Only four members of our department were able to make it. I picked up Engine 1 at the station and took it over to the school. Driving to the school, I was listening to conflicting 80's FM and dispatch radio and marveling at the path that lead me to be driving a fire truck all by myself, listening to good music at a high volume (because, of course, the music has to be loud to hear it over the dispatch channel).
At the school, I helped the chief and deputy chief set up the cafeteria. The chief informed me on my arrival that I would have to wear the Smokey the Bear suit. After some initial conflict, I made peace with myself and got my head around being Smokey for the evening. Just as I was about to call home to have rabidkitten give the kids some sketchy excuse as to why I wouldn't be at the school when they arrived (the so-called Santa Predicament), the chief let me off the hook and admitted that he had someone else lined up to wear the bear suit.
I can tell the chief likes me; he's constantly rattling my chain.
I spent the hour of the program out in the parking lot wearing my turnout gear and explaining the equipment on the engine to attendees, occasionally putting on the lights and siren. Pretty fun.
Over the weekend, Rabid, the kids, and I went over to Conway, NH. The family performed various vacationary activities while I attended a four-day WEMT refresher at SOLO. SOLO is where I've had the vast majority of my medical training; I've spent about two full-time months there over the last five years while attending six programs (Wilderness First Responder, WFR recert, second WFR recert, WEMT I, WEMT II, WEMT recert). I really like it there, though I will address SOLO more thoroughly in a future entry.
I'd discuss it now except that I have some pictures to include which I haven't been able to get off off my phone (three years ago, that would have been a non-sequitur); the weekend before last I made substantial changes to my local network which haven't quite jelled yet. Along the way, I replaced the machine running Server 2003 with a more powerful machine; due to the intentional crippling of the MS SBS product, my usual docking machine's Outlook won't talk to the new domain controller's Exchange server until I put in a few more hours. Rather than risk sending my phone data into the black hole of Microsoft (/dev/null, for you *real* techies), I'm not synching my phone until I'm confident that the server migration is complete.
Last night there was a meeting at the fire station to discuss a new engine that is in the planning stages. I looked in the run book as soon as I got there and was pleased to see that I hadn't missed any calls in the several days I'd been away. A few minutes later I ran into the chief; he snidely said he thought I was away and did I know that I had missed three medical calls while I was gone? I told him that I had already reviewed the call log and knew I hadn't missed anything. The chief laughed and punched me in the arm.
Rabid and O2 came in after I had been there about twenty minutes and asked me to come out to the car and assess O1. O2 had hit O1 in the back of the head with a plastic rocket. I went out to the car and was able to tell at a glance that O1 needed some sewing up; he had a deep cut about a 3/4 of an inch long through all of the layers of skin. After some additional neurological assessment, O1 and I set off for the emergency department, stopping along the way to exchange the towel that Rabid had come up with for bleeding control with a more professional-looking gauze pad/roll bandage wrap (appearance is everything, of course).
O1 was hoping that the ED would use Dermabond, a glue, on the laceration. When we lived in sunny California, O1 had visted the ED with a chin laceration resulting from a fall in the bathroom. O1 had escaped stiches at that time as the doctor had chosen to use glue (more than three years later, O1 is able to quote the doctor; 'I do not want to put stitches in this child').
The attending physician's assistant in the ED took a look at the back of O1's head and said that stitches would be required. I asked O1 if he had a question for the PA; O1 asked the PA if Dermabond would work. The PA said that Dermabond would not be a good idea and gave a reason that I felt to be bogus. O1 accepted the reason and I didn't demure; little would be accomplished by arguing with the PA.
O1 was very brave while the two sutures were put in. The whole thing was over very quickly; somewhat conveniently, just as we were put into the little hospital's trauma room, an ambulance called in with the details of a case that they would be arriving with in about fifteen minutes. I expected them to move us to a different bay to free up the trauma room, but instead they stitched O1 up with speed and aplomb and we were on our way home within about thirty minutes of our arrival. O1's bean was fine today, I'm happy to report.
I was somewhat pleased that I was able to watch the installation of O1's sutures without negative reaction. Somewhat, I say, because I submit that no one really wants to have to see their kid being sewed up.
The last time I happened to be exposed to suturing was about two years ago in the Conway ED, as part of my EMT course clinical rotation. Some guy had cut his hand badly working on his snowmobile and I was offered the opportunity to watch. I did watch, but was really freaked out (my observation of the suturing was fortuitously cut short before I passed out by the passing out of the patient's wife; she hit several things on her way to the floor resulting in her being boarded and collared on the floor of the ED. It was a very interesting and entertaining turn of events which I will not go into now).
Anyway, I was able to watch the entire thing without problems... I guess I'm becoming habituated.
O1 handled the whole thing really well. You could tell that it hurt a lot when they put in the local anesthetic; he squirmed and whimpered, but certainly no more than I would have (and honestly, less than I would have). He was a rock while they put in the actual stitches.
This evening at the local convenience store, some female asked me if I was the person that checked out her friend who rolled their car last weekend. I said that I was. Then she asked me if I had seen her go off on the cop. I said that I had. She said that he, the cop, had it coming because of the way he had been acting. I agreed, though I had thought the whole thing was decidedly mutual.