Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The sort of night firemen fear

It's at least -5 degrees Fahrenheit out there, with a sustained windspeed of 20-30mph...ice cold, clear night, with everyone in the whole state firing up their woodstoves to keep warm. This is the sort of night where improperly sealed chimneys have their seals freeze and crack, leading to housefires. And then the firemen get cold, slip and fall on ice, and wind up swearing like sailors.

I've got my BDU pants out, with long underwear, an extra warm coat, gloves, hat, boots, AND a thermos for hot cocoa if we get called out.

Last time we got a fire in this weather, it was a (thank god) uninhabited house, the propane tank blew up, and 10 firemen fell over like penguins on an iceflow from surprise. It was hilarious, but only because nobody was hurt. I was tucked up in the ambulance, watching from a "safe distance".

May I state again, for the record that it's EXTREMELY cold outside? It's also cold in my BEDROOM- 33 degrees F to be precise. I'm beginning to think that there's something wrong with the insulation. And possibly that, due to our wood stove being very efficient, they dont turn the heat on in the house, so it never reaches my bedroom.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's not QUITE the backwoods, but dear god it's close

I'm home for break, I'm working on the ambulance squad, just as usual. The call we got most recently was complicated by a few things:
1. the temperature- it was about 10 degrees out.
2. the fact that we werent precisely sure where the hell the address WAS, as it was a made-up road, named only because 911 needed a road name.
3. the 'house' was actually a WAY sub-code former barn with holes in the floor
4. the patient couldn't stand up or walk, nor could he lie down, due to emphysema.

The patient was having an emphysema problem...but also probable H1N1. So he couldn't lie down, or face not breathing. On the other hand, since he had taken about 15 ampules of albuterol over the day to try to fix his breathing...he couldn't walk. So it took 4 firemen, plus our 4 person crew to get him out to the truck.

Just another nice "warm" day in the far far north.


Friday, December 4, 2009


Last night i worked the 18 hour overnight on the campus EMT squad again. We only had two calls, but they managed to keep us awake for most of the night. First call came in at 2 AM. We had tucked ourselves in around midnight, having remained up until then because we were anticipating a frat formal getting out around that time, and being dragged out of a bed you've JUST climbed into is awful.

Contestant Number 1 was a drunk young man, who consumed the traditional "two beers", prior to apparently CRAWLING up the stairs to his dorm. He wasn't THAT drunk, so I got a refusal from the doc at the LocalHospital, which allowed us to let him go off to bed...and probly get cited for drinking.

We got back to the squad room, only to find what one crewmate described as "a caterpillar as big as a mouse"- the woolly kind. This elicited everyone standing on chairs until somebody picked it up and put it outside. The giggling kept us all awake for about half an hour.

Contestant Number 2 was also drunk, and the call came in at about 315. THIS winner had somehow fallen and smacked his head on a curb, and got a quite impressive 10cm lac to his occipital region. We found him in his room, with his roommate holding a teeshirt to his head to stop the bleeding. My instincts said he was probly fine (aside from the lac- i swear i saw bone in there), but on exam I found horizontal nystagmus...and a three hour time lapse in his memory.

For these findings, plus the fact that the fall was unwitnessed, he won a middle-of-the-night trip to Downtown Philadelphia to a Trauma Center!! This would have been fine, except that on the way back, at 415 in the morning, we got lost. And I didn't get to sleep until 5 am, then got BACK up at 10 to do my reports.

I feel like i've been beaten with noodles.