Sunday, July 20, 2008

NSR Week 5

Welcome to Normal Sinus Rhythm, Week 5! There is no theme for this week, so we hope you enjoy a veritable slew of ideas and stories. Posted with each link is an excerpt of the original post; head over there and leave a comment if you have the time.

If there is a theme you would like to see in a future NSR, leave a comment here or send an email to We would really appreciate input on this project.

Gertrude brings us a story of Recognition.
Something about her seemed familiar to me. A whisper of recognition. Where do I know that scar from? The mole on her arm and way she wears her wrist watch?

Sam tells us to Bleed, Everyone's Doing It.
Eric is in the back in seconds flat, and he sits on a shoulder as he calls for ALS. We need something to put this guy out, but we can't do it.
The deputy runs back to the medic, jumping in with handcuffs ready in hand. She restrains him somehow, but I'm not really paying attention.
I look down at our patient. He's bleeding. I don't know where from, but there's blood on his face.

Stretcher Jockey tries to remind us that Sometimes Good Things Do Happen.
These types of calls will more than likely always be a part of the job for as long as many of us are in this profession. It's frustrating and a waste of precious limited resources. These types of calls tend to wear us down. I sometimes feel like a part of my EMS "soul" is sucked right out of me whenever I get one of these calls.

When Are You A Competent Medic? Peter helps us out with the answer.
I think it took me about a year before I started feeling competent. This came from starting to handle the routine calls ( the 02/NTG/ASA chest pain, the breathing treatment dyspnea, the D50 hypoglycemia) well as I developed a rhythm and system that seemed to work. But then every now and then a call (asthmatic arrest, pedi struck by car) would come along and kick my ass, and I would go through the whole "Am I fraud?" "Am I going to kill someone?" agonizing, which I think all medics go through.

Monday, July 7, 2008

NSR Week 3 (Late)

Welcome to Normal Sinus Rhythm! This week, Gertrude over at Ridin' The Bus gave us the prompt, "You might be a _____ if..." Posted with each link is an excerpt of the original post; head over there and leave a comment if you have the time!

If there is a theme you would like to see in a future NSR, leave a comment here or send an email to We would really appreciate input on this project!

Peter tells us, You Know You're A Paramedic When...
You ask the phlebotomist at the doctor’s office if you can stick yourself (after she has already missed twice).

You can sleep soundly in an ambulance and only wake up when your ambulance number is called.

Lucid brings us You Might Be an ARP If...
7. Lacking a window punch, you've gained access to an MVA victim using an avalanche shovel.
8. You've directed traffic before you could legally drive.
9. You've gone for two hour hikes at 3 am... sometimes to look for a missing person, sometimes just for fun.

Gertrude brings us a different side of things with You Might Be A Junkie If...
4. You might be a junkie if you deny using but are covered in powder and little broken capsules.

Stretcher Jockey reminds us that You Might Be A Wacker If...
10. You wear two wristwatches while you're on-duty in case the first one goes dead while you're checking a pulse.

9. You carry more varieties of hemostats in the pouch on your belt than they carry in the local hospital's central supply.

Witness tells us what a Sad Life it is.
6. You go to sew up a hole in a pair of clothes, and when reaching for the needle you feel an overwhelming urge to wear gloves.

5. You're driving your personal vehicle, but can't quite find the address... so you reach over to the console to turn on your left scene lights, only to quickly remember that you are in fact driving your own car and not an ambulance.

Rogue Medic continues his expanded abbreviation of our very own "NSR" with Not Sedated--Restrained.
Well, I don't consider anyone to be much of a paramedic/EMT, unless one is a Jack of all trades. Part of that is the ability to keep a patient from harming himself and from harming crew members and still transport the patient to the hospital. This is the amateur wrestler/rodeo clown part of EMS, so:

You might be an amateur wrestler/rodeo clown if...

EpiJunky brings us Ten Signs that it's time to get off the transfer truck.

You can map a path past a good coffee shop to any Hospital/Nursing Home/Wound Care/Pain Management Clinic/Dialysis Clinic in the city, and do it efficiently.

You're on the local Wound Care clinic's Christmas card list or you get an invitation to the Dialysis Annual Memorial Day Picnic.

And finally, Sam tells us How You Know.
And when we're done, away from patient and family, that's when I think. That's when the emotions hit me, the thoughts of my parents and my friends. That's when I sigh deeply and get a little misty eyed and I'm silent; that's when it hits me, fully sinking in.