Welcome to “Explaining My Strips”, my web series that will feature a reposting all of my EMScapades strips starting with number one and including the stories behind the comic strip.
So, now you are wondering, “What’s the story with this one?”
It was Halloween of 2015, and I was sitting at inservice training feeling completely jaded and burned out. I had been thinking… well… obsessing really, about all of the bad calls that I had run in the past year to that point. I had just wrapped my first year as a paramedic, and the calls had not been kind to me, culminating with a teenage suicide victim that affected me very deeply.
In my life prior to my family responsibilities and an EMS career, I always had the performing arts to let me work out these feelings. Whether it was acting on stage in plays, singing in a chorus or in bands or performing stand-up comedy, I always had a creative outlet to make me happy when things were terrible.
So what was I to do? Getting out there and performing was tougher and tougher with responsibilities to my family at home and so much of my time in overtime owed to a career in EMS.
And to this day, I don’t know why, but I took out my phone and started doodling with my finger in a sketchbook app.
In the background at my in-service, which I probably should’ve been paying more attention to, our med control physicians were announcing that the protocols were being written, and we were going to be allowed to administer morphine and fentanyl on standing order.
“Oooo… wowwww… coooool…” was being said all around me by my coworkers, but me, in my jaded little mood, was saying to myself, “whoopdee shit.”
Then our med control started talking about not being afraid to give this morphine and fentanyl to people who ask for it.
Yes, only ask for it.
Their rationale being: who were we to determine whether or not they need it. We, as care providers, need to believe that their pain is real… and give them the drugs, without question, to take that pain away. My immediate thought was, “We are going to be more popular than an ice cream truck up in the north part of the city.”
Then, after all of this discussion, our inservice concludes with, “But… our morphine is currently on back order.”
Without even looking up from my phone I chuckled to myself, thought about drawing an ice cream truck but, instead, being that the holiday was here, decided to make it a junkie trick-or-treater coming up to the ambulance.
As I placed the word bubbles on the panel, I remember thinking, “That was kind of easy and fun. I’m gonna have to do more of these.”