Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ruby Slippers

Yesterday started early - way too early. I was up at 4 am eastern time to drive to Cincinnati (easier to pronounce than spell) to grab a flight home. While standing in one of several interminable lines I found myself remembering the scene from "Wizard of Oz" where Dorothy is clicking the heels of her ruby slippers chanting "There is no place like home, there is no place like home, there is no place like home......"

My visits to Georgetown are always fun. I originally chose to do my "Clinical Skills Maintenance Program" rotations at Georgetown Scott County EMS because I have a good friend who lives in the area. Having done clinicals down there for several years, I now have several good friends who live in the area. Now THAT is cool.

This trip had some fun highlights. Our company's travel specialist was able to get me some excellent flights both directions, so I didn't have to spend half of my R&R flying all over the country or waiting around airports during long layovers. My friend Janece frequently expresses astonishment at the short flights they are able to arrange for me.

Our friends at Hertz didn't have the specified full-sized car available for me, so upgraded me to a full-sized luxury car. This is the first time I've driven a Cadillac since back in the early 1980s, that that one was a 1966 Miller Meteor ambulance that had already seen many years of hard service. I was favorably impressed. Even though it's a good sized rig and plenty heavy, it rode like those old caddy ambulances (very nice), and got surprisingly good fuel mileage.

The down-side is that the car has LOTS of bells and whistles, and it took me a while to figure out all the buttons and controls. Some time spent with the owner's manual would probably have been in order. If I were looking for a luxury rig I'd certainly consider the caddy. I suspect the heated steering wheel and seats would be more popular here than down in Kentucky. It's not a terribly practical rig for my lifestyle, but it is one sweet ride.

Within hours of landing I was at my audiologist's office. Kathy Sandusky of Central Kentucky Audiology does my hearing aids, and they needed to be adjusted quite a bit. We did a new audiogram, and I was pleased that my hearing hasn't gotten any worse the last couple of years (I thought it had). With my aids newly "tweaked" I was ready to go to work.

We ran some good ambulance calls, and a lot of routine ambulance calls. From a paramedic's perspective, a "good call" means that someone is having a bad day. The poor fellow on the motorcycle who learned that a bike and a car can't occupy the same space at the same time definately had a bad day. It wasn't nearly so bad as it might have been, though. There were other patients having bad days, but it allowed me to meet my training objective, which is to practice the advanced skills that I so rarely need, but must be able to perform to perfection when they are needed.

GSCEMS is a thoroughly modern rural EMS service. Most of their paramedics have been around for quite a while, so they have the experience as well as training and equipment to do a great job. They also have rapid access to all the modern specialty hosptial units such as trauma centers, cardiac care centers, stroke centers and so forth. Alaska has only 1 trauma center in the entire State, and most Alaskans aren't qualified to be admitted there. I'm sure the most difficult thing for me to adjust to during my rotations is the proximity of the hospitals. At my place of employment it is at least an hour and 1/2 drive to the nearest hospital. Down there, it's more frquently a five or 10 minute drive.

In any event, I'm home now. My first task on arriving at the house was to set my suitcase aside, fire up the truck and start bringing my dogs home. With the dogs home and fed, I enjoyed supper at Mia's Cafe in the company of Lynn Orbison, her husband Rich and our mutual friend James. Dorothy was right - for all the fun I had down in the bluegrass country, there truly is no place like home.

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