Wednesday, 23 November 2011


I went back to work early for a 24hr shift.  TCI EMS is a little short staffed for drivers, only two right now for a 24 hour truck leads to a few scheduling problems.  I picked up a night shift with my friend, and it was a busy shift! We started the night parked on the street near the pub listening to a band play - just cause you can't sit in a bar on duty doesn't mean you can't listen from the sidewalk. Our first call happend early in the evening, a fainting episode at a restaurant near by.  The night eased off and I got a couple hours sleep before being startled awake with another call.  Single vehicle vs building.  Building won.  One passenger without a seat belt, he actually wasn't too badly hurt, though a nasty broken arm.

We spent the morning with me driving.  This normally doesn't sound like a big deal, I can drive. I've driven ambulances before.  But since its a British territory everyone drives on the left.  And being so close to the states most of the cars are designed for driving to the right.  Its confusing.  And lets throw in bad drivers and worse roads, and round abouts. Its a bit nerve wracking.  To top it off while I was driving we got another call, so I got my first chance to drive lights and sirens.  This was a bad call too, guy hit by a baseball bat. There was nasty swelling across his neck and jaw.

We also had a transfer towards the end of the shift, picked up a man coming home from surgury in the Bahamas.  It decided to rain that day so I got soaked while we decided the best way to unload him from the plane.  Luckily since it is so warm here I dried off pretty quickly.

I worked my next three shifts, one more day and the two nights, with Phillip.  It was extremely uneventful.  Just one transfer on the last night.  I spent part of Sunday driving, and exploring more of Provo.  On the south side we found the kiteboarders out.  It was so much fun to watch, tally that up as something else I want to learn while I'm here!

I did pick up a snorkel set, there is some reefs just off my beach.  I've been out a couple times.  I have seen some colourful fish so far. The water has been a bit rough, but today was smoother so I am excited to get back on the beach and try again.

I've been taking lots of pictures, but you may not get to see them till I get home.  The USB card reader I brought has decided to stop working so I can't upload my pictures.  Very frustrating. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Settling in.

I had another day shift followed by two nights.  With no calls.  With a population of only 30,000 people we don't have a very high call volume.  I have been told that with the holiday season we should get busier. There is an influx of tourists, as well as thefts.  A good time for break ins when everyone has started buying Christmas gifts.

I spent my night shifts with a new driver, who is a local and knows the islands incredibly well.  He has been driving me around trying to help me learn my way around.  Its a bit challenging.  While not a large island there is lots of criss-crossing roads.  Many of them don't have road signs.  This is a new project that was only started when the 911 center was opened.  About 90% of the roads have been named, but only 50% have signs. Its a slow process and many of the people have begun working together to buy road signs for their neighbour hoods.

On Monday, in between my nights I should add, we had a mandatory staff meeting. Myself and my friend, the American EMT, were there on time. The on duty crew came as well.  Mind you that was about half our staff. One of the big news is they are working on a new base for us.  The one currently being used is in the old hospital and actually really uninhabitable.  While we wait for the new building we can hang out at the new hospital.  When the new building is ready in about a week or so we will be there for about four months.  During that time they will be renovating the old hospital into a new base for the EMS and Fire Department. I should be able to indulge in another interest there- ghost hunting.  Not only an old hospital but built on the burial ground of an old plantation from 200 years ago.

Friday night I went out with some co-workers.  my friend picked me up and we went to a pub Danny Buoys to watch our supervisor play with his band. Some off the staff from the hospital came too, a nurse, a british doctor and a Canadian med student. We had a great time, the band is great.  We also really embarrassed a young woman there on her birthday.  We quickly planned our attack, picked her up in her chair and carried it up to the band where they serenaded her.  The best part was after when she demanded to know which of her friends were responsible!

I'm on my four days off now, I spent yesterday sleeping in and a bit of time on the beach.  Today I decided to walk the beach down to the Saltmills which is a touristy shopping area and also has a grocery store.  Took about an hour to walk down there, past several other resorts including the Sandals all inclusive resort. It was a long walk back and my tender little feet that are used to snug boots did not do very well.  I ended up with blisters on both my big toes that hurt!! So I spent the rest of the afternoon nursing my poor feet on the beach. I can feel all your pity.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Diving In

Well I had two days off, I did a little sight seeing on the beach and waiting around for someone to drive me to do some errands.  Eventually the ambulance came and got me to get some paperwork done.  We got to the government building a little after three.  It was closed.  We never did figure out if they had closed early or just hadn't come back from lunch yet.

This morning I was picked up at 7:00 for my first shift. I was working with another EMT who doubles as a driver since the couple guys we have are really over worked.  Since my partner was pulling a double he dropped me off at the ER to get to know the staff while he napped for a couple hours.  Not much going on, but I got to chat with the staff who are from all over the place. About noon we went for lunch at another nice little spot on the beach.

After a routine transfer, as we were driving down the main road, wondering why the traffic was suddenly coming to a stop, we realize a big accident had just occured.  Car vs Motorcycle.  Started with the cyclist, confused with bits of helmet visible in the road and lots of blood.  Our guy also had a very broken arm.  Looked like the scene in Harry Potter when he looses all the bones in his arm!  Luckily the accident happened in front of a private clinic so the staff took care of the passengers of the vehicle.  It was a big, interesting, bloody mess. Took awhile to scrub everything clean - including ourselves.

We followed that up with a minor who got drunk at school.  Thought I came down here to get away from the drunk calls? Two more transfers that night, one was taking one of the car accident patients to the hospital for follow up.  We picked up the night crew and got to go home. 

Now its time for a beer and a snack, before back at it tomorrow! 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Ride Along

Nov 8th
Today started with a twist when the maid arrived.  You'll all remember I am living in a hotel, it was still a bit weird to sit there sipping my tea as she made my bed and did the dishes.  It is going to be tough to go home!
My supervisor showed up shortly after, today I was supposed to meet up the the ambulance and ride along for a couple hours.  That's when I found out that a driver had called in sick today. Welcome to my first shift.

We met up with my partner for the day, an EMT from the US.  He began by driving me around parts of the island, and started with the slums.  Then he pointed out Prince's house.  Crazy little island. 
On our way to introduce me to the local delicacy, conch.  But just as we arrived at the Conch Shack we were sent to the airport to pick up a flight crew  I got a moment of homesickness when the SkyService plane pulled in with its Toronto nurses. It was a simple transfer to and from the airport and then it was back to the Conch Shack.

Conch Fritters for lunch was greasy goodness.  A bit of a chewy meat it was tasty, I am looking forward to trying it in a few other forms.  After lunch we went to pick up a driver, who had agreed to come in.  He knows the island so well and gave us an awesome tour.  We started by finding The Hole.  It is exactly that, it used to be an underground cavern till the limestone collapsed and now its a big hole with a pool of water at the bottom. 

After the hole the driver drove us to a conch farm where we jumped on a tour with a family from London. (Canadians everywhere!) Its a pretty interesting process that takes a couple years to reach full growth.  The farm had also been asked to raise some turtles that had been found struggling on the beach.  The next stop on the tour was the ferry dock and then past some of the massive houses the wealthy had built. There is also a massive marina for the luxury yachts of the rich and famous.

I got dropped off at home shortly after that, and I am looking forward to a day off tomorrow.  And to pick up some groceries!

Welcome to TCI

On Sunday November 6th I moved to the Turks and Caicos Islands to work as a medic for three months.  Before I left everyone made me swear up and down I would keep in touch, share my stories.  So here we are!
I left really early Sunday morning, worried I had packed to much, forgotten something and would have problems with customs.  Flying turned out to be easy, and I did of course forget some stuff.  Why do I always forget sunglasses when I go to sunny destinations?
Arriving at the airport I was met by my supervisor and his wife and taken on a quick tour of the island.  I am living on Providenciales one of the main islands in the territory.  They dropped me off at my new home, Reef Residence Hotel.  I have a nice little one bedroom suite with a pool, fitness center and just a two minute walk to the beach on Grace Bay.  They water is the most amazing colours with so many beautiful reefs that the locals are working hard at protecting which is amazing!
I crashed pretty early Sunday night, and my day on Monday started at 10:00 when my boss picked me up for some orientation.  We started off getting some paperwork done, including setting up a bank account. It was a little weird sitting inside a Royal Bank with palm trees outside! We also jumped on a couple calls with the medical crew including a good head injury.  Quite the introduction!  This led to a tour of the hospital, a brand new facility run by Interhealth Canada and filled with Canadian staff. 
At the end of my day I went for a walk along the beach.  All the beaches here are public which means you can walk all along the island along the water.  I can't wait for a day off so I can explore the area.