Friday, October 30, 2009

CMA Report #6

There will be only one more report after this one, so enjoy them while you can. Of course, if the fire department does start a CFA, . . .:) But if they do it won't be until next year.:)

Right now I have a stack of papers sitting on my desk. 245 pages to be exact. It is the very first printed copy of "Home Fires of the Great War"! You test readers will still have to wait for a little while as I have to read through it all, adding things and changing things, then it has to go to Mom for her corrections. After that I have to fix them all and then I can print your copies. You will have to share your copies with others, as I can't afford to print one for each person.:) I still can't believe I have reached this point! It is pretty exciting. I am looking forward to reading the entire thing together as I have yet to do that.

But that has nothing to do with my report. It is a rather short report, but at least there is something. Enjoy it!

CMA Report #6

Welcome back. This is Rebekah, your very own reporter with Joplin’s first CMA class. I am pleased you could join me as we learn about delivering babies.
Dad and I arrived with chocolate mint brownies to go with our fried chicken. We found out that Stephanie had brought mashed potatoes and gravy and macaroni & cheese as well as cookies. A few minutes later, Paula shows up with another pan of brownies. We sure ate well! (Did I make you hungry?)

Ike and Jerry

Our instructors, Ike and Jerry, told us they had a video for us to see, but we could watch it later after we ate, unless we had strong stomachs. To their great surprise, we were all game to watch it while we ate. They gave each other a look of “Okay, if they think they can handle it.” It didn’t bother my stomach at all. In fact, I thought that several of the other things we had seen while we ate were worse than that.

After the video we had a slide show, which Ike talked us through, all on pregnancy and delivering babies. I did learn a lot. (Now, if I can just find some gloves that fit me, I should be ready to deliver the next baby. Any takers? Okay, maybe not quite, but in an emergency, I think I could do it. At least I wouldn’t be running the other way shouting, “No, way!”)

Did you know that there are many people who will call the fire department or the ambulance if they are about to have a baby just because they don’t want to pay the hospital bill?

Did you know that it is becoming a “new fad” to have your baby at home? I almost started laughing at that one. No one in class except Dad and me could figure out why anyone would be so crazy. I mean, don’t they know that hospitals are the best place to give birth? I thought about how not that long ago it was unusual to have a baby in the hospital. (Maybe they don’t know their history.)

Did you know that around the Joplin area at least, there are many people who do not know they are pregnant until they are about to give birth? I don’t know why that is. (I can’t figure out how they could keep from knowing.)

One thing that I really appreciated about Ike was that he didn’t want to call the baby a “fetus”. “It is a baby,” he would say, “and I’m going to call it that.”
Ike had delivered two babies about ten years apart. The last one was during the ice storm, and the mom spoke no English. I can imagine that was rather interesting.
Jerry has delivered about a dozen. He said that one time he responded to a call, and the wife was giving birth in the cab of the truck while her husband was inside finishing watching the football game.

We were told several times that newborn babies were very slippery, so be careful! If they are transporting a woman in labor to the hospital in the ambulance and the baby starts to come, they will pull over and stop until the baby is delivered. One, they don’t want to drop the baby in a moving ambulance, and two, it takes both of them to deliver it.:)

We did have a few short breaks, but as it was a long slide show, it took awhile. Jerry joined Ike towards the end of the talk, and I couldn’t help thinking of Bobby Lee Duke, coach of the Richland Giants. Have you ever watched “Facing the Giants”? Jerry was eating suckers almost the entire evening.:)

We went over proper handling of the baby as it is born, complications in delivery, premature birth, multiple births and the list goes on. Here are a few pointers we were given:
Don’t get in reach of a laboring mother’s hands. She might break your bones.
Never ask a woman in labor if she is sure she is in labor.
Don’t take offense if the woman yells at you and calls you names. She is in a lot of trauma right now.:) Ike said he tells the ladies they can scream all they want. His wife told him it helped.
Act like you know what you are doing even if you aren’t sure. It gives the patient a sense of security. (Now why did I tell you that. No one will trust me now.:))
Don’t drop the baby.:) (Remember, they are slippery.)

We got to see all the tools in their “birthing bag.” Jerry got out a bottle of oxygen, and hooked it up to a baby’s oxygen mask.
Hooking up the baby oxygen mask

Ike decided then that he needed some oxygen so he put the mask on.
I think it's a little small for you, Ike.

Of course Paula and I had the cameras ready.

After the slide show was finished, we did some “bagging.” No, that is not putting anyone in a bag, it is giving oxygen. Jerry wanted to be sure we all knew how so that when we go on ride-alongs, we can “bag” the victim while they do other things. It was very easy.
"Bagging" the poor victim.

We ran a little late this time, but no one minded. As we were about to leave, they got started talking about some of us getting our EMT licenses. Jerry said that in one class he taught (I think he teaches at MSSU as does Ike.) he had a seventy-year-old lady become an EMT. So you are never too old to start. (Thanks, but I think I’ll skip it now. I still haven’t found any gloves that will fit me.)

And that brings us to the end of the report. Thanks for joining me this week. I hope you’ll be back for the last class where we backboard, splint and drive the ambulance. Until then, this is Rebekah.

After the last report I'll post the "chicken pictures" for those of you who are wanting to see them.:)

Friday, October 23, 2009

CMA Report #5

We did have class this week and I did get a report written. It is a good thing too, as I don't have anything else to post. Well, I did almost finish the "Marshmallow Thief" part whatever it is.:) But I have to save that for the Pickwick. I must say, it sure was fun to read all those comments about "Meleah's Western." Thanks so much for leaving them.:) I guess if I really want a lot of comments, I should post a bunch of one thing and then suddenly without warning, slip a Western in.:) Of course, it probably wouldn't work next time.;)

Let me see, have I done anything exciting and worth mentioning this week? I have! I actually have the background for my book on the computer with all the "letters" inserted where they go! I am working now on adding some other little things here and there. It is quite exciting. I will warn you now that it will be a long book. It is nearly 300 pages right now, and I haven't added in the chapters.

But enough of that. Here is the report.

CMA Report #5

Welcome back to the fifth class of the first CMA. I am delighted you could join me. Today our topic is Mass Casualties.

Arriving at class, I was a little apprehensive of what we would be doing or seeing. Jerry (from the first class) was there and told us that Jason (from medical emergencies) was picking up supper for us. Since he wasn’t there yet, we would go outside and see one of the fire station’s supply trucks. Dave Holden was the firefighter there.
Firefighter Dave Holden

He said he drives this truck and then trades off with another guy and drives a ladder truck. He works in station five. It was pretty neat seeing their equipment. The tools for cutting someone out of a car and these little, flat things that can be slid under a car and then inflated to twelve inches or so to raise the car. They can stack them on top of each other to raise it even higher. Later he showed us the huge ones that can raise a semi! Those things can push it up about five feet! Talk about some heavy duty stuff. We saw the things for high-angle rescues. Dave said he doesn’t like them. He pulled out his mask, and Roger and Dad tried it on.
Dad (Anyone else want to wear it?)

We were shown things that they put down to soak up toxic fluids as well as their little thing that tells you how much oxygen is in the air and how much chemical. They have a really neat thing that will melt metal. It looks like a metal stick. Dave told us that it can be used right next to a victim’s head and not hurt them. While we were out looking at the truck, a call came from dispatch. There was a fire in Carterville. Dave listened, but they didn’t call him. They did call for an ambulance though, and in another moment one pulled out with lights and sirens on.

We heard that if another call came in, we didn’t have an ambulance to respond to it. They were all out. Well, there was an ambulance, but no one to staff it. About that time Jason returned with supper. As we were getting our food, I heard Jerry tell Dave what this class was for and how it was the first one and they would advertise for the next one. (Hmmm, will that get the fire department to start a Citizen’s Fire Academy? Can’t you picture me learning all about being a firefighter?:))
Anyway, once we had gotten our food, we started leaning about MCIs. That is Mass Casualty Incident for those who were wondering. A mass casualty is anytime they have more victims than they have room for in the ambulances. By the way, they can take two people in an ambulance, one on the cot and one one the bench.
Jason talked first. We talked about terrorist attacks, (That would cause a mass casualty.) and I learned that Joplin is the third in the target cities for Missouri. That is because it has several plants or factories that make things for the military as well as having one of the few remaining dynamite factories. (Don’t you want to live in Joplin now? Not only is it a border town with a higher crime rate than Springfield, but it is third on the list for terrorist attacks in the state. But you have to admit, it is a great place to live.) Jason again stressed the importance of keeping yourself safe. A terrorist does not have to be from another country. He can be someone who just wants to go out and kill people. (Does that sound like Hitler to you?) He talked about different ways of attack. One is very obviously an attack, be it flying planes into buildings, bombing places or shooting people. The other is subtle, poisoning water, the air, or things like that. If you notice a large number of dead birds and animals, stay away. This isn’t stuff we deal with, but overseas it can be a real threat.

After a short break, Jason left and Jerry took over. We first watched a slideshow on the May 10th tornadoes. (That was the day of the first Family Round-Up.) Jerry talked about that as we looked at more pictures. While he talked, several guys came and joined us: Ike, Jason and Darrell. When the tornado hit, Joplin METS was called out to come help Newton County as they were overrun with calls. At the intersection of 43 and Iris Road, they set up camp. People came from all over. Jerry said it was very difficult getting things set up as they didn’t know where to start. Their supervisor, Darrell, was in charge, and all but overwhelmed by it all. There were victims trapped in cars which were stuck in trees, and others were upside down out in the fields, there were injured victims that kept appearing from they knew not where, there were problems everywhere. The first thing that had to be done was triage. That is where they walk all around and mark everyone with a color. Black means the person is dead and no one has to check them. Red means they need help right away. Yellow means they have a broken arm or leg or some such thing, but they don’t need medical attention right away. Green is for the walking wounded, those that can move about but still have injuries. Jerry said that the hardest thing was not to be able to stop and help people then and there, but to have to give them a colored flag and say, “Give this to the next person that comes by.” There was one family in a car and the father had a broken leg. The children were crying and terrified because of what they had just been through, and the mother was frantic. She couldn’t understand why they didn’t help them immediately. So, if you are ever involved in an MCI, just be patient. They will get to you as soon as they can.
They actually set up the “dressing station” (to use a WWI term) in the middle of the road. It was the only place that was safe.
They didn’t have enough ambulances to take people to the hospitals. The roads were so blocked and messed up that the firemen who were needed to do searches, as well as get people from the vehicles, couldn’t get their trucks there. The police that were needed to keep things under control had a hard time getting there as well. The hospitals were full, and a general call went out for anyone with medical skills to go to 43 and Iris. That made even more problems. There were those who really didn’t know what to do or how to do it. There were those doctors who were not being helpful. Like the one that told them they shouldn’t have their “dressing station” in the road. Darrell looked at him and said,
“If you can find a better place to move it, we will do so, otherwise get over there and start helping people.” (I told you they aren’t always helpful.)
With the storm gone, people started showing up looking for friends and family, and then to add to the confusion already there, the media shows up and wants to talk to people. Talk about problems! They couldn’t get any helicopters to transport victims as they were all sitting down in Oklahoma where they were not needed. Finally one showed up after Darrell had been told they couldn’t get any.
A fireman, who was off duty, was driving his pickup when the storm came. Instead of trying to get away, he got out and started warning others. He was killed that evening when the storm came, but he had saved many lives. He had told one man who was trying to change a tire, to get to shelter as a bad storm was coming. The man had a small child in a car seat with him. He got in the back of the car, put the child on the floor and got down on top of the child. The storm bounced that car all around and finally smashed the front of it completely. The man got out with some scratches, and the child didn’t appear to be hurt at all. The medics kept trying to convince the man to go get checked out at the hospital, but he didn’t want to. Finally Jerry came over to him and said,
“Look at your car. You were in that car when it happened. You really should go and get checked.”
After the man had walked around the car a few times looking at it, he finally agreed. There was much more, but I can’t remember it all.

After another break we got to hear about hurricanes. Don’t worry, there haven’t been any here in Joplin. Several of the crew here go down to help when hurricanes come to the southern US. They do get paid by the federal government to do so. Jerry told us that they basically live in their ambulances while they are down there. Each morning they get their assignments of where they are supposed to go. Just before leaving they get their gas tanks topped off and then head out using their GPS to direct them. They don’t know if they will be able to find a gas station later or not. Jerry said that one time he was transporting someone from Galveston to Houston, and it took twice as long because of the traffic.
As there really wasn’t an order to this class session, it is rather hard to put things down. Now and then Jason would throw in something from his experience down there. It was interesting to listen to but didn’t have much to do with MCIs.

At the end of class, we had a little visitor. All of a sudden Jason says,
“There is a scorpion,” and stands up.
Isn't it neat?

We all look down on the floor and, sure enough, a small scorpion is crawling across the floor. Jerry turns the lights on, and Jason steps over to it. Paula and I grab our cameras. I thought Jason would step on it, but he didn’t. Instead he got some tongs and picked it up. I thought it was quite interesting. After we took some pictures, Jason departed with it.
That is all for now, but I hope you will join me next week as we learn about delivering babies from a medic’s point of view. So, until then, this is Rebekah, your reporter for the Joplin CMA.

Did you learn anything new?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Meleah's Western Part 9

If you are wondering, no, I didn't put the wrong title on this post. I really am posting "Meleah's Western." That is because we didn't end up having CMA this week. You see, we were supposed to be outside at the airport for three hours on Tuesday evening. If you remember, that day was cold, cloudy and it started misting in the evening. Not very good weather for driving ambulances or standing around outside. We are going to try to have a make up class sometime, but I'm not sure when. Next week we will just go on to the next thing, "Mass Casualties." Sound like fun?:) We'll see.;)

Anyway, I was very glad I had already written Part 9 of "Meleah's Western" or I would be frantically trying to find something to post. I have been writing my book, but no short stories. And just to let you know, I actually got the "background" ended! Yes, I was able to type "The End" and know what was the end of the book. I still have to go and add some little things here and there as well as finish figuring out where all the "letters" go. But it is so much fun to be finally working on some of the last details! I wouldn't be this far if we had had CMA and if we hadn't finished the "5,000 Year Leap" book last week.

But you didn't get on here to just read my ramblings. Yes, Hank, I do get put on the spot quite often. Thankfully it usually doesn't bother me. It just gives me something to laugh about.:) But here is the western.

Part 9

Carson rolled over stiffly and opened his eyes. The faint light entering the cabin through the windows indicated the arrival of the sun in the eastern sky. For a moment he lay there gathering his thoughts. At last, silently, he arose and built up the fire.
Ty stirred restlessly on his pallet. The habit of early rising was still upon him and in very few minutes more he had risen and joined Carson before the fire.
“Did ya sleep well?” Ty queried of his companion.
Carson shrugged. “Didn’t stay awake ta find out. How ‘bout you?”
A slight hint of a smile flickered across Ty’s face. “Like a bear in hibernation.”

For several minutes not another word was said. Each man was busy with his own thoughts. Now and then Ty would turn and look at the bed where Sally still lay wrapped in the heavy sleep of the exhausted. At last he spoke.

“Carson,” his voice was low and there was a hint of trouble in it. “Sally an’ me, we got a problem.”
Carson nodded but said not a word.
Ty continued. “’Fore Pa died he made me promise ta find someone, but he never told me who it was, only ta find “her”. All I got ta go by is this broken locket an’ this picture.” With almost reverent care he laid the items on his knee.
When Carson made no reply, Ty glanced up to see his face grow pale as he stared at the objects. With trembling hand he reached out and picked up the locket.
“Carson?” Ty queried, “You all right?” When he received no answer, he fell silent, knowing that the older man was not listening.
After a silence which lasted for some time, Carson spoke as one waking from a daze. “What was ya sayin’? I reckon I weren’t listenin’.”

Once again, Ty told of his problem of finding the missing person. Of how he and Sally thought it might be an illegitimate sister and that the locket and photo were the only clues they had.
Carson sat and watched Ty’s face closely. He could read the perplexity mingled with pain in his expressions. When Ty ceased to speak, Carson laid a hand on his shoulder.

“Son,” he began, “I can’t tell ya where she is, but I reckon I ken tell ya somethin’ ta help. It might jest relieve yer mind some too. It’s a long story, but I reckon ya ain’t wantin’ ta light out today.”
Ty shook his head and glanced again toward the bed where his sister still lay. After putting another log on the fire, he resumed his seat and prepared himself to listen.

“Yer pa and me, we growed up together farther east. It weren’t settled land then, but I reckon it is now, though I ain’t been back there fer well nigh on ta a dozen years. When yer pa got hitched, he brought yer ma out ta his cabin far from anyone. This here picture is a right good likeness of yer ma. She sure was purty.” Carson fell silent as he looked again at the tiny picture.
Ty made no move and remained silent.
“Ye pa loved her more’n anyone knew. An’ when you an’ Sally come along, he was so proud I dun thought fer sure his buttons were gonna bust. But then yer little sister came. She looked jest like yer ma, an’. . . well . . . I reckon she still does. Yer ma took real sick an’ died jest hours after she was borned. Ye pa couldn’t take care o’ her an’ my aunt took her. It weren’t long after that when yer pa packed ya all up and came out here, leavin’ the little one with me an’ my aunt. I knowed he couldn’t take care of the young one, an’ I promised ta take care of her for him.” Carson’s voice grew unsteady. “God forgive me! I thought I was doin’ right!” The cry was full of deep anguish and heartbreak. “Ty, ya got ta help me make it right!”
“Make what right? Carson, what happened?”

It was only after a few minutes of struggle that Carson could continue the story.
“Fer three years Aunt Kate an’ I raised her, my little sunshine. Aunt Kate had given her the name of yer ma, Eleanor, but I jest couldn’t bear ta call her Ellen as yer ma was called. It was in the late summer that Aunt Kate took sick. I jest couldn’t take care of her an’ Sunshine, so I let a family take the little one jest until my aunt was well. I still remember the day I brought yer sister back to the cabin. Aunt Kate had some flowers on the table an’ we was all jest as happy as ken be. Then, Ty, I ain’t never forgiven myself for it, but only a little while after that I went out on a huntin’ an’ trappin’ trip. I promised her I wouldn’t be gone more’n ten days. I promised her! Ty.” Carson’s voice sunk, and he looked at his companion.

Ty’s heart beat so hard he could scarcely get his breath.
“The troubles I faced on that trip -- my horse went lame, I took sick, early snows forced me ta stay with the Indian family that took me in. The passes were covered in snow, the creeks flooded in spring an’ it was six long months ‘fore I got back. When I did get back, Ty, Aunt Kate had died an’ my trust, yer little sister, was no where ta be found. I did learn that the family she’d stayed with had taken her. Some folks said they went further west an’ others said it was back east. I’ve looked fer her every place I been ta an’ ain’t found one clue yet. I’ve lost her, Ty, lost her! An’ her the trust o’ the best friend I ever had. Ya got ta help me find her! Ya got ta!”

I hope this answers some of the questions you have been asking. Do you have any more?

Friday, October 9, 2009

CMA Report #4

How can it possibly be Friday again already? I just posted a report. Let me see, what has happened since I last posted? On Friday, we cleaned house, and did usual Friday things. Saturday, I mowed the yard, hopefully for the last time before next year.:) Sunday was a welcome day of rest. Monday was, well, it was Monday. I was trying to get as much done as I could for class and Family Round-Up. Tuesday was spent in much the same way except Dad and I had class in the evening. Wednesday I taught writing class in the afternoon and then in the evening I wrote my report. Thursday it rained none stop all day long here. Mom, Sarah and I went to check on our booth at Connie's. We all had class in the evening for the book "5,000 Year Leap." We finished the book! If you have never read it, you should! Wow did I learn a lot about the principles of the Constitution! It is a must read for anyone interested in politics. And that brings us to Friday morning. Well, I guess I have been rather busy.

Okay, here is the report. I hope you enjoy it.:) At least I know one person reads it. Thanks, Hank.:) By the way, this one is longer than the others.:)

CMA Report #4

Welcome to class four of CMA - Traumatic Emergencies. Our instructor this time was none other than Ike Isenhower! And, yes, he is related to president Eisenhower. That was one of the first things he told us.
Ike Isenhower showing us a splint

It took a little while for everyone to arrive this time. Again, Marc wasn’t there but had left instructions for Ike. We got our food and Ike started talking.
Once again the importance of scene safety was stressed.
“If the scene is not safe, don’t go there! If it means that the victim will die, then so be it. It is going to do no one any good to have two or three people die. I know it sounds terrible, and I am thankful I don’t have to decide who dies. Each one is going to die sometime. But I’m glad I’m not the One in charge. In the earlier days of METS, five years was the average time someone would spend working in METS. Now some of the guys have been here twenty years. You have to have a sense of humor and be able to laugh about things, or you won’t last.”

We talked about bleeding and how to stop it. He said, “It usually looks worse than it really is. We get calls from people that say someone is bleeding to death, but when we arrive, it really isn’t anything serious. Unlike most TV and Hollywood scenes where there is blood everywhere and stuff, that isn’t all that common. If some object is sticking in a person, leave it there. You could not only cause more damage by trying to remove it, but it is sealing off the blood vessels in that area.”

At this point Ike had to show us a thing he had just found on the internet. A young newly married couple were driving in the wilderness of somewhere (I don’t remember what state it was.) when a branch suddenly shot through the passenger window and through the lady’s neck! It wasn’t any little branch either. It missed every vital thing in her neck. Of course they thought she was dying and were trying to say goodbye as the husband drove her to the nearest hospital. At the hospital, they airlifted her to another hospital where they did six hours of surgery to remove the branch and fix her. She is fine now.

Here are some tips for nosebleeds. Do not tip the victim’s head back, or they could choke on the blood. Put pressure on the bridge of the nose or on the upper lip.

Okay, then it was on to burns. Not something I could stand very well. Blood is one thing, but burns, bad ones is another. I will mention this, Ike is also a firefighter, and he told us that when they go into a burning building, and they are feeling their way around, they are taught to feel with the back of their hand. That is so if they touch a hot wire, their reflex will jerk their arm away from it and not grab a hold of it. Don’t mess with electrical wires! Whether it is a fence or a power line. If you are in a car that is under or touching a power line, DO NOT get out until police or other personnel who know tell you to. In the car you are safe, but if any of you touches the ground and the car at the same time, well, lets just say you weren’t very smart to try it.

Ike: “One thing you don’t have to worry about with METS is job security. As long as people continue to be stupid, METS will be around. There is a new way to cook meth. You shake it up in a bottle. With all those chemicals, the thing blows up in their hands quite often. Another stupid thing people do is with their cleaning. They have a stain, and they decide to mix a little of this with a little of that cleaning product and then some of this and some of that and then the stuff blows up in their face.”
Moral: always read the labels of cleaning products, and don’t mix them with others! You also might want to think about what is in that stuff if it can blow up.:}

In the talk about dislocations, Ike told a story of one time when he was at a football game. One of the players had injured himself. His knee was dislocated and they were loading him onto the backboard to take him to the hospital. Well, his leg was sticking out to the side, so Ike moved it back in front (they usually don’t move any injured limb but leave that to the doctors), and it popped his knee back in place. The player wanted to get back in the game, but Ike told him if he wanted to walk again, then to go to the hospital. That sounds like a fifteen-year-old guy, doesn’t it?

Strains. Now, I do want you to know that we were sitting in a dim room so we could see the slides (okay, it was probably really a power point, if you want to get technical). There were some dim lights on the two edges of the room and none in the middle. Ike started off by saying,
“Now you’ve all twisted your ankle or sprained it.”
I, sitting on the far side of the room, instinctively shake my head slightly as I had never had that experience.
Ike: “You have never strained your ankle?” He was looking right at me.
I shook my head with a smile.
Ike: “Why my daughter can walk down the hall and strain her ankle. Okay, MOST of us have strained our ankle.”
I was trying not to laugh. Sorry to disappoint you, but the most exciting thing that I have done is to roll off a stopped sled and break my arm. Nothing exciting about that.
The best treatment for a strain (this is for those who do strain their ankles) is to rest it. It could take up to six weeks for a strain to heal. Also ice and elevation (higher than the heart). You can also wrap it up as that can help. When you do put ice on it, only do it for no more than twenty minutes at a time. Some people leave the ice on there so long that they frost bite the area.

After that we got into splints, C-collars, backboards and such. Did you know that a C-collar will not keep a persons neck immobilized? I didn’t.

After a short break, we got hands on. That is when the fun really began. We got to see and feel the padded aluminum that they use for splints. You can bend it to whatever shape you need. Then we got the C-collars.
Mandy putting a C-Collar on Paula

Does it go like this?

Dad tried putting one on me.
Ike came over and showed him how a strap was supposed to go and then said,
“She could actually use the “baby” one.” As he had just gotten that one out, he quickly took off the other and put the “baby” one on me.
the "baby" one that fit

“Her neck is tall enough for the larger one, but it is so small the “baby” one fits better.” Of course everyone was watching, and there were cameras out. It wasn’t all that uncomfortable. I was expecting much worse. Ike said it was just mostly to remind the person not to move their neck. As I was waiting for Paula to take my picture, Ike says,
“And look at that, she smiles and even has the look of Marilyn Monroe.”

Marilyn Monroe? I hope not!

Tell me, who is this person I’m supposed to look like? Do I look like her, and do I want to?:)

We practiced the neck hold.
Practicing the head hold

That is done not just until they get the C-collar on, as I had always thought, but until they get the person on the backboard and have their head strapped in place with the “blocks.”

Ed on the backboard getting the "head blocks" put on

Ed was our victim, and he got strapped on the backboard. There was more talk about different things and then we were done.
A little more talk

“Don’t forget to fill out your evaluation forms or whatever it is that you have, or Marc will have my head.”
And then we all headed home.

I hope you enjoyed this class and will return next week as we head to the airport to drive the ambulances, watch an extraction by the fire department and see one of the Eagle One choppers. Until then, this is Rebekah, your reporter for the CMA. Thanks for joining me.

Will you come back next week?

Friday, October 2, 2009

CMA Report #3

Friday has arrived again and with it another post on the CMA. I am not hearing as many stories as I did from the CPA, but it has been interesting. I am thankful that these reports have not taken me as long to write, as I have been so busy and I am still trying to work on my book. I'm on the background of it, but it is going rather slowly right now. You can pray for ideas for me. I have to finish writing the background, put it all together, check it and then get it printed and sent out to all my "test readers." It doesn't sound like too much, but when you are as busy as I am, . . . Don't worry, I'll keep working on it.

But here is the next report. How do you like these pictures, Hank? Just wait until we are splinting and back-boarding each other.:)

CMA Report #3

Welcome back to Joplin’s first CMA class. This is Rebekah reporting from class #3: Medical Emergencies with Jason Smith as instructor.
Jason, our instructor

Almost all were there when we arrived. Marc wasn’t there this time, only our instructor. After we got our food, Jason introduced himself. This guy is busy. He is a paramedic there at METS, works as a fire chief in Oronogo (I believe) sometimes, works in the Newton County METS now and then, as well as once a month or so working on Eagle One. (That is the emergency helicopter unit, if you were wondering.) I told you he was busy.
After watching a short slideshow, we got into the power point for class. Jason was a great instructor, staying on track and making sure we didn’t have questions before moving on. I won’t give you the entire power point as that wouldn’t be very interesting, so let me think of the interesting parts.

When the medics show up on a scene, they first make sure it is safe for them; their next concern is to make sure they partner is safe; after that is the victim.
“I know it may not sound very nice, but if you become a victim or your partner does because the scene is not safe, then we have two patients and that makes things even more difficult.”
Dad asked how often they go to calls where it is not safe.
“Eight to ten times a week at least,” Jason replied. “It seems like that is becoming more common now. And it is usually overdose or domestic violence.”
That was rather shocking. They show up, but they have to just sit and wait, not doing anything until the police come.

If you ever are helping in an emergency, here are a few pointers:
One, keep calm. It won’t do anyone any good if you are frantic.
Two, plan quickly what you should do. Don’t stand around and argue with someone about who is going to do the compression and who the mouth in CPR.
Three, make sure you send for professional help. Even if it doesn’t end up being needed, it is better safe than sorry.
And fourth, be an encouragement to the victim. Of course, don’t tell them they are going to be just fine if their legs are gone, but I think you get the idea.

One thing Jason didn’t do was tell many stories. We went over many things: heart attack, stroke, bites and stings, poisoning, diabetic emergencies, convulsions, frost bite, hypothermia, and heat related emergencies. He did tell us one story.
There was an elderly couple who were both blind and diabetic. They were in their 70s and helped take care of each other. One day the lady called to say her husband wasn’t responding. He had been having problems, so his wife gave him a glass of milk with several spoonfuls of sugar in it (And yes, that is a good thing to do if someone is Hyperglycemic as they need sugar). When the medics arrived, they realized that the lady had given him skim milk with artificial sweetener. There was absolutely no sugar. So, don’t give skim milk, and make sure it is real sugar.

After a short break, we learned about some of the things in those red bags they carry. Have you ever wondered what is in them? Oh, wow! The contraptions they have to help people breath are pretty remarkable. They have something that they can insert down the throat that will keep the airway open. Of course this is only used if a person is completely unconscious and with no gag reflex. They talk about “bagging someone.” They aren’t talking of putting someone in a bag but of giving a person oxygen using a special bag-valve-mask. It is a little hard to describe. Every victim that goes on an ambulance gets oxygen. Even if they can breathe on their own. It won’t be much oxygen but some to help with any car sickness (Don’t you wish you had some if you get carsick?) and to help with anxiety. I actually found out what they are listening for when they take your blood pressure. Perhaps I can explain it after we get to do it in a few weeks. That should be fun.

Jason finished up the power point with a few things that should be in a First Aid Kit. Do you want to know? Well, these are the essentials:
First Aid Manual
Basic Bandages (assorted bandages, athletic tape)
Basic drugs / lotions (aspirin, antiseptic, antacid tablets)
Basic first aid tools (tweezers, small mirror -- I wondered about that until he said that you might be having to do something for yourself. --, scissors, CPR shield, gloves -- wonder if I can find any that fit me? --, alcohol, hand sanitizer)
Additional First Aid tools (sling, basic splint -- though you really can use anything --, instant ice pack, emergency foil blanket)
And there you have it. All you need for a first aid kit, from a paramedic himself.

After that we got to do the fun part. We got to insert the thing to keep the airway open into the poor dummy.
Dad, practicing his skills

I was amazed at how easy it really was to get in.
Look closely to see it in his mouth

We then all tried the nasal airway thing. That is for those who still have a gag reflex. Jason informed us that he does it on anyone who is drunk.
Lynn took this picture and told me to do it again slowly.:)

Next, Jason showed us this rather scary thing. It looks like a small scythe. It is metal with a light. You can stick it down the victim’s throat so that you can see to insert the tubes when you intubate someone.
Jason, inserting that scary tool

Wow! You could see the vocal cords and everything. No wonder people wake up with very sore throats! Roger and Frankie tried intubating the “victim.”
Dad and Jason had to help Frankie get it in. Look close to see more of the "thing."

Frankie accidentally put it in the stomach instead of the lungs.
The whole class watching.

Jason said since we didn’t have time to do it now, we would try taking blood pressure and maybe using the EKG when we go to the airport.

We filled out our evaluation sheet and then headed home.
Thank you for joining me. I hope you learned something and will come back next week as we explore Traumatic Emergencies. I have heard rumors of some of the hands on things that might happen, so I hope you will join me. Until then this is Rebekah with the Joplin CMA.

Should I keep writing and posting these reports?