Monday, November 24, 2008


Things change, as they always do. With my promotion to senior medic comes (along with other things) my own shift, my own car -- and a junior partner.

You never know who you will get, and it's the topic of discussion among the senior medics when the junior spot on your car is open.

"You'll get someone who's brand-new."

"They won't even know their way around."

"You'll have to babysit them, all night."

"I had a junior once, new guy, and you won't believe what he did..."

So with all this in my head, it was with no small trepidation that I waited to hear who my permanent partner would be. It could be someone experienced, I told myself. There are a few people who might want on my shift ... my night shift ...


And then the phone call, giving me the heads up and a name I didn't recogize. "Did she come from B shift?"

"Nope," said the voice on the other end of the phone. "She's brand new."


* * * *

So she came on the car. Young but sharp was my first impression, with a good attitude and a willingness to learn. But short on experience, she freely admitted, short on codes and tubes and all that fun. A white cloud, a medic who doesn't ever seem to get the critical calls.

Great. Just like me. We'll never have anything.

In the first week we had a truly critical call every single day.

And by the end of the week, I knew she was, indeed, solid; already a good medic despite her lack of experience, and with the potential to be a great medic.

* * * *

Of course, that's not all the responsibility I have to bear now. There's the narcotics, and making sure everything is in order, and doing little bits of paperwork for this and that.

And I guess there is one other thing.

* * * *

"Etomidate is in!" the fire medic announces, and swaps syringes. "Sux going in."

I look down at the patient. Sick, bad sick. Head injured. Unconscious. Jaw clenched. He needs an airway, needs PVC down his windpipe, and there's only one way to do that.

When you can't be trusted to breathe for yourself any more, we take over.

The drugs take hold, and he stops breathing.

"Okay," I say, softly, to myself, twisting my cap backwards and out of the way, clicking the laryngoscope open with a soft snick, taking a deep breath.

"Here we go."


Ellie said...

Glad to read things are going well. We just got Etomidate where I work, it is a contest to see who can use it first.
Good luck with the newbies-

Life on Pause said...

I'm a returning reader to your blog, so I thought I'd reread...this post means a lot more than it did 2 years ago.

I've heard those words from the fire medic too many times in the last year. But, even though it's terrifying to hear, and then to fall to the drugs, at least I know there's always someone like you to keep me safe.

Thank you.