Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pins and Needles

I'm in a dark room, with a one-armed man. I'm trying to find an IV so I can give Nitro and Morphine for his chest pain... I search and search for a vein. I've got one, but it's resting on fatty tissue, with nothing to put tension against to hold it in place. I swing... and a miss. Clean the site and try the other side of the AC. Swing and a miss. Again... back at the first site. I get flash, but can't advance the catheter. I try to float it in. It blows. I swear in my head.

We load the patient up, and once in the truck, I find one more vein on the arm that I think I can get. I pray. I miss. I look at my partner and say “Just go”. I talk to the patient on the way to the hospital. Trying to keep his mind off things. It doesn't really work.

At the ER, we place the patient in bed. I explain that I can't get a line. The nurse looks at me and incredulously says “Are you a paramedic?” I doubt myself. I think I stole the patch and don't deserve to wear it. I say Yes, but inside I wonder.

After registering the patient, I peek in on my way out the door. The nurses are on try 4 or 5 themselves, with no more luck than I had. I walk out with my head just a little bit higher, recognizing that it wasn't JUST me.


I hate IV's in my own arms... it hurts. I cringe when I stick my patients. I don't dig for the vein, because that trick never works. I hate turning my patients into pincushions, but sometimes they have NOTHING for veins, and I'm desperate to get a line so I can push drugs to make them feel better.

Monday, March 21, 2011

EMS Today Recap

Life’s gotten very interesting this past month, and there have been some changes – mostly positive.

I’m still playing catch-up from EMS Today – Be it in my college class, sleep, or getting back into the saddle with work. I promised myself I’d blog more… and so I am trying.

EMS Today was amazing – I got to meet and/or re-connect with some great folks. And I actually added a blogroll of some of the best.

In addition to the core #CoEMS crew - @Setla, @SamBradley11, and @TheHappyMedic (, I got to
A quick run-down:

Russell Stine / @HybridMedic, A firefighter/Paramedic and allaround good guy from Memphis:

Scott Kier / @MedicSBK, a Paramedic Supervisor from Mass. We met in May 2010, and he was one of my first contacts into the wide world of #CoEMS on Twitter:

EpiJunky / @GingerMedic – A paramedic and great gal

Kelly Grayson / @AmboDriver – A medic and author from Down South – Wish I’d had a chance to talk with him more:

@MsParamedic – Because she’s awesome:

Chris Kaiser / @CKemtp – Some Guy That Writes Some really good Stuff:



Kevin / @NJDiveMedic -

And if I missed you – My apologies – I met so many folks, and I’m sure I’m missing a few!