Monday 1 May 2017

Call Gods are weird

I should apologise in advance for yet another Call Gods post.  I can almost hear two distinctly different groans from all the way over here:

1) Yeah, we fucking get it, Doc.  Call Gods.  Get over it!
2) There are no such things as Call Gods!  It's pure coincidence.  Get over it!

You know what, I should apologise, but I won't.  I don't care what you're moaning and groaning about.  I'm writing about the Call Gods again dammit, because they've been acting . . . strange.  Which for them is, well, strange. 

If you are familiar with the Call Gods, feel free to skip this explanatory paragraph and go check out some funny cat videos.  There are approximately 4,845,130,642 from which to choose.  In case you aren't aware of them, the Call Gods control everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) about what happens to me on call.  Whether I get to eat or not, if I get any sleep, how many times over the course of the night my pager will wake me, the type of patients I'll get (including the types of drunks), and the variety of injuries I'll see.  You may think it's sheer coincidence or that I have a selective memory and remember only what I choose to, but ask anyone in medicine (especially surgery).  You'll get the same response:


I know this because they prove it, over and over and over. 

What, you want examples?  I thought you'd never ask.
A few months ago I had a relatively slow day, only 8 patients over the whole shift.  It was typical stuff, mostly car accidents, a fall, and one gunshot wound.  However, in that mix of patients I had two patients who had suffered one injury and one injury only; one of the two had fallen down stairs, the other was shot.  But both had just one body part hurt.  Only one.  What body part?

One finger.  The fourth finger.  The left fourth finger. 

What, you still aren't convinced?  Two out of eight patients, fully 25% of my patients for the day, had isolated left 4th finger injuries on the very same day, and that still isn't evidence enough for you?   You still don't believe?  How is that even possible!  I hear the Call Gods mocking you.  They scoff at unbelievers. 

But wait, there's more.  There's always more. 

My most recent call day was much busier.  I had a total of sixteen patients, including 4 assaults, 3 stabbings (one I took to the operating theatre with lacerations to his colon, kidney, and small intestine), one shooting, one drunk fall, 6 car accidents, and a guy hit in the face by a falling wrench (yes, seriously).  If you aren't seeing a pattern yet, I don't blame you.  I didn't see it either until I got a patient with a glass eye.  That may not sound that strange to you (yet), but I haven't seen a patient with a glass eye in several years, and as soon as I saw her, something inside me twitched.  

Sure enough, two hours later one of the assault victims also had a glass eye. 

Both were fine with no serious injuries, and perhaps a glass eye isn't anything to get worked up over.  I simply like to think of it as the Call Gods reminding me they are there.  Always watching.  Waiting.  Preparing. 



  1. if there are no call gods, why is it that on my friday night shift, there is ALWAYS a call five minutes after I turn off the light to go to sleep?

    and never use the "Q-word" they take that as a personal challenge. we have one officer here who is forbidden to use the phrase "hope I don't see you again, tonight" because they see THAT as a challenge, too.

  2. Did you know about the glass eye from the history or did it just come out in conversation?

    *biddly-boom and tish*

    1. I had my shift partner to that to an officer who was taking an injury report from getting scratched while rescuing a dog. pulled the eye out and checked it for damage.

  3. They also decide that you're going to have an awful on call if you've swapped into it rather than it being yours originally...

  4. 'All the nonbelievers, they get to eat dirt, and the believers get to spit in their graves~' ;)

    Seriously tho... I believe!

  5. The most unusual case that the call Gods sent my way was a shotgun blast to the Left buttock. Divine entities never do anything half-assed and 3 hours later we got another unrelated victim with a GSW to the right buttock.

  6. I love the call gods.. DUI nights piss me off, roll over nights are long, and water recovery mornings are evil.. We run themes.. One week it was suicides off bridges on to pavement..

    1. speaking of which, we're due for another car to hit a median in the middle of the night.

      before ODOT made a modification to a passing lane on the crest of a hill, our neighbors to the south had one corner that was simply referred to as "the usual spot."

    2. Highway 26 is that spot and a place called Carver curves in OSP territory.. So many fatalities from Carver curves, there was a landslide on it a couple months ago so no one has died on it lately because it's shut down..
      Truck 20 and I were know as the grim reaper crew, every day we did a fatality we were together.. The other trucks were afraid to work with us because they just did not want to see it.. 20 was out for several months for tearing his chicken wing (my medical terms) from picking up a fully dressed Harley.. No one would work his shift with me, so Mister 20 comes back and the 1st minute of our shift together a chick gets hit by a train 20 yards away from him.. My truck boss calls me and says in front of him- oh Jesus Christ don't you two start this shit again..

    3. the usual corner was a sweeper at the end of the point where a passing lane crested a hill. people would be off to the races for the end of the passing lane and spin out on the corner, at least once every couple weeks. ODOT shortened the passing lane by nearly a mile, so they're in one lane before the crest the hill.
      our median calls are because the city thought it was a good idea to install decorative medians and shift lanes around them to annoy drivers. every few months, someone will run onto the end of the median and strip the oil pan out from under their car at around 2:00 in the morning. HIPAA prohibits me from saying why they might do this.

    4. 2am, what we call "beer thirty is upon us"..
      as you can imagine, 2:30am- rolled over down an embankment because coming off the freeway in the round turn to merge is too difficult.. No one is allowed to tell us anything til we open the door and the bottle of Jack and 24 pack of empty beer bottle come rolling out, and puke has plastered the inside of the truck.. Some people get creative with their puking..

    5. some years back, my dad told the trooper he probably ought to have a chat with the tow operator after he got the car winched out of the ravine the driver had parked it in - but he wanted him to wait until after the car was out, because he didn't want to have to wait an hour for another tow truck.
      the assistant drove the truck back with the car, and the driver rode with the trooper. - that tow company is no longer in business, here - we really only have two companies, and they are both relatively solid.

    6. Here we have very short ETAs, 20 minute response times, and we do get odd ball coast calls..
      My dream is to move to Cannon or Rockaway, Florence or Long Beach and be a beach bum tow truck dispatcher or go back in to counseling and use my degrees..

      Have you heard of Camel Tow in Florence?? lol..
      I got a call to seaside, it was super bowl weekend, the insurance company called me freaking out, they couldn't find a sober tow truck company, apparently all the companies they tried calling located on that part of the coast didn't have a sober tow'er unless it was for a police call, because it was police on-call only night..
      Lol, poor guy parked in a little ditch because he missed his turn around the bend in fog and snow.. It was a long night..

    7. I think I've seen the name, elsewhere, but I haven't noticed them in Florence. usually, our wait isn't that long; though one time I had a truck driver pull onto a soft shoulder trying to let traffic by and got mired. it took the trucking company 2 hours to find a tow company that didn't insist on cash up front. apparently they have a reputation for being slow on payment. then the driver they did get seemed to be a bit on the green side. it was tempting to tell them both to go sit in my engine, and I would get the truck pulled out and turned around for them. the state trooper felt so sorry for the srmi driver he gave him permission to get the rest of the way to his destination, even though he was technically over his hours (sitting 4 hours waiting to get back on the road tends to do that)and didn't cite him for being on a length restricted road. apparently the company's routing service finally got the message, because I haven't seen any of that company's trucks up the road since.

    8. Lool.. Greenies are fabulous.. We have dealt with fireman Greenies, it was a riot, the captain (it was their commanding officer??) training them on a rolled over vehicle fire, we waited on scene for it to be handed over.. They oooweed and awwed waiting for carnage of flipping it, and they wanted to get close to the truck to be looking loos, winch cable snap so we don't let looking loos get to close but damned if they listened til they got barked at..

      Most Greenies like watching the tow trucks create more chaos because it's a dumbass greenie operator. I went on a call and the port cops ohhhed and awwed because they thought for sure we were going to lose a car trying to recover it. Their sad faces were priceless when a car jack to balance the car and a quick pull up on the deck didn't give them the desired outcome.

      I turn in to a big doe eyed goober when firefighters are around.. I dated a medic years ago and he liked to use technical names to describe body parts during 4play..

    9. I'd much rather have a tow operator who knows his job. had a chat w/ my dad on an early mother's day visit, and he agrees with me that sometimes we just want to shove the tow operator out of the way and do it ourselves. considering we see about 3/4 of the challenging winch outs in the area, we've seen about as many of the tricks as the average tow operator. we know about winch cable snaps, but there's been many a time I've been on the spot with a carefully timed nudge, an once with a wheel chock to pop a tire over a median.

  7. As someone who does not practice medicine, I thank the Call Gods for providing me with much entertainment via a certain Bastard with a blog.

    Speaking of the blog, what do you use to edit it? I'm using Chrome, and the last 2 paragraphs have a different font than all the previous ones. I checked out the page source (HTML) and it is a huge MESS! spans with custom style inside divs, instead of just p's with simple CSS rules. This is the web equivalent of not wearing your seatbelt, Doc! What are you doing?!

  8. "I'm not feeling very fire-y tonight" the shift guy said.
    and yes, we told him that it was HIS fault we all got up at 3:30 in the morning.

    1. NeatNit, we have call gods in my work, I dispatch for a tow company that deals with 7 police contracts in our greater metro area.. We help do recoveries that can include in assisting life flight..

      Ken- the worse I got one night was a 15 car pile up and a 6 car pile up..
      I would have punch fire-y dude in the choad (not my medical term).. I have a wah-wah crybaby on my 4pm - 2am shift whose has not learned to stop saying, "I know I'll get a call at 1:45am".. And per protocol he does, an hour away in the middle of Amboy Washington..
      I went on police call a few nights ago, river recovery, my first one in a truck.. The truck was dripping in blood, and the adrenaline smashed me.. For a solid day I could not make the adrenaline go away, I don't know how you adrenaline junkies can handle that shit, 2nd day I puked the adrenaline up and finally cried my eyes out..

    2. really REALLY dark humor, for the most part. there's also emotional conditioning, and a mandate to do critical incident stress debriefing after any incident that seems to call for it.

    3. The call didn't bother me, the adrenaline just does a number to my system. I can't drink coffee or it makes me feel the same way.
      I went to a run of the mill "no parking anytime" call and I was heaving from the adrenaline.. I did a regular no police call on a bridge- I cried for three hours straight. I have a huge fear of heights and my adrenaline soared to the point of no return.. I called my tow boss crying, 3 hours later on the phone with me still balling.. I can't play certain online games because I just can't do adrenaline rushes..

      My dark humor has reached a whole new level of people thinking I'm Satan..
      My call receiver was taking a Uber after she broke her knee, we would tell her nightly as she left, "don't let your rape turn in to a murder"..

    4. ah, so you're thinking more of the actual physiological reaction to the stress. that, I can't help so much with. I suspect it is about 75% mental and 25% conditioning, because I can come into a situation all wound up, and it just sort of goes away and gets replaced with focus.

    5. Exactly, one of my night guys was rearended pretty badly last night, I haven't stopped shaking in 14 hours.. My nerves are shot and I think it's due to being a counselor for 15 years, other people stress/drama doesn't bother me, but my decision can end up getting one of mine killed.. I can have 3 weeks of not an ounce of adrenaline and bam something shitty happens..

      Thank you for giving me an ear Ken, I really do appreciate it..

      I think it's thyroid, we have family history with thyroid issues Graves/Hoshimoto (sp?), I have to get mine checked every few years because it likes to drop and over produce, plus my beautiful butterfly likes to swell up.. It bounces back for a few years and then turns in to an overbearing ass randomly and I get nasty tremors and heart palpitations..

      My mother/sister/great aunt has/had Graves.. 2 aunts, 2 great aunts, uncle has/had Hoshimotos.

      And I agree it's conditioning, Some people can power through it and it turns in to the euphoric focus, I have nothing but mad love/respect/admiration for the guys that can excel with the adrenaline boost..

  9. and tonight's theme involved multiples of 3, with 6 and 15 being most prominent.

    1. I couldn't get my rhythm.. All my calls were in farthest reaches of the lands.. My police calls were all over the place, and my recovered stolen weren't even normal- BMW and a GMC, that really deviated from the norm of Subaru and Honda

    2. they were not being vindictive or cruel last night. just had fun connecting 15s and 6es.

    3. Ken, I need a friend.. Had a fatality yesterday.. I really bad one.. My mid shift guy was not okay coming in to the shop.. I made a mistake and didn't know it.

    4. I've got a dormant social site that I built as a testbed earlier in the year you can catch me through. it's not active, and it has direct messaging capability.

      if you need to talk stuff though a little less publicly, I can get it there. I'll try to monitor it a little more regularly.

    5. Got it and saving it.. they were rough

  10. Ilove reading the comments and stories i find on this blog especially you Cali and Ken.
    Dark humor is what gets us through.
    Currently i am spolt for choice as i have an uncle in one hiospital with eGFR of 10.3 (again) chronic heart failure and a blocked nephrostomy tube he didn;t tell me about till it came time for me to change his dressing prior to an ultrasound on his heart. The tube looked like it was stuffed with dark chopped liver (not good) upon questioning it turns out he had passed 50 mls fluid the day before and nothing before thatfor a week or after that, he also has diarrhea for a week (aaargh) he doesn't like hospitals and will lie, minimize and omit info to stay out despite knowing by doing so he will be in for longer.
    ! week in they still haven't changed his damn tube, nothing has come out, they are playing hunt the vein for bloods and cannulas as he has dreadful veins.
    They are taslking fiustula and ddialysis despite this will make his heart failure worse. They are also looking at his liver (previous fungal infection which then spread to his eyes). I suggested they book his spleen in for a 5 min guest spot at the next open mike since that seems to be the only thing not buggered up.
    Meanwhile, in another hospital 20 miles away, bro finally had a lower leg amputation to remove his bolloxed up and chronically infected ankle (yay) he's been trying for years to get them to remove it since it was either infected, breaking or both . he broke it in bed one night and only found out when he tried to stand on it getting out of bed next am.
    He sent me photos and video of the stump and they did a nice job, but i am not to show his wifey since she is squeamish. He was hoping to get out yesterday after a week and half in but he picked up an infection so in till next week.
    he keeps getting told off for inappropriate jokes about the wandering dementia patient finding the mortuary every time and cripple jokes about himself.
    meanwhile i have a herniated disc in my L5 and possibly one further up so thats an op for me.
    I hope they do it as a local so i can have them tell me what they are doing as they do it and also take video. I am ghoulsih like that.

    Thanks to you all for the work you do,the messes you clean up and the humor you bring.

    1. I have heard that doctors prefer not to have people watch their own surgery in progress because they might inadvertently have a reflexive twitch at the wrong moment.

    2. I asked to watch my daughter's butt doctor joust with her colon..

      Tania sorry to hear about your uncle but he has a great sense of humor.. i love making self depreciation, it's better.. I asked my friend how she puts you with my intense personality, and she said I describe you to everyone as eccentric, I asked if she basically called me handicapible instead of a retard..
      My humor comes from 15 years of other people's problems and two years at a tow company that I worked graveyards for, just switched to days..
      Hopefully your uncle gets out soon!


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