Friday, April 16, 2010
One thing they drill in your head when attending a call is to avoid tunnel vision. It's hard to do sometimes. The greater the emergency, the greater the chance of having tunnel vision. Stress and shock can do that to you. We're only human and we react in human ways. There was a call when a firefighter took the pulse of a patient when said patient had no head left. (Sorry for the gore but this is the stuff we deal with). When you get the details from the dispatcher over the radio as to the nature of the call, you are mentally preparing with what you might be facing. Sometimes the info given is correct, other times, it can come with a twist. The key is to be prepared for the call, but to be open the the possibility that the call can be completely different and to shift into a different head space in a second. I had a call where it came in as male with difficulty breathing. This type of call we usually get at least once a shift and it usually involves an older patient with cardiac history 99% of the time. And these calls are quite routine in that we take their O2 saturation, pulse, blood pressure, give oxygen, obtain medical history etc. And then wait for paramedics to arrive and help stabilize and transport the patient. So you can imagine our surprise when we arrived to a 'routine' difficulty breathing call only to find out it was a baby... and because I was on the medical bag (we're assigned either the med bag or the defibrillator at beginning of each shift) I had to kick it into high gear getting the pediatric equipment out and start assessing. Normally I would have had the equipment out and ready because I would have know ahead of time we were headed to a ped call. Thankfully the ambulance was hot on our tails to aid in help. I've never like any rescue calls involving children. And now that I'm a mother I like them even less. And if I'm driving the firetruck, my pulse is racing that much quicker and I have to do everything I can to not drive with a lead foot. After a bad call involving a child, the rest of the shift feels like days on end and I can't wait to get home to give my babies a hug. And those are the days when I know I've earned every cent on my paycheque and I'm begging one of my crewmates to just say something funny and make me laugh because deep down all I really want to do is cry.