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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Keeping It Real

Just minding my own business, hobnobbing through the Station 53 area, when the tones dropped for a medical fairly close to my location.

When I'm not on a shift, I don't just jump every call, because the duty crews generally have enough help along, but this was a COPD patient with difficulty breathing or speaking. Don't have to think twice, as in my location I'll be first in and can start getting the ducks aligned before the cavalry arrives.

It's a pretty routine call, really. The guy is not in great shape, but he's not circling the drain just yet, either. I don't carry a full med kit in my car (though I probably should since I do drop in now and then), but I'm not doing any procedures that create an exposure situation. I mean, common sense here.... if I met the guy on the street, I would not put on gloves to shake his hand. I'm just writing down information and getting the most basic of vitals.

Engine 53 arrives with more help than I expected. Three cadets are along for the ride. Fresh, a little uneasy, but wanting to be in it. Remember that feeling?

I let the E53 guys move in and take over while I rattle off the patient info and high points that I've gathered, and take up a position by the cadets. I like teaching, keeping them involved. Any time I get asked to do something, I walk one of them through it. When Medic 97 arrives, I take a cadet out to the ambulance to show him how to remove the cot, lower the wheels, lift the hook. It's all new to him. I make him do it all so it is hands on.

I like teaching. I like feeling confident, in the know, and showing the new guys how its done.

Back inside, I am asked to get a blood sugar reading. I grab the glucoscan kit, and am twisting off the lancet cover, when the captain taps me on the shoulder.

Gloves, he says, eyebrows up.

Holy crap. I was totally in tunnel vision, and never grabbed gloves when the guys arrived. I know better. I sheepishly hand the kit to the next guy and step aside to get gloves on.

One of the medics asks me to change out the cannula, and go high flow. I grab the NRB, hook it up, check the LPM and go to place the mask.

Holy crap. I grabbed a ped mask and didn't check it. The medic gives me a look. I get another mask. I know better.

We get the patient on the cot and head outside. I see my truck with the flashers on, positioned to be visible from the road to draw in the other units. The Medic is really close to me.

Holy crap, I nearly blocked their good access. I am constantly riding people about making sure to leave lots of room for the ambulance to get in and out. They managed, but my truck could have been spotted a lot better.

I like teaching. I like teaching the new guys what to do. Well, they learned some things today. I cashed in a few too many examples of how NOT to do things.

Didn't affect patient care, but it's good to get a little smackdown on your confidence to remind you of things now and then.

I was due, apparently. All that confident, self-righteous power dispatcher attitude is hard to swallow back down. Keeping it real reminds me that I am not all that and a bag of chips, either.

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