Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Innocents

Again, It's been a while since my last post. Had a few calls that made me want to walk out and take a long needed vaction, one that made me sad, one that made me angry, both Pediatrics. First. I had my first pediatric arrest. We, as paramedics, dread this call. We train over and over for it. We run the drug calculations in our heads, the tube sizes, the algorythms, so that when that day comes and a screaming mother hands you that limp, not breathing child, you don't freak and fumble your way through. And yes, your first you will freak and you will fumble, but do it on the inside. The ET tube was too big, I needed the smaller one, shit! it's not ready, what the dose for the epi again? how many doses was that? is it time for another? Is that IO still flowing?....Watch the fucking turns, I just got the fucking tube!... Are those readings right on the end title CO2. Keep up the CPR...FUCK! I gotta encode the hospital! All on the inside. On the outside, we worked like a machine, nobody screaming, everyone doing the task at hand. Except the Fucking turns remark, I did scream that. But despite all the good we did, the airway, the drugs, the CPR, the child had been down too long, the tiny heart had been still for too long.

We work for peds. We want them so badly to live, even though we know, in that paramedic part of our brain, that there is no hope. They are so young, they haven't had time to play, time to learn. So we fight for them. We get thrust into these calls, and this for me was my nightmare call, tiny little baby in cardiac arrest, but we get thrust into it, the parents looking at you with such hope. Hope that you can perform some miracle and breath life back into this child. I still have the mother's screaming in my head. When We got to the hospital, I could barely give turnover to the hospital before I fell apart. Even though I knew there was nothing we could have done for this child, this child had been down way too long, You cry for these tiny little patients. You pray to whatever Higher Power you pray to....then for the next few days you play the call over and over in your head until you are satified that everything that could be done was done. And you are still sad. I didn;t sleep for several days. But you call your support system, those other paramedics that you call after calls like this and you lose it. If they are good, they will talk you back from the edge and back onto the truck so that you can help the next one.

My next one came yesterday, We rescued a 6 year old and 9 month old sibling, who had been abandoned...for 8 days. The 6 year old kept as good of care of the infant as a 6 year old could. Fed the infant a bottle twice a day and also made toast and jelly for himself (he was covered in strawberry jelly). When asked how he knew how to make the bottle, he answered very matter-a-factly "You just mix the powder and water together in the bottle and shake it up" and looked up at me like DUH, don't you know anything? You ARE a grown-up. The I asked if if he changed the baby's diaper, "No, I don't know how. I'm only Six!" But because he took good care as he could of his brother, this had a good outcome. I wasn't working two sick children. Other than a severe case of diaper rash, a snotty nose and a slight fever the baby was really okay. The little one when I held him just curled up close to me and slept. (not lethargic, limp sick baby sleep, but normal baby sleep) The six year old was very active, totally obvious to why the Police and Paramedics were there. He was just so excited to ride in the ambulance. He played with all the switches. He really like turing the suction on and off. I think it was because it was loud and we picked up band-aids with "Magic" We also like the stethescope. We listened to his heart then his brother's and it sounded like a drum!

I wanted to take them both home with me and watch Disney movies on my sofa. I wanted to show them what it was like to be loved and wanted. Then the anger came. Not toward these two children, but that mother who left them alone for so long. I had never wanted to cause physical violence to anyone. How dare she leave. I'm almost happy she was not found before we left, nor was grandmother. I would have gotten a complaint. I would not have held my tounge. I held both those kids all the way to the hospital. We played and sang. The baby looked at me like who is this crazy woman, singing with my brother. But he still giggled when I tickled his little round belly. They probally got a warm bath and the best sleep that night.

These innocents, We care for them, we fight for them. We want to love the unloved. It was hard to give them over to the hospital. But they now are getting cared for. And that is the best outcome.


MDC708 said...

I once had somebody tell me that part of my job was collecting nightmares, and trying to balance them with miracles. I'm with you on the aftermath of a bad peds call, and I can promise you that the feelings fade. Eventually.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the stories about your recent cases. I know it's tough for us to talk about the monsters we fear. We're supposed to be fearless, right? You have faced some very big monsters recently and I don't think you blinked even a little. I don't think we talk among ouselves nearly enough about this sort of thing because we are afraid our colleagues will see us as something less than fearless. I have a VERY short list of people that I will tell about my monsters (used to one, now two).
It was very interesting reading about the call with the abandoned children. We really DO work hard for those bright shining moments, don't we?

Anonymous said...

Oops. Forgot to sign my reply again. That last one was from me.


Kristen said...

You were probably the best thing that had happened to those two kids in their whole lives, and you made their lives better. Thank you for sharing.

Josh said...

Tough to be an anarchist and still belive in the goodness of the human spirit. The dogs still bark in my head. I have found it is best to train them to sit and beg for treats. I Can not belive I am saying this but I MISS THAT JOB.