Who Knows/Who Cares?

Sometimes we know too much, sometimes we feel we know nothing at all. Being empowered with information can be a good thing, or it can make us crazy with frustration when we see things we feel aren’t being done correctly or at least up to the standards we believe to be right.

This is the case with me as an ex-paramedic. I’ve had more than I’d like with the health care system lately and am completely discouraged with it all. There are plenty of things I absolutely do know about, and others that may be out of my scope of practice, but that I surely have enough information to sense when something seems out of whack.


So when my Mom called again today to say she was having left arm weakness and tingling, only three weeks post heart attack/stent, I told her to immediately call the ambulance. She was reluctant given the bad experience we all had, but did what I asked. Thank goodness.

This is where my saga gets frustrating. Why does an ambulance take so long? Why can I take a shower and come from farther away and still beat them to the hospital, driving well within the normal speed limit? Seriously?

I mean I knew, having not even seen her, this could possibly be a stroke/TIA or another heart attack. A little speed on their part might be in order. I don’t get it. And don’t even get me started at the hospital. As soon as I saw her, the first thing I did was look at her face and asked her to smile. I noticed facial droop, but the nurse told me no she didn’t see any.


Again I say: seriously? Who would know better? Her or the daughter? It’s nuts. Luckily the Stroke RN and neurologist (when they finally arrived, which wasn’t too fast), agreed with me. Wow, there’s a miracle. So the conclusion was, most likely a TIA (mini-stroke) which had mostly resolved itself by the time she had called me (which wasn’t right away) and they had gotten her to the hospital (they took their time).

Thank goodness it had resolved itself!

So why did it happen? Well, that’s the million dollar question. Most likely due to medication changes from her cardiologist because of the stent. Were these prudent? That I don’t know. This is where knowing too much/too little gets me in trouble. The bigger issue may have been being sent home from the 5 day follow-up visit after the stent because they didn’t think she was booked. They messed up there. Maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Who knows?

Does anybody know anything these days? Is it all a crap shoot? Does anybody care really when it comes down to it?

I’m really beginning to wonder.





I heard two sad things today.  One was that a 31 year old fire fighter in a town that I used to serve as a paramedic back where I used to live, was killed in a freak accident. He was driving his truck when a strong gust of wind blew a tree on it and killed him.

The other was about one of our 36 year old patients today in surgery. He was going in for what was expected to be diverticulitis because of pain and some bleeding. They put him under anesthesia and opened him up only to find massive amounts of cancer everywhere. He will wake with a colostomy bag, much less of his insides and about a year and a half to live.

I reflect on these stories and share them to remind myself and us all that things may be tough: our jobs, not enough money, someone is annoying us, the kids on our nerves or some other thing making us crazy.

But when we get true perspective on what is important, and we suddenly see how others are dealing with real hardship — somehow our load seems lighter.

So instead of feeling sorry for ourselves,  let’s instead send our thoughts, prayers and all the energy we use being upset, and use it instead to care about those who really need caring.


Because, like a cactus, even beauty can come from pain.

Only A Job

Some jobs it seems set you up to fail. And it seems that management has no idea how important it is to do their job to retain new and old employees. Before I left my old job, I did a lot of reading on what constitutes a good manager, but now–in a new job myself–it’s quite apparent some obvious things that would be helping me.

First of all, in order to help your new employee to feel empowered to be learning and grasping their new position, it’s imperative that you must have a decent training program! Having one that is haphazard or ‘on the job training’–especially when one works in an extremely busy and stressful atmosphere, is almost certainly spelling disaster and IS setting up the employee for failure.

Gee, I thought she told me to do it another way…

Having three or four different people teaching the person the same thing, at first with conflicting information, and then expecting the person to grasp the concepts, is unreasonable and unfair. If no manuals or written material is given, only verbal instructions while the normal, busy work day is going on around the new employee, it may be very hard for this person the grasp concepts. And when you pile onto that, short-tempered and rude people demanding things from the new employee that they don’t yet know how to do, you might as well expect this new person to walk out.

That new person should not be put on the front lines until they have a comfort level with enough things that they don’t end up feeling discouraged every day after work. This only will lead to immediate low self-esteem and a poor attitude. If an employee is instead trained properly and is prepared correctly and hits the ground with all the tools he/she needs, then they will have the confidence to do a job well.

Ahhh, I’m so frustrated!

Today I also heard in my first staff meeting the nurses complaining that they must work all day, then take call at night, then come back the next day. One of the RN’s who had been there a long time said that new hires had been lied to in the interviews and were told there were ‘night crews’. During their orientation they found out they had to take call and that they (like everyone else) were considered the night crews. So they promptly quit–before they even started!

Honesty with employees is another vital key to management’s success. I never felt that in my last job. It is better to simply tell the truth, whatever it may be, than to make up stories. If they want their employees to be truthful, then so must they be. This goes along with integrity in my opinion.

Hmmm….I’m taking night duty!

Another important tool is fairness–treating all employees equally. They can’t think that the nurses are more important than the front desk people. One management person did say I was doing a good job today and it meant a lot. I see a lot of the RN’s getting praised–especially the new ones. I’m sure this is because they are so short-handed. But if I walk away they will be in a bad way too. I see how that front desk runs (or doesn’t run really). It’s chaotic. They would do well to make sure I stay honestly. It’s not a job most people would want to do or could do.

I may just waddle away…..

There are a million things I read on the list of a good manager but I’ll wrap it up with this: trying to have a sense of humor and keeping calm.  They must keep their heads when it hits the fan and not place blame immediately. Taking a breath, get to the bottom of things first and stand up for their people. Remembering we’re all a team. It makes you want to work for them more if you know they have your back. If you think they’re ready to throw you under the bus, well–why work too hard. And if they can laugh and keep it light, even when it’s tough, you know they have the real priorities in life straight.

I feel very calm today!

Because after all–while they may more money then we do, it is still, only a job for us all.