Crappy Call

After cleaning up the back after a particularly…uh…crappy call…

Partner: If this next patient poops on the stretcher, I’m going to lose my shit.

P2P: Cool. Then you guys can have a shit-losing contest.

Prediction: The Next Rough Shift

It’s been eerily quie—–erm…..peaceful around these parts lately. Actually, for a disturbingly long amount of time. Some would assume that now would be the time to kick back, relax, watch some good ol’ ‘murican football, and enjoy the down time. But no. These stretches of silence make me uncomfortable. Life is a constant roller coaster of ups and downs…working in EMS is no different. For every prolonged shift of stillness means an interminable ass-kicking shift from hell.

Something like….a blimp and a pack of hang-gliding enthusiasts colliding over downtown. Followed by a cement truck colliding with a dump truck  colliding with a tractor trailer full of Japanese giant hornets. Next, we will have a paraplegic with CHF experiencing fluid overload, stroke-like symptoms, C. diff, and a UTI. We will be called back to that same house an hour later for the man’s cousin, who will have followed up the statement, “Hold my beer and watch this,” by swallowing three D batteries, and losing about 5 watch batteries up his nose. Just as we are making up the cot from that call, a man with a GI bleed will crash into a flock of turkeys…and just when he thinks he’s survived that, he will inevitably hit a deer. Or three. Meanwhile, all of the residents from the local nursing home will finally uprise and escape, taking the streets/fields by storm. Inevitably, in all the fuss, someone on the complete other side of town will call 911 for the man flu.

And that’s just going to be the first half of the shift.

More Quirks of the 911 Gods

Our fire department is unusual in the way that we also do inter-facility transports. This can be as simple as a 10 minute ride from Quaint Community Hospital to Ritzy Retirement Home, or as long as a 6-hour round trip expedition to Out Of State General. Lately, I’ve been doing a number of transfers lately…usually I get called when there is a female BLS transfer (but I have a particular niche for female psych transfers…kindred spirits I suppose 😉 ). For the past few days, I’ve done back-to-back long distance BLS transfers. Mostly, I enjoy transfers. I like building a relationship with patients. When the right chemistry is in place, and you get that right connection with the patient, you can learn some amazing things. More often than not, I walk away from a transfer feeling humbled, and just generally good about myself.

But, of course, there’s the little piece of me that misses doing 911 stuff. For obvious reasons. I didn’t initially go into EMS for the transfers…to be honest, I didn’t really know they existed, or at least they didn’t cross my mind. While I usually enjoy transfers, there’s just something about going into the unknown. About going in, asking the right questions, and putting together the puzzle pieces to get an idea of what’s going on. There’s something sacred about being invited into a stranger’s home, being allowed into their most intimate and often emotional moments. It’s about someone reaching out for help, and being able to grasp their hand and offer your knowledge and understanding. You all know what I mean, I’m sure. You can’t quite put it into words, but you get it on some level.

Anyway, my 911 shifts have been eerily q***t. I would almost go so far as to say they were dull. So when a friend asked if I could cover her for a few hours on her night duty shift, I happily obliged. Of all the times I’ve covered for her, my pager has never once gone off. We laughed when I explained that I was kind of excited to take her shift, seeing how I’ve done nothing but stable transfers lately.

Aaaand there we have it. I really did it this time.

I COULD NOT fall asleep to save my life that night. It was just one of those evenings where your brain will not quiet down, and your left dealing with a swirling, soupy, mess of thoughts–usually negative or stressful. Or like the picture featured here. Anyway, I fell asleep at about 3 am; the time my shift started (we respond from home from the hours of 10 pm to 6 am.) At 3:30, my pager went off. Of course.


My mind during my night duty shift...

My mind during said night duty shift...



So I scramble into warm clothes, grab my keys, and groggily stumble out into the night.

Also, random sidenote: my mother had told me she bought a wreath this year, and she was oh so thrilled with it. I didn’t think much of it at the time, and thought she was going to put it over the mantle. I was wrong. How did I figure this, you ask? I tore open our front door at oh-dark-thirty, rushing to get to my car. And as I opened it, this huge, bushy, scrape-y, scary thing lunged out at me and attacked my face. I frantically clawed at my attacker in the dark. When the panic had subsided, I squinted, trying to get a good look at the fiend. It was the largest, fullest, bushiest wreath I had ever seen, stuck on my front door. Oh, wow. Almost lost my cool there for a second. Thank God nobody saw that…except maybe the squirrels and moose out in the woods.

Anyway. Back to the vengeful 911 gods. (Although I think they’re in cahoots with my mother, Christmas gods, and/or the squirrels and moose in my yard.)

I responded to the station, and we finished the call without much trouble. Sleep is starting to drag at my eyelids, but my mind nagged me, saying, “You have to be up in a few hours for school. Now I’m going to stress you out with the thought of how tired you’re going to be tomorrow, so that way, you’ll get even LESS sleep. Self-fulfilling prophesy. Cool, right?”

So I drive home, listening to the radio. I pull into my driveway, and put the car in park. Just then, this awful beeping sound comes from what I hope is the radio. Oh, 911 gods, please tell me this is a remix of this song, that includes a terrible beeping noise not unlike the sound my pager makes when I have a call.

But, no such luck. I put the car in reverse, back out of my driveway, and head back to the station. And (I’m sure you saw this coming), rinse and repeat one more time. Three near-back-to-backs in a three hour shift.

I wanted my 911 calls. I got my 911 calls. Some would say I should be grateful. But, on my short break between my two 3-hour long lecture classes, I’d say “annoyed/berating myself” is a more accurate depiction of my emotions.


Until next time, stay safe out there, guys! And beware the quirks of the 911 gods.