December 2006


I’m at work at the fire station.

So, Hussein has been put to death. That’s nice. I can’t say I’m too upset about it. I can’t say for certain that I knew who he was before March 17, 1987, but as of that date, I decided he was no good. I mean, we give him all of the precursors a despot could possibly want and how does he repay us?

Bastage.

Anyway, I’ve been increasingly annoyed at the use of the fact that ‘we’ sold Hussein these precursors to somehow condemn the use of force against Iraq or to undermine the case against the swinger himself. Our previous president sold all kinds of nuclear (‘nuculear’) and ballistic technologies to the Red Chinese. So, when the ball goes up over the Straits of Formosa, will we not defend our ally due to our previous commercial relationship with Red China? When Japan receives their third nuclear (‘nuculear’) attack, will we not come to their aid since, after all, the North Koreans received the crucial American technologies through a deliberate sale by the previous administration to the Red Chinese? And when we receive missiles from Cristobal and Balboa, will we not respond in kind since we sold our attackers the means of our destruction (‘Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov!’)? I think not.

Of course, the American companies that aided the Nazis during the run-up to WWII are rarely discussed. I mean, why is it okay to condemn the genocide of the National Socialists when IBM and duPont were major supporters of these actions through sales of products to the Nazi government?

Regardless of whether a given sale contributes to a problem, the problem stands on its own. Shouldn’t it? If I buy you a drink, can I not complain if you choose to drive?

Whatever.

I went to my parent’s house over Christmas with O’s 1 and 2. My sister’s families were there with the exception of my eldest niece and her husband and son.

My eldest nephew was there; I had the privilege to see him in his Corps dress blues. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of him although he’s promised to send some. I hadn’t seen him since he got done at Parris Island so we discussed his boot camp experience among other things. I also had the opportunity to be the first person to call him Gyrene; of course, he was instilled with the proper anti-Navy attitudes during boot but hadn’t been around enough yet to see how the Navy treats the cuddly-but-naive Marines.

My youngest nephew was there; we discussed firefighting. He’s very interested in public safety and had some questions about things. I filled him in as much as possible. He’s been more busy than I have as far as the red trucks go; he’s been constantly battling playground and closet fires while things up here have been quiet. I guess that’s life in the big city. Anyway, he doesn’t seem to have much interest in the white trucks (yet) which is where I get the bulk of my action.

My older sister and I attempted to start IVs on each other while my younger sister watched and took photos. We each missed. I was a little embarassed at my miss (she’s a nursing student while I am a practicing EMT) but she was very happy with it; she said it took the pressure off to see someone with experience miss. A very left-handed compliment, I guess.

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I’ve rehosted this picture to not steal my sister’s blog bandwidth; clicking on the image will take you to her blog, though.

I do feel redeemed after that high-profile miss, though; yesterday I started a line on a dehydrated old-timer. This guy had skin tents on his own without touching him. He’d been expelling everything he ate or drank for several days from both ends. His veins were mostly imaginary. He told me that he was notoriously difficult to get a line in on a good day and showed me the particular 1/4″ stretch of vein on the back of his right hand where caregivers usually strike oil. This vein looked like a thread. I managed to get a 24-gauge catheter in there on the first try; the patient and I were both impressed.

Yesterday was fairly busy; we had the first real snowfall of the year and everyone decided to continue to drive like the pavement was dry. As a result, I went on five motor vehicle crash calls. Four of them were ‘no transports’; one of these was amazing. A woman driving on the interstate rolled her li’l SUV *four times* according to stunned witnesses. The car came to rest upright on the guardrail. She and her dog were absolutely fine, fine, fine; not a mark on either one of them. She was amazingly calm and collected, too; you’d never guess that she’d barely avoided death. She was on her way from some populous place down there to go skiing up north. She said that as a result of the accident, she was not going to tempt fate by skiing this weekend. I had a different take; if it had been me that had miraculously avoided death or dismemberment, I’d be taking advantage of my luck to go skydiving and bungee-jumping.

We did transport a patient from a different accident who had damaged her shoulder and possibly her spine. She had to be transported in spinal immobilization. I happened to be the tech (I trade calls as driver and tech with my partner unless the call requires advanced skills in which case I tech the call). I guess my patient manner skills were doing well yesterday; in the ambulance, the patient told me I was ‘a blessing’ and then told a roomful of people at the emergency department that I was kind, gentle, and that she trusted me. I took a lot of flack from the ED staff and my partner over that but it really made me feel good.

A few weeks ago, Supertech and I went to Lebowskifest in the big greasy apple. There are several Lebowskifests; each is an annual occurance. The main one is in Louisville; the NYC one is considered provincial. The first night was held in a bar in Brooklyn, the second night at a bowling alley in Queens. It was incredibly fun.

By the way, here’s the road I take when I’m angry.

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The first night was hightlighted by a band called Bling Kong. This band was very fun; they had a million people on stage and at times reminded me of the B52s. Three drummers, too.

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At midnight, they showed The Big Lebowski. It was very fun and somewhat like a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. People in costumes would get up on stage at the appropriate times. Everyone (*everyone*) was repeating the dialog.

The second night was really the main event. We bowled five games. Everyone’s score went down over time except mine.

There were many funny costumes, some very obscure.

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These guys were in the lane next to us; they were dressed as the nihilist’s supper. In The Big Lebowski, there is a restaurant scene where one of the supposed kidnappers orders pigs in blankets.

These are friends of Supertech’s. I’ll admit that there was perhaps some alcohol involved.

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I’d never had a White Russian (“Caucasian’) before. They are tasty. I did consume a lot of cheap beer, though, as a pitcher of beer was less expensive than a single Caucasian.

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This is the person who won the costume contest and two random people. At the end of the night, I happened to be standing outside when the contest winner was leaving. Two guys walking down the street unaware of their close proximity to (or, lo, even the very existence of) Lebowskifest started freaking out thinking this guy was really John Goodman. The Walter character did not disabuse them of their misconception. I took a picture of one of them taking a picture of the other one with Walter; the two guys saw me taking the picture and begged me to take their picture together with ‘Mr. Goodman’ with their camera. I did, but then made them let me take their picture with my camera.

Anyway, more Lebowskifest pictures here.

I think that’s it for now.

Thanks to the Register for bringing this ‘user generated content’ to our attention.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/12/20/wikipedia_aphrodites_araldite/

I’ve been pantied.

On Saturday, we were toned for a box alarm at a public building downtown; coincidentally the same building where Santa was doing his thing.

I went out to the apparatus floor and started to get into my gear. My turnout pants and boots were in the compartment on the ambulance where I had placed them the night before after coming on shift.

I pulled my shears out of my EMT pants since they don’t really fit under my turnouts and stepped into my boots. The boots and pants are kept together as a unit; the firefighter steps into the boots and pulls up the pants.

I started to pull the pants up and found them to be tighter than usual. Looking down, I found that someone had put a pair of incontinence mesh pants over my turnouts and buttoned them into the suspenders. This must have taken some time; someone had to have stretched out the turnouts, put the pants over the turnouts, and then placed the turnout pants back down around the boots so the mesh pants didn’t show. I hadn’t noticed anything when I took the turnouts out of my locker and put them in the ambulance the night before.

Conveniently the shears were right on the floor next to me; I cut off the mesh pants in a jiffy and so was not forced to go on the call wearing them. As it turns out, the alarm was from a faulty smoke detector.

No one has taken credit. The person who was the target of the leaf incident claims it wasn’t him and that whatever he has planned is way more severe.

Speaking of the person who was the target of the leaf incident, the lieutenant who was the apparently-obvious perpetrator of the prank became very defensive. This person found someone who was driving by the department on the night in question and who apparently saw someone carrying a bag of leaves across the parking lot. This lieutenant won’t divulge his source other than to say that it is someone else in the department and that the apparent leaf-carrier was, well, me. The lieutenant, fearing the retribution of the leafed lieutenant, dropped the dime on me. I still haven’t directly admitted involvement but I suppose it’s an open secret at this point. Of course, I haven’t squealed on the other participants (if any).

I’ve told the rat lieutenant that it is in his best interests to tell me who the stoolie was.

We got a tone to go over to a nursing home to transfer a patient to the ED ‘for evaluation’. Mrs. Turquoise and I hopped into the ambulance and off we went.

We pulled up to the nursing home and went in. The nicest part of this nursing home is grim; our patient was in back, in the locked part where they keep wanderers.

We were buzzed through the door and into the locked-down dayroom. Vacant slack-jawed humans were propped in various seats around the room. Each was wearing a small electronic device tied by a string to the seat they were seated on; apparently alarmed in case of unauthorized movement.

In the distance, a hoarse voice screamed over and over.

We were ushered into a patient’s room. A woman was lying supine on the bed. She was visibly having difficulty breathing; we could hear her gurgling from the door and she writhed as she tried to get a good breath.

“She’s been like this since Thursday,” the nurse said. Two days before.

“We haven’t been giving her oxygen because of COPD.”

EMS staffers tend to not have a high degree of respect for the skills of nursing home caregivers. I’d been in the room for fifteen seconds and was already mad.

“Any history?” I asked the nurse.

“Hypertension, CHF.”

I was outraged. CHF, congestive heart failure, is positional. A supine CHFer starts to drown in the backed-up fluids. A nurse should know that. Any other respiratory insult only compounds the problem.

“Let’s get her on the stretcher and sit her up.”

We moved her quickly. We sat her up and her breathing immediately improved. She was still gurgling but wasn’t having to move her body to try to get air to flow.

The nurse handed me a sheaf of papers while Mrs. Turquoise started to buckle the patient into the stretcher.

A treatment record was on top of the stack of papers. The last entry, eleven hours before, was for an albuterol nebulizer.

“She hasn’t been nebbed since 0300?” I asked, incredulously.

“No, she’s had three since then… I just haven’t updated the paperwork,” the nurse said defensively. “We don’t just call you guys without trying anything.”

I bit my tongue and wrote the times of the previous undocumented nebs on the treatment record.

As we wheeled the patient out of the room, we could hear the screamer still screaming.

We got the patient into the ambulance and got underway.

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