September 10, 2001

"Good days, bad days. Up days, down days. Sad days, happy days--but never a boring day on this job. You do what God has called you to do. You show up, you put one foot in front of another, you get on the rig and you do the job, which is a mystery and a suprise. You have no idea when you get on that rig, no matter how big the call, no matter how small, you have no idea what God's calling you to do.
"You love this job. We all do. What a blessing that is. A difficult, difficult job, and God calls you to it, and he gives you a love for it, so that a difficult job will be well done."
-Father Mychal Judge

Father Judge was killed the following day, Sept 11, 2001.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Story time!

We were called to the trailer of a family that we know very well. The family consists of a mother and two daughters, all of whom are over 500 lbs.

Generally, our calls are related to a difficulty breathing and this time was no different. We arrived at the address and went inside. Mom and "Daughter A" were sitting in their customary recliners, pizza boxes are scattered about and Jerry Springer is blaring on the TV. It seemed all was right with this morbid part of the world.

"She's in the back." Bellowed one of the pair. So towards the back we go.

A home health nurse of some type is standing in a doorway. As we turn the corner into a tiny bathroom, a whole lot of woman is taking up the back half. "She couldn't get up off the toilet and now she's having a hard time breathing." Manages the nurse.

As I work my way into the cramped quarters, I see a toilet brush in the sink, covered with feces. Catching my attention I hear from behind me a muffled "What's that for?" I am ripped back to reality by a gruff "For wiping my a**!!" Whoa...Didn't see that one coming!

We get our patient up off the pot and into the hall before she says "I still have to go to the bathroom." Before any of us could ever hope to imagine we were hearing things, the nurse says "Just go ahead and go sweetie. We'll take care of it later." My only thought was that I'm certain I didn't just hear those words escape from her mouth. A few shuffles down the hall later the nurse unbuttons her trap and lets its poison pour out again. "Just go ahead and go." Then "Daughter B" says three words that may disturb me for the rest of my career. "I already did."

Here's where you all say "Eeewwwwww!" And this is where I say "You have no idea!"

Our sadist nurse acts as voice for the crowd when she says "Well, where is it?"

Now, I've heard that victims of violent crime as well as those whose house may be burning to the ground feel time slow down to the point where they are able to reflect and actually tell themselves "This isn't happening." I suppose this was a sort of violence, because what happened next will, without doubt, leave a scar.

All I heard was, "I don't know. DIG IT OUT!!" I'm sure I suffered a stroke or something because I don't remeber anything else.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I had a pretty wild night at the hospital last night. I am currently doing my clinical rotations at the hospital for my Paramedic studies and I was working with the ECG techs for the night.

During the shift, a "Code Blue" was called to the ICU, so up we went. A patient had gone into cardiac arrest and they were calling all hands to come and work on him. We arrived just after the doctors, which put us after the nurses, respiratory therapists, lab techs and pharmacy techs (doctors are always the last to arrive).

The patient had had a lung removed earlier and apparently had been bleeding into his chest the whole time. Now he was so low on blood that his heart just stopped beating. Because the blood was all trapped in his chest, he also had a lot of pressure on his heart and other lung.

The docs pulled out his staples and cracked his chest open again. This, I would have to say was the coolest part of the whole procedure. They just opened him up wide and went to work removing the blood and clots. The whole time this doc is up to his elbows inside this poor fellows chest cavity he is asking for some sterile gloves. They never made it.

The doc was literally shoveling blood out of the patient and the whole time, this one lonely fly is buzzing around the place. Finally the doc had to stop and look around. As calm as could be, as if he was welcoming the family to Thanksgiving dinner, he said "Could some one get this fly out of here?" Then he carried on.

They got a pulse back on this particular patient and wheeled him down to the OR. He was still alive when I left.

If there's one thing that all firemen love, regardless of whether they are professional or volunteer, that would be to hear and tell stories. I'm not talking about the "my department is cooler than your department" stuff, but just the good, the bad and the ugly of the fire service. Although, if you want a good story about who's tougher, Google the fight between the Boise firefighter and the BLM firefighter. Bet you can guess who wins!! I'll try and keep some of everything in here. Monica tells me that I don't talk enough about my job and I think it's because I find some things are so mundane. I'll try and get some of everything. You can look in the labels for Tall Tales and that's where all the stories will be.