Posted by: guinness222 | September 3, 2010

“..Forceps,…retractors,….hemostat,…Ooops!”

       Welcome to the “Time to Give Back” side of me. If you are the least bit squeamish DO NOT read on! (Only kidding 🙂 )

       As most of you know last spring, (’09) my “wild ‘n crazy” lifestyle caught up with me, and I had gone way past the Roto-Rooter stage of major artery cleanout, and was a poster child for the “How the hell is he still alive!” club. Ended me up having a couple of surgeons opening me up, “live and in color” as they say, taught me new meanings for pain, motivated me to relearn every prayer the Nuns had ever taught me, and otherwise indicated “IF” all went well I should consider myself the equivalent of a Mega-Lottery winner. In short “theydun gud”, I’m still here, and above and beyond my usual seven year career “reinvention” have embarked on  a second, new and healthier lifestyle.

        I work out seven days a week for an hour and a half to two wearing out treadmills at the gym, doing 138 miles last month, (“Put me in Coach,…I’m ready!”), eating healthy, using Wikipedia to find out what that green grass looking type stuff and the yellow squish stuff is that I consume now, … and hell I’ve even broken the Guinness Pint habit from three pints a day to one or two a month. (Have no fear I’ve adopted Mich Ultra at 92 calories per 12 oz bottle as a staple substitute). Hell they’ve even got an “App” for that, called “Beer Gut Fitness”, anyway it takes the calories I burn from exercising daily, calculates them against a data base of beer calories by type, and tells me how many I have to drink to achieve a “breakeven” OR to stay ahead if the weight curve. LOVE it!!

        But I was motivated last year to think about becoming a volunteer at our local hospital. Having been a certified and Nationally Registered EMT in a previous reinvention of myself about 30 years ago, I always liked the action around the Emergency Room. Never a dull moment they say, but the more apropos line would be, …”When it’s hot it’s hot, and when it’s cold it’s freezing”. An ER is either slammed with business, or you can shoot moose in the waiting room, but when it “hits” it’s an all hands on deck, man overboard drill, of the “Battle Stations” variety.

       Rule #1 for volunteers, Be super nice to the patient, be compassionate, but don’t touch them, don’t help them into a wheel chair, just hold the chair (with the brakes on of course 😉 ) And you see the entire cross-section of life in the scant four hour volunteer shift,….trust me on that. Sooooooo Wednesday Evening from 4pm to 8pm I’m on duty.

       When I was in training as an EMT long ago in a far off galaxy, some pretty little girl tried to stop a Greyhound Bus with her light pick-up truck. The bus won, obviously, but I was working that night when they brought her in and it was so small a hospital that the ER Doc was literally “On-Call”, which they did when she arrived. That left me and the Nurse to calm this girl down, assess her situation, and try and make her comfortable. She had a wound across her forehead and had peeled back her entire scalp from mid-forehead to mid skull, and it was loaded with glass fragments from the windshield. We did the best we could and tried to keep her calm, but between sobs and tears it was not a picnic. Anyway the Doc finally gets there assesses her and determines it’s just a big old nasty cut more than anything else. No fractures, no concussion, obviously a very lucky young lady. So he hits her with about thirty Novocaine shots in and around the wound, just like the Dentist does before working on your tooth. Then he picks up two sets of tweezers and hands me one and says, “Ok, lets get after the glass fragments between the scalp and skull.” Of course I stammer something inane like, “What do you mean ‘US’?” And he says, “She can’t feel anything and it will take a ton of time getting them all out so jump in and help, you can’t really hurt anything here it’s the skull and the skin, period.”

        So we did, and about a half hour later he scopes it all out, tells me a I did a great job and says, “OK, let’s stitch her up now. ” Jokingly I said, “There you go with the ‘let’s’ again, I can’t even hem a pair of pants.” He looks up, smiles, and says,…”I can show you, it’s not that hard. Here you watch a few and then I’ll have you try a few.” And he did a few, I watched, and then he hands me the needle in the tweezers and says, “OK, now your turn, just do exactly as I tell you.”

        End of shift, the girl lived, the Doctor lived, and I did as well, but had a deep and pressing urge to consume a few pints as soon as I got home. My first real ER shift and nobody died. YEA ME!!!

       Well I’m pleased to report I’ve done three more shifts in the past week or two and my record is still in tact,….noone has died,….at least not that I know of.

       Well it’s getting to lunch time and I’m hungry, gotta head to the gym again and literally “walk my ass off”. And it’s also about time I got back to finishing my book on my experiences and developing an exercise program for cardiac folks like me, I want to send it out to see if anyone wants to publish it this fall.

       And I’m working on another brainstorm, which I can’t go into too much detail until I’m sure I have to copyrighted first, but that is a more long term six or eight month job.

       Well of to the gym and a nice three day labor day weekend!

-30-


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