Monday, March 30, 2009

Give the Pointy Headed Boss a break

The title is a "Dilbert" reference. If you don't know Dilbert, read no further.

Having said that, I have new insight into the roles of Pointy Headed Bosses. Almost a year ago, I was shanghied onto the board of a small community owned water company. Through some sort of "cream actually sinks to the bottom" magic, I find myself El Presidente. My late step father had been president through some tough years, and is something of a legend locally. Perhaps there was some thinking that there might be some carryover. Most likely, I was like Mikey, the only one silly enough to accept. (I may have heard some snickering at the time)

So last Saturday was the first meeting since I was elected a year ago. Contact with other board members has been mostly via email. We met an hour before the regular meeting, and it was quickly apparent that the person with the lowest IQ was going to be running the meeting. The good part about all this is that it took all the pressure off me. All I had to do was keep track of where we were on the agenda and keep things moving, make a few jokes and pass out the cookies.

So, like Pointy Headed Boss, I'm pretty clueless except for calling meetings etc. I hope I'm not throwing any wrenches into the works. I think I did a pretty good job of keeping my mouth shut. (If you hear guffaws, it's coming from people who know me)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why you don't play with dynamite

I was cruising through old photos and came across this one.

C'est moi, at about 4 0r 5.  The back story is this. We were at the beach with a small fire for cooking hotdogs, and I was gathering small pieces of wood for the fire, and adding them as needed. One piece had a waxy substance on it, and shortly after I threw it in, KABLOOM! My best guess is that fishermen at that time used dynamite to scare away seals , this one failed to blow and washed up on the beach. It was later estimated it was a half stick.

I have NO idea why I was smiling at this point.

Fogey alert

"Build a bridge" is young english for "Get over it"

Saturday, March 07, 2009

An odd evening

I lay awake for awhile last night. I've been having a little trouble falling asleep the last week. As I lay there, I remember a medical call I went on. 

Why am I remembering that? Possible because this site brought back some memories.

 Anyway, it wasn't a bad memory, it was when our crew revived  a two year old drowning victim, which reminded me of when another crew I was on revived a brew pub owner who had a heart attack. She threw a party at the pub for us several weeks later, and wrote a thank you letter that said "I've waited all my life to have three handsome firemen rip my top off, and when it happened I was dead!"

Why am I thinking about this?

Then I remembered bits of another call, when we pulled out of the station, as we crossed the gutter line there was an enormous "THUMP!" (I was the engineer) uh oh, something broke. We were going to a call for a possible child  drowning at the community center, so if the engine will go, we go. So there were two right turns enroute, and things seemed fine until I had to turn left. Left turn, not so good, and we're in sight of the wading pool. I'm barely able to wrestle the engine left, then a right turn and we're there. The crew was Capt Gene, Jerry and myself. Jerry jumps in the pool and tends to the little girl who had a seizure but was fine. What was it that broke? It took quite awhile to remember. (leaf spring shackle) Which engine was that? One of the old Fords?

Then I remembered Gene, Jerry and I had a "save" at the community center where there was a large birthday party for an old guy who collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. His mouth and airway were full of birthday cake. The ambu bag broke. But we got pulses and respirations back.

Am I having flashbacks?

I remember when, with this same crew, we responded to a two year old burn victim, who supposedly filled the bathroom sink with scalding hot water and tried to give herself a bath. I can still see the skin falling off her lower torso. Jerry grabbed her, jumped into the tub with cool water as the paramedics arrived, Gene and I called for a medivac helo and started setting up the LZ. The house was on a court, so we just blocked off the court, but it was garbage day and everybody's cans were out.

Why am I remembering all this? The author of "Tidings of Magpies" is a nurse, Geez, I remember another call, with a different crew. It was springtime, a beautiful day about noon when we got a call for a vehicle accident about a mile away. Sometimes you can tell from the dispatchers voice that it's bad. A person having drug induced paranoia, was driving about 80 mph on a (6 lane) city street and swerved into a car sitting at a stoplight, head on. As we pulled up, the officers waved us to the car that HAD BEEN at the stoplight. The other car was about 150' down the road. Fortunately there was a ladder truck nearby that responded and handled the "perps" car. He died while being extricated. Our driver was....a nurse..... She was responsive only to pain, of which there was probably plenty. Paul, our FF/medic, went in thru the passenger window to try and start a line on her. I popped the door with the Hurst Tool. She was wearing dark blue sweatpants, and  I noticed a quarter sized dark spot mid femur. I pointed it out to Paul who cut the pants open.

Anyone remember in Catch 22 where Yossarian cuts open the bloody flightsuit?  We're staring at a classic compound femur fracture.

I remember we were able to call the hospital and check on her for a few days, then the new privacy laws went into effect. A nurse whispered to me that she had been transferred. I never knew how she recovered

Why am I having all these memories? Let's see, just before I went to bed, our 22 year old cat pooped all over the floor and seemed to be losing control over her hind legs. I remember thinking, oh God, is it time? Do we have to take her to be put down?

No, "we" cleaned her up (I'm HELPING!) and she seemed "normal" We gave her some meds for an upset tummy. Today she walks normally unless she's been lying down for a long time.

To quote from a VERY old Adam Sandler monologue, "The mind is a terrible thing!"

Thursday, March 05, 2009

You probably had to be there

A recent conversation reminded me of a call I went on once that became THE favorite story for my captain to tell about me. We had responded for a medical for a man who was apparently experiencing side effects of a new medication. Once we determined that that might be the case I tracked down the meds and literature and started reading off the POSSIBLE side effects. There were many, and I guess as I was reading them outloud, the patient was experiencing them ala a scene from the movie "Airplane!" where the doctor describes the symptoms of food poisoning.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Natural Selection- a recollection

Thanks to this site, (a recent Blog of Note) I recalled this story.

I have had the theory for sometime that my former profession and related emergency fields were basically fighting the effects of natural Selection. People are out there doing really dumb things, and it was the job of others to rescue them from the consequences of their actions.

I used a particular call that I responded to as an example.

It's shortly after a rain shower, and the sun is beating brightly on the pavement. A young high school aged man has been drinking (and it's about 10AM!) and was driving at a "high" rate of speed (pun intended) in a small blue Miata with bald tires, and no seat belt,  going into a curve.  He of course flips the car several times. SURPRIZE!  He's ejected, his skull is cracked open, among other things, and brain matter is seeing the light of day for the first time,  (I presume) His vitals are dropping, but we go through the program because that's what we do. 
He becomes my permanent (I thought) example of how we're fighting natural selection.

Fast forward several years. I'm reading the local newspaper which has a story about a young man who is visiting schools, lecturing about drunken driving. He tells his story to the newspaper, and it's the SAME KID!

So now it's an example of why you do your job to your best ability even when it seems hopeless.