Monday, January 15, 2007

The ice was here, the ice was there, the ice was all around....

At least that's how it seems. The New England states have gotten their first real winter storm, and it's still happening as I write this. We don't have snow, however; we have ice. Lots of ice. I probably have a quarter-inch of it on my car, and the forecast I just heard says that once this all blows out the temperatures will drop with gusty winds to follow.

It's 5:56PM, and the temperature outside my door is 29.1 degrees Farenheit. Right now there is no precipitation falling, but it should start back up as the evening progresses.

I can hardly wait.

Last night working was a little bit different than what I've been seeing. We actually got calls for really sick people (as in ill, not crazy). Actually, our first one was for a dead person - 5:30 last night we got called for a Cardiac Arrest at one of the elderly housing communities in our fair city. When we arrived, the engine company that responded with us was already there and informed us that our patient was a "code 10" - already dead with no chance of rescuscitation. So we went to the apartment where the patient/decedent was located, and sure enough, there was indeed no way we were going to be doing anything for this gentleman. The smell of decomposition was already in the air, plus this man was already in rigor mortis as well as showing advanced signs of dependent lividity. This is where blood pools to the parts of the body closest to the ground. It turns out that I've transported this patient in the past for seizures and for alcohol overdosing. I don't remember his age, but I believe he was in his mid-70's. In this case, all we could do was turn the apartment over to the police officers dispatched to the scene.

Later on we got a call for a person living in a nursing home "having a stroke." When we arrived at the facility, we got sent to the unit where those residents with dementia or diminshed capabilities are living. We found this elderly gentleman surrounded by members of the unit's staff and the firefighters on the engine company. He was vocalizing, yelling incoherently, and he was being combative with the staff. He didn't appear to me to have stroke symptoms as he was able to move both of his arms and legs and he was combative. My first question to the charge nurse was what they got for a blood glucose level, and she told me they were unable to get one because of the patient's current condition. The first thing that went through my mind was, "well, you have enough people that you could restrain him to get one", but I didn't say it. So we moved him to our stretcher and he started hitting my partner with his hands, a blanket, anything he could get hold of. If he weren't so sick, it would've actually been funny, especially because I joke with my partner that he needs to be slapped now and then to keep him in line..... Anyway, we got him on board the ambulance and got vitals, including a blood sugar level, and voila! His was 43. Since we were unable to gain IV access (remember he's still fighting with us, and he hated getting stuck) we had to get his sugar up another way, and oral glucose was out of the question due to the situation. So I gave him 1 milligram of Glucagon by injection (tell me he liked that, too!). He started to come back to the world of the lucid a few minutes after that. I didn't get to re-check his sugar because by the time this was all done we were at the hospital. But I suspect he got more of the same, in terms of treatment.

Our other calls included woman with a seisure history having one and her father had an anxiety attack while we were there, so I asked for help from another unit, another diabetic (he reminded me of Little Richard in the Geico ads - "mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce! WOOOOOO!!!!!"), and at 5:00 this morning a priority 2 call for a "sick person" which turned out to be a young guy (31 years old) having chest pain. He was a big guy, too - bigger than me - and my partner said to me as I'm calling for an engine company to help us, "we can do this ourselves." Yeah, right. Did that with a big guy once before and I ended up out of work for a month. I don't think so.

All in all, it was an interesting shift. It's days like this that I wake up for, and I think most of us will agree that it's more interesting to get lots of work than not, even if it interrupts one's sleep. I was in bed from about 10:00 this morning until 3:30, and I suspect I'll be back there soon. I'm working at 7:00 tomorrow morning, and depending the status of the ice I think I'll be doing sculpting to my car.

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