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EMS Sticks Together

September 19, 2010 Leave a comment

During the overnight shift, we heard another unit call for PD. The tone in the tech’s voice told us something wasn’t right, and we responded to their location. Us, and literally 3 other ambulances, 3 PD cars, and a conditions boss all pull up nearly simultaneously to the unit that called. They’re outside a club, where apparently some club-goers assaulted them. The scene was 8 EMS personnel, all wearing tactical gloves, prepared to let anyone at the club know that EMS are not to be messed with. Of course, everyone involved had fled already, much to the disappointment of my partner who remarked he “hadn’t been in a brawl for four years”. The conditions boss sent us back to our standby’s, but the message was clear, we have each other’s backs.

Categories: EMT, New York

Free time

Wow, haven’t written anything in nearly two months. That’s more of a reflection of how crazy things have been lately (70-80 hours/week crazy) rather than an absence of “blogworthy” events.

Two days ago I had a cardiac arrest that went very smoothly. BLS crew was doing the right things, I got the line while my partner got the tube, both went in quickly. Initially the patient was asystolic (no electrical activity in the heart, no pulse), started fluids, vasopressin, epinephrine, atropine, as usual. Three rounds of epi/atropine went in, and we were nearly ready to pronounce when I noticed a brief wide complex come across the monitor… hmmm. I popped another dose of epi in, made sure good compressions were still being given, and complexes were coming across close to 30 a minute. Telemetry ordered 2 amps of bicarb, two more rounds of epi, and calcium chloride if we got pulses back. In the end, we transported, and got pulses back by the time we were at the hospital. Not sure if the patient made it through the night, but a good feeling nonetheless.

I guess NYC didn’t want me to feel good for long, because before going to work, I found my car was broken into… perfect. Of course, the only thing stolen was my EMT bag, idiots. I can’t imagine the look on their faces when they opened it up to find a BVM, oxygen masks, and trauma dressings. Worthless. Ugh.

What else…

Officially applied to medical school a few weeks ago, and got my MCAT score back (did as well as I needed to, cool). In the process of filling out the supplemental applications for the schools now. Most of it is either repeating what I already said in the primary application, or answering the “what is special about OUR school?” question. “Well… I think I might be able to get into your school… that’s why.” I believe the majority of the application process is simply demonstrating that you are willing and able to do the tedious work of jumping through hoops. Hop hop…

Paramedic school is going well. An anonymous student is vying for valedictorian. I have an inkling of who it is now though, because I got stuck 3 times by the suspect when testing out for IV skills, and I hate getting stuck. Ow.

Speaking of medic school, I’m on a 12 hour rotation now at a hospital in the city. It’s amazing how different it feels to work 911 in a middle/upper class area compared to my usual rotations in a more rough part of Queens. Had a chemo PT with shortness of breath and a straightforward asthmatic so far.

With that, time to sleep on the bench until the next call.

Goodnight.

Lines

September 21, 2009 Leave a comment

You can judge the quality of the local populace by how well they adhere to lines. I can tell you that the lines at McDonalds in Harlem are decidedly low class.

Categories: New York

Water Street

I officially have a new place. Changing my borough from Brooklyn to Manhattan, but ironically I am living steps away from the Brooklyn Bridge (I just found out that the order of bridges between Brooklyn and Manhattan is BMW – Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg – awesome).

If I want, I can pretend that I am in San Diego for a brief period of time by walking a few minutes to South Seaport, which is on the water and has some resemblance to Seaport Village in downtown, San Diego. Of course, this illusion will only work for another few months, when it begins to snow.
It’s on a cobble-stone street in the Financial District (or “FiDi”), which is kind of cool. The apartment itself is in a renovated industrial building, with the whole floor to ourselves, which means a huge common space by New York standards. Three roommates around my age, hopefully all normal. After meeting a very abnormal potential roommate in a tenement who told me I would brush my teeth in the kitchen sink, shower in a closet, and use the toilet in his room, I began to realize why so many people on Craigslist state: “looking for a NORMAL roommate for our apartment” — Oh.
Categories: New York

How Smart People Turn Stupid

I had my first experience of moving in NYC yesterday.

There were thunderstorms, six flights of stairs, and back-breaking boxes. But, possibly most salient was the driving.
New York City drivers have to be, by far, the WORST drivers I have ever encountered. It’s not just the taxi drivers that are the problem, which you would expect since the majority come from countries where the
primary form of transportation is by foot or maybe a bike. The crazy part is that even the people in brand new cars, luxury vehicles — thus, they are likely to be hard-working/intelligent/lucky to afford to have and park a car in Manhattan — are just as bad.
I’m pretty sure I was the only person that uses a turn-signal. The standard train-of-thought for New Yorker’s is “aggressive driving”, not “defensive driving”. I’ve heard multiple natives suggest the best method is to be aggressive. I’m guessing this becomes a mob-behavior, because typically the way people change lanes here is by simply drifting into the other lane regardless of if there is a car occupying the space. I lost track of the number of times I was minding my own business as some idiot is near my front bumper and started moving into my lane.
Also, on several occasions I was trying to turn and drivers would go around me and attempt to turn in front of me, even though there is no place to go because I was blocked by traffic.
That reminds me of another piece of madness in terms of New York driving. In California, and every other state I’ve driven, when you are at an intersection with a green light that indicates left turns yield to oncoming traffic, and there is another car across from you also trying to turn left, as you are making the turn you pass in front of the other car so that it will be on your right as you pass. Well, the crazies in New York will often drive into the intersection, become side-by-side with the oncoming car on your LEFT, cross paths and then turn AROUND each other. This works if there i
s only two cars and they time it properly. However, once you get multiple cars then paths start to intersect. I cannot understand how this method is at all logical.
Abuse of Lights/Sirens

For some reason I’m also reminded of something I saw a few days ago. I was about to cross Eastern Parkway as I hear sirens blaring and see a van hurtling towards the intersection. Problem is, people were already beginning to cross as the light had just turned red. At first the van changed its siren tone to try to get people to notice (changing tones literally every few seconds is very common in NYC due to most drivers simply ignoring emergency service vehicles), but no cars got out of the way and the pedest
rians kept walking, so it came to a stop at the intersection and simply turned its lights/siren off. Hm.


If this were a true emergency, they would have kept everything on and went around the car and the pedestrian and sped off. However, the fact it just stopped everything and was fine continuing with the rest of traffic just confirmed my suspicions that there are plenty of people with sirens that abuse them. In NYC there is a lot more leeway about who can install these in their personal vehicles. Technically, as an EMT I could purchase concealed lights/sirens and install them in my car legally. So, as such, I feel plenty of people that have no real need for them will install them (likely even legally) and use them to simply avoid traffic. Walking through the highly Haredi/Hasidic Jewish area of Williamsburg, Brooklyn there is probably a 50% chance I will see a private car barreling down narrow streets with sirens. I highly doubt Jewish people have this many emergencies.
Categories: New York

Oh, how quickly we forget.

I’ve taken quite the hiatus from my blog the past few months. Things have been just SO interesting I had nothing to write about… sure.

For sure, one of the worst experiences in NYC is finding housing. Is it still considered housing when it’s basically a shoebox that you put your STUFF in? First, choose your borough:
  • Bronx – No one moves to the bronx, people move from the bronx.
  • Queens – A LITTLE more suburban feel, but still can feel far away from the city.
  • Staten Island – A ferry ride away from the city, yet looks like a normal town, no real high rises, etc. But, it’s mostly families, and that’s pretty much the only reason to live there. Kind of cool if you want to feel like you suddenly transported yourself out of NYC.
  • Brooklyn – Most people live here, and pay sub-manhattan prices while still being somewhat close to the city. There are nice areas nestled into this huge borough, such as Park Slope and Downtown. But, then you get into areas like East New York and you can pretty much pick the stereotype you want to see. The trains also tend to slow, old, or broken.
  • Manhattan – Ah… where everyone wants to live, right?

Ok, so you’ve chosen Manhattan, now pick your neighborhood (th

e other boroughs have neighborhoods, but apparently craigslist only cares about Manhattan and chooses not to list them for other boroughs). Off the top of my head there is: East Village, Union Square, Lower East Side, Gramercy, Murray Hill, Downtown, Financial District, Battery Park, Greenwich Village, Chelse

a, West Village, SoHo (South of
Houston st.), TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal st.), China Town, Little Italy, Stuy Town, Midtown (middle, West, and East), Upper West Side,
Upper East Side, Washington/Inwood Heights, Harlem, East Harlem. Phew.
Each of these neighborhoods has a unique feel within about a 2 x 8 mile area (this includes central park, which is over a square mile). They also have similar pricing for a single room (assuming you’re sharing), but the size of your room will change. In the East Village you’re going to pay between $950-$1350 for a room between 70-120 square feet (120 on the high side for sure, so basically $10/sq ft). However, in the financial district the same price might net you between 110-140 square feet, and you’ll be in an elevator building with security and maybe access to a gym. The East Village is pretty old construction, mostly walk-up apartments, but happens to be home to LOTS of restaurants and nightlife. People from all over Manhattan and the other boroughs come here to eat, party, and hang out.
Also, in Manhattan, you interview to get a room. People don’t have to try very hard to attract renters, so the tables are turned, and the people renting to you no longer

are working for you, you work to get them. Everyone that posts ads asks for people that are “clean, respectful, and considerate” as if the dirty, disrespecting degenerates of the world are going to autonomously take themselves out of the running.
Basically, finding a place in New York is not something I wish upon anyone, except maybe Ahmadinejad.
On another note, with the start of summer, I’d like to extend my thanks to the vapor-compression cycle.
In a couple days I will officially be a certified EMT, officially one step above the bottom rung of the emergency services totem pole (at the bottom would be volunteers and EMT’s in training). Hopefully someone will soon pay me as little as they possibly can in order to be a glorified taxi driver around NYC with added bonus of being able to shock people if a little machine tells me I can. Not as cool as being a paramedic, who (as the saying goes) only wants to respond to a call if they can “stick ’em, tube ’em, or shock ’em”, but I’ll take what I can get.
Until later.
Categories: New York

More Amusment on the Subway

February 12, 2009 Leave a comment

The following happened to me (and my fellow riders of the prestigious MTA system) today while trying to get home from SoHo (for my SoCal friends, this means South of Houston Street, and is generally a very upscale area of Manhattan). I was on the Q train heading towards Brooklyn and while in the middle of a tunnel the conductor comes on the intercom and says the following (with a Haitian accent):

“Hullo, we are not sure where we are or exactly where we are goin’. When ah fine out where we are goin’ I let yah know. This coul’ be an N trehn or it coul’ be a Q trehn, I let yah know soon.”

Turns out, with gusts of up to 50 mph today, a tree fell onto the Q tracks, and all service was cut off to Coney Island. So, my Q train transformed into an N train, but luckily this didn’t matter until after my stop. This did leave some people wondering how they were going to get home however. Apparently, the greek god of wind, Zephyrus, also chose to fell a tree onto a poor lady’s car in East New York, outside my girlfriend’s school. Maybe she was praying to the wrong god, and Zephyr decided to total her car as a hint. I’ve taken this as a hint I should stay inside today.

Categories: New York, Subway