October 2003


http://www.forbes.com/2003/10/28/cx_mh_1028deadcelebmasks.html

If you click through to the ‘Billionares’ link, you can dress like rich folk.

Rozebud, please print an Ellison mask for your ‘are you still working for that whore’ SO… I’m sure he’ll appreciate it.

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Last evening I was riding as an observer in an ambulance on the way to Keene, NH. It was a quiet ride; the patient was not in bad shape, mostly upset, and we were just driving along without lights or sirens. The primary caregiver was a grizzled old EMT-Intermediate. He was getting some additonal patient history on the twenty minute ride; the patient’s condition did not require any active interventions other than monitoring vital signs. The EMT-I noticed that the patient had really cold hands, so he pulled a chemical heat pack out of one of the cabinets. He had a quick look at the instructions… Squeeze to pop the inner bag, shake to mix the contents… Then took the heat pack and squeezed it tightly. He hadn’t read the instructions closely enough to realize that he was only supposed to squeeze the top half of the bag. The outer bag popped and erupted some watery (hopefully non-toxic) chemical all over the inside of the rig. The EMT-I was soaked from hat to pants. The patient’s jacket was wet, I was wet, and even the driver had been sprayed through the little window. There was heat pack stuff everywhere. It was dripping off the ceiling. It was running across the floor. The patient care report was soaked. It seemed like way more fluid than could possibly be in the bag had come out of it, all at once.

Our patient laughed. I was reminded of ‘Curious George Goes to the Hospital’, where George makes a horrible mess but manages to raise the spirits of sad Betsy.

The EMT-I made me trade places with him… He said he needed to make a radio call, but I think he just didn’t want to be sitting on the wet spot under the dripping ceiling. It did gave me the opportunity to practice taking vitals in a moving, noisy truck, and I was already wet, so I guess it was okay.

After we turned over care to the emergency department, the (still wet) EMT-I took me aside and told me sternly, “No one finds out about the heat pack. No one.” He had that look in his eye.

So, last night I decided to go down to Bellows Falls tonight and do some ambulance ride-alongs. About fifteen seconds after I had made up my mind my SAR pager went off. It was for a full team callout but I thought it was a mistake, usually the dog teams go out first. So I went over to the house to make sure my SAR gear was in one place. thinking that in an hour or two the full team would be called out. The team dispatcher phoned and caught me at the house with the news that the full callout was correct. I got my stuff together and drove off to Loon Mountain, on the Kangamagus Highway, arriving around 8:20 pm; too dark to enjoy the leaves. After about thirty minutes of typical search confusion (caused by half-baked interaction between NH Fish and Game, State cops, local cops, local firefighters, local EMTs, New England K9, and Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team) I found my staging area and was quickly sent out on a search team to search the wooded areas around a large resort condo area for a missing kid. We did not find the kid in the search area we had been assigned so returned to the staging area for the next assignment. The team XO was asking around to see who could spend the night (at Loon’s expense) to muster for an 0800 start. I had to decline as I’m usually on call at work from 1000 – 1400. The XO went back into the command post to consult with the Fish and Game search coordinators and give them a status on the morning’s expected counts. He came back out after a while and asked me and another member if we were willing to ‘go for a hike… One hour out and one hour back’. We readily agreed, of course. So, we started hiking to the top of a 3580 foot knob at midnight. It turned out to be more than two hours; we covered 4.6 miles and 2300 feet of elevation gain (and and equal amount of elevation loss, of course) in 6 1/2 hours, arriving back at the command post around 6:30. The hike itself was from hell; we had to move slowly in order to evaluate for signs that the missing kid might have left; foot prints, broken vegetation, scuffed dirt. We had to check ‘attractive’ side trails, and we had to yell for the kid and stop and listen for a response. On top of that, the trail was not maintained and had a large number of blowdowns. We lost the trail numerous times and had to cast around for it. Around 4:30, we summitted, verified the kid was not on the height of land, and started back down. Unfortunately, we did not find either the kid or any promising sign, so our labor only served to rule out an area to search today. I finally made it home this morning around 8:30, without enough time to nap before starting my regularly scheduled conference calls. Needless to say, I’m not riding-along tonight. Maybe Thursday. Oh, and since I left Loon before dawn, I still didn’t get to see the Kanc in color. Hopefully the kid will turn up today.

Hey, I’m still here. My account still works.