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Just thoughts, issues, comlaints and other crap

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SA_Medic

This isn't something I have ever really entertained no do I have in the least any respect for someone that cheats on their life partner, yet it seems to become pretty common practice these days to have a "romp on the side".

This conversation became the topic of discussion today after a friend seemed pretty upset. He explained that years ago his father had an office affair, although very fleeting, that his mother found out about. I must admit, his father would be the last person I would have thought to have an affair. He's the ultimate family man working hard so his family never has anything they need. In fact, they are the hardest people in this world to buy gifts for cause they have everything their hearts desire and then some.

He explained that his mother occasionally broaches this subject with it becoming more intense as the years have come and gone. Now it seems she's doing this with outsiders being in their company. Now I have worked in the Oil and Gas industry for the last 8odd years and know for a fact that very few of those guys are faithful to their partners. It's something I hate with a passion and loose all my respect for those that have affairs. Surely, and I might be old fashioned here, if you declare your love to a person in sight of God and the witnesses present you do everything in your power to keep that love alive?

While I know the blame isn't to be laid at the door of the cheating party alone, since a marriage or relationship is a two way street and I believe there's a reason the person goes out and looks for "new" meat. It still in my mind does not excuse the act of cheating. Surely if you are not "getting it all" in the bedroom you discuss this with your partner and find a solution that suits the both of you?

Now siding with either of the two people involved here will make or create one massive argument with my friend and being a lover not fighter I tend to avoid confrontation as much as possible. For years he "sided" with his mother wondering what she must have been going thought over the last years. Now it seems he's "siding" with his father. Saying and I quote "He's human, humans make mistakes. The man has worked his ass off to provide my mother with everything she wants in life. How long must he suffer for what he's done?" I suppose this would be one way of looking at, but I'm not completely convinced by his statement.

In my mind the ultimate betrayal of trust is cheating on your husband or wife. you place your future, your life, in the hands of the person only for them to basically throw it back in your face. in a sense it shows you that "you are not worth it" when it comes to doing what you can to safe your happiness and love. Personally I am more vengeful than I should probably be. I will not stand for anything like that. Had I had the proof and knowledge that my wife is or has been cheating on me, that will be the end of the relationship. Sure this goes against the "do everything you can to save the relationship" that I mentioned earlier mainly because I believe that once it's reached the stage of cheating, it's to late.

I will not go to any extremes though, I am not that type of person. I will simply collect my stuff and walk out. Maybe I am being naive in believing that the promise made to "love and to hold" should be a lifelong commitment that requires lots of work and even more communication. Either way, there's no excuse in this world to justify cheating on your partner. People don't simply fall in and out of love as it pleases them. To me, a person that cheats on their partner are lower than snake shit on the sea bed.

SA_Medic

Before we are allowed to lift off with a patient, we have to make contact with the MD's in our regional office to discuss the patients condition and discuss treatment en-route seeing as they have loads more flying hours than we do. After conference calling with the MD, the patient was transferred to our stretcher the Aggrastet placed on the syringe pump at 17ml/hr with the ECG and Stats connected to the patient. As per my discussion with the MD, the patient was placed on a 60% re-breather mask at 6L/min. Where after we transported the patient to the awaiting air plane.

Upon arrival at the airport, we started packing the King Air and transferred the patient to the stretcher provided on the plane. We removed the stretcher from the plane, and transferred the patient (weighing +/- 145+ kg’s) to it. With the help of my crew and the Pilot’s we loaded the patient in the plane. While trying to secure the stretcher to the lifeport / Aerosled it was noticed that the left hand bracket at the head of the stretcher was bent and therefore made it impossible to secure the stretcher to the Lifeport / Aerosled. It took me and my crew approximately 10min to convince the maintenance dude that the bracket is bent preventing the stretcher from being secured.

We again removed the stretcher from the plane while the maintenance dude went to fetch another stretcher. It was at this point that I noticed the first stretcher supplied is a normal camping stretcher that has had the brackets welded onto the aluminium bars to enable it to fit the locking mechanisms of the Lifeport / Aerosled. I decided to cover my ass and phoned the my office and explained to them that the stretcher bracket was bent. They again told me that they will phone me back as the MD at the regional office would like to know why the delay in taking off was so long. I explained to the MD what the situation was as well as my thoughts on the stretcher having been “modified” to fit the Lifeport / Aerosled.

Once the maintenance dude arrived with the replacement stretcher. We strapped the patient in and prepared for takeoff. At this point we were approximately 2 hours behind schedule with the patient’s condition remaining unchanged since we started the transport from ICU.

The flight itself remained uneventful with the patients vitals, fluid intake, fluid output as well as pain score being monitored and documented. Approximately 20min prior to landing the patients started de-saturating to 89% while on the oxygen flow and I felt my ears “popping”. At this point I increased the flow of the Oxygen to 10L/min. The pilot told me to “strap in”, after ensuring we were strapped in, they performed an emergency decent and received priority landing authorization from CPT air traffic control.

I noticed the patients PVC’s (Pre-Ventricular Contractions) increased in frequency although still irregular in nature as a result of hypoxia due to the sudden decrease in cabin pressure (3000ft/min according to the Pilot). This made me decide to get my shit sorted and ready the Atropine should it be needed since the increase in PVC’s also resulted in the patients heartbeat slowing to 55b/min. As soon as the plane levelled out, the patient’s heartbeat increased again to 90b/min with the frequency of the PVC's slowing down slowly.

The landing went smooth as per normal ops however approximately 10 – 20sec after touchdown, the aircraft started shaking violently. I recognised the feeling as that of a flat tyre. We continued taxing for another 8 meters to clear the runway where the pilot stopped the plane and proceeded with the shut down procedure. The pilot exited the plane and returned to confirm that the wheel on the nose gear had in fact deflated.

Again I had to phone my office in Windhoek and tell them this. My managers first reaction "You are joking!" Sadly I wasn't joking nor will I ever joke about this type of thing. Needless to say, at that time of night (18:30) there was nothing to be done and we had to spend the night in Cape Town.

SA_Medic

Well now folks, as promised the update on the 2nd Mountain Rescue we had two days ago. This one however, I was not even close to being prepared for.

The initial call came through as follow:

A 72 yo (yes, it's not a typing error) went hiking on the Brandberg mountain and fell two days previously. The caller indicates that her father who was hiking with the patient when he fell approximately 6 meters and sustained a fracture of the hip and open fracture of the ankle. He apparently stayed with the patient until the both of them realized that they are running out of supplies. This is when the friend / fellow hiker decided it's time to get his ass off the mountain and summon help. He left the injured party there with all their food and water (approx a cup full) and started the hike down the mountain. During this 5 hour hike, night fell and he took the safe option and slept on the side of the mountain. Once he arrived at their vehicle, he was himself severely dehydrated and claims to have lost conciousness. When he came to, he was laying beside their vehicle in the sun. Not knowing how long he lay there, he got into the vehicle and drove 2 hours to the nearest town where he then phoned us and gained some (first aider) attention.

Being that it was nightfall by the time he phoned us, there was nothing we could do but await first light. According to the GPS co-ordinates we were given, there was no way we would be able to walk up at night. One of the local guides informed us that the GPS co-ordinates would put us in a valley approximately 500m wide and 1km long. He also assured us that we would be able to land a helicopter in this valley with ease. Thus we started trying to arrange a helicopter for the rescue. Sadly we have no medical helicopters in Namibia and have to co-opt civilian helicopter should the need arise. We were told by the flight co-ordinator that the Air Force refuses the use of their helicopters which, according to my knowledge are the only ones with winch attachments. We were however told that we would be able to use the Presidents helicopter at a cost of USD 11 0000-00 per hour (multiply by 7.40 to reach local currency). In the end, we managed to get a Squirrel and set take off for 8am seeing as it's in the shop for routine maintenance.

Come 8am, we are ready and rearing to go. The owner of the chopper tells us he is going to try and find the stretcher insert that came with the chopper. Apparently they purchased the Squirrel with the view of making it a medical chopper but never managed to get it off the ground so they turned it into a sight seeing helicopter. Eventually they return with the stretcher attachment at about 09:40 only to find that they fitted an A/C system that now causes the stretcher attachment not to fit. I then decide a scoop with some cargo straps will do the trick, not to mention I am so pissed you can boil an egg in my ass. Long story of fuel, check etc short, we take off just after 10:00. Its a 1:35 flight to the GPS co-ordinates atop the west side of the mountain.

Upon arrival, we circle to find a safe landing spot. During our circling we see a search party waving hands at us. We find a safe landing spot approximately 400m from the actual GPS co-ordinates. I grab my jump bag (weighing about 14kg's) and we start walking to wards the GPS co-ordinates. My colleague walks towards the search party. After about 30min we meet up again, whereupon my colleague informs me that the search party apparently came up last night and searched the whole of the valley without success. They did however find a spot lower down the mountain where two sets of tracks become one. They are apparently on their way there again. I walk towards that area, find a nice size rock and look down. There's no way the chopper will land anywhere except the bottom of the mountain. We make a decision to keep walking down, while the pilot goes back to the chopper and flies it to the bottom and waits for us. We judge it to be about 4km's to the bottom.

This decision I regretted before I even suggested it. Bearing in mind that both my colleague and myself are clad in the following attire:

1) Normal safety (steel toed) shoes,

2) Royal blue flight suits,

3) Sun glasses

We have a total of 500ml water for each of us and no hats / caps. Down we start, me carrying my jump bag and my colleague carrying the scoop and spider harness. Luckily we decided to send the pin-index (small) 02 cylinder with the pilot to the chopper. The walk down goes pretty easy at first, then the sun starts stinging and the temperature starts rising. It reaches 35+ Deg C, we keep walking. Knowing that this 72 year old has been on the mountain 3 days with a cup of water, a broken "hip" and ankle. We decide the chances of him still being concious are slim at best. Knowing also that this leopard (yes, wild leopard) country we have even less hope of finding the guy alive. on our way down, we stop a few times and swap loads. I take the scoop and my colleague takes my jump bag. We keep walking, then we come across the first leopard track. It's bigger than my hand, and fresh. We keep walking and resting in the little shade we can find. The chopper pilot decided to fly over head a few times to see if he can spot anything, then on his fourth flight he motions to us that the search party is lower down. He turns around and circles the area over the search party, then heads down and lands at the bottom of the mountain.

With the end in sight, we keep pushing. Our water by now is long gone, I don't have a single smoke on me, we are sweating profusely and the boots are hurting like a bastard. Again we come across fresh leopard tracks, this time however there's about 3 sets of leopard cub tracks to. So now we have a mother leopard in a ravine of a mountain that will be seriously protective over her cubs. We pass more than one lair where they sleep, our climb becomes harder. At time we have to jump down rocks in excess of 2 meters high. My colleague start walking away from me, my smokers lungs burning, my mouth is dry and the top back part of my palate is on fire. I am not longer producing saliva, I am at the beginning stages of severe dehydration but, still I push on. I decide to have a seat again on a huge rock, my colleague took a route somewhere to my right. Then I hear someone speaking, thinking it might be my colleague I call his name, no answer. Again I hear a voice and again I call his name. Thinking he might be complaining aloud as I am doing in my head. Then the voice answers directly below me, it's the search party. Then I see my colleague, he's gone past their position, I call him back and direct him to the voices.

Then I start the way down, it takes me about 10min longer, the original GPS co-ordinates are about 4km's out. Eventually I arrive and low and behold, there's a 72 year old man laying on the ground talking up a storm. He explains that he has not eaten anything in three days because he did not have water to wash the dry food down with. We get the IV set up and push the first litre of fluids rapidly. He gets some colour back, we change to the next litre of fluids, this one we take slightly slower. He is also given 10mg Morphine IVI for pain, we sit and talk a bit more then we move him onto the scoop and strap him down. Just then the pilot arrives, he walked up to make sure we found a live patient. This is where we then decide to talk extraction. We are all in agreement that there's no way we are carrying the patient down, we decide to have my colleague hike down with the pilot and remove the doors off the squirrel. They will then fly back up, hover with one skid on a rocky outcrop and we will load the patient. Should there be enough head wind and power, I will oard and we will fly to the awaiting plane in town.

Off they go, the search party leader has water, and I drown myself in it. Even the water burns my palate, by this time I have stopped sweating to. After a few more minutes we decide it's time to move the patient closer to the rock for loading. After another hour the chopper is heading our way. By now I sure everyone is seriously worried about us. We never had time to inform the office that we have to hike. It's been about 5hours since they had any comms with us. The chopper heads up, way up. They make contact with the office "Ops normal, had to hike to pt. co-ords completely off". And they head back to our "landing rock". At this time I explain to the search party that they should load the patient slowly to give the pilot chance to compensate for the extra weight. With the left skid on the rock, the patient is loaded diagonally into the chopper. I hang back and await the pilot's thumbs up.

He lifts off, then sets it back down on the rock. I get the thumbs up, approaching with caution I put my jump bag in, then I get in. sitting with my legs dangling out the side, patient to my left. We are heading down the mountain to fetch the doors. The wind rushing past us is so nice and cool, my mouth is still dry and not producing saliva yet, all I can think of is "I need a smoke!". As we land, there's another guy standing at the pickup truck of the search party. He's smoking and has more water! I walk up to him and ask for water and a smoke, to which he smiles and takes out the packet of smokes and offers me one with some water. It's yet again one of the best and strongest light smokes I had in my life! We finish fitting the doors and fly to the little town called Uis to where the King Air is awaiting our arrival. We load the patient over, and head to Windhoek.

As a side note, yet again, I lost 3kg's and this time moved from page three of the national news paper to front page! I am now famous LMAO. The only remaining side effects I still have is the slightly infected abrasion on my left elbow and the tell tale dark colour urine indicating that I am still dehydrated.

SA_Medic

Over the years of being in EMS and working remote locations, I have had the privilege of meeting EMT's and Paramedics from all over the world. During these meets I made damn sure I do not leave without a patch.

The most notable of my patches was the ones I received in 2002 when taking a tour of Florida, NYC, Washington DC, Boston and Illinois. During my visit to NYC, one of the EMT's I met decided he would surprise me and give me something that's not available to us here in the dark continent. A Paramedic shield. The one's you carry in your wallet. A few years ago, I built a display cabinet for my 147 patches and the shield (under which was a NYPD shield received from a Capt while there). When I moved over to this job, I decided it might look good displaying it in the entrance foyer of the main office.

After some discussion with the GM of the company it was agreed that I can put it there. It looks great, even if I do say so myself and it's resulted in many conversation with clients and visitors alike. Now however, I can kiss it good bye.

I just returned from the office, they broke into the place last night and decided to remove the display board off the wall and load it up together with the computers.... Fuck these idiots, 6 years of work and exchanges down the fucking drain! If I could get my hands on them right now, they would die a slow and very very painful death!

Vent over, expect requests for patches to come pouring in soon. Hope you don't mind

SA_Medic

Having done more than a few mountain rescue's in my life, I knew it would only be a matter of time until such tims as I get a phone call for one in Namibia.

Yesterday was that day, at around 14:00 my phone rings and it's the Senior Ops manager of the Company I am currently employed by. She explained that a hiker on the Brandberg Mountain located on the north west of Namibia, went up the mountain and on the way down, slipped and broke his ankle.

I am advised that it will be an overnight stay on the mountain upon which we will then decide whether we will carry the patient down the mountain in the morning or fly him off with a helicopter. So, I get my stuff together and drive to the office to sort out the rest of what's needed for this operation. Getting there I am greeted by a Architect (obviously gay) and another Doctor. Both of them know the mountain and specifically the trail we will walking very well. I am also informed that we will have 10 local guides await us a small little town called Uis.

After having sorted out the equipment and medications like Morphine should the patient require it for pain, Adrenaline in case it's needed for bee stings, some Lidocaine to be used as a local anaesthetic. We get in the car, hiking gear, medical equipment and a Satellite phone for communications and take the 3 hour drive to the mountain side.

Long story short, we eventually arrive at the foot of the mountain and start our ascent at 21:50. The experienced people say it will be about a 3 hour hike to the location of the patient. Something I haven't done in about 5 years, none the less I was up for it. for about an hour 1 walked no problem at all enjoying the cold breeze and sipping away at my energy drink. As we start climbing, one of the local guides see eyes and alerts us to it. Everyone shines their headlights on it, and there it is, 10 meters away from us. A set of green eyes, just looking at us. The most experienced of the guides think it's a leopard seeing as leopard, cheetah and lion still roam free here.

Then, it makes a familiar "whoo hoo" call and flies off. So on we walk, knowing the patient has been laying on the mountain since 11:00 the morning and it gets seriously hot up here during the day. We have no idea how prepared the dude is, whether he still has food and water etc. With these thoughts we push on.

About 30 minutes I had to stop for a rest, my chest was wheezing (yes I am a smoker) my legs just would not go any more. This after having climbed about 250m solid rock at an angle of 45+ deg. Then I am informed that this is what I will be doing up to about 100m from the patient where the slope increases. My first thought at that point? "I am going to kick his other ankle off as well!" At this point the more experienced folks suggest I make camp so that we can meet up again when they are on their way down.

Being a "hard assed" person by nature I gave them the sat phone and said I will meet them at the patient. They push ahead while I catch my breath and two guides that stayed with me have a spliff. Yes, apparently Durban poison would be their brand of choice. We push on, climbing and climbing and climbing. Somewhere along the way I remember thinking "F@c nature and everything associated with it". Then the moon broke of the eastern side of the mountain. What an amazing view! Looking back to where we started, the site takes your breath away. I push on with the two guides doing their job, lying my way up. "Just past those rocks", "Just past that tree", "just past that rocky outcrop." Eventually at 02:45 we reach the patient, he's happy to see us, even though the more experienced and fitter people reached him just after 01:00.

I have a smoke (or the record, the strongest B&H No.1 ever) unroll my sleeping bag and just sleep on top of it. At 06:00 I am awoken by the ring of the sat phone, it's the office alerting me that the chopper will be inbound for the patient. At first I was seriously pissed that they would phone me simply to tell me that the chopper will take off at 07:00 and take 01:45min to reach us, then I see the sun rise. Suddenly, the trip up, the swearing, sweating and vomiting, blistered feet was well worth it.

Here I was sitting on the side of a mountain at an altitude of 1680m above sea level watching the African sun rise of the distant hills way below us. Another upside, I managed to shed 2kg on that walk last night.

Photo's to follow as soon as I have had some rest and feel slightly more human! Be safe out there!

SA_Medic

So I got asked to go and evaluate a patient for a medevac flight back to Cape Town. Basically I need to check him out, reach a decision on the level of care needed for the flight as well as any drugs and treatment the patient might need on the 3 hour flight from Windhoek to Cape Town.

On arrival at the hospitals ICU, I find the patient tubed with little to no response to stimulation of any sort. I find the wife standing there and start getting history from her. It seems they are here on holiday, and hubby collapsed complaining of severe chest pains. The ECG confirms an Anterior MI and the brain scans confirm a a CVA. They don't have medical aid, nor do they have medical insurance.

While I can not stress the need for this insurance enough to travellers, sadly these people did not think they would need it. In cases like this, the flight would probably cost in the region of R24 000.00 (don't quote me on it, I am taking a guess). They don't have the cash meaning there's no way we will be flying the patient back to his home town for further treatment and or to die close to the family.

This is when the wife informs me that she did approach the High Commission in Namibia and ask for assistance only to be told that they will "contribute $20 to the transportation". A man that's been working his whole life, paying tax his whole working career and this is how our wonderful government says thank you??????

If I can give a little bit of advice, if you have medical aid / insurance and will be travelling outside the borders of your home country, inform then so you can enjoy the benefits of coverage. If you don't have medical aid, contact a travel agent who will be able to assist with travel insurance, most of them aren't that expensive. At least you will have the peace of mind that should you have a medical emergency and need repatriation to your home country / town you will have it.

Fair enough these people should have taken that precaution, it still in my view does not excuse the "wonderful assistance" provided to South African citizens by the High Commission...... It's sad to say, this patient will probably die here, far from friends and family, in a strange country........

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