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When I was 12 years old, I was a good baseball player. I loved the game and had great hand-eye coordination. I was a contact hitter and a slick fielder. In the regional Little League tournament, I made a diving backhanded catch of a line drive at 3rd base that people talked about for years. But while I was good at baseball, there were many good baseball players of my age, and quite a few very good and even great ones. I was also good at tennis, and there weren’t many other good tennis players of my age so, at my father’s suggestion, I stopped playing baseball to concentrate on becoming great at tennis. I played in tournaments all over New England and went to tennis camps as far away as Nevada. The problem was while I became quite good at tennis, I didn’t like tennis as much as baseball, and burned out at it. When I was 18 I took a year off before going to college to work in Washington DC . I got mono the following Spring, and after recovering at home, decided I would stay at home and play in a new baseball league that was just starting up. I was one of the first draft picks based on reputation. But when I showed up for the first practice, it was another thing altogether. I could not hit. I could barely make contact. I was even afraid to catch the ball. Right before the ball got to me I’d find myself flinching. I was on the bench for the first game. Not into humiliation, (An old man watching the game, said to me, “Say, didn’t you used to be Peter Canning?”) I quit after just a few games and spent the rest of the summer driving around America with my best friend from high school, logging 14,000 miles onto our old Olds Cutlass, which we lived out, often sleeping in with our feet sticking out the windows.

A year or so later, I had my eyes tested and lo and behold, I needed glasses. I put my new glasses on and suddenly I could see the leaves on the trees. So that was the reason I couldn’t hit! If only I had known! But it was just as well, I wouldn’t have traded the summer adventure for anything.

Fast forward a couple centuries to one night where I am now an aging paramedic, having trouble reading the fine print on map. I know most of the streets, but the call destination is in a suburban town and in the map book, the streets are listed in a very small font to fit it all on one page. I can’t read it for the life of me. Fortunately, I compensate by using “MAPS” on my iphone.

Anyway, a couple months ago, I did a code and when I went to tube, the chords were very blurry. I couldn’t really make out what I was looking at. I pulled the larengyscope out and dropped a Combitube instead. Got great ETCo2, and even got the patient back, although it was more like epi got the patient back, and then in the ED the family made the patient comfort measures.

A year ago I had my eyes checked and got two prescriptions — one for long vision and one for up close. I had actually lost my only pair of glasses over 10 years ago on a code, and never bothered to replace them. I finally went back to the vision place and with my daughter’s help picked out two pairs of stylish glasses — one for driving and one for reading. I decided I would carry both, curious to put my reading glasses on for my next intubation attempt.

Last week, I got the chance. The patient was already in the back of a BLS ambulance. I jumped in the side door, attached my monitor — asystole, popped in an EJ, pushed an epi, then got out my intubation roll. I assembled my gear. ET tube with ETCO2 filter attached, stylet placed and shaped, and 10 cc syringe attached. I took out a commercial tube holder and my trusty Mac 3 blade snapped into place. Last, I reached into my side pants legs pocket and took out my eye glasses case and opened it up, taking out my new reading glasses, and putting them on.

I tell you. Not only could I see the chords, it was like looking at the chords under an electron microscope. What clarity! What definition! Amazing! Needless to say, I got the tube on the first pass.

Moral of the story: Get your eyes checks regularly. If you need a prescription and you need to see well to do your job properly, get it filled.

1 Comment

  • CJ Ewell says:

    I went with a contact. Just one, for reading. My brain has adjusted very well to the weird input being supplied. I never have to reach for glasses anymore.

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