The Slows

Slow to post – glacier slow, as I have been otherwise engaged, in part by running with Arlington County Fire and EMS.

These folks are different.

On my first day there, I happened to hear a story being told about a crew who were recently called to an injury from a fall. An elderly lady had fallen and broken her hip – while exiting a car at the funeral for her husband of 60 or so years. The ALS crew extensively screened the widow and verified there were no immediate life-threats, stabilized the fracture and loaded her onto their cot, then trundled her to the gravesite. I’m not sure if a line was started, but the storyteller insisted that no pain meds were given – the patient declined them as she wanted to be “all there” during the funeral. The crew stayed with her during the entire service, and only when she was ready did they take her to the hospital.

Hearing this story, several thoughts popped into my head, a sort of “which of these reasons would I be called to the carpet for” game, conditioning from the time spent running in Woodbridge: “unit out of service for over an hour!”; “on-scene time way, way above normal!”; “withholding pain medication!”; “withholding definitive medical treatment!” – why, any one of these is reason to be sued, Sued, SUED! Certain of my Lieutenants would have “killed me, eaten my flesh, worn the rest, and if I was very, very lucky, in that order.”

“Man!” exclaimed one listener, in all sincerity, “I hope somebody put them in for a commendation!”


“Yeah, well I’m going to check with the Captain. If nobody else has beat us to it, maybe we could be the ones to put them up for a commendation!”

“Well, somebody has got to, that was righteous!”

These folks are fantastic.

And What, you may be wondering, was that scalawag DTs doing in this fine and gallant company?

As detailed elsewhere in this bloggy-thing, all clinical and classroom work has been long, long completed for Paramedic. Excepting my lead-seat rides, of which I had only enough (30) to test for Intermediate, rather than the (50) required to test for NREMT-P. This shortcoming was being corrected. My initial thought, “Oh, I’ll get NREMT-I, then everything I do every day will automatically count towards my NREMT-P requirements” was woefully naive.

And truthfully, it was very nice to be back in a 911 system, even if only as a ridealong. DTs has been off the volunteer clock for some time now (various and sundry reasons) and the only EMS getting done is on the transport side.

A Different Beast, more “MS” than “EMS”. A Typical Transport:

Receive a page from dispatch: Pickup time is 45 minutes from now, at X facility going to Y facility, Joe Patient, c/c chest pain, weight 200#. Yawn – it takes 15 minutes to get to X facility, giving one 30 minutes to…

Arrive at facility, get detailed history and report from a nurse, who also by the way hands over a thick package with blood analyses, urinalysis results, toxicology reports, CT, MRI, X-Rays, several comparative 12-leads, retinal scans, three full sets of vital signs and the script for the upcoming episode of House. The patient has two or more patent IVs already started, fluids running (if indicated) and at least two rounds of stabilizing medications on board.

Compare and contrast to the usual 911 call of “situation unknown” and a “likely” address. Arrive, assess, treat and go!

Man, did DTs have a bad case of “the slows” on his first few calls! Shaming, it was, and a fine indicator that once the P test is done, it’s back into the 911 system for me.

I wonder if I can get my armor shiny enough to join the… wishful thinking!


One Response

  1. Hah! I know how it goes… When I started with the county it took a full 2 weeks to get my 911 legs back. Now (after almost 100 calls a month) I can fly through almost everything. The nice thing about being on one of the busiest medic units in the county O.o

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