Monday, January 28, 2013

It's time for your medicine.

  I wanted to tell y'all a little different story today. As most of you probably know I am a Paramedic. I have been practicing this trade for quite a few years now. I have seen a lot of pain and suffering, along with some funny things over the years. I have always said there is no telling what your going to see when you go into someones house at 3:00 am! One of my favorite parts of Medic class was the first class day after the weekend. The first half hour or so was spent telling and listening to every one's stories about the clinical experiences that they had. These stories usually ranged from tragic to comical, but when the person telling the story lit up while they were relaying something they had seen, or had done to the rest of us was what made this time so enjoyable. Anyway, in order to get your Medic patch you have to go through lots of hours of classroom learning, and many more hours of clinical training, and this is a story of one of those clinical training experiences.

  Most of our clinical time that was required we spent in Amarillo, either at AMS riding on the ambulances, or at Northwest hospital in the Emergency Room, ICU, CCU, or the Pediatric ICU. Because of the long drive involved we would usually schedule 16 hour shifts , and in order to do that we usually left Darrouzett around 4:00 am, this day was no different.

  This particular day there were 4 or 5 us that had ventured down to Northwest to knock out a few more of the required  hours. With this many of us there at once it was decided that we would rotate through different areas so that we weren't stuck in one place for the entire 16 hours, 8 hours in ER then 8 hours in PICU, which is what I had decided to do that day. After 8 hours in the ER working with all of the different types of illnesses, and injuries that came through there doors I was a little concerned that 8 hours in the Pediatric ICU might be pretty boring, boy was I wrong!

  I walked into the PICU that afternoon wearing my white shirt, black pants, black shoes, and enough identification badges to get into a nuclear reactor sight without any questions asked. I also had all of my books, papers, and forms that would have to be signed and verified so I would get credit for my time. I approached the Nurses station and introduced myself as Mark Potter a Paramedic student that was scheduled for an 8 hour shift with their department. "Put your stuff done over there, are you comfortable with administering drugs?" the Charge Nurse asked me. Well we had been told in class when confronted with this question if you wanted to be able to do anything other than just follow a nurse around the entire time you had better say, yes, I am comfortable with administering drugs!

  So, "Yes I am comfortable with administering drugs" was what I told her. "Great, we have an 18 month old that crawled into a swimming pool about a week ago. He is recovering fine, but he is being chemically paralyzed so that his body can recover, plus he has an endotracheal tube in that is breathing for him, but he has been running a low grade fever, so we have been giving him Tylenol suppositories to help keep his fever down. Do you want to give him his medicine?" "Sure" was my reply. While I found a place to put my stuff the nurses placed a suppository in a small medicine cup, and handed it to me. Then one of the nurses took a tube of KY Jelly and squirted the cup about half full, and I started out the door towards his room. "Also the family is very protective, they will watch your every move while your there. So act very professional, explain to them who you are, and what your going to do!"

  So, I knock on the door, go in, introduce myself, and explain that I am there to give the boy his Tylenol suppository. After I remove the child's diaper, I lift the child's legs and reach into the medicine cup and grab the suppository. Now you remember I told you earlier that one of the nurses had squirted a bunch of KY Jelly into the cup. Well as I was bringing the suppository towards his butt, you guessed it. It shot out of my fingers like a bullet leaving the barrel, and it landed over by the edge of the bed where the parents were standing, causing them to put their hands up quickly to keep it from going off onto the floor. I reached over and grabbed it again, this time it squirts back towards the middle of the bed. Well so much for professionalism. After a few more times of this enough of the slick jelly has come off that I can at least hold it between my fingers. So I once again start towards my ultimate goal of getting this suppository inserted into the proper orifice for the medication to take effect.

  I am not sure how many of you know exactly what, and how paralytics work on the human body, but in a simple explanation the drug works by paralyzing the muscles so a patient cannot move around. Well, unfortunately it don't work on the muscles of the sphincter  So when I get the suppository to the young lad's rectum he clamps it shut tighter than a bear trap, and he is not going to let anything go in there! As I attempt to push this medicine into his body, he is fighting me just as hard to keep it out. Of course I still have the entire family standing all around the bed with their hands up, looking like hockey goalies just in case the suppository shoots toward the edge again, and they were, well I wouldn't exactly call it giving me support, but at least they at hadn't started cursing me yet. By now I am soaking wet from sweat, so I think they were maybe feeling a little sorry for me. Finally I had the suppository melted down to about the size of a Tic-Tac from all the handling of it, and it slips neatly into the place it was designed to go into. I apologized one last time, and thanked the family for their patience, and I head back to the nurses station.

  When I walk into the room all of the nurses are setting around a desk and laughing uncontrollably. You see they all had the same experience with this patient, and they had been watching me on the closed circuit TV that are in these rooms to monitor patients without having to actually be in there. They all told me that I had done good, and that I had passed my initiation. Man I couldn't wait till class next week, did I ever have a story for them!


  1. That was pretty funny Mark!
    Laughing out loud at that one.

  2. those were the days lol

  3. LOL Mark, I would've been so embarrassed, but you handled that like a pro. Thanks for sharing. :o)