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My EMS Day

Journal Entry: Sun Jun 3, 2012, 11:35 PM
If any one thing can be said about emergency medicine, it's that things are never dull.

Okay, I'll admit – I have those days where I get to the squad for my most common shift – 11pm to 7am – and I kind of dread having to work because I know I'll spend the first hour doing station chores and then I'll probably spend the rest of the night doing absolutely nothing because there won't be any calls and just about every TV station we get on the big flat screen in our hang-out room stops its cable programming at 3am. And then there are days that are just interesting.

This past Thursday night, I headed to the squad for my shift. I'd been scheduled to work a 16-hour shift, from 11pm until 3pm the next day, and I wasn't particularly looking forward to those long hours because I knew I'd likely not get any sleep between the end of my shift and my weekly Civil Air Patrol meeting that evening. However, I'd planned ahead and brought my pillow from home. We do have dorm rooms – one for males and one for females – and they are stocked with pillows and blankets, but I find I just sleep better on my own pillow. (On a side note, the makers of the MyPillow aren't kidding when they say it's guaranteed to be the most comfortable pillow. And you should all go out and buy one!)

I got to the squad about an hour or so early, which is pretty routine for me because it allows me to get my station chores done before my shift actually starts, which means I don't have to worry about getting interrupted by a call mid-chores and it also generally means I get a fair number of chores done before my partner gets there, so I can knock out the ones I feel like doing and leave him/her the rest. (And no, I'm not mean about it – I'm not the asshole who always leaves them the yucky chores.)

At any rate, I got my stuff done and then curled up with my pillow around 3am. It turned out to be a really slow night without a single call, which means I actually got a couple of hours of sleep before my driver woke me up to let me know that the next shift's paramedic had arrived and I needed to get up and get my morning shift chores done.

On the 7am to 3pm shift, I was paired with CW, a paramedic at our squad, which means that I was going to be the driver for any ALS calls but the medic for all the BLS calls. That usually works out okay, except I'm a new driver, so I still need some guidance when backing the rig up, especially when backing it into the ambulance bay. (The latter is made especially hard by the fact that the driveway isn't parallel to the bays, so it feels like you're backing in at a very strange angle.)

CW and I each set about our individual chores – he did the peds bag checks and monitor checks, I got started on the driver's checks on the ambulances. It wasn't long into that that we got our first call out to Next Village Over, which has its own department but it's all-volunteer and doesn't often have people available. We headed out there, to a diabetic call, and took the patient to the hospital. No sooner had we sat down at the hospital for CW to write his PCR than we got another call, this one out to a place where I'd been before. I have to admit, I kinda had a lot of fun tearing down that road with lights and sirens. I may actually start to enjoy driving the ambulance after all.

While we were at the hospital after that call, and I was waiting for CW to finish writing his PCR, one of the nurses let us know they were going to have a transport out to Big City in about an hour. When we have a transport, it means one of our three ambulances will be gone for about three hours. Most of the time, the driver from the duty crew is required to go on the transport while the EMT stays back in case another call comes in. (If another call comes in, the EMT that stayed back pages out for a driver, who usually arrives within a few minutes.) In this case, the transport was going to be an ALS transport, which means that another driver would come in and go with CW while I stayed back at the squad.

When we got back to the squad, PB, one of our drivers, came in to take the trip to Syracuse with CW, and JC, another one of the EMTs, who'd stopped by to pick up last week's paycheck since he'd just come back from vacation in North Carolina, told me he'd be just down the road having lunch with his wife, so if another call came in, he'd be the driver. I stayed back at the squad, seriously keeping my fingers crossed we wouldn't get a call or, if we did, that it would be something minor.

A couple of minutes into checking my email, the pagers went off … of course … for an "unknown problem" call. I paged out for a driver and JC got there about a minute later and we headed out. This place was on a very small back road and JC told me they'd been paged out to that location previously and disregarded. Something about the resident at that location having a Life Alert-type subscription that caused us to be paged out when they left the property without letting that monitoring company know.

As we were racing down the road, I saw a dead deer by the side of the road and pointed that out to my partner … well, I went all "Aww… it's just a little baby!" when I saw the white spots.

We got to the home and found that one of the Sheriff's deputies was already on the scene, which isn't unusual when we're paged out for unknown problems. He said that he'd entered the home through an unlocked door and hadn't found the resident, but we'd all go and look again. JC and the deputy went through the outbuildings and looked around the house and I went inside, checking to make sure they hadn't fallen off the bed, or in the shower, or down the basement stairs. Our search turned up about thirty-something cats and two Pomeranians (one friendly and one growly) but no patient, so with the deputy's blessing, we called back in service and headed back the way we came.

As we're driving back on that little single-lane road, my partner decides to pull over and look at the dead deer. He stopped the ambulance, looked out his driver's side window, and said, "It's just a tiny little thing." And then he said, "Aw… crap … and it's still alive, too." He pulled the ambulance onto the shoulder and turned on the lights so we'd be seen, and then we both got out to take a look at the fawn.

The fawn laying by the side of the road was quite wet and there was a bit of blood around its belly and hind legs, but when it started to flop its head, we saw that it's skull had been split open above its left eye. I suggested that we should put it out of its misery since there wasn't anything we were going to be able to do for it, and JC said that we'd need to call police and have them come out and dispatch the deer since we'd get in trouble if we did it ourselves. Fair enough. JC called to dispatch and asked them to send a patrol, and we stood there and waited.

As we were standing there, I pointed all the car debris out that was scattered on the shoulder both on our side of the road and on the other side of the road, including what seemed to be most of a headlight assembly. That seemed like an awful lot of car parts for having hit such a tiny little deer and there wasn't that much damage to the deer, either, so we started looking around for signs of other deer … like the little one's mother.

The first thing we noticed was a pile of white-ish skin-like material by the side of the road and then a trail of flattened grass down into the ditch by the side of the road. I stepped down the berm a bit and spotted momma deer, who'd been cut clear in half (it seemed) by the vehicle that had hit her. I relayed what I was seeing to JC. Then I stepped a little around for a closer look and saw that there was another fawn, curled into a ball, behind momma deer … and it was moving.

I told JC and we both tried to get to a good vantage point to see whether this one was hurt as well. After dancing around for a bit, trying to get a look but not go down there all the way and scare it, we figured that the little one looked quite wet, but didn't look like it was hurt. It was curled up but watching us. I suggested we go try to wrap it up in a blanket and see if it's hurt. JC said that deer kick and their little hooves are really sharp, but the longer he stood there looking at the little fawn, the more it was tugging at his heartstrings because he eventually said, "Hand me some gloves and a blanket" and went down there to pick it up.

JC came back up the berm holding a blanket-bundle of fawn that consisted mostly of very long legs. He sat it down by the side of the road and looked at it. The fawn obviously looked terrified. I suggested we look if it was hurt, so JC stood it up onto its legs, explaining that, if they don't learn to stand right away, they'll never learn how to walk. (I have a hard time believing that.) Immediately, the fawn tried to make off across the road, so JC grabbed it again and wrapped it back in the blanket.

Since we were now standing there, waiting for a patrol to come and shoot the injured fawn and we were still holding a live, uninjured fawn we had no idea what to do with, I whipped out my phone and called my local vet to see if we could bring it in or if they knew what to do with it. They wouldn't take it, they said, but they gave me the number for a different vet clinic in Next Bigger City, which has on its staff a wildlife rehabilitation specialist. I called them and they said to bring the fawn in as quickly as possible but understood we couldn't put it into the ambulance and drive it over there, being that we were technically still the duty crew until 3 o'clock and weren't supposed to have a deer in the ambulance in the first place.

JC then called both his grandpa, who knows a lot about wildlife, and his wife, and both eventually showed up and met us on the scene. Grandpa looked at the dying deer and the live deer, and offered that you can't keep a deer as a pet. JC's wife took the bundled-up deer back to the rescue squad for us. Shortly thereafter, the patrol also arrived – the same officer we'd been at the last call location with! – and dispatched the dead deer with a pistol round. After signing some paperwork for the Sheriff's office, we headed back to the rescue squad where we were met by a spunky little deer trying to get a feel for its spindly, goofy legs.

JC called the wildlife specialist to let him know he'd be bringing the little deer to them that afternoon but that it needed to wait until the next shift came in to relieve us, and asked them if it would be okay for us to try and feed it some milk. They said it was, so I went to the corner store to get a small carton of milk. The only thing they had was Half-and-Half, but I figured that's better than nothing.

As I got back to the squad, JC's dad had gotten there and brought us a rubber nipple from the batch he uses to feed baby goats, and he helped us put together a bottle for the fawn – now named Chance by JC – from an empty plastic water bottle. We filled it half with Half-and-Half and half with warm water, and then got the nipple onto it. Getting the deer to drink the mixture from the bottle proved to be a little more of a challenge.

After some attempts to push the nipple toward its nose, hoping it would smell the milk and start to try and suckle, JC wrapped the deer up in a blanket and I opened its mouth with one hand (thanks to much practice getting bridles onto horses!) and shoved the nipple in with the other, squeezing the bottle in the process. I figured, if any milk goes down the deer's throat, it'll either start sucking on its own, or it'll at least get something in its tummy. (Plan B would have involved O2 tubing straight down the throat … I've seen this done with cattle but never attempted it myself.) After getting the deer to suckle on the nipple and get some milk, we put it back down and let it explore. The deer was following either JC or myself, making meow-like sounds whenever it couldn't see one of us.

Around this time, RJ (one of our drivers) got there and didn't even bat an eye about a little deer running around the station. Then S, the local police officer, stopped in for some call times and was pretty surprised to find a little deer. He tried to take its picture but the deer kept running to him. S hung out for a while to try and photograph the deer and to pet it, and eventually MC got to the squad as well and both JC and I were officially off duty.

Around 4:30, JC put the little deer in his car and he and his wife took it down to the wildlife rehab specialist who promised that we could call for updates and explained that once the deer was bigger, they would most likely release it back into the wild near where it was found. (JC tried convincing them it was found near the road his dad lives on … lol … not sure if he was successful but I guess we'll find out.

Well, it was an adventure.

And, seriously, when do you ever get a chance of playing with a tiny little deer?! I did learn a few things about them. For example, their eyes are blue when they are born and they also have some little baby teeth on the bottom of their jaw. They also poop. Unlike big deer poop, baby deer poop is yellow and runny and really quite disgusting. Oh, and deer have no traction on ambulance bay flooring. They're also very soft and extremely curious and just all kinds of adorable.


Journal Entry: Wed May 16, 2012, 9:18 PM
Alright, I'm not one to squee out loud, but I'm squee-ing tonight because this is totally and utterly squee-worthy - DeviantArt is finally, finally allowing users to change their user names!

:squee: :squee: :squee:

You guys have no idea just how long I've been waiting for a chance to change my user name to something that would represent me better than LeniR. I'd originally picked the user name because of some Real World drama that had followed me to my previous account (witchmedic) and I wound up deleting everything from that account and making this one, choosing a user name that would be impossible for them to guess. In the process, I lost a lot of my work that I didn't have backed up, as well as most of my followers, but it's okay ... I was trying to move on and get away from the drama.

But the choice of user name has always bugged me some. I've been considering just starting a new account, but I've had a subscription and I have over a thousand deviations, so I decided it would be easier to just deal with having an "ugly" user name than to move everything and buy another membership.

Needless to say, the ability to change my user name that's available now is making me all sorts of deliriously happy. For those wondering, Mauser*Girl is a nickname I got at the local shooting range when I lived in Virginia, because I have (and shoot) several Mauser K98 rifles. I also use this user name on Tumblr and Instagram. (Hint, hint.)

:squee: :squee: :squee:

Some folks...

Journal Entry: Thu Apr 26, 2012, 3:04 AM
Lucky me, I am working a 24 hour shift, because nothing says safety in Emergency Medicine like getting absolutely no sleep for extended periods of time, right?

I'm on the last hour (fifty-eight minutes to go as of this sentence) of my twenty-four hours and I'm incredibly awake, which is surprising because I don't drink coffee, although I've had about eight pieces of Rockstar chewing gum, three Vitamin waters and some chocolate. And lots of calls - a total of seven today, most of them back-to-back with long periods of nothing in between.

So, anyway ...

As an EMT, and especially as a new EMT, you sometimes find yourself in a situation where your mind has suddenly and mysteriously gone blank and you're not really sure what you're doing ... until those synapses start firing again and you get right back on track. Generally, this only takes a few seconds or an interjection from your fellow EMT to jog your memory, but occasionally you get into a situation where you're second-guessing yourself or otherwise make yourself look like you've got no clue what you're doing. It happens to everyone at least once.

And then you get that patient where you swear they're just waiting for that chance to make you look clueless. I've had a few of those in the past couple of months and sometimes you really wonder what in the heck is going on there. My favorite are those patients who, when you ask them several times if they have any cardiac history, staunchly swear up and down that they have never had a heart problem in their lives, only to tell the nurse in the emergency room they've had a heart attack two years ago. How does this happen?

The other day, we took a middle-aged gentleman in for what he believed to be a broken ankle. When we got to the scene - his house, which was inconveniently located in the very middle of Bumfuck, Egypt - the patient was sitting on one of those walkers with a seat you see a lot of elderly people use. He had one ankle in a cast - that one was obviously broken - and the other one was swollen up. Apparently, he'd been at his doctor's office that afternoon for a follow-up on his broken ankle when he fell on his crutches. Of course, he couldn't just seek help then ... he needed to wait until three in the morning.

So this patient gives me his "what happened" and mentions, "I've had the surgery on this one done in *Next Bigger City* and they'll probably want to see me there for this one, too, if it's broken." "Okay," I said. "We're going to take you to *Small Town* hospital to get an X-ray and if it's broken they'll probably send you to *Next Bigger City* hospital." Easy enough, right? The patient had no complaints the whole way to the hospital except pain, which is something I can do little about being that I'm not a Paramedic, but the second he got situated in the ER, he tells the nurse, "I told them I wanted them to take me to *Next Bigger City* hospital. Except, of course, he didn't.

I had another one of those today. We drove out quite a ways to provide mutual aid for another squad that had an EMT but no driver for their rig, so we hauled butt out there, about 25 minutes from *Small Town* to *Tiny Little Town* to see this patient who had difficulty breathing. This patient was female and elderly and was very obviously having difficulty breathing, to the point where we could get no answers from her, not even "yes" and "no" ones. We did get history from her husband, put her on O2, and loaded her, trying to make her as comfortable as possible.

This patient had previously had a stroke and had a healed bed sore on her right heel, so we'd propped her ankle up to where the heel didn't touch the stretcher and tried to accommodate her as good as possible. She was able to nod or shake her head to tell us "yes"/"no" and we started heading toward the hospital. I asked this patient approximately five times if she had any pain or discomfort whatsoever. Each time, she gave me a no. I asked if she just had a hard time breathing and she gave me a yes.

About 10 minutes out from the hospital, we interfaced with an ALS rig from *Nearby Army Base* rescue squad, which gave us an EMT-CC, which is New Yorks stupid second Intermediate-level of emergency medicine. Yeah, where most other states have Basic, Intermediate, and Paramedic levels, New York has to have another between Intermediate and Paramedic. So, anyway, this EMT-CC gets on the rig with all of his gear, at which point the patient spontaneously begins breathing normally and starts speaking in short sentences. The first thing she tells him, when he asks her questions, is that her arm and leg hurt a lot and that she's not having any difficulty breathing. *facepalm*

Then our intrepid EMT-CC looks at her leg and tells her we'll be at the hospital in a few minutes, has me take a set of vitals and set up the EKG leads for him, and spends the rest of the drive looking at the monitor. And tells me that "he can tell I'm new at this" because I wasn't able to get a blood pressure manually because I couldn't hear a thing between the patient moaning and the rig bouncing on the back road. At that point, he suggested I could always palpate for a pulse, showing me on himself where I can do so ... excepting when he said "brachial artery" he touched the femoral. (Which I pointed out, of course.) At least it wasn't just me looking dumb.

EMT Entertainment

Journal Entry: Thu Apr 26, 2012, 3:00 AM
I'm afraid I may need to pull an NRB from the airway bag and use up a bottle of O2, because these songs have me in stitches. Go listen. They're in convenient MP3 format, ready for downloading. (For those who don't like country music, tough luck.)

  1. You Respond to Everyone But Me
  2. Haul and Run
  3. Comin or Goin
  4. I'm just Sittin and Waitin
  5. The Cyanotic Blues
  6. Can't Trust This Crew
  7. I'm Damn Proud (to be an EMT)
  8. He dropped on the Line
  9. Intravenous Confusion
  10. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Night
  11. EMS Express

I don't get people ...

Journal Entry: Thu Apr 26, 2012, 2:58 AM
I don't understand people. I really, really don't.

I caught an episode of "Giuliana & Bill" on TV the other night while catching up on my email and I honestly can't wrap my head around the amount of time and money they have spent attempting in-vitro fertilization, going through a miscarriage, and now trying to weigh the pro's and con's of using a surrogate to carry one of the two embryos they have left stored somewhere to term so they can have their baby.

I honestly don't understand how anyone can put this much time and especially this much money into attempting to have one child using their egg and their sperm, when there are literally hundreds of thousands of children just in this country who need homes - and millions in the world who need a mother and father. I just don't understand why adoption is not an option for them.

I know Giuliana talks a lot about how "every woman wants to carry her own baby" and all that (which, I might add, is a load of bollocks because there are plenty of women who don't want a baby), but at what point do you say that this should be about more than combining your egg with your husband's sperm and decide it should be about being parents and raising a good child. Does that child really need to be the product of your genes in order for you, as a parent, to bond with him (or her) and raise them as good people? People with as much money and as many resources as these two could do so much good for a child (or several) that need a family, and here they are, wasting all that money trying to have something that may never happen for them.

Really. I just don't get it.

The other person I don't get is the girl who draws Busty Girl Comics. Well, it's not her or the comic I don't get, it's this response she wrote to a person and posted on her page, which kind of goes back to an earlier rant about how she is feeling sexualized because people have been asking her to divulge her bra size. I'm guessing some of those folks are just plain pervs who are interested in fantasizing about her big boobies, and that a great deal of other folks who've asked the question are girls with big boobies who want to be sure she's actually one of them and not some skinny girl who's just making fun of the big-boobed ones.

I guess the response rankled me a bit ... which is weird because it doesn't affect me, but it bugged me anyway. Maybe this is silly of me, but if your entire site is about tits and the problems you're experiencing with big titties - like not being able to fit any vintage dresses or the issues with shoulder straps on bags - you probably shouldn't be surprised that this makes people curious about the boobies behind the drawings, so to speak, and that those people want to know whether those comics are based on actual experience, or whether you're a skinny girl with A cups having a laugh at the expense of girls with bigger breasts.

I'm actually with the poster who said that she didn't think it was any different than asking how tall she is. If someone were to draw Tall Girl Comics, I'm sure loads of people would ask her how tall she actually is and what it's like being so tall. Of course, some of those folks are likely to be perverts, too ... some folks are into tall chicks and can see that as a sexual thing, too.

But, actually, what bugged me most was the first sentence - "This is a professional blog for me and I don't feel like personal questions like that are appropriate here." Maybe it's just me (and the fact that I don't get people, as I've been explaining), but I'm pretty sure the blog stopped being personal as soon as she started bitching about how her friends call her BLT (Big Luscious Tits) and using cartoon gif's as emoticons on every post.

For the record, I'm a 36DD. And I don't think that's any more personal than saying I'm 5'5" (which is also true). I also don't think giving someone a silly number like that "sexualizes" you in any way, nor does it "objectify" you in any way. But what do I know. Obviously, I don't "get" people.

Good and Bad are pretty close

Journal Entry: Wed Apr 18, 2012, 2:15 AM
I learned tonight that right decisions and wrong decisions are pretty darn close together, especially in Emergency Medicine.

We were paged out around two-thirty in the morning to an elderly gentleman who reported having difficulty breathing. This is a pretty common call for us, especially with the elderly, and much of the time, it's related to a condition such as COPD that makes them normally have a hard time breathing.

We arrived at this call, about four miles from our station, and found the gentleman sitting in his kitchen chair. Now, when you go through EMT classes, they tell you to look for all sorts of things when you have difficulty breathing, like whether the patient is sitting in the tripod position, if you hear obvious breath sounds, if you see the muscles around the chest working. This patient did not fit any of those. He was sitting in the chair, leaning back, and breathing a little shallow but relatively normally. The only thing giving him trouble was that he had to stop and catch his breath mid-sentence, but he was pretty talkative and obviously alert.

There was a first responder on scene who'd taken his blood oxygen level and heart rate with the pulse oxymeter and started him on oxygen, which, the patient said, helped some. He hadn't done any blood pressure yet and obviously hadn't done an assessment.

In the course of my assessment, I learned that the patient had a history of heart conditions, so I started asking him if he'd had any pain or discomfort in the chest, any numbness or tingling, or anything chest-related, really, either that day or recently. He hadn't, he said, but he did have a pacemaker and he'd gone to the hospital with shortness of breath that past weekend and then followed-up with the family doctor on Monday, who'd scheduled him for a sonogram (an echocardiogram, actually) for this afternoon. But he said he'd never had any other issues breathing, no history of COPD, no colds or anything recently. He's not been light-headed or faint or anything except he got up to pee and then felt like he couldn't catch his breath, so he'd sat down and waited for a bit (about half an hour) before calling us.

Being that our patient was doing well and said that the oxygen was helping and his vitals were pretty normal, with blood oxygen being right around 99, we decided to cancel our incoming ALS crew and take him directly to the hospital. Our patient initially didn't want to go until his daughter arrived to stay with his wife (who was still sleeping) who has a lot of different medical conditions. I talked him into going by suggesting one of the first responders stay at the house until the daughter arrived (she was on her way) and he agreed to go. Thankfully, as we were ready to load him into the ambulance, his daughter showed up.

On the ride to the hospital, he tells me he's been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure and, as a side note just before we get there, mentions that he's had some cold sweats and clammy skin earlier in the day, but he's put one of his nitroglycerin patches on and that made him feel better. (He might have mentioned this during one of the three times I asked him about any heart-related issues during my initial assessment *and* my secondary survey ... I wouldn't have cancelled the ALS crew.)

At any rate, we got to the hospital, I gave my report, and the doctor took over. They did their assessment and then wondered why we had cancelled ALS and recommended that any time we find out someone has CHF, we keep ALS coming just in case the patient decides to up and dump on us. (Which, yeah ... is kinda only an option if you know your patient has CHF at some point before you're two minutes from the ER doors.) But the doctor figured it wasn't a big deal since the patient was doing fine. Actually, at this point, the patient was speaking entire sentences without taking breaths and feeling pretty comfortable. He thanked us several times as we made up the stretcher and got our paperwork done, signed the insurance forms, and was just generally up and talking.

We got a call at 0430 this morning from the hospital, asking us whether we had an ALS crew that could take a patient from there to the big hospital in The Big City an hour and a half away for heart surgery. Turns out, our patient went into a heart attack at the ER.

The distance between, "I'm doing much better and am ready to go home" and having a heart attack is very small indeed.

Cut It All Off!

Journal Entry: Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:33 AM
As a general rule, I've noticed that there are only really two times things are busy during my shift, which runs from 11 in the evening until 7 in the morning -> right when I get there and just before it's time to leave. Those seem to be the two times people are out to hurt themselves or others.

The other day, I was bitching that I have yet to get a chance to use my EMT shears to cut someone's clothes off on scene. Well, tonight, I finally got that chance.

I'd been at the squad for about an hour and between myself and my driver, we got a fair bit of the chores done that need to be done around the squad every day. We have a chore chart up on the pin board where we check off the stuff that's been done. Today, I cleaned all of the kitchen cupboards and mopped all of the floors.

Anyway, we were just getting done with our chores except what we couldn't get done - cleaning the front and back of ambulances 1 and 2, which were out on two separate transports to the Big City and its teaching hospital - when we got a call for someone injured in an ATV accident.

I grabbed my stuff and my driver hopped into the rig. I stuck my head in the passenger-side door and asked, "You realize the stretcher is still out back, right?" He' walked right past it, too. At just about this time, with my driver scrambling to get the stretcher in the back and me moving the shop vac that was sitting next to the rig to vacuum the inside, the other two ambulances pulled into the driveway and our Paramedic, K, jumped aboard our rig to go on that call because it had been dispatched as a "broken back."

We raced through the village and out onto the county route to get to where the accident was supposed to have occurred. We started seeing some blue lights in the rear-view and knew some of the fire fighters who'd been alerted were following us. J called me on the phone to let me know he was closest and would meet us on scene. Dispatch also let us know that J was about three minutes from scene since he called them, too.

We got there and literally didn't see a thing. This was on a rural, one-lane road and it was completely dark out, being just before midnight. With our scene lights on, we drove around, looking, turned around, and then saw J pulled over by the side of the road and headed into the field. As we got closer, we saw that J was now holding the patient's head and that the patient was in the best possible position for us to work on him - flat on his back. The ATV ... yeah, smashed to pieces.

The first thing our patient told us is that someone else caused him to run off the road. One of the firefighters suggested he probably hit the road sign. And the driver of a vehicle passing by all of us on the road told us he "heard a crash about half an hour ago." (Well, gee, thanks for looking into that, buddy.)

Our patient was a chubby good ole' boy in his twenties who complained that his back hurt and who was mostly worried about the state of his (wrecked beyond repair) ATV, which, we assured him, he didn't need to worry about right then.

I got to cut his jacket off so we can get at his arms, then we rolled him onto his right side, so K could check out his back. He had a laceration, but that wasn't really anything to write home about - more like "road rash" (or, as the case might be, "grass rash"). We rolled him onto the backboard and start strapping and taping him down. We needed about six people to lift the backboard onto the stretcher with him on it - he wasn't a skinny one! - and then it took four people to get the stretcher to the ambulance. (All-terrain isn't a word we can use to describe these stretchers, that's for sure.)

Once in the rig, I got to cut off the rest of his clothes except his shorts, while K got an IV into his arm because the hospital likes it when we have that ready for them by the time we arrive. I tossed J the blood pressure cuff and put the pulse oxymeter on the patient's hand. M, who's arrived on scene in his truck, checked the patient's pupils and then tossed me the glucometer to get a blood glucose reading as well. Might as well do one of each.

K talked to the doctor at the local ER, who is also our med control doctor, on the phone and he told her to go ahead and cancel the Lifeflight helicopter that dispatch called for since they figured a broken back and possible head injury needed to go to the trauma center an hour and a half away (by ambulance) as soon as possible. Our Doc likes to do trauma - he was an ER doctor in a major city for some time, and before that, a military doctor. We're really lucky to have him. We headed to the hospital with the patient asking about his ATV the whole way there.

Once at the hospital, the Doc gave us some good training while he ran through his assessment of the patient. He showed us how to read the bedside ultrasound that shows the patient's internal organs all seemed intact and there was no bleeding. He went over the X-rays with us and showed us what we're looking at, what to look for, how to get it done quickly. He figures the patient probably broke his pelvis, so he let us help put a SAM pelvic sling on, which is a fantastic little device. We got to watch them put a catheter in (all of the guys cringed loudly) and got a lesson on what to check for before that's done. The Doc was disappointed there's no hemothorax because he likes putting chest tubes in (and always lets the EMTs help when he does).

Then they whisked the patient off for a CT scan and we split up and got the ambulance cleaned, the things we used restocked, and the cot made up, ready for the next call. Oh, and the paperwork. (Thankfully, with the Paramedic in charge, she was the one who also had to do the paperwork on the call.)

Oh, and you know how it looks so very easy to cut someone's clothes off with trauma shears? Yeah ... not as easy as it looks. About halfway through one leg of his jeans, my forearm started to cramp up something fierce.


April 17 update ... just learned that our ATV guy did manage to fracture his pelvis as well as his back *and* his neck. Sheesh. He did a number on himself, didn't he? He's going to be in the hospital in The Big City for a bit.

We've gone Nuts

Journal Entry: Tue Apr 10, 2012, 2:00 AM
... well, not "we" (as in, myself and the rescue squad) to be exact, but this little corner of upstate New York. It seems like we've lately been doing nothing except transporting psychiatric patients from the little local hospital to the bigger one in the city for evaluation or treatment. The only call tonight was one, as was the one and only call the last time I was working. I wonder what the deal is with that?

I don't mind doing psych transports because I find them interesting. Most of the time, it's people who want help and who are relatively willing to share information and answer questions during the transports. I like doing those assessments because I get to ask those questions and get those answers. It gives an interesting insight into people.

I mean, where do you get a chance to ask, "Have you thought of killing yourself? Uh huh. Did you make plans how to do it? Have you attempted it previously? Uh huh. How did you attempt it? Uh huh. Are you considering it now? Do you currently have a plan?"

My previous psych transport was a middle-aged woman who came to the hospital saying she's "not been feeling right" and that she was so angry all she wanted to do was "take the house apart."

In the course of our conversation in the back of the ambulance, I learned that she recently moved to this area from down south because she as able to find work here (she works two minimum-wage jobs) but not in her home state. She's left behind her grown daughters and grandchildren, lived with a cousin for a while, then moved into her own apartment. As if the separation from her family and friends isn't bad enough, her father passed away last year and she's not had any chance to grieve because she made all the arrangements. Then her aunt passed away recently and she wasn't able to go to the funeral.

She was the first patient I've ever taken who was admitted under the state's Mental Hygiene Law - basically, admitted against her will. She was very pleasant the whole trip and hoping she'll get the help she needed. I hope she will.

Tonight's patient originally came to the ER to be seen for withdrawal symptoms - he's been doing heroin for the past six months and decided to try and quit cold turkey. Actually, out of the psychiatric transports we do, we get a lot more folks addicted to drugs of some kind or another than we do people with depression and other mental disorders, so this was not out of the ordinary.

This patient, too, had come to the ER to be seen and understood that he needed (and wanted) help to get back to a normal life. This one was a former soldier who retired medically because he has a bad back, which causes him to be in pain most of the time. At the time we took him, he rated his pain as 8/10, which is his normal pain level. After a few years taking Oxycodone, he quit that and went straight to heroin. (Apparently, he quit the Oxycodone because his family said he was "being a jerk" while on it.)

He had a long history of suicidal thoughts (we call them "suicidal ideation" in EMS) with some pretty concrete plans and several attempts - all related to his back pain, which doesn't allow him to do normal things. Among his attempts was running a truck into a pole, going 70 miles an hour. (He totaled the truck, didn't kill himself.)

This one was also nice and answered whatever questions I threw at him. He also put up with an EMT-B student riding with us who was doing all of the vital signs (and then I did them again to make sure they were right), which, I expect, gets to be pretty annoying for patients at times, but it's the best way to learn. I made sure that the receiving hospital knew that the back pain was the primary concern and I just hope they'll take that into account when they treat him.

Well... it's 5 o'clock now (in the morning) and I've got another two hours to go. Here's to hoping it stays quiet ... I get paid whether I'm at the squad surfing the web or whether we're running from one call to the next, so it would be stupid of me to hope for a busy night. *grin*

I've set up a Tumblr and an Instagram account, by the way, now that we can play with Instagram on Droid (much to the annoyance of many iPhone users, I gather). You can find me here on Tumblr, and if you use Instagram, look me up by name, "mausergirl".

Hysterically Weird

Journal Entry: Fri Mar 30, 2012, 5:04 AM
Being an EMT is pretty cool for a couple of reason.

First ... because we're in a rural area, we have a lot of quiet shifts where we get few or no calls at all. That means, once we've gotten all of our EMT chores done - such as ambulance checks and general housekeeping around our facility - we pretty much get paid to surf the web and watch TV. Seriously. (We have wireless Internet and cable.)

Second ... being an EMT is always interesting because you never know what kind of calls you're going to get. And even if you get paged out for chest pain or difficulty breathing five times in a row, every one of those calls is going to be different from the others, so it doesn't get boring.

Wednesday I worked the day shift, which I personally don't like to do a whole lot because I prefer to be up at night. The day shift works from 7 until 3, then the next works from 3 until 11, and the shift I like working runs from 11 until 7. That works out pretty well for my husband and I because we each get to have the bed to ourselves (no fighting over the covers!) and it works out pretty well for our pets because they're never really home alone for long. Not that they mind being home alone ... the cats just sleep on stuff anyway and the dog doesn't care if she's in her crate or on the couch.

We had a couple of calls on Wednesday that were pretty routine, including two transports (where we take the person from our local hospital to a bigger one in the area for tests or care that's not available at the local facility) and a little old lady who'd fallen and couldn't get up on her own. And then we had the back pain woman. That one is a frequent flier, apparently, but she's never gone when I was working, so I've not had her before.

We arrived on scene with Back Pain Woman in tears and hysterical because she was in pain and her boyfriend is an asshole who's been mentally abusing her (supposedly). We got her on the stretcher and disappointed her by letting her know she was going to the closest facility, not the bigger one, then tried to do an assessment with her still hysterically sobbing and telling us her life story and about her horrible boyfriend and her very long list of medications and what she is taking them for.

In the middle of this, she suddenly looks at me, stops sobbing, and says, "You're very pretty." You have no idea how hard it was not to burst out laughing right then and there! :rofl:

Incidentally, this was not the first time this has happened to me. Last Halloween, hubby and I were at a Halloween party at the martini bar in the next bigger town over. Him dressed as a WWII GI and me dressed as a WWII Soviet medic because we're both reenactors and picking a "costume" usually involves going into the reenacting closet the day of the party and randomly picking a historic uniform. At any rate, we were sitting in front of the place getting some air and talking to my friend who'd met us there, when a guy stumbled out of the club, dripping blood every which way, surrounded by his three (equally as drunk as him) friends who were trying to mop at his face with paper towels.

So me being me, I sent my husband to his car to grab the CLS bag I put together for him. It's a small kit, but it has the essentials ... stuff like gloves, gauze, Kerlix, Bp cuff, stethoscope, etc. ... and it's usually enough for smaller responses. (I have a lot more supplies in my car because I occasionally respond to a scene in my Jeep if I'm close when it's paged out.)

I got Bleeding Guy to sit down and shut up (which was difficult because he was so drunk) and all his drunk friends to back up and shut up, which was even harder. I ended up mopping up his face to figure out what was actually bleeding and it turned out that he'd split the bridge of his nose open and was bleeding both from that and out of his nose. He probably broke it, but I'm no x-ray machine. I ended up taping the hell out of it after I got it to stop bleeding so it wouldn't start again. As I was in the middle of doing that, Bleeding Guy comes out of his drunken stupor and looks me in the eye (hard not to, as I'm like 5 inches from his face) and goes, "You're so pretty. Are you a medic?"

Incident Command

Journal Entry: Sun Mar 25, 2012, 11:55 PM
Have you ever taken a class that made you feel like your brain was going to leak out of your ear? I just went through one of those - the FEMA ICS-300 class.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Incident Command System (count yourselves lucky!), they're a national standard for dealing with all kinds of incidents and events, from a local 4th of July celebration in the park to a major national disaster, such as Hurricane Katrina. It's basically a way to plan for and deal with events and disasters by using the same terminology, the same type of command structure, and the same approach to dealing with resources (both human and equipment).

The classes are mandatory for just about anyone who is a "responder", whether that person happens to be in the fire department, police department, emergency medicine, Civil Air Patrol, or one of many military and civilian agencies. Most people take the online classes - ICS-100 and 200, which serve as a basic introduction and help you understand the system and terminology, as well as help you understand how you'd fall into the system as a resource (individual person somewhere at the bottom of the framework).

The ICS-300 and ICS-400 classes are given only in a classroom environment, which can make them difficult to find. The ICS-300 class is generally a requirement for anyone who might be in a planning position at an incident, such as fire department officers, the chief of police, Directorate of Emergency Services personnel on a military base, and the like. Those classes go more in-depth about dealing with expanding events, writing Incident Action Plans, and basically running a large-scale event or incident.

That's the class I took this past week (as in, 9 to 5 each day!) at the nice new fire station on base. In the class with me were two other Civil Air Patrol officers, most of the higher-ranking DES people, the majority of the SRT team, the Chief of Police and his deputy, the Fire Chief and some of the other fire officers, some of the CBRN specialists, an IMCOM Colonel, and sundry other important people.

Class itself was ... uh ... lengthy and slightly more interesting than watching paint dry except it didn't have the pretty colors nor the paint-fumes-high that you get from watching paint dry. We could have probably worked through the material a lot faster had the instructor spent less time of complaining about how difficult it is to work actual incidents when faced with stupid regulations from the State, federal agencies coming in and screwing things up, and the Red Cross getting in the way of everyone else.

At times, class was even somewhat entertaining. Such as on day two when the instructor, after talking about a specific scenario, blurted out, "And imagine what happens when the feds get there and screw it all up! What do you think is going to happen then?" To which a voice from the last row (where SRT and IMCOM people were seated) responded, "We *are* the feds."

Working the scenarios as a group was painful at times because my group contained both the fire chief and the IMCOM Colonel, both of whom like to hear themselves talk and both of whom tended to overthink the tasks at hand with all their actual experience running events and incidents the way they're run on base as opposed to the way FEMA would like them to be run.

After a while, I put myself in a position where I was able to "mediate" (control) working as a group ... I took over as documenter, writing all the points we were supposed to work on down on the whiteboard. That allowed me to say, "So, question one ... (reads question) ... what should we put for that?" And, not to pat myself on the back, but that brought us on track and got things going. It seems to also have made a good impression on the Colonel, because when we did the final project, he assigned the positions and he insisted that I was part of the operations staff *and* then came in to tell people to "let me do the writing (because it'll be legible) and to listen to me because I had good things to contribute."

We did pretty well with our final project, which was done as the entire class with people split into the general staff positions and working as teams developing an Incident Action Plan. The scenario was a derailed train carrying yellow phosphorous and molten sulfur that was on fire at the edge of a town. We had to evacuate about 3,000 people, establish two staging areas and a command post, monitor the wind changes (and toxic fumes), fight  the fire, and provide for all of our responders. Our instructor was reasonably impressed when we put together the entire Incident Action Plan in about 45 minutes, including a map overlay, clear objectives, and a sheet tracking all available and needed resources. We even had our press release ready to go.

I got a 100 on the final written test.

Glad the class is over, though. It was hard work being in that classroom the entire day for the whole week.

I am also signed up for the ICS-400 class, which is yet another higher level than this one, but it was postponed from this upcoming week to ... whenever they'll let us know ... due to some changes in scheduling.

Spring Cleaning

Journal Entry: Mon Mar 19, 2012, 9:25 PM
Over night, it seems the weather in upstate New York went from being winter with snow and slush to an early summer with sunny days and temperatures in the 70's.

Needless to say, that sort of spring weather has been poking at me, telling me it's time for spring cleaning. I was originally going to just sit down until the urge to clean went away, except then my neighbors managed to call the fire department and police on themselves, so while I was outside to see what was going on, I started pulling up some of the weeds in my flower beds so it looked like I was at least doing something, not just being amused by their stupidity.

We have a set of really rednecky neighbors living across the street from us. They bought the house they're living in, which looks kind of like an abandoned building, cheaply last year and have been clearing it of its contents - apparently abandoned by the previous owners - since. This involved a rather large burn pile they've been adding to and burning on ever since.

Apparently, someone today stopped to tell them that it's illegal to burn trash in the state of New York (has been for about two years now). Since they weren't going to believe a random stranger, they called a friend who's a firefighter. That friend happened to have stood next to his fire chief at the time, and the question whether burning is illegal turned into a response from the fire department ... with a response from police and the department of environmental resources (or some such thing) shortly thereafter, issuing them a hefty ticket.

It takes a special kind of stupid to call police on yourself. But, at any rate, I got my flower beds cleaned out and now my new growth can get going out there. My tiger lillies are already sprouting like crazy and I'm sure it won't be long before they're up to the windows again. (I kinda wish grass would do less sprouting, especially where it's growing in my flower beds and in the gravel!)

I also got my windows washed, my showers de-mildewed and picked up two cans of rust primer for my springtime Jeep touch-ups. (My Jeep is 7 years old and looks as good as new because I keep up with that sort of thing. It also helps that it's been undercoated and sees regular maintenance when little things start giving me issues ... like leaking seals, for example.)

My dog and all three cats also got their spring baths. I don't wash them often because they generally don't need it, but they usually get washed once in spring and once in fall. The dogger may get baths in between if she's been in stinky mud or rolled in something yucky, but that doesn't happen often.

Needless to say, my cats are not happy campers at the moment. Out of the three, the smallest one - Ratchet - is the most difficult to bathe because he flails, claws, and bites, both me *and* the shower. My formerly-stray kitty is, surprisingly, the easiest of the three. And Finn, whom I've raised since he was a kitten and who was bathed often when he was little, is just a pain to wash. (Go figure.) The dog mostly stands there and looks miserable. Running water is not her thing.


Journal Entry: Mon Mar 19, 2012, 3:04 AM
The shallow end of the gene pool needs more chlorine, please. Things like this make me seriously consider the case for applied eugenics.

Is it really, honestly, possible that she's this stupid, or do you think all that bleach has affected her brain?

And, more importantly, how long do you think that marriage is going to last? He obviously didn't marry her for her intellect or the great conversations they have on long car rides. Does she have big boobs? I can't tell from the video, but that would probably explain a lot.

Always Something

Journal Entry: Wed Mar 14, 2012, 12:16 AM
This little guy here is my new favorite emoticon - :squee:  How can you not love him? He's either super excited, or totally freaking out. Or both. He just cracks me up.


I'm looking forward to this afternoon when I'll be heading into town for my laser eye surgery consult. We have a local place that does a lot of eye surgeries, both Lasik and PRK, and I'm seriously hoping I will be a good candidate to have it done because that would mean I will no longer need to bother with glasses or contacts.

It's not that I mind wearing either glasses or contacts - I have both - but it would be really cool to get up in the morning and be able to see in the shower. Or to really enjoy a water park (there's one about an hour from where I live) by actually being able to SEE when you go down water slides and such.

So, fingers crossed that I will be a candidate.


On Thursday morning, I have to take the Jeep in to my local mechanic to have it looked at since it's been leaking. Of course, it would have to start leaking something just as soon as it's passed its annual inspection ... but I expect that it shouldn't come as a big surprise that a 7-year-old vehicle with 104,000 miles on it would be leaking something.

I expect the fluid it's leaking is engine oil since it feels and looks like engine oil - it's a full synthetic, so it kinda looks like olive oil and has about that consistency. And I expect that it's leaking from somewhere around the oil pan, so I expect that I probably need to have the oil pan gasket replaced.

I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed that that is exactly what it is, because that's not a particularly expensive or particularly difficult fix ... but it's not something I can do at home, either. (Lack of power tools and all that.)

Luckily, my mechanic is right across from work, so I'll be able to drop the Jeep off in the morning, then walk across the street to work until they call me. (If all else fails, I can also walk home but ... you know ... exercise and stuff.)

Ow! My Brain!

Journal Entry: Fri Mar 9, 2012, 11:07 PM
I think my brain is bleeding. :(

I ended up staying home today because I woke up with a whopping headache that just would not go away, despite all of my best attempts at killing it. A hot shower, two neck rubs, some Tiger Balm neck balm, two Aleve, and a lot of caffeine later, my head still hurts but nowhere nearly as bad as it did when I got up this morning. But still... geesh. I think I may be coming down with a cold / flu or something.

Sadly, because of my (non-working) thyroid, I tend to be more likely to catch things ... which sucks twice as much because I work as an EMT and see sick people all the time. Luckily, we actually take very few sick people ... it's mostly trauma calls, chest pain, stomach pain, and that sort of thing. But it doesn't help that some members of the squad have been bringing their (sick) kids to the squad to watch them. Yeah ... because we all want to be around sick kids, right?


I did get some studying done and got another 100 on my psychology test. I'm doing Psychology 130. It's actually really interesting. I realized there are many sub-specialities of the field, but I never knew just how many there are. I've never even heard of evolutionary psychology before.

And since I stayed home today, I've been working on a digital painting. I'm doing a digital painting version of this older deviation - - and it's looking fantastic, but it's taking forever. It seems like I'll never get it done! Every time I look up and at the clock, like three hours have passed. Yikes.

Hopefully I'll be able to post it soon. *fingers crossed*


Kinda hoping DeviantArt would disallow animated icons, especially ones that are flashing really fast between two colors. I don't mind animations, but the flashing really, really bothers me.  As in, I can't even look at them.

All About Me

Journal Entry: Mon Mar 5, 2012, 1:07 AM
Shamelessly stolen from qbark who has a pretty cool gallery (go check her out) but whose icon is going to give me a seizure...

• × • A L L | A B O U T | M E • × •

Name: Chris  
Single or taken: married
Gender: female
Birthday: 7 September
Sign: Virgo
Hair color: black
Eye color: green
Height: 5'5"

• × • F A S H I O N | S T U F F • × •

Where is your favourite place to shop for clothes?
Thrift stores! You can't beat getting brand-name items, often with the tags still on, for less than $10. Beyond that, I'm a big fan of Eastern Mountain Sports and Herb Philipson's - it's where I get my Outdoor Research and Patagonia stuff.

Favorite designer?
Michael Costello on Project Runway. He's brilliant.

What is your sexiest outfit?
My Vietnamese Ao Dai. It covers everything and leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination.

What is your most comfortable outfit?
Under Armour sweats and a hoodie.

What do you usually wear?
When I'm not in uniform, I usually wear a pair of pants (usually jeans or hiking pants), a T-shirt, a long-sleeve top (like a hoodie or half-zip), and hiking boots or running shoes. I like to dress comfortable and practical.

• × • S P E C I F I C S • × •

What kind of shampoo do you use?
John Frieda Luxurious Volume

What are you listening to right now?
TV in the background.

Who is the last person that called you?
Oh, I have no idea. Probably someone from the rescue squad.

How many buddies are online right now?
Just one on Facebook ... but it's also 4am here.

• × • F A V O R I T E S • × •

Foods: Sushi! If it weren't so expensive, I'd eat it everyday.
Girls names: Don't really care.
Boys names: Don't really care.
Subjects in school: Does college count? Psychology is pretty fun.

• × • H A V E | Y O U | E V E R • × •

Given anyone a bath? Yes.
Smoked? Tried it once. Wasn't for me.
Bungee jumped? No.
Made yourself throw up? Yes.
Skinny dipped? No.
Ever been in love? Yes.
Made yourself cry to get out of trouble? Yes.
Pictured your crush naked? Well, duh.
Actually seen your crush naked? Yup.
Cried when someone died? Yup.
Lied? Yup.
Fallen for your best friend? No.
Rejected someone? Yup.
Used someone? Yup.
Done something you regret? Yup.

• × • C U R R E N T • × •

Clothes: Black Under Armour sweat pants, tan socks, black long-sleeve top, grey Under Armour hoodie.
Music: "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men
Smell: Incense.
Desktop picture: Pusheen
CD in player: None.
DVD in player: None.

• × • L A S T | P E R S O N • ו

You touched: My middle cat, Ollie.
Hugged: My dog, Ronja.
You IMed:  My friend Sandra.
You yelled at: My husband.
You kissed: My husband.

• × • A R E | Y O U • × •

Understanding: At times.
Open-minded: I think so.
Arrogant: Sometimes.
Insecure: Occasionally.
Random: Very.
Hungry: Often.
Smart: I like to think so.
Moody: Yeah.
Hard working: When I'm motivated.
Organized:  Very.
Healthy: Not really.
Shy: Sometimes.
Difficult: Occasionally.
Bored easily: Very.
Obsessed: Sometimes.
Angry: Sometimes.
Sad: Sometimes.
Happy:  Often.
Hyper: Rarely.
Trusting: Not at all.

• × • R A N D O M • × •

In the morning I: am covered in cats.
Love is: unpredictable.
Sexual preference: yes, please.
• × • W H I C H | I S | B E T T E R • ×

Coke or Pepsi: Coke.
Flowers or candy: Chocolate!
Tall or short: Doesn't matter.

• × • W H O • × •

Makes you laugh the most: My animals.
Makes you smile: My husband.
Gives you a funny feeling when you see him/her: People I don't like much - like Kellie at the rescue squad.

• × • D O | Y O U | E V E R • × •

Wish you were a member of the opposite sex? Yes. Penis, plz.
Wish you were younger? No.
Cry because someone said something to you? Sometimes.

Little Talks

Journal Entry: Sun Mar 4, 2012, 9:04 PM
Lyrics to "Little Talks" by "Of Monsters and Men", aka the most catchy sound on the face of the planet, which you'll never, ever, ever get out of your head ever again if you listen to it, so you might as well know the lyrics to sing along.

Lyrics to Little Talks

Hey! Hey! Hey!

I don't like walking around this old and empty house.
So hold my hand, I'll walk with you my dear.
The stairs creak as I sleep, it's keeping me awake.
It's the house telling you to close your eyes.

Some days I can't even dress myself.
It's killing me to see you this way.
'Cause though the truth may vary,
this ship will carry our bodies safe to shore.

Hey! Hey! Hey!

There's an old voice in my head that's holding me back.
Well tell her that I miss our little talks.
Soon it will be over and buried with our past.
We used to play outside when we were young
and full of life and full of love.

Some days I don't know if I am wrong or right.
Your mind is playing tricks on you my dear.
'Cause though the truth may vary,
this ship will carry our bodies safe to shore.

Hey! Don't listen to a word I say.
Hey! The screams all sound the same.

Though the truth may vary
this ship will carry our bodies safe to shore.

You're gone, gone, gone away, I watched you disappear.
All that's left is a ghost of you.
Now we're torn, torn, torn apart, there's nothing we can do,
Just let me go, we'll meet again soon.
Now wait, wait, wait for me, please hang around,
I'll see you when I fall asleep.

Hey! Don't listen to a word I say
Hey! The screams all sound the same.

Though the truth may vary
this ship will carry our bodies safe to shore

Hey! Don't listen to a word I say
Hey! The screams all sound the same.

Though the truth may vary
this ship will carry our bodies safe to shore (x3)

Never A Dull Moment

Journal Entry: Tue Feb 28, 2012, 8:38 PM
I don't know if I should go to bed and stay in bed, waiting for this week to be over, or if I should just stay in and wait for this week to be over. XD

On Monday, I found out that our credit card was compromised somehow. We had a charge show up that didn't come from anywhere we've used - it was only for $1.58, but a lot of the time, scammers do a small charge like that to see if it will go through or if it will get caught, and if it doesn't get caught, they charge a bunch of other stuff. So I had to call the bank and have the account blocked until new cards are issued and activated.

Then I had to deal with the Brigade Quartermaster store. We have one on base and the girls working there are real jerks. When women come into the store, especially women soldiers, they just ignore them and don't help them at all. I've gotten some really bad service there in the past that I complained to their corporate office about because it was just that bad.

This time, my husband bought something and they told him he could return it if it didn't work for what he wanted ... it didn't. When he brought it back, the manager was a total bitch. She wouldn't even get off the phone while he stood there waiting for her to do the return. Then she told him there would be a 25% restocking charge - which would have been $40. Nobody mentioned a thing about that when he bought it. And then, when he left without doing the return, she muttered to the other girl that he "must be a skinhead" because he's bald and was wearing Doc Martens.

I was so pissed. XD I didn't say anything to them but how dare they make a stupid comment like that! Especially considering he shaves his head because he can't grow any hair on the front half of it because he's had his face/top of his head reconstructed!

At any rate, so I had to deal with them because hubby is in the field. We are going to be able to return it without being charged the fee *and* they're going to send us a gift card on top of it. But I'm totally not thrilled with this particular store and the morons they keep hiring.

Today, got up early to take the pup to the vet for her annual oil change. That went well. Noticed there was a little puddle of something under the Jeep after coming back out, and I wasn't sure if that came from the Jeep or from a car that was there before. I did check underneath and checked the engine and I didn't see any leaks right off, but that doesn't mean there are any. All of my fluid levels look okay, though. I couldn't really identify the fluid because it didn't look like engine oil and it didn't feel slick enough to be brake fluid. As I put it into the garage tonight, I flattened out a pizza box from my recycling pile and put that underneath the Jeep, in the area where the fluid was, so we'll see what's dripping (if anything) in the morning.

As I was heading out to meet my puppy client - I currently have three, two with "teenage" dogs and one with a puppy - I got a call that hubby got hurt on the range and was being taken to the hospital. So I called my puppy client to ask him if he'd mind skipping tonight so I could just go to the hospital and meet my hubby there, see what's going on with him.

He was doing okay. Apparently, he slipped on the ice with all his gear on and landed right on his tailbone, compressing his spine. Ouch. The ER was slammed, of course, so they still had him on the backboard when I got there, with the c-collar on and everything. Of course, I immediately went to poking fun at him. Made sure that the Army medic who rode to the hospital in the ambulance with him got a ride back to base and helped the nurse take off the c-collar and roll him off the backboard. Got to strip him naked for them to take him to x-ray and shoot some films and got to go to x-ray with him and look at all the pictures. It's kinda nice when they know you at the hospital because you bring them patients all the time.

Long story short, nothing's broken and he'll be fine, but he's really, really sore. He's on a couple of good drugs and currently sleeping. He's also got a doctor's note to get him out of work until Monday.

But maybe this week would be nice enough to just be over soon?

Comms Class

Journal Entry: Sun Feb 26, 2012, 8:40 PM
We've been having such nice weather for the past couple of weeks - no snow and temperatures in the 40s - that, obviously, winter needed to make a very last point about the fact that it is, in fact, still winter. So, of course, it snowed a bunch just in time for me to drive two hours to Hancock Field outside of Syracuse for BCUT/ACUT class.

Needless to say, Saturday morning's drive was fun and interesting. Since I knew the roads were probably going to be bad, I took my Jeep instead of hubby's Outlander. The Outlander gets fantastic gas mileage (around 30 to 35 on the highway) but it doesn't have four-wheel drive, and that often sucks in the snow. Besides, the Jeep has all my Emergency Services and EMT gear in it because I also use it as my response vehicle. - One of the joys of belonging to a small-town rescue squad is being able to respond to accidents and injuries in your POV, which often means you get to be the first responder on scene. We even get to run lights - green ones.

Anyway, the drive wasn't actually too bad. The roads in town were pretty bad, but our road is usually bad since it doesn't get cleared often, and town tends to get pretty slushy since it's such a small town and doesn't get done as often as the main roads do. Most of the main roads were clear until just outside Syracuse, where it started to snow. That quickly turned into no visibility, which made finding my exits a little challenging since I'd never been to Hancock Field. I made it alright, though ... on time, even.

I was happy to find that some of the folks in my class were people I'd gone to Squadron Leadership School with, so I got to catch up with some and had someone to sit with that I knew.

Class was pretty interesting and covered both the BCUT (Basic Communications User Training) and ACUT (Advanced Communications User Training), plus the test at the end. So now I'm Radio Operator qualified ... well, I'll be fully qualified when I get my card in the mail and when the BCUT/ACUT identifiers show up on my 101 Card in a couple of weeks.

*Happy Camper*

The drive back sucked big time. It had stopped snowing when I left the base, so I figured I'd quickly pop into the Carousel Mall to pick up a couple of things at Eastern Mountain Sports since they've got sales on all of their winter gear at the moment and I don't get down there all that often.

Of course, as soon as I left from the mall, it started just dumping down snow and the visibility was really bad. People were driving stupid in it. A few without headlights on. Stupid. A few weaving in and out of traffic. Even more stupid. But I saw no accidents on my side of the median and eventually the snow left off just North of Exit 24 and the rest was pretty smooth driving.

Overall, not a fun drive, though.


My CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) identifier finally showed up on my 101 Card tonight, too, which means I've been assigned to the Wing CISM team and am now officially able to be called up if there's a disaster or terror attack and they need CISM teams to respond. I'm kinda torn between hoping that doesn't happen - because when that happens, it means something bad happened - and hoping it does happen so I can go TDY, do good things, and get paid for it by the Air Force.

Monsters and Men

Journal Entry: Fri Feb 17, 2012, 12:19 PM
This song -> <- has spent a ridiculous amount of time stuck in my head lately, so I figured I'd pass it on and, hopefully, get it out of my head and stuck in someone else's. Link goes to the YouTube video, obviously. Enjoy!

Country Meme

Journal Entry: Mon Feb 13, 2012, 11:38 PM
[ ] You drink a lot of tea.
[ ] You know what a brolly is.
[ ] Deal or No Deal has taken over your life.
[ ] You wanted Ben to win X Factor.
[x] You use the word "bugger"or the phrase "bloody hell."
[x] Fish and Chips are yummy.
[ ] You can eat a Full English Breakfast.
[ ] You dislike emos almost as much as you dislike chavs.
[ ] Its football...not soccer.

[ ] You wear flip flops all year.
[ ] You call flip flops thongs, not flip flops.
[x] You love a backyard barbie.
[x] You know a barbie is not a doll.
[x] You love the beach.
[X] Sometimes you swear without realizing.
[ ] You're a sports fanatic.
[ ] You are tanned.
[ ] You're a bit of a bogan.
[ ] You have an Australian something

[ ] The Sopranos is a great show.
[ ] Your last name ends in a vowel.
[x] Your grandmother makes her own sauces.
[x] You know how a real meatball tastes.
[x] You know Italian songs.
[ ] You have dark hair and dark eye color.
[ ] You speak some italian.
[x] You are under 5'10''
[ ] You know what a italian horn is
[ ] Pizza/spaghetti is the best food in the world.
[x] You talk with your hands.

[ ] You say member instead of remember.
[ ] You speak spanish or some.
[x] You like tacos.
[ ] YoU TyPe lIkE ThIs On Da CoMpUtEr.
[ ] You are dark skinned.
[x] You know what a Puta is.
[x] You talk fast occasionally.
[x] You have had highlights or have dyed your hair.
[x] You know what platanos are.

[ ] You say villain as: Vee-lon.
[x] You get short tempered.
[x] You know of somebody named Natasha.
[x] You get cold easily.
[x] Rain is fun for you.
[x] You get into contests all the time.
[x] You can easily make do with the cold weather.

[ ] You think beer is the best.
[x] You have a bad temper.
[ ] Your last name starts with a Mc, Murph, O', Fitz or ends with a ley, on, un, an, in, ry, ly, y.
[x] You have blue or green eyes.
[x] You like the color green.
[x] You have been to a St. Patty's day party.
[ ] You have a family member from Ireland.
[ ] You have red hair.
[x] You have/had freckles.
[x] Your family get togethers always include drinking and singing.

African American
[ ] You say nigga/nukka casually
[ ] You have nappy hair.
[ ] You like rap.
[x] You know how to shoot a gun.
[ ] You think President George Walker Bush is racist.
[x] You like chicken.
[x] You like watermelon.
[x] You can dance.
[ ]  You can 'sing' gospel.

[ ] You have slanty/small eyes.
[x] You like rice a lot.
[x] You are good at math.
[ ] You have played the piano.
[ ] You have family from asia.
[x] You laugh sometimes covering your mouth.
[ ] Most people think you're chinese.
[ ] You call hurricanes typhoons.
[ ] You go to Baulko.

[ ] You like bread.
[x] You think German Chocolate is good.
[x] You Speak some German.
[x] You know what Schnitzel is.
[x] You went to Pre-school.
[x] You're over 5'2.

[ ] You like/play/played hockey.
[ ] You love beer.
[ ] You say eh.
[x] You know what poutine is.
[x] You speak some french.
[x] You love Tim Horton's.
[x] At one point you lived in a farm house.
[x] You watch/watched Degrassi.