Light posting lately

Sick + busy at work = low energy levels for everything, including keeping up on the news and writing blog posts. Plus, if you know where I am and have been following the local news, you know we’ve had some fairly intense weekends for local EMS.

Just to give you an idea, a normal rescue call usually takes about one hour, give or take, from the time we’re dispatched to the time we get back to the station and are done cleaning and restocking, and get the paperwork finalized. A serious call, like we’ve had every weekend for the last 2 or 3 weekends, can take 2-3 hours. The time with the patient – anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes on scene and in transport, depending on what’s involved – is very, very intense. Five minutes can feel like an hour. Then you have to do paperwork, which you make sure is extremely detailed because you know for sure that the QA committee will be looking at it, and it’s also more likely that you’ll be called as a witness in court up to 2 years later (at which point the only things you’ll remember for sure are what you wrote in your report).

Then you have to clean up and restock, which usually involves cleaning significant amounts of blood and other contaminants out of the ambulance – off the floor, the railings (3 points anchored at all times, and anything you touch gets contaminated with whatever is on your gloves), sometimes the counters, and off of any non-disposable equipment that you used. If there were multiple units there, then you have to make sure all the equipment that came off your truck and ended up on another one gets back where it belongs. This is also usually the stage where the psychological decompression begins – “resetting” the truck also seems to be a cue for resetting your brain. You start to let go of the stress, and you are getting well into recovering from the adrenaline rush that comes with any high-stress situation. You start to go over the call with your colleagues; the first real, albeit informal, “debriefing” for that call. Once the call has been exhausted as a topic, there’s often a period of socialization that seems to be almost a reaffirmation of life – a way of firmly informing the universe “this was bad, bad things happen, we did what we could, but we’re okay and life does go on.”

When this drifts apart, and it’s time to go home, you finally realize that you’re exhausted. Especially if you’ve been sick and still aren’t back to 100%. Crawling into bed at the earliest opportunity is a wonderful idea, but  your brain is still running off the last fumes of that adrenaline. Reading helps settle my mind, but picking up a book is risking losing track of time until I look up and realize it’s 2am, and I really should have put it down and gone to sleep 2 or 3 hours ago – and right now I’m re-reading/catching-up-on a whole series.

So, yeah. Add 9 hours a day, 5 days a week at my regular office job (EMS is all volunteer, here), and it’s no wonder I’m worn out. Bleah.


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