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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Pain In My...

We arrived on scene to find a woman waving us down. We were led into the townhouse to an upstairs bedroom. There we found a 50 year old male, shivering with pain, lying in bed.

He said that he had had a tooth ache for the last 3 days. A few hours ago he got in to see his dentist and had had a root canal. After the procedure he had been sent home with a prescription for Tylenol 3 for pain.

Let me set the record straight. I've had tooth aches. I know they hurt, a lot.

So I asked my patient how long he had been in this much pain and he replied for the last 3 hours. I then inquired if he had called his dentist? He said that he had. I had to follow that question with another, what did he say?

My patient, who was now spitting on the floor because it hurts to swallow and whispering because it hurts to talk (I thought it was as tooth ache, not a sore throat) told me that his dentist had given him a stronger script for his pain. And that his dentist had even called it in to his local pharmacy. 

But did he get it filled? No. Instead he decided to call 911 so he could hold my hand (he really did). My 7 year old daughter handles pain better.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

How Do You Say Thank You?

Over the weekend my department suffered a loss. One of our firefighters that has served for more than 34 years had recently been diagnosed with cancer. The last several months he has been away from his job (and his fire department family) going through treatment.

This last week it was discovered that the cancer had come back with a vengeance. Some of my brothers volunteered to go get him and bring him home. Some time late Saturday night or early Sunday morning my brother passed.

Most of the people in his district will probably never know that he gave everything for them. For my part, I thank him for being an example of what a fireman should be. I hope that by answering the tones when they go off he will understand that I am doing my part to carry on the tradition that he believed in. Rest in peace.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Neither Snow Nor Rain.....

We pulled up on scene to find a mail jeep and an SUV in the intersection. It was pretty clear that the jeep had pulled out and into the other vehicle. PD was already there. The officer said that there were 3 possible patients. The mailman, the guy driving the SUV and his grandson.

My engineer headed over to the grandfather and my captain started assessing the mailman. I went over to the police cruiser where a frightened 8 year old boy quietly sat. Pulling off my helmet I opened the door and knelt next to him. I got his name and age. I asked him if he was wearing his seat belt and what hurt. He said that he was and that nothing hurt any more. He said that the bag hurt the side of his head a little bit but he was better now. And he wanted to know why we had airbags.

I continued my assessment and answered questions. He was very curious. How did we know to come? Who called 911? What going to happen to the car? But most of all he was worried about his grandfather. I told him that he looked ok and that another firefighter was looking after him. Finishing my assessment I headed over to my engineer to find out about the old man. I then headed back to tell the boy that they didn't need to go to the hospital and that his grandfather was well.

Once that was done I headed back to the rig and grabbed a sticker. I knew I had hit the jackpot when I handed it to the 8 year old and he exclaimed "COOL!"

The mailman was ok too.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pass The Joint

It's strange how some apartment complexes never generate 911 calls while others are visited every week by the fire department. We have one in our district that we go to frequently. Stranger still, there's no frequent flyer. The calls are almost always for someone new.

This time the call came in for a juvenile that was altered. We pulled in the driveway past the security gate and parked. We grabbed our gear and headed for the apartment when the first PD unit showed up. Immediately we started wondering what was going on and what information PD had that we didn't. They showed up because there was possibly someone on drugs.

We made our way inside and found our patient sitting on the couch. Boy was he stoned. He admitted that he had smoked a bunch of weed (no, not medicinal). And with the rest he had made some muffins. Just after we started our assessment we heard a police officer outside start yelling at someone to get down on the ground. Then the sounds of a struggle followed. My captain and my engineer went out to make sure the officer had everything under control.

An 18 year old neighbor and so called friend of my patient was trying to push past the officers to see what was going on. After ignoring one officer and trying to push past him several times the officer ordered the young man to the ground to detain him for our safety. That's when the fight ensued. It was rather one sided. You can't fix stupid.

Back with my patient everything was under control. How could it not be. My patient was completely toasted. It was funny to see his delayed reaction to the police walking in his room. And it was funny to note he was more afraid of his mother when she walked in having been called home from work. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Insult To Injury

A nearly 80 year old man lay awake in bed trying to take a nap. His wife, laying next to him, was worried. She didn't think he looked well. He insisted he was alright and refused any help.

About 30 minutes later the old man jump up and ran for the bathroom. Half way there he started to throw up on the hard wood floors. As he tried to round the corner to make it to the toilet the combination of emesis, hardwood floors, and inertia proved too much for him. When his wife found him passed out she called 911.

We arrived to find the gentleman hugging the porcelain god in nothing but his tighty whities. He had managed to crawl over to the toilet after waking up. We collectively decided that dignity is worth a small delay in patient care so we waited while he cleaned himself up and slipped into a bathrobe.

Out in the living room we began to get a clear picture of things. The patient had had an MI about a month ago and had several stents placed. He had only been released from the hospital a few days before. After some prodding he admitted that he had been feeling ill for a couple of hours (that really angered his wife).

The patient wasn't complaining of chest pain but did say that it felt the same as it had when he had his last heart attack. That's an attention getter. While my engineer grabbed a set of vitals I set up for a 12 lead. As soon as we were finished shooting the EKG we put on oxygen and gave him some aspirin.

When AMR showed up we gave them a report along with the 12 lead showing that he was having another MI. We moved him over to the gurney, which the stubborn old guy really didn't like, and AMR sped off to the cath lab.

Poor guy. I hope we caught this one early enough for a good outcome. I guess he's looking at several more days of hospital food. Maybe he'll be visiting the porcelain god again.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Big Sick Or Psych Sick?

We arrived on scene to find several family members waiting for us. As they ushered us to the back bedroom they kept saying that he wasn't acting right. Come to find out the dad in the family was having periods of apparent unresponsiveness.

Once at his bedside I was able to see for myself that he wasn't acting quite right. He was a little slow to answer questions. Then he went unresponsive on me (how dare he right?). I called his name, shook him and caused a little bit of pain all trying to elicit a response. There was none.

So we started to try to figure out what was causing him to be altered. After a couple of minutes, the patient came around but was still confused. He was also being fairly aggressive. His sugar was 113, BP 140/88, heart rate of 90. All the rest of his vitals were good as well.

The guy had a history of high blood pressure but no history of seizures, stroke or psychological problems. No history of alcohol or drug abuse and he had been with his family all day. It kind of seemed like a possible absence seizure but there was something off about the situation.

Eventually AMR showed up and the man had calmed down. We loaded him up onto the gurney and let AMR take him away. I just hope that he behaved in the back of the ambulance or else he was going to get sedated.
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