Archive for March2008

Story of the Shift

I rise early in the morning. I shower and shave. I put on my working clothes and lace up my black boots. It is dark outside. I drive through deserted streets to the ambulance base, where I punch in — always fifteen minutes early (even though I don’t get paid until the top of the […]


We get called for a medic alarm. “Eighty-year-old man having a problem with his aneurysm.” Odd. Just before we get there we hear the first responder call for backup saying “There is a lot of blood here.” I make certain to grab a pair of gloves before I enter the house. The door is ajar. […]


The hospitals have been really overcrowded lately. I had two calls the other day that are becoming increasingly common.* The first was for a woman with a low oxygen saturation called in by the visiting nurse who was concerned the 90-year-old woman’s oxygen saturation was at 90, her heart rate 100, and her BP 180/90. […]


Received a fascinating comment on my 29 Ways to Lift Your Tongue post. “Check into this but from what I was just told by my mentor is that Nitro Spray doesn’t have to go under the tongue. You can just spray it like breath spray or aim for a cheek. I haven’t checked but it’s […]

Medicine for Paramedics

I think I am finally getting over my illness, although I am still dragging a bit. Since going most of the winter without being sick, this one has hit me hard. I think I may in fact have been knocked down by one bug and then been dinged by another on top of it. Here’s […]

29 Ways To Lift Your Tongue

We can’t use digital cameras on the ambulance, which if you leave aside the patient’s important right to privacy, is a shame because I could really post interesting pictures about this line of work. I was thinking yesterday while trying to spray some nitro under a patient’s tongue about doing a photo montage/art exhibit called […]

Ten Feet Tall Again

Rick is standing against the wall of the EMS room when I walk in to write my report. “My hero,” he says. “No, you’re my hero,” I say. Rick has been a medic a few years longer than I have, but he has been in EMS way more years. He started as a boy and […]

"I Want the Wide Stretcher"

I had an interesting scenario this weekend that I think could be a harbinger of things to come in EMS. With the growing obesity in the population, ambulance companies have started putting bariatric ambulances on line. The ambulances come equipped with special wide load stretchers that more comfortably accommodate the larger patient. Years ago before […]

The Cat that Didn't Move

The patient — a forty-year-old man — says his back is killing him. He has sciatica. He is on Oxycodone, but his vial is empty and his doctor won’t give him a refill. I look at the vial. It was filled six days ago. You should still have pills left, I say. “You won’t believe […]

Whispering Old Ladies, Kleenexes and Placebos

I had a patient a few days ago who I found very annoying. She was a woman in her late sixties with cold and flu symptoms. What was annoying to me was she refused to speak in anything but a whisper. I can’t hear you, I would say. But she would keep whispering. I asked […]

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