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EMS: Making Messes and Taking naps

Posted Nov 06 2008 11:41pm

I started out Monday morning so early that sleeping in until 7 the next day sounded awesome. As I was driving along to this far away clinical, the sun was coming up, the road signs became keystone shaped, and all I could think was “why are there so many people driving at this unholy hour?”
It was like a mini road trip except too short to stop and eat, too early or too late to do something impulsive and fun, and I was by myself.
The clinical itself was pretty good. The ‘white cloud’ gods didn’t realize I was there until about 10 am, so I got to run a few calls before they stopped coming in completely. I was on an ALS chase car, hospital based system. Upgrading to ALS is nice as the patient is usually already packaged, and histories, allergies, and med lists are already obtained, sweet!
We had an asthma attack and a guy who ate a whole bottle of vicodin.
The preceptors there are pretty cool as they really do sit back and let you go at it, intervening only if you’re about to kill the patient. (“Time to suck out your vitreous humor…”)

Then, for the last 9 hours of the shift, I did…um...well, I did discover the one downfall of this clinical site: no good places to sleep. Usually, at a firehouse setting, for instance, when I think “I feel a nap coming on.” I can go find a cushy chair in front of the TV and practice my ‘napping on demand’. Here, I was confined to some desk chairs: not conducive for sleep. Oh well.

In contrast, today was a busy day with chest pain, near syncope, crazy, a very lucky motorcyclist, and an overdose.
We had a call for an MVC with an unconscious person. It turned out that their car hadn’t hit anything, but one of its occupants may have taken a hit of something. When we arrived, he was breathing about 6 per minute, and the BLS crew had begun to bag him. We put him in the ambulance, and while I started an IV, my preceptor gave him Narcan (reverses heroin OD) via a nasal mister. Basically, it’s taking Narcan and spraying it up his nose. (yes, it is as funny as it sounds.)
While I was all up in his veins’ business, I realized that when it comes down to it, the awesomeness of EMS is in making a mess. Opening packages up, squirting saline, wielding needles, spiking bags, throwing stuff on the floor, shouting “sharp!” …what bliss.
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