Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Kinda' Unmerry Christmas and an Unhappy Birthday... Bah humbug... Kinda...

This Christmas season was rough to say the very least.

I knew that I would be working Christmas Eve which was fine with me as I am well aware that EMS operates 24/7/365. 

But I was promised Christmas Day off by all of my employers….

I went to check what unit I was scheduled to work and who I was working with on Christmas Eve and lo and behold….

1800-0600 12/25/2010 Unit XYZ with EMT Yadda Yadda

Management had pulled a vicious fast one.

I truly felt my heart rip from my chest and quickly fall and thud at my feet.

The adults involved in my Christmas plans would reluctantly understand…

BUT the two little girls, my nieces, who were SO excited to see me on Christmas, would not.

I had made a promise I would be with them on Christmas. 

I phoned my Mom and explained that someone had pulled a fast one and I was now working Christmas and would be unable to make the trip up North with them early Christmas morning. 

She offered to make the phone call to my nieces for me but I knew that the right thing would be for me to tell them.

I am big on saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and following through with your promises. 

My sister answered her cell phone and I explained what was going on and her reaction was pretty emotional. 

I knew that talking to my oldest niece would be even worse.

And it was.

My oldest niece cried and told me it was unfair that I told her I was coming and now I wasn’t… +1 for my niece -50 for me.

So Christmas Eve came.  I was alone.

Went to work on the most Silent Night ever…

Not call volume wise, partner wise.  Look in the picture dictionary under anti social and I am sure that my partners face would appear.

We had a steady night but were not slammed.  The hours we sat at post were torture for me because all dude did was sleep and snore, grumble, and demand we go to the convenience store to get him a meatball sub. 

Lovely *Insert eye roll here*

I got off on time on Christmas morning…  Merry Christmas to me

Christmas morning my parents decided that they had to see me and had to pull something together because they supposedly felt horrible for me but I suspect they felt even more horrible for themselves. 

I could hardly keep my eyes open because I couldn’t sleep on our down time the night before due to the snoring.  I was not really all that hungry because I was so exhausted.  It was very hard to muster excitement, gratitude, and happiness.

We opened gifts.  I got some good stuff from them but alas when I am exhausted, emotionally and physically drained, and just generally feeling screwed over and unable to do a thing about it I really stop caring. 

They left and I slept until it was time to go to work on Christmas night. 

I arrived to work and it immediately became apparent that management had done nothing for those of us on duty that evening.


Thank God my partner was a quality human being and a quality provider because she was the saving grace in a very difficult situation.

We proceeded to get slammed. 

It was clear dispatch was pissed that they were working Christmas night because the airwaves were about as cold as the outdoor temperature and that was pretty frigid.


Every other patient was pretty damn sick.  Some were even critical and got diesel therapy and some pretty powerful pre-hospital interventions.

0000:  Happy Birthday to Me. 

I didn’t even realize it had come because when my birthday arrived I was literally trying to save a life.

To my patient:  Thank you so much for staying alive until we reached the ER.  I really don’t appreciate people dying on my watch on my birthday… just saying

We continued to run pretty solid.  I was hungry, exhausted, emotionally shot, and really ready to be done with the shift. 

I was officially bummed. 

As we neared the end of the shift dispatch gifted us a late run. 

Of course the call was in the far Southern end of our coverage area I now knew I would be getting off AT LEAST 45 minutes late.

Happy Freaking Birthday to Me

We arrived on scene, quickly assessed and packaged the patient and quickly got on the road.

Neither of us had ever delivered a patient to this facility nor were we familiar with the area as the truck that was supposed to be covering this far south had not been scheduled this particular shift for some odd reason. 

En route to Mystery Facility it became clear that we had been covering two coverage areas that evening. 

The entire shift now made perfect sense.

We delivered the patient to Mystery Facility.  Nice place.  Nice staff.  They made handover easy.  Karma was working in my favor. 

We cleared and it was now 0645… 45 minutes after shift was supposed to end.

The radio keys up…


We quickly got on scene as it was pretty close to the where we were.  It was a complete total BS call.  Read:  Someone doesn’t have a primary care doc and uses the ED as primary medical care.

We cleared and were finally told to fuel up and head back to the station.

At the station we restocked our truck and made sure everything was in order. 

I think I literally ran to my car, jumped in and hightailed it out of the lot.

I arrived home to my parents awaiting my arrival….

And a 32 inch LCD HDTV and a dozen roses

For about 10 minutes I was absolutely thrilled.

I then inquired as to what the time frame for the day was as it was my birthday and make up Christmas. 

I was supposed to see friends and family to celebrate. 

Supposed to… key words… supposed to….

Snow called all plans off. 

Nah I phrased that too nicely, snow crapped on the day’s plans. 

I am still unplowed and stuck in my house and it’s almost the 28th from a storm that ended VERY early this morning and began midday on the 26th. 

Basically I would like to rewind this Christmas and my birthday and have plans work out the way they were supposed to. 

Generally I am the eternal optimist and try to find the best in each and every situation and person but the cumulative disappointment and the suckage of this whole situation is making that near impossible. 

Near being the key word…

I saved one life on Christmas and one on my birthday.  I served a higher purpose.  I allowed two human beings to live longer, two families more time with their loved one, nobody died on my watch.  For that I am thankful.

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