Friday, August 28, 2009

The Things You Hear

A lot of people ask paramedics "what's the grossest thing you've seen?" And of course they want to hear stuff that you'd see in a Hollywood movie. Yes we do see some gory and gruesome stuff. We are also part of some very heart-wrenching stories that hit close to home - as witnessed in recent headlines ( One of the most entertaining things about our job are the things we hear; and even the calls we respond to. We had one elderly lady who was experiencing chest pain and needed her heart to be monitored with an ECG. The paramedic who was placing the sticky electrodes on her chest told the patient she needed to place some under her breast and to excuse her reach. The lady, unabashed said, "well that will be the most my breast has been touched in a long time." Let me tell you how hard it is to continue in a professional manner while treating this patient for a serious condition- all the time trying not to burst out laughing. Yesterday I was treating a 94 year old lady who was as sharp as a tack. She was very healthy and very witty...always having something funny to say. When we were moving her to the stretcher she said she needed to make some "noise". Thinking she had to burp, we told her to go ahead and do what she needed to do. She says "I'm afraid of the smell it will make. They call me Mrs. FARTington around here". Again, hard to hide the laughter with remarks like that. Having to deal with the horrific and difficult calls are surely easier to deal with when you have patients like that to make you chuckle.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Driving Lessons

Are all drivers in Vancouver so lazy that they can't stop for a red right? Or perhaps they're in too much of a rush to get somewhere? Maybe they just don't have any regard for their safety and those around them. Drive anywhere in the Lower Mainland and you can count a multitude of inconsiderate drivers blowing through red lights. And to make life interesting you have the other absentminded drivers who go through the green light without looking and almost crashing into the red light runner. As a Paramedic we see our fair share of crashes; from the minor fender benders in the grocery store parking lot to the high speed highway crashes. All come with their fair share of challenges. Recently we treated a patient who needed to go to the hospital with a Code 3 response (lights and sirens). We explained to the family what was happening and gave them directions to the hospital we would be attending. So the family jumps into their car and proceeds to follow us at the same speed trailing our ambulance by about twenty feet. Of course, he did put on his four-way flashers, which makes it perfectly acceptable. The kicker came when "we" approached a congested intersection and I had to take the ambulance into oncoming traffic against a red light- and looking into my rear view mirror I saw the family vehicle still following us; against oncoming traffic and a red light!! It was at this point that I had to pull over the ambulance, walk back to the vehicle and explain "politely" that you can't drive like that- EVER! And we wonder why our vehicle insurance is so high?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day One

I did a lot of research and it seems there aren't a lot of professional Paramedics in North America that are blogging about their experiences. I once told my wife after sharing a particularly funny story from work that I should write a book with the weird, wonderful and sometimes unbelievable stuff I see and hear at work. So I thought I'd delve into the world of blogging and see where it leads.

I am on my days off right now and once I get this setup I will return to enlighten and entertain you.