Thursday, April 24, 2008


Hello friends......

Its been a while. Unfortunately the east coast has been pounded with crappy weather so we haven't flown a damn thing in days. In the meantime I have worked lots of OT in the ED. My night in the trauma room started with a relatively benign hospice nurse who rolled her car. I think the trauma workup was a bit more than she was used to... she looked more than a little shell shocked when I took over.

The next contestant on The Price is Right (or should it be Deal or No Deal...... maybe Toe Tag or No Toe Tag) was in a little worse shape. Multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and legs. Coded enroute per the medics. Let me mention that the nurse (me), the ED resident, trauma resident, intern and chief were all females. I have noticed that when we get the chicks together things tend to run much more smoothly. There don't seem to be the egos and loud voices to deal with. So this guy rolls in with CPR in progress..... with an estimated down time of between 8 and 20 minutes. Pardon me, but that's a big fucking difference. At 8 minutes, or with a loss of pulse enroute we will crack a chest (thorocotomy). Greater than that there is smaller than a slim chance that we can do a thing. After looking at the wound we concluded that there was NO WAY that this guy ever had a pulse for EMS. To quote the cop "he was dead as five motherfuckers when he rolled in the door." The hole in his chest was huge, dead center and close enough that there were contact burns and gun powder present. It honestly looked bigger than a silver dollar. So he was pronounced pretty quickly. So fast in fact that the police had not even arrived yet.

The ME was pretty anxious to get this guy on his table. My theory.... it was only 2200 and he wanted to get to cutting and get home at a decent hour. So for the second time in my career I took a body to the morgue. For such a big teaching hospital our morgue is pretty damn small. There are 12 drawers, uppers and lowers.... sort of like big filing cabinets. One is devoted to babies.... I don't know how many can go in that drawer. One is for "parts" (that's what the door said). All of the bottom drawers on one side are "double bunks." The rolling tables have upper and lower shelves. There are two larger drawers for larger patients. I even noticed an industrial lift.... for those same patients I guess. Its cool, but not cold in there.... and quiet as only the morgue can be.

The rest of my night was pretty unremarkable. The crazies have been out and about and the warm weather isn't helping things. Am back in the ER for one more shift tomorrow night before the cop and I leave for our first anniversary next weekend.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Footnotes and Flying Penguins

My current "flight" schedule is pretty good. I'm on 24 hours, off 24 hours, on 24 hours then off for 5 days. The five days off give me the opportunity to catch up on all the shit I should have done when I was in between days but too tired to do so. I also try to catch up with the cop and spend some quality time there as well. If he is working nights, like last week I can pick up time in the ER and catch up with the peeps there. Its sad that some things seriously never change. I was in green Wednesday.... sitting on a crazy as shit psych patient. There were about 7 of them waiting for beds with no rooms in sight. I had a pitiful dude with esophageal CA with a trach that had started bleeding.... so he went to a community hospital about 5 minutes from us. That hospital didn't have ear, nose and throat (ENT) in house, so they wanted to transfer him out. At that time we were on diversion (for being busy as shit) so they sent him to one of their sister hospitals across town. When he got there the doc said.... DUM DA DUM.... he needs to go to the teaching hospital where they can fix this. SO in some round about way, after 2 transfers he ends up (almost) back where he started. He was whistling while breathing (stridor) so it was obvious that the clotted blood from the trach was beginning to block his airway. ENT was able to switch him to a flexible trach and he did MUCH better after that.

The next night I was in yellow for the first 4. Saw a couple of familiar faces. In October of 2006, I took care of a young guy in the ICU who was drunk driving and wrecked, becoming paralyzed in the process. He was in the hospital for about 8 months, with much of that time in the ICU. He was intubated not long after hitting the unit and trached not long after. I saw the name and immediately knew who it was. Quads can get sick as shit with the tiniest thing. In his case, he hadn't been able to move his bowels so his BP shot up and gave him a rip roaring headache. When I talked to him..joking about all the time we spent together in the ICU I realized.... this was only the second time I had ever heard his voice. Weird.

The rest of my night was spent helping with trauma (and wrecking a pair of scrubs in the process) and then back to green to be in charge of crazy as shit. After my second 12 hour night in a row I got to drive to my base for a long ass base meeting where we were to meet our new marketing person. She looked vaguely familiar (as people do when you have been up for 19 hours). She recognized me as well, and when I mentioned that I had just left the ER she figured it out. In August of last year her son was in a skateboarding accident and was a trauma team alert with a head bleed. He went emergently to the OR, had a bone flap removed and was in my unit for a day or two. I was his trauma nurse and had given her the whole "this is what happened, what we are doing" speech. She was SOOO happy to see me again. I wish I wasn't so tired so that we could really sit down and talk. Apparently, she got the job partially because of what happened with her son. Anyway, small as shit world. He was able to go to college then next semester and is doing well. ROCK ON!

SO the penguin got to fly a scene flight yesterday as well. We got launched on a teenager riding an ATV with no helmet (big fucking surprise there) that was jumping the thing, flew off and landed facedown in a swamp. His friends (teens as well) left him face down when they went to get help. SO he was submerged for at least 5 minutes in gross swamp water. The parents flipped him over (thought he was dead he was so cold and pale) and he started breathing. He had a nasty fracture to his right leg.... but otherwise seemed okay. We flew him to my trauma center and last I heard he was doing well. Lucky kid.

I know flying is my dream job..... I just like being a flight nurse so much better when I actually get to fly!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Psychotic Twig

Part of the reason that I have been out of action here (other than the Penguin thing) is that I have a big birthday pending. I will hit 29, the sequel this summer. So with the cops help, we have joined a gym and have been trying to get in better shape. I decided to get a trainer for a little more motivation and direction. Some may say its too expensive, but I don't have a lavish lifestyle and this seems like something worth splurging on. So twice a week I meet with a 5'1 ball of energy who has a flower's name, but could probably kick the crap out of most people that I know.

I'm eating better, working out and have started doing yoga. This is not my first exposure to yoga. I have taken classes at the hospital and in the community and have loved it. So when the trainer said, lets do a class I was all about it. I left sore as shit in places you don't want to be sore, but otherwise ok. Another class with a different teacher.... same results. Sore, but happy. So I have talked it up now.... I have convinced the cop to come with me. "It is so relaxing and you feel so good afterwards!" (You ALL see where this is going)

We showed up last night to take class with someone I have never met before. Shes about 5'10, 90lbs and looks harmless. She knows that I have never taken her class and that the cop is a yoga virgin.... no big deal. Ummmm........ I don't know what kind of crack this bitch was on but damn! We were upside down, sideways and bent into pretzels within 5 minutes. This was waaaayyy more than I expected. At one point when we were upside down I caught the cops eye and apologized. He walked out and I was not far behind. We watched the rest of the class and that lady was INSANE. I saw postures that I last saw in 'The Exorcist' That scene where the girl goes backwards down the stairs on her hands?!?!?! Yup, Handstands, headstands you name it. There was NOTHING relaxing there!

I did check the class before we went and it should not have been so far over our heads. I think the cop and I are going back for the "gentle" class later this week. I think thats like yoga with training wheels.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


I realize that I have been MIA for a while. I wish I had good things to say, but I remain the groundling Penguin. No flights..... at all. Tonight the weather got so shitty that the medic and I went home. We are on "30 minute call-out" which means that if our hospital wants to send someone out by ground (we aren't flying in this shit!) then we can go to the hospital and then ride by ground. Its a slim chance, but a chance to transport nonetheless. I took the opportunity to go home, see the cop and the puppies and sleep in my own bed.

I am picking up shifts in the ED this week. I need the refreshment as to why I get paid to sleep and practice putting up with the assholes again. No other deep thoughts.... have been fighting a bad chunk of writer's block. Will work on that for later this week. Hope all is well out there in blog-land!