Category Archives: Soapbox

A hat tip to Streamlight

I apologize for the lack of activity.

I do want to mention how pleased I have been with Streamlight. I have been using several lights from Streamlight for years, and they have been nothing but reliable. Let’s just also say I have not been gentle with my lights, one poor Strion LED in particular even suffering the unfortunate fate of being dropped in the street and run over by vehicles (and it still worked).

From time to time, the lights need servicing, especially mine, and Streamlight products have a lifetime warranty. I have been sending them back to Streamlight, and they have basically been extremely generous and completely taking care of the lights.

The worst part of our work

If your friends and relatives are like mine, then you’ve entertained questions about the worst calls you’ve been on, or similar questions phrased differently.

Obviously, they expect to hear about the blood and guts and explosions. However, rather than seeing someone’s head fall off, I think, really, the worst is when I witness up close the abject poverty some people are unfortunate enough to face in what is supposedly the “world’s only remaining superpower,” the stunning ignorance some people are too ignorant to realize they display, the classless words some people choose to open their mouths and spew, the heartless cruelty some people inflict upon others, the lost innocence and increasing viciousness of the ever-younger criminal underclass, and the absolute hopelessness with which some people live their entire lives.

And only the single-minded kindness, determination and dedication of our crews can make any of it just a little bit better.

Dear Fucking New Guys

Dear Fucking New Guys,

First, I, more than most, don’t like talking about time. But try to be less cocky when you show up on a call. Chances are there are plenty of other people – medics, nurses, docs – who have done way more time than you have.

Also, let me save you some time so you don’t show up on the next call asking if “this patient need[s] to go the hospital in an ambulance.” Some of you really like to ask this question, usually with this annoyingly condescending tone even a deaf person can pick up, as if no one in the history of Earth has thought of it. Since we all have done much more time than you, we – surprise, surprise – already know that most of these people don’t need to go to the hospital in an ambulance. It’s a little game we play. It’s not a fun game. It’s not a very sensible game in some ways. In fact, you can even call it the Hunger Game, since most of us are always missing meals for this game. But until the administrators and managers grow some balls, it is the only game we play.

You can laugh at how stupid people are, you can complain, you can even start a shitty blog that no one reads, but if you don’t like taking people to the hospital, then don’t work on a fucking ambulance.

Sincerely,

Medic

FAQ #4

Q: What do you enjoy least about your job?

A: Since there is absolutely no one in society I don’t deal with, I am pretty much disappointed by everyone in general and by humanity as a whole.

How about simply “put the phones down”?

New York and San Francisco are just 2 cities out of many that are constantly trying to reduce traffic casualties, particularly pedestrians. They talk nonstop about redesigning roads, improving signage, reducing speed limits, increasing penalties, etc. While I’m not saying these measures won’t help, I’m wondering why no one is coming right out and saying the obvious.

EVERYONE – DRIVERS, BIKES, PEDESTRIANS – JUST PUT THE PHONES DOWN AND FUCKING PAY ATTENTION!

Oh we’ll be quiet all right

Once in a while we’re dispatched to a call that ends with, “RP is requesting silent approach.”

One partner I worked with liked to deliberately leave the sirens fully wailing all the way until she was in park in front of the address whenever we got this request. Yes, this partner.

This is obviously some strange concern about privacy and discretion. We never got this request in poor neighborhoods; I surmised that it was a “you’re our servants” mentality. Clearly someone is not really having that big of an emergency.

As if no one is going to notice the fire engine and the ambulance. Or the diesel engines and the jake brakes.

As if we don’t shut sirens down in residential areas anyway as a matter of routine and courtesy. Not to mention how tired we are of the sirens.

As if there aren’t policies and vehicles codes that specifically address the use of sirens as necessary. As if there isn’t a bus that we get thrown under if we wreck and the other party uses the words, “didn’t,” “hear,” and “sirens” in the same sentence.

I hear taxis don’t have sirens.

“I have 8 different bosses”

From the 1999 cult classic Office Space:

Does this sound familiar to you?

There’s the field supervisor, always lurking to see if you’re wearing your ID badge, because that dangling piece of plastic never gets in the way when you’re actually doing work. S/he always stands at the ready, ready to catch you with some obscure infraction and refer it to other supervisors, but never ready to help you with anything meaningful, such as lifting a heavy patient or cleaning up the ambulance.

There’s the administrative supervisor, always bothering you about your attendance during ‘flu season or your punctuality when the highway is shut down because a gas tanker blew up or your part-time work requirements or the illegible signatures from ED staff (who have better things to do than to sign your paperwork) and patients (who generally don’t feel like signing your paperwork even if they’re not that sick). Or like that time I wrote that a 247-year-old patient with general weakness wasn’t strong and coordinated enough to sign the touchscreen (the tip of the stylus – nothing else – must contact the screen with sufficient force to produce a signature) because she’s old as fuck, and they kicked it back wanting to know why. As if I’m the fucking signature or penmanship police.

There’s the system status supervisor, always bothering you because your “wheels are not moving” quickly enough after being assigned a post move, or you were 1 second late to an Alpha for someone’s 4-day-old tummy ache because you were using the restroom, or you’re not “on top of post” on the GPS.

There’s the QI/QA supervisor, always accusing first and asking questions later only to find out they were wrong in the first place, even though most of them have very little actual field experience, or were forced into this position through permanent disability.

Then there are the operations manager and the director of operations. I never see them and have no idea what they do, other than sending stupid memos about stupid things, but you can be sure they’ll be around when you fuck up.

It seems that no one has learned anything in 14 years.