Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The things you see

I knew these were coming. Those are the calls you get and the people you see that you see once, and then you see again and again in your head long after you've left them. You know these things are coming, but you don't know the hour or the place. You still bolt when you hear the tones drop and answer the call anyway.

This weekend riding the medic unit I saw my first major trauma. So much respect for the team that lets me ride with them, and blessed that I get to observe them do this. I'm also gratified that I've learned so much already that I can be useful to an extent. This call doesn't haunt me, but I'll absolutely remember my first trauma. (Ha, that I'm positive I can't describe here, Hippa).

But this shift, we got the unusual call right before shift change. And everything precedes uneventfully right up to the transport to the hospital and the driver and I cleaning the cot and the unit.

The medic unit from another station pulls up fast, doesn't take an ambulance lane, but lands right by the door. There's a small commotion going on, and Chilva, our driver, goes over to see if he can help. Out of the unit comes infant CPR in full progress, with a medic on the cot and a ton of people flowing out of the unit, carrying monitors, walking the mother into the ER. I watched Chilva help them with the monitor then shut out unit up and followed them in.
It was so strange. I felt so detached from this. It was a huge commotion, with easily a dozen nurses and staff ending up in the room, continuing CPR while others start attaching new monitors. I overheard one of the medics brief the nurses that the infant was in asystole since they had arrived.

I couldn't process a lot of this until several hours later. I recalled Chilva saying what a rough way to end or begin a shift.

I didn't know how to process what I had seen. At first, I remained very detached. Then I couldn't get over how it hadn't bothered me. That I should be thinking of that family. Then I couldn't stop thinking about the family. The image of the mom I had seen distraught, or the image of a cyanotic, small person lying so so still on a cot that was so much bigger than they were.

It's this call that I wasn't even on that I will remember. God help me if I ever forget. Maybe we're a special force of angels that are here to be His hands and feet, save His children when they find trouble. And when His angels can only deliver the children to their Father, they weep.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Riding Adventures and 12-Leads

I've been studying heart stuff all week.  I'm completely paranoid that my medical history of heart surgery, aortic regurge, and diastolic murmur is going to freak out whoever does my county physical next week.  So I started studying all this stuff obsessively to find out how bad it was.  Understanding the heart anatomy and mechanics.  Electrical functions and EKG interpretations.  How do we set up the limb leads?  The 12-lead? 

The good news was obsession mildly reassured me that my heart is not going to explode (I think I knew this already..) and that I should be able to talk my way through the physical when they find these things. 

But even better was seeing how this knowledge and studying pays off on a call.  My last shift at the station we received a call that warranted an EKG as part of our vitals assessment.  Set up the limb leads (white is not right, smoke over fire, clouds over grassy hill = left lower leg green lead, left arm white, right arm black, right leg red).  This gave us an initial picture, which I was able to read as a depressed ST segment.  This can be serious, potentially indicating ischemia to parts of the heart.  We quickly set up the 12-lead, and fortunately found a pace maker that caused the EKG abnormality. 

I'm thankful for the patient that this did not turn into a serious cardiac event.  I'm still processing the feeling that I could remember and execute what I learned this week, and see how this knowledge is important in treating a patient.  Quickly falling in love with this line of work.

I suck at updating blogs.

Title says it all.  Bad at this.  But even though it's totally creepy that things on the Internet never ever seem to be erased, I can find moments of my life that I shared here to remember.