Monday was my first day back to work after finishing chemotherapy.

At some point during the day I was wondering if I should have stretched that out by calling in sick, but overall it was a day worth working.

When I first came in I was presented with the challenge of a monthly detailed cleaning (everything out of the cabinets, wipe down exterior compartments, deep inventory, etc) which put me out of service for about an hour in the morning. The conversation during that period was filled by one of my very favorite EMT’s (and budding paramedic, who gives me a bit more to blog about later) about a wedding I had attended over what would have been our four day rest period between sets and attempting to get the songs from the reception (a mix of 50′s through early 90′s) out of my head. “Everything I Do” from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was cycled over in my head over and over. The song title even came as a good punchline later on in the day.

So after cleaning the unit, we had to make a run to Air Mask Services on the south end of the city to get my facepiece fit tested. I wished all my other tests during the day were as easy to pass. On our way back from that we tried to jump a call close to us, but were instead directed to take an Alpha level call (low priority, if you aren’t familiar with PMDS) for a woman with a gout flare up. We saw the unit heading to the more serious call pass us at an intersection. I tried, at least. Anyway, I should have looked up her meds on my phone on the way to hospital to see if she even took medication for gout, but it was far from my mind. Surprisingly, the hospital we took her to had a bed open, and she was being looked at by them very quickly.

From there, we made it all the way back to the station (and my station from downtown via the interstate is a good 15 or 20 minutes) to sit for a few minutes only to be sent back out again, this time to a school for a child that passed out. Normally when a school says “passed out” they mean “seizure,” this one seemed like a seizure, but not exactly sure. Earned us another run into downtown, and we got some lunch. We managed to eat lunch while in service and stationary in downtown without catching a call AND make it back to the station. Turning out to be a nice day after all…

Our next call was fairly interesting, and a complicated issue. Old lady left in her bed by her caregiver over the weekend. Thankfully the caseworker showed up and got the ball rolling on us getting her to a hospital. I nearly lost my lunch in her bedroom, it was that bad. Arby’s beef would not have tasted as good coming up as going down. This woman had so much dementia getting her to follow commands consistently was a rather humorous challenge, and her criticism of the driving skill of my EMT was even funnier. She asked “do you know who’s driving?”

“Yes ma’am I do.”

“Do you like him?”

I couldn’t contain the laughter any more on that one. “… some days I do.”

“Well I’m starting not to…”

The best part was when he opened the door and he had to introduce himself all over again. We waited with her for over an hour before offloading her into a hall bed.

After that, we headed back to the barn, and made it, again (slow day) before getting a call to a payphone at a gas station on a main thoroughfare for an intoxicated party. The payphone calls are usually for our urban outdoorsmen types, and for an intoxicated wild man he was surprisingly with it, but he knew how to try and game the system. Halfway to the hospital he starts demanding ativan because of his “DT’s” and trying to get out of the cot straps. He was informed that I couldn’t stop him too much if he tried to escape, but he probably wouldn;t get far before the police caught up to him and then he would be going to jail instead of a hospital. Yet another trip downtown.

We waited over an hour at the trauma center (he told us he fell) and thansk to my previous conversation with anurse at another hospital, I applied an “Ativan Duragesic Patch,” which was really no more than a Tegaderm, to his shoulder and I let the placebo effect kick in while we waited. It met with minimal success, but it worked to some degree. He was able to walk himself to his hospital bed without any assistance from us. My partner jumped on when we got back, and then they ran all night long.

We were sent out on 3 EMS calls, all of which were minor deals, and 2 fire calls. The last EMS call tested my desire and ability to work late at night, which I found out isn’t as fun as I remember.

I’ll be blogging on a few other things over the week, so stay tuned!

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Category: Cancer

About the Author

Russell Stine is a firefighter/paramedic in a large urban system. He has been employed for 6 years as a street level provider and has delivered care as an EMT and a paramedic across the urban, suburban, and rural settings. He has been in emergency services for 15 years.

  • Future Ditch Doctor

    Welcome back to the crazy bus, friend!

  • Christopher

    Glad you’re back pounding the pavement sir.

    • HybridMedic

      Glad to be back. Daytime television got so old and I just about ran out of books and magazines

  • Burnedoutmedic

    welcome back. no matter how long you’ve been at it, an extended layoff really presents a challenge, especially mentally.

  • Pingback: #EMSWorldExpo: #KiltedToKickCancer Kicks Off | The Social Medic

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