Monday, July 2, 2012

Endings and New Beginnings

This has been one very strange weekend.  On Friday night I put on my Clayton EMS uniform for the last time.  I had an awesome partner, one who many other members didn't want to work with.  Not because he was a bad EMT.  He is an excellent EMT.  He and I have a similar personality the tell it to you straight kind and folks like us don't always gel well with others.  At any rate, over the last 6 years some of my best shifts were with him.  We've run some pretty messed up stuff and a lot of routine stuff.  I always knew that I could count on him to give me all the info I would need and that I would never have to ask him for anything.  Qualities in a partner that are hard to come by these days.

When our shift was over it all hit me in waves.  He's not going to the bigger agency and so we may never see each other again.  I gave him a hug and he got in his car and drove away for the last time.  That's when the gravity of it all hit me.  My family that I've grown to love and care about is going their separate ways.  Many of us are in deed going to the big county agency but not all.  I loaded up my car for the last time, walked out the door for the last time and drove home no longer a part of Clayton Area EMS.

On Sunday I was back to work at the same station I had been Friday night.  As I put on my new uniform I didn't really feel any different.  As I pulled up to the station it hit me that the building may still say Clayton Area EMS but the shirts say Big County EMS.  Every bit of personalization that had lined the halls of the station were gone.  The women's bedroom had new beds and the one that I used to claim was gone.  As I pulled into the parking lot, there were several county supervisor vehicles in the parking lot.  Things just got more strange when I saw my old supervisor, now Division Chief, in the office almost like old times.  I found myself very reminiscent of when I first got hired.  There were a few new faces which made me feel really weird and then I saw some friendly faces.  One of those was a guy, now county supervisor, that I haven't seen in at least 2 years.  It felt like old times sitting outside talking but at the same time it was just so weird.  I never thought I'd see him within the walls of the station again.

I feel very fortunate to still have a job and I look forward to meeting new people but I find myself feeling very homesick.  Just writing this I am tearing up.  What I have grown to know and love is now very different.  Some of the changes I think are for the better and so we'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.

When one chapter ends, another one begins.  I want to thank all the members of Clayton Area EMS for everything.  You guys will never know what you mean to me and I think we've worked enough together that you know I don't show emotions well.  I have grown to love you guys like family and I will be here to help you in any way I can no matter what.  We may not have always seen eye to eye or even liked each other very much, but we are a part of a family and family sticks together.  I thank each of you for friendship, advice and growth.  I can't possibly name everyone and what it was that they did to change me and help me grow but each of you has had an impact on me that I just can't put into words.  I never thought I'd get so fortunate to become a part of a great squad and I thank those who welcomed me and helped me over the years.  So now I can finally say goodbye Clayton EMS.  I will cherish the memories and the friendships that I've made for years to come.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Ending of an Era

     August 2006 I went to interview for my first paying medic job.  I had already been offered a part time position with a neighboring agency and I was anxious for this interview.  I was also still waiting on my state results since I had recently taken the state exam.  I bombed that interview.  I walked out of there feeling like an idiot and was pretty sure I wouldn't be hearing anything from them.  A short time later I received the letter in the mail.  Again another part time offer.  I was starting to think that I'd never find a full time job.
     I will never forget when I got the call.  My partner and I were working at the airport and were washing our unit when my phone rang.  I abandoned my partner long enough to take the call.  It was the chief and he offered me a full time spot.  After I got off the phone with him, I was in complete shock and told my partner what had happened.  He suggested that I take it since I didn't have any other offers.  Looking back at it now I really need to thank him.  Thanks Donovan.  You don't know how that push really changed my life.
     I remember my first shift at Clayton Area Rescue.  I felt like a fish out of water.  I was in a different county than where I had trained.  My only sanity rested in a coworker whom I also worked with at the volunteer agency.  She has since gone on to work for a local PD.  I miss you Lindsay :)
     I have been at Clayton since October 2006 and this past Monday we were informed that in a few short months, the county will be coming in and assuming operations.  I have met a lot of good people during my time here.  I've made friends, enemies and everything in between.  I've watched the changing of the guard a few times and I've had the privilege of working with some of the best folks around.  I am truly going to miss the family atmosphere and seeing the god awful ugly orange trucks roaming the town.  I want to thank each member of Clayton Area EMS that I have had the privilege of working with past and present for the memories.  I never thought I'd see the day that the county would come in and take over.
     These next few months won't feel the same.  Everyone is a little down now.  We all are still processing and wondering what the next step is.  I keep telling everyone to keep your head up.  Advice I need to follow as well.  Let's stick together.  Keep our heads held high.  Let's leave knowing that we've done the best job we could and that unfortunately the actions of some have brought this upon us.
     I want to give special thanks first to Josh.  You believed in me and pushed for me to get hired.  Stefan, you took a chance on a brand new, scared medic and you have done good by me and my family over the years.  I know we don't talk very often now but I do consider you and Deidra friends.  Jason, you unknowingly have been a mentor of mine.  We sometimes would lock horns but in the end we always get past the crap.  Dale, you were my link to sanity and I loved working shifts with you.  It was nice to see a friendly face from the big neighboring county.  Lindsay, Emily, Candler, Justin, Zack, and Chris, you guys were my favorites to work with.  We always had a really good time; times I have missed for a long time.  
     I am going to miss walking through those doors with a relaxed vibe.  I will miss the late nights, practical jokes and the family first attitude.  I will miss the FDs that I've worked with over the years.  Goodbye Clayton Area EMS.  I will always hold a special place in my heart for this place.

Friday, September 16, 2011

American Jobs Act Leaves Out EMS....AGAIN!!!

As any good citizen, I sat up last week and listened to the President go on and on and on and I've been blessed by seeing his sound bytes played over and over and over again.  So I did a little research because my dad always told me if it looks to good to be true it probably is.  Well dad's right.  I find it interesting that "it will be completely paid for" but where is this money coming from?  I still haven't found that out but it has to come from somewhere.  I think NONE of these credits are really going to do much to spur hiring.

 But what really made me annoyed was that EMTs and Paramedics were left out.  There is a section to save teachers, hire new teachers, cops and firefighters.  Well excuse me for not being brave enough to be a cop or a firefighter.  I wouldn't want to do their job.  Fire is hot and well people are crazy.  This has annoyed me because its a slap in the face that my job as a Paramedic isn't as important.  I have been threatened, had a knife pulled on me, been pushed around, dodging traffic, all while treating my patient who is near a burning car.  I've taken family members, my own child to be specific, colleagues and family of colleagues to the ED but yet my job isn't stressful.  I recently went to a patient's house only to find that he had a rifle, pistol and a banana clip in his room.  But hey my job is simple right?

 As providers we are becoming this generation's doc on wheels for lack of a better term.  I want my profession to be as respected as that of a LEO or FF.  I'm so sick of us being overlooked.  We put ourselves at risk in order to help our community just like my local LEOs and FFs.  I have a great deal of respect for what they do and the dangers that can come with their job but each day I suit up and go to work I can't guarantee that I'll come home.  I kiss my kids and my husband and hope that the unaware public don't take me out on my way to someone who needs my help from that MI, stroke or trauma they're experiencing.  I also hope that my patient or their family aren't in a terribly bad mood and decide to take out any aggression on me.

Its time that we as EMTs and Paramedics get squeaky.  We need to make those folks in D.C. and locally aware that what we do, no one else wants to do.  Talk to any MD and I'm sure they'll tell you that they wouldn't want my job and see what I have to see.  They don't want to see that toddler dead in the car seat that mom or dad didn't strap in, that high school senior dead in his car, that elderly man whose family has completely neglected them and I can go on.  I've had calls that have changed me forever.  The most recent was a 9 month old girl who died of SIDS.  I was a mess after that call.  I made my husband wake up my daughter and put her on the phone.  I needed to know that my baby was ok.  I cried for weeks and even now I can remember every detail of that call.  We have an emotionally stressful job and its time that we stood up and made the public and local leaders take notice.  When they have their medical emergency we'll be there and not always in the safest of places.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dangers of Refusals

So as some of you know I live in NC. Last summer a football player died after a paramedic allowed him to refuse treatment. You can read the article here. After reading the call report that was available here I began to wonder what this medic was thinking. So after several months, the family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. You can read it here. Its pretty compelling.

This whole situation got me to thinking about all the patients that I have let refuse. I try to transport every patient because I am not a doctor and they called me for a reason. I never like letting patients refuse because it is such a liability. This paramedic is in serious trouble if you ask me. First it is NEVER ok to let a minor sign a refusal....ever. Based only on the information available, I would have transported him to the hospital due to his presenting complaints, history of asthma and because I could not get a hold of his parents.

I think the take home message is simple, be careful when letting patients refuse your care. If you exhaust all options, then document the living snot out of your report.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Burn out my A##

Alright over at 9-Echo-1 there's a thread about a couple of FDNY EMTs that supposedly refused to help a pregnant mother who later died and her baby died, because they were on a coffee break. First I sure hope that this did not play out the way it sounds and my condolences go out to the family.

Ok so now that I got that out of the way lets address this "burn out" garbage. Apparently we EMTs and Medics get too tired, overworked, underpaid, etc. Well not to sound nasty about it but we all knew that was the scenario before we left EMT class so get over it. All of us chose this job and understood the sacrifices we would have to make. Burn out is an excuse to use when one is feeling overwhelmed. I've found myself feeling tired and all that before but you know what I tell myself, AT LEAST I HAVE A FRIGGEN JOB. I may get sick of the nonsense that goes on but I chose this job and I applied at my current employer because I WANTED TO. So basically its time for all the EMTs and Paramedics to MAN THE HELL UP ALREADY. This job isn't for everyone. You either suck it up and continue doing the job you were trained to do or go find something else to do. Either way quit making the rest of us look bad because you can't handle the stress of the job.

Good grief its like having a bunch of kids. I'm not your momma and no I don't want you to whine to me about how bad it is. Either do something about it or shut the hell up about it. I can't stand whiners, excuse makers, laziness or dumbass. If you're that unhappy then quit and go do something else but stop making excuses for this kind of behavior. The more of us that find this to be unacceptable then the better chance we have at changing the mindset.

Friday, December 4, 2009

1 year later

December 4, 2008 is a day I will never forget. AJ was still in the hospital and we were all hoping and praying that he would recover only to receive that horrible phone call. This morning I got up and thought of AJ. I thought of all the tears and hugs shared last year. I felt so helpless, so numb.

This morning another Raleigh FF was hurt in an off duty accident. I find myself reliving all those terrible emotions that I felt last year.

Stay strong Flip. You have a wife, 2 daughters and a whole family of emergency services personnel thinking of you and praying for you. Fight like you've never fought before. Dig deep and find the strength to return to your family so that they may tell you just how important you are to them.

I don't pray much but here goes:

God please help Flip and his family through this difficult time. Please surround them with your love and grace. Please send him back to his family to fulfill his job as husband and father. He needs you now more than ever.

Everyone please pray hard for Flip and his family. This is such an awful event for any family to experience and I sure hope that this story has a happy ending.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Grade Reports

Well this school year has been off to a rocky start. My nephew was struggling so much to get decent grades but he managed to get a decent grade card. He was missing some assignments in 1 class in which he ended up with a D but he got Bs in all of his other classes. Considering he failed last year its a huge step in the right direction and I couldn't be any prouder of him.

My son has also done great this time. He got all As and 2 Bs this quarter. Not to bad but school seems to come easy to him. Now if we can just get his behavior to match up with his academics...but then again I'd probably have a stroke if that happened.

As a reward we took the boys out to Andy's. I was hoping for Lonestar but we told them they could pick. They were so proud of themselves and it makes me so happy to see them succeeding. I'm still deciding on an end of the year reward for them. Of course it will involve good grades all year long but I'm not sure what to do for them. Any suggestions are welcome.