Another shift.... almost home.

Trip Start Sep 14, 2008
Trip End Nov 01, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Friday, October 24, 2008

So it was another rough shift.

Started off slow enough, we didn't even get posted all that much, which should have told me something early on that it was not going to be a good day. About 3:30 we get toned out as third-in ambulance for an MVC, Honda Accord full of kids vs. a cement truck. I knew it really wasn't that good when I heard the SO say it had been T-boned, and the MCHD supervisor broke in - she was already on scene - and ordered two helicopters. We pull up and the car is completely totaled. There are bystanders and cars everywhere stopped right in the middle of the road.
There's three of us, so we go ahead and head into the scene. One ambulance has already taken off for Herman Memorial Trauma Center in Houston. One helicopter is about to land when I see my first patient - a 10 year old girl - laying in the arms of a woman. One of the firefighters has a C-collar on her so I tell Terry (the Intermediate attendant) to get the KED and a backboard. The poor lady holding the girl is extremely calm and she just smiles at me. I ask the little girl's name and she tells me. I touch the little girl on the arm and call her name -
she doesn't do much, just kind of moans. I tell Terry that we need to get her backboarded and into the ambulance. She has a strong pulse and is breathing fine. There's glass everywhere.

Meanwhile the first helicopter lands and Mom is flown - from what I heard she's breathing but unresponsive and the little girls' big sister is being intubated in the street by the medics from the other ambulance (mom
was already intubated). The second helicopter is orbiting the scene waiting and we continue to get our patient backboarded. My preceptor looks over at the other patient and says "Is she stable? Ok, we'll take her, too." We get into the ambulance and I look on the stretcher - there's a car seat on one end of the stretcher, and a backboarded 5 year old on the other end. The kid in the car seat is kind of looking around like "What's goin on?" not really making any  noise. The other girl, however, is screaming and won't stop. It doesn't help
that she doesn't speak any English.

Meanwhile, my patient is strapped down to the bench seat on her backboard. She's becoming a little more responsive and she starts to scream. I mean really scream. Blood curdling "I'm being ripped apart" kind of
scream. My ears are still ringing. Anyway, I do another quick exam and she grimaces when I touch her stomach. I palpate a little better and I can feel it's getting warmer. Her abdomen is pretty rigid, though it could be her
tensing up. I'm just not sure. My preceptor agrees that it's warmer. I get an IV on board in case she decides to crash. She wakes up and starts thrashing around, asking about her mom. She keeps asking over and over, wanting her mom. I tell her that her mom is going to meet us at the hospital. She keeps saying
"She's dead, she's dead and I'm gonna die."
I've seen a lot of stuff here... a lot. More than I think I ever will in Alaska. I can't say that any classroom, any book or movie or practice session could prepare me for something like this. What do I say? Do I tell her that her mom's okay? I have to tell her something, so I tell her that her mom's not dead, she's going to meet us at the hospital. That's the truth, right? As far as I know it. Talk about splitting hairs, but I need her to calm down because if she has a bleed inside she's only making it worse by tensing up and screaming. Did I do the right thing by maybe lying to a little girl? I don't know. All I do know is that I can't let this little girl see doubt or fear in my face, but how do I
keep it hidden? Kids are pretty intuitive - more so than people give them credit for. She kept screaming out again and again that her mom was dead and she wanted to see her mom, why was I being so mean by keeping her away from her mom? She kept getting drowsy and finally went unconscious, but her vitals were good and she was breathing. I was just happy that asleep she wasn't tensing up. I think she just wore herself out.

Every paramedic or EMT has their Call. The one call that completely changes them and the way they practice medicine. The one that sticks with us through all the blood and the crap we see as a matter of course
throughout our day.  I didn't think mine would be so early. I was kind of hoping it would be more toward the end of my career instead of the beginning.
Well... I dunno. I'm done whining for now. Despite all the bad things that have happened here, they are all excellent learning experiences for me. The myriad of mundane calls we get may not stick with me forever, but there are those like this that will. I still love my job, and I can't wait until I have my own truck some day. As a student we can fall back on our preceptors; we do find out a lot of what we can handle, what we need to work on. However, as the in-charge, we find out the true test of our mettle. Nothing to fall back on but our training. That is when we find out what we really can do.

Thanks for listening to me whine. Typing it out is a lot like talking about it face to face - and there are those on here who have gone through what I'm talking about. It just helps.

I miss everyone, I'll see you soon.

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