Clabs!December 10, 2006
You already know that I'm an EMD, an emergency medical dispatcher. We're the ones who give the medical instructions before the paramedics get on scene. And while that sounds cool, sure, all we're really doing is reading instructions from a computer screen. I ask if you're breathing normally and depending on your answer, the computer (or flip chart, when the computer crashes) tells me what to ask next. Choose Your Own Adventure medical instructions. It's not difficult. Freaky and hard to control sometimes, sometimes sad and difficult to hear, but I like it.
I enjoy talking people down. I like being the calm voice, the person who's helping, the one who reminds them to breathe. I love hearing babies being born. I love telling a kid they've done a great job when they call for help. I love reassuring people that if the baby is crying like that, he's getting enough air and isn't choking anymore.
I don't like it when I could be helping give CPR instructions but instead they're holding the cell phone away from their body, screaming and running in a circle around a parking lot. I don't like being the last person someone talks to. I don't like Vonage phones. (Remind me to do a post on Vonage sometime soon.)
But I learned something new and interesting tonight.
One of the questions for a person with chest pain is whether or not she is clammy.
Which, if you have a bad cold, comes out, "Are you clabby?"
There was a long silence, as the patient tried to puzzle that one out. I suppose I would worry, too, if someone vaguely medical wondered if I were clabby. Crap! Clabs? Have I got them? I don't know! Maybe? I bet I do! Oh, crappity crap! Clabs! I just knew it! That's what that was!
(My second favorite recent one was when I asked a woman if she had a history of heart problems. She was exceedingly affronted and said, "No! But I'm planning to." You can't make this stuff up.)