Hacking

We spent the first three hours of the shift covering a suburban town while their ambulance was on a call. There were reports of gunshots in the city, but when the ambulance got there the supposed victim had fled. Nothing else was going on anywhere, so it wasn’t like we missed a lot.

My preceptee and I went over various drugs and situations. I was really hoping we would get him a bad trauma to put him over the top. Don’t worry about the IV, I said, get the patient on the board, on the stretcher, on the way to the hospital, protect the airway, and get the patient stripped. I told him about how I always preach the IV only comes when everything else is done. I told him how one of my preceptees we had gone over that time and time again and then on our first big trauma, the first thing she did, the very first thing, was to put a sixteen in the man’s arm. No BP, no survey, no oxygen, nothing. She just jabbed him with a sixteen. She hadn’t even spiked a bag. She realized what she’d done and she’d looked at me for help, and I was just shaking my head. The large bore on the trauma is a powerful urge.

But there was no trauma call coming for us. We were sent back to the city and were given a GI bleed at the nursing home. Then it was back to posting, waiting.

Twenty two minutes before our crew change and two minutes before we normally are sent in, they gave us a colds and flu call. A healthy four year old who vomited an hour earlier. His mother wanted him checked even though he was playing with his toys when we got there. We transported to the children’s hospital on the other side of town. I’d been keeping my cough pretty well under control, but then a couple blocks from the hospital, I just started hacking away in the driver’s seat. I was hacking so hard, my brain hurt from all its rattling around inside my skull. When we got to the hospital, I got out and opened up the back door, and helped the mother waddle down.

She looked at me and said, “Maybe you ought to be the one seeing a doctor.”

I was tempted to say, “Yeah, maybe I ought to call an ambulance to take me to the hospital.” But I try not to be a wise guy. I just gave her a tired nod.

I didn’t punch out till quarter to one this morning.

They wanted me to come in to work today, but I said, no. I need the day off. I’m still run down.

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