Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Crazy calls

Just when you think you've seen everything a new experience comes along to "shake you up". And I mean that literally! So we respond to unconscious/unresponsive call which can sometimes mean cardiac arrest. We gearing ourselves up for maximum effort and arrive on location to find a fully conscious patient who denies any complaint. Family assures us that the patient was not breathing and had no pulse; and this time the family seems reputable with their knowledge. A little assessment and a little convincing and the patient is loaded up in the ambulance. Not a few minutes later the patient experiences a pacemaker failure. No major physical symptoms but the heart rhythm is a major abnormal rhythm which is a couple steps away from death.

Now as if this wasn't interesting enough, right? Suddenly the ambulance starts bucking like the proverbial bronco. WTF? The patient complains how awful the ride is and I quote "They shouldn't allow these on the road!" I'm bouncing around so violently that I can barely administer care, my boobs are being whiplashed (not fun!) and I feel a part of my spinal column in my neck jar badly! I realize that not only is this bad professionally but I'm minutes away from a compression fracture in one of my vertebrae.

So I get on the radio and make an executive decision. Another unit nearby is in service and I have them meet us down the road and we quickly switch the patient and necessary equipment into the functioning unit and skeedatle onto the hospital. Which was a really good decision because the patient became severely altered a few minutes later, we started heart pacing but unconsciousness soon followed and the patient was intubated later at the hospital.

Our malfunctioning truck showed up at the hospital about 10 minutes after us. The air ride shock system failed in our usual truck which creates a very, VERY, rough ride!

Early the next morning we're called for the flu, of course! Upon arrival we load the patient on the stretcher and the patient's spouse demands that a blanket is used to cover the patient who is already, red faced, hot to the touch from fever and bundled in a winter coat. We find out that the patient had stopped taking Tylenol early that day because they were on Tamiflu now (Hint, tamiflu DOESN'T treat fevers just helps kill off the virus causing the flu but nothing for the symptoms, der!) No Tylenol + lots of blankets creating more natural insulation = high fever which is what the patient had 103+ and why they called 911.

I attempt to explain to the spouse that the patient definitely does not need a blanket and that a few minutes of cold air will do the patient lots of good. I try to explain basic science of heat+insulation and the spouse says to me, "Use a blanket! I read an article and....blah, blah" at this point between my sleep deprived zombie state and my utter disregard for his insane advice and decided to shut up, turn away and leave before I strangled him; meanwhile the spouse is still trying to argue with me and repeats behind me "I read an article that said...."

I'm sorry! My paramedic experience trumps your stupid article! And if you know so much:

A) why does your spouse have such a high fever
B) why did you call 911 since you've got it handled

You only called 911 so you wouldn't have to drive and your spouse could be coddled since we're (afterall) morons compared to your EXTENSIVE medical knowledge.

ARGH! BTW, we dropped the spouse off in the waiting room per the hospital direction because there's no cure for the flu!


  1. How frustrating for you Heather! IN your line, you see it all!

  2. Oh yeah, all of it, whoopee...eh, it's all good just makes me grateful that I'm not a moron, lol! Or at least I admit when I'm being a moron!


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