26 December 2007

He has a what?!?

He had a pulse folks. Un-freaking-believable. I was beginning to think that the whole "CPR saves" mantra was solely effective marketing by the AHA. Blah-blah-early CPR-blah-blah. I was finally on a call with a patient who went from asystole back to a perfusing rhythm.

The Asian, the stu' and myself were dispatched for a cardiac arrest. Nothing like that dispatch to put a spring in the step of a stu; he nearly ran to the truck. Workable arrests are highly prized for paramedic students because it gives them the opportunity to practice a number of skills and have procedures checked off their list all in one fell swoop. The usual review of what equipment to take in and our division of responsibilities happened on the ride over. Update enroute with CPR in progress.

On arrival, we find out CPR had been in progress from pretty much the moment the arrest happened because there was an off-duty city FF on scene. The engine crew took over when they got there, no shock advised on the AED and they had a good combitube airway, so this patient was getting everything he should be and mighty fast. Our stu dropped an ETT, I got the IV and the first round of drugs into the patient, patient on to a backboard, onto the stretcher and out to the truck. Transport initiated within 10 minutes. More drugs and an IO enroute and just as we're pulling into the hospital parking lot, he has a pulse.

I get to the back doors to help pull the stretcher out and am surprised to hear the good news. We roll the patient inside and The Asian starts giving report as the rest of us are working on moving the patient into the hospital bed. I look up and see a nurse doing chest compressions and loudly state that our patient has a pulse because clearly she missed that part. Thankfully she only got in 3 or 4 before I stopped her, CPR on a living person is not so good for them. Doc gave us the thumbs up for the good work. Update before the end of shift (6 hours) was that patient was in the ICU and had actually opened his eyes at one point. I haven't been able to check in again to find out whether he had any brain injury from the arrest, but as far as I know, he's still alive.

24 December 2007

Open letter

Dear admissions offices,

I recognize that crushing people's hopes and dreams is just part of the daily routine for your office, but I request that you have a little bit more consideration as to when it happens. Applicants all want quick decisions so they know what to plan and prepare for. I would just like to ask that you please not send rejection letters on Christmas Eve.

I'm not a particularly religious person and I don't always get to spend the holidays with my family, but that doesn't mean that I would like my Christmas celebration ruined (two years in a row) by feeling worthless and depressed about not being accepted to your program. Obviously, I think you have a good program that would be worth going hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to attend. Please just wait to destroy my self-worth until after the holidays. I propose that you not send rejections between December 23 and 27.

Thank you for your consideration.


19 December 2007

Kitchen update

Okay, I was going to post some more pictures, but if you get to the end of the slide show, you see where the camera gave out. Good news is that it is a known problem for Cannon and they are going to fix my camera, no charge! (M&D - if yours is still hanging around, they'd fix it too.) Bad news is that now you have to wait to see pics, although I may try a few with the camera on my phone and see if they look reasonable enough.

Verbal update, all the cabinets are out, sink is out. All drywall will be finished hanging tomorrow (needs two of us to lift some remaining pieces). Plan is for first coat of mud/tape finished Saturday, hopefully second coat on Sunday/Monday. After that, primer + texture + paint ceiling, replace the rotted piece of subfloor which was under the sink, and on to tile! No timeline yet for finishing, too much left to do and too many variables for work that will take two of us vs. work that can be accomplished with only one home and all the conflicting schedules.

Re: feedback on the format not lining up properly in IE - I tried changing some of the widths and nothing seems to make Exploder happy. Try Firefox.

18 December 2007


Sometimes patients say hilarious things. Sometimes the entertainment comes from somebody else on scene. The Asian had the misfortune to be the source of this story, and I will now tell it to anyone in the station who hasn't heard it - every time he gets on my case for something. Dirt is good.

On scene with PD and an extremely intoxicated "psych problem". Eventually we get the patient heading down the stairs, The Asian in front and me behind. On the way down, The Asian asks how much the patient has had to drink. Patient replies (every one in the field knows this answer!), "Two." "Two what? Beers? Cases?" PD comments that the patient prefers vodka. Patient answers, "Fifths."

Asian decides to be funny, "Two fifths?! Why didn't you just drink the whole thing?"

Upon realizing that he honestly doesn't realize that two fifths means two whole containers of vodka (The Asian doesn't drink), I try to contain my giggling while explaining what the patient meant. PD wasn't quite so polite at containing the guffaws. Later, I find myself additionally amused that my partner really thought the patient could do math in that intoxicated condition.

10 December 2007

Sanity, stage left

Wait, is that my left or your left? I don't see it over here, maybe I left it over there? Under that? "Honey! Did you move my stuff!?!" Crap, it's gone. Sob. I know it's here somewhere, but I don't know if I'm ever going to see it again.

One of the fundamental tensions in our house is my stress-related cleaning and K's need to have everything laying out everywhere. The long-term compromise solution has been that he will keep stuff in "piles" and I will try not to move the piles too far. Anything not in a pile is fair game for being put "away" in a place of my choosing. I try to put things away in the same place, but sometimes I forget that last time I put that mystery box in his bedroom closet and the time before I put it in the coat closet.

K believes this rule null and void during construction projects, and if you asked him, it probably just shouldn't apply to tools at all. So, every minute I'm home, I have to step over tools, around broken cabinets with sharp nails and splintered wood and try and keep a running tally of where (across 5 rooms) we put everything that used to be organized in the kitchen. I made a trip to the dump the other day and managed to throw away at least 3 things he "wanted to keep" or "could put back together". I'm not to clean anything. Watson can't even play because there is no room to throw a toy. Cabinets are supposed to come tomorrow and I don't even know where we are going to put them.

K did not appreciate my attempt at humor when he excavated his ski patrol equipment from a hidey-hole and offered "if there's anything you don't need for a while, I made some room" and I suggested that he wouldn't fit in there.

04 December 2007

Monday night

With a room full of NE Patriots fans, I was up rather late for MNF anyway and crashed in bed for about an hour before the call went out. One of the ambulances was being dispatched as part of a second alarm on a house fire. Less than 15 minutes later (0240), ZM and I were being dispatched to the same fire.

On scene, we were sent to post near the engines so there would be staff and equipment (but not the truck!!) nearby in case they found the resident still unaccounted for or in case there was a FF injury. Yesterday was also our first big snow, over 6" in the city, with temperatures dropping to the low teens overnight. While we were standing outside. Eventually, we were on 15 minute shifts with the other ambulance staff so nobody would freeze to the sidewalk.

I think the photos tell the story of the FD work better than I could, but not too much left of the house when our relief got to us at 0740. Rumor was that the 15 cords of wood in the basement made the excavator necessary to knock down enough walls so they could reach the basement. Final word on the missing resident was a fatality after he returned to the basement for something he would not leave without. All FFs were coated in a thick layer of ice and seemed to be enjoying themselves. The most helpful we were was ferrying an engine crew back to their station. Otherwise it was 5 hours of freezing boredom, and a free donut and hot chocolate from the Red Cross around 0645.

01 December 2007

In the beginning...

...there was a kitchen. An older, dirty, but functional kitchen. Then an alien mind-control device, contagious psychosis, or some other unexplained phenomenon took over our house. Suddenly, making the kitchen less old, less dirty, and more functional seemed like a good idea. Weeks, perhaps months, of being nearly unable to cook or eat in my own house. "A minor inconvenience." An extended period of dust, dirt, debris accompanied by hammering, sawing and all manners of loud noises. "Sufferable."

Now, staring at bare insulation, naked wire, raw wood, and empty cupboards, I'm beginning to feel as though my period of temporary insanity needs to be extended into purposeful amnesia so I don't have to remember any of this. But I will post pics for you all to enjoy, click on the caption box at the bottom to see the dates and descriptions on the photos.