait to start this new job, at least I will not be alone in my work and it will finally be appreciated! After 3 consecutive 13 hour days of cleaning, all trucks are bug free, backboards scrubbed and disinfected, patient compartment disinfected, all equipment wiped down, bay clean, station clean, bathrooms clean, and still found time to go on 12 ambulance calls.

All my hard work will be undone shortly because I am off until next Tuesday at the very earliest. Tomorrow the dentist will remove all my wisdom! : ( I am so not looking forward to that appointment! But at the same time I can’t wait to get this done and over with. They have never hurt me, ever, but they are coming in way wrong and the dentist wants them out now. Joy. Then after that a little more dental work I have been putting off. Then after all of that it’s back to the orthodontist for me.

I spent SIX years in braces and because my teeth are stubborn and everything moved (despite the retainers) the orthodontist decided to put the upper braces back on (for free). After just 3 months with them on my teeth are back to straight and look great. Oh and if they every say, “hey we’re going to just jump to the biggest wire to move them fast” I would like to tell you that is would be best if you PASS on that option!! I have never hurt from braces until that move! I went to my check up and they said my teeth look great, I asked when the braces come off. The answer to my question? “I’m not, in fact I want to put the bottom braces back on too and fix that as well.” Ugh!! But my teeth will look pretty again. I already look several years younger than I am (I’m 25 and still getting carded), so lets slap some braces on and make it even better! : ( Oh well, life.

Today while out on one of many calls at work I came across something that made me laugh.

That sign is about 4 feet by 4 feet and in case you are unable to read the writing it says, “Slow down or die.” Haha welcome to rural EMS! : ) I’m sorry sir but it seems you are going to have to kill us for running lights and sirens to someone’s emergency because I’m not slowing down. What really cracks me up about this is the road it is located on and I really wish now that I had taken a picture of it but since I didn’t you will have to do with my description.

Today I was working in our smallest ambulance (thank goodness for that on this call!) and had I had the biggest truck we would not have been able to get to the patient’s house let alone the patient. This road was JUST wide enough for the truck, most of the time the wheels were in the mud and not even on a road. Trees along most of the road which scratched all down the sides (nothing I could do to avoid that) and if another car had come one of us would have been backing up until we found a driveway and that person would not have been me…sorry but this ambulance doesn’t go in reverse! lol Oh, and also this road does not connect to each other, there are two different sections of this road, despite what google maps, gps, cell phones, map book, and everything says, this road is NOT a thru street! The huge trees and over grown woods prove this, don’t bother trying.

Tomorrow is surgery, then off for a few days. I’m warning you now, I will no doubt be bored so expect some postings…or probably a lot of postings if I’m feeling well. Good night world! Tomorrow I will be 4 teeth lighter.

With Love

It has been a crazy couple days! Monday we had a major snow storm pass through with car accident after car accident, it was crazy at work. Needless to say, we were busy. Actually watched one accident happen right in front of us while taking a patient to the hospital. People do not know how to drive, it’s simple SLOW DOWN! That’s it! It’s not a big hard secret, it really is that simple.

Before that snow hit, we spent much of the morning at work just doing station duties, but not much else. On some of that down time, I spent it taking pictures I had or new pictures and messed with some editing features I had on my phone. Here are the results.

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July 2010, I went to Hawaii with family, here is one of many pictures. USS Arizona Memorial.

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Finger Art! : )

Following a crazy Monday at work was a quiet Tuesday, Valentine’s day! If you hate Valentine’s day, I just think you haven’t celebrate it properly. I love this day! Even the years when I didn’t have someone. I used to celebrate it as “Single’s Awareness Day” but this year I had my totally awesome man to celebrate with! : ) He made my Valentine’s day GREAT! It started by waking up to his hugs, roses, and some Creme Eggs (my favorite). Then I went on my way to spend some time relaxing before a nice evening together. Got some more candy, Reeses and M&M, a nice back massage, and dinner. I got to pick dinner, it could have been anything, but I love breakfast food, so breakfast it was. Took some eggs, added chopped up spinach leaves, cooked turkey bacon, and shredded cheese, cooked it all up then put it on a whole wheat wrap and enjoyed. Simple. Easy. Yummy! : ) And of course some chocolate milk. That was my perfect Valentine’s day! : )

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My roses!

Yesterday, while off during the day, I decided that I wanted to get rid of a picture in my room and put up something different. I saw a quote that gave me some inspiration. “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” So I decided I was going to put this on canvas and hang it above my bed. So, off to Michael’s to get my supplies. Now, I HATE Martha Stewart and will avoid at ALL cost buying her crap but the woman has everything and unfortunately she was the only one that had what I needed. She had the 3 colors of blue paint I had picked out to match my room, so her paint I was stuck with. She was also the only person with sticky cut yourself stencil. I looked all over and was stuck, yet again, buying her stuff. : ( But it worked out great!

Just another day on the job

Yep, it’s another day of work for me! Today hasn’t been the boring, nothing to do kind of days as before, we actually had to help people, which is normally rare here, except for this year. Last year we ran just over 1000 EMS calls, that’s even low for us. This year doesn’t seem to follow that pattern, we are up to 87 calls and it’s only February 2nd. I’m not complaining though, I love helping people! Hate seeing them hurt, but love helping them. And I really can’t complain because some of our neighboring departments run 4 to 5000+ calls a year, some even into the 8000+ range. Which is completely crazy busy!!

Today we helped a neighboring department with a cardiac arrest and it looks like the lady might make it. (Thank you God!) She had a good strong pulse and blood pressure upon our arrival to the er. The crews worked together and did a great job! Ever ran a call on an ambulance that isn’t yours, your rarely see, and have never gone though…? Try that in a cardiac arrest…not fun. We stole all our equipment off our truck and it made things only slightly easier, but that’s what happens in small town EMS, you just go with the flow.

While today is all work and little play, Tuesday was a little work and a lot of play! Much encouraged by the Chief, his motto is “have fun at work.” Awesome Chief in my opinion! On our way to lunch Tuesday, we spotted something that had us laughing so hard we actually had to stop the ambulance for pictures!

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It’s not every day you get to see this! lol And many of you don’t know the wonderful game of “Slugbug” which is something we play around here. Needless to say, we were laughing to hard to actually slug anyone! And it sure had the town watching too!

Being a volunteer firefighter also, I’d like to share a picture we found the other day at work that has now been passed around Facebook. Other volunteers out there will laugh at this as well, I’m sure.

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Volunteer Firefighter
Cause when you’re not paid, who’s going to fire you.

Pull to the Right!

From time to time, I get on my soapbox about things that frustrate me and today I had something frustrate me. Stupid people. Now, in my line of work, stupid people equals job security. To the public this probably doesn’t sound right, but talk to anyone in my field and they will tell you the same thing. Stupid people (or people making bad decisions) is what keeps us in business and we were far from short of that today!

What are we all taught in driving school?? If you see lights and sirens, pull to the right…correct? Apparently they are no longer teaching this!! I can’t tell you how many times people either stop dead right in front of us or while everyone else is going right, one idiot goes left making it impossible to get through or nearly causing an accident. Is it really that hard people? Let me share a little video from some friends at another department. I’d like to thank the Tuscaloosa Fire & Rescue Service, Alabama for this video!

 

 

The funny part about this video…yes, we really do sit behind the wheel and yell this crap about idiot drivers, only sometimes it can be way worse. It’s extremely frustrating, especially when you have a critical patient in the back of your truck.

Emergency Medical Serves are by far the least appreciated service out there! Everyone loves firetrucks and firefighters because they save you from fires. I myself am also a firefighter, so no I am not against the fire service. How many people appreciate the ambulance? No one, not until you or someone close to you needs us. Fire and EMS workers do not receive enough pay for the job they do, and believe me, if any of us got into this field for the money, we’d have left before we started. People complain that we get paid to “sit around and sleep” yet want to know what took us so long when you have an emergency and want us there right away. You can’t have it both ways people.

For the information of the public…when we are not running emergency calls, we are usually cleaning the station, cleaning the equipment, training to strengthen our skills, working with the public to train them…we do not just “sit around.” Yes, we do have our “down time,” meaning our time to relax a little between calls, our chance to have our family come visit, but if you think our job is easy…I dare you to join us for a day. I can promise you, your mind will change. I have not been in this business for a long time, but I have seen things I wish I could forget, I’ve lived the nightmares, yet I promise to be here every day, doing what I love to keep you and your family safe.