The Chain of Survival
What is the Chain of Survival all about? It is certainly about Early Access, Early CPR, Early Defibrillation and Early ACLS. It is also about a series of
critical interventions, coordinated roles and responsibilities. But what the Chain of Survival is truly about is survival itself.
A life saved.
That’s why Providers do what they do. It’s not about the lights and sirens – it’s all about the patient and good patient care. It’s about a strong Chain
in the Community. Community CPR, and PAD. Because we know that a strong Chain increases the chances for survival from sudden cardiac arrest.
Why do paramedics support the Chain of Survival? Because we know that there is no greater image than that of a recovered sudden
cardiac arrest patient leaving the hospital and beginning to live the rest of his or her life.
Our modern lifestyles make cardiac arrest the number one killer. Two out of every three deaths occur before the victims even reach the hospital. The losses
to families and costs to communities are enormous.
“Survival of cardiac arrest depends on a series of critical interventions. If one of these critical actions is neglected or delayed, survival is unlikely.
The American Heart Association has used the term Chain of Survival to describe this sequence.”*
Some communities with a strong Chain of Survival report survival rates as high as 30%. A series of related and connected events, the Chain of Survival defines
the roles of bypCPR, Cardiac Arrest, Emergency Medicine, Survivalstanders, dispatchers, first responders, emergency service personnel, paramedics, doctors and nurses, coordinated as a team to help save
*References: Emergency Cardiac Care Committee and Subcommittees. American Heart Association.
There’s so much to write about… I don’t really know where to start. To tell the truth…
There have been two things that have kept me away. One is online burnout and the other is fulfilling my obligations as a National park service Rranger and firefighter… I’m done with all that for now, and I can settle down to write again.
And, with what’s going on in my life…I desperately need to.
To all of you who I’ve left in the unknown…I’m sorry. I can’t say anymore than that. Some things are just so painful, you have to deal with them on your own.
Rod’s fine. Dogs are fine.
It’s the call none of us want to take, and all of us know we will eventually have to face at some point during our careers. We just hope that when the time comes, when it’s someone we love on the line, that we can do our jobs with professionalism, that we can do what needs to be done without hesitation and without our emotions getting in the way. None of us wants to take that call. None of us wants to see our loved one in the mangled wreckage of an automobile… And yet, we know, as we serve every day in our cities and towns, that at some point, we will see someone we know, someone we love and we will be called upon to work the most excruciating call of our lives.
We weren’t doing anything. We were just sitting around bullshitting when the alert tones went off. An accident. EMTs responded, as customary. It was simply called in as “a car accident, injuries unknown,” so it was perfectly normal for the EMTs to go out first. Not long after, we, the ALS boys were being called out. Here’s what I found.
I found a hysterical firefighter-EMT attempting to intubate a teenage girl. As I got closer to the patient, I saw the reason for his hysteria. It was his own daughter. One of the other EMTs tried to get him to move away and ended up flat on his back. After a third failed attempt to intubate, I gently moved my friend of ten years aside and intubated his little girl.
We lost her in the rig on the way to the trauma center. I shocked her and re-established a good cardiac rhythm.
I called the ER and told them we had a thirteen-year-old girl coming in who’d arrested and had a closed head injury. Once we got her to the ER and I filled out the paperwork, I went to wait with my friend. We didn’t have to wait long. The doctor came out and told my friend the words I never thought I’d hear.
“Your daughter has a closed head injury and is not responding to noxious stimuli. I’m sorry to say that she is brain dead.”
I’m sorry to say is stuch a stock phrase. It is as useless as any words are in that situation… the sound that escapes my friend is a primordial one…inhuman…animalistic. I put my arms around him and he clings to me as if drowning. My vision starts to blur as the tears come.
This morning, my friend announces that he’s retiring. He’s gone on his last call.
I feel the need to celebrate the life of a girl, and the career of a friend.
I can’t help but feel empty…
Death in a convalescent Home
We’re called for a teen not breathing. The address is a convalescent home. It makes no sense.
Then we pull up. There is a car parked askance by the entrance, two front doors and a back door open. The engine still running.
In the front lobby two nurses and a police officer kneel over a small body– a boy of maybe ten years. One nurse does chest compressions, while the other
holds the bag valve mask over the boys face and tries to breathe for him. The police officer attaches a defibrillator.
I kneel down by the head. The robotic voice from the defibrillator says, “No shock advised. Check pulse. If no pulse, continue CPR.”
The boy is lifeless. I feel for a pulse. None.
My partner Rod attaches the cardiac monitor to the patient while I take out my airway kit.
I slip the tube into his throat. I glance up at the monitor. Asystole. Flat line.
I look at his arms for a vein. I see nothing, so I take out an IO bone needle. I pull back his pant leg, swab his tibia, then twist the needle down hard
like a screw. It pops as it goes through the bone.
I push epi and atropine. No response.
“What happened,” I ask now.
His parents were driving by, a nurse says. They brought him in, he wasn’t breathing. They said he wasn’t feeling well today. We started coding him right
I look up at a woman sitting in a chair, looking glazed. A man stands behind her, no hand on her shoulder. Then I notice a silent row of residents in their
wheelchairs in a semicircle around us.
I see in my head this scene from above. Us kneeling around a lifeless child, trying to make his heart beat and to fill his lungs with air. The honor guard
of the aged around us. The scene gets smaller and smaller as the camera view goes up through the roof, through the night clouds and up into the stars.
I hope this evening finds you well in spirit, if not pain free.
As many of you know, my ortho doctor decided not to give me any post-op pain
meds, feeling that I could get by wwith what I had at home. I have a very high
drug tolerance, and a very low pain threshhold, and even though I take some of
the strongest opioids, if I have a new pain problem come up, or get into a bad
Lupus/Spondylitis flare, my nine pain meds can’t fight the battle…
An old doctor friend of mine Doctor Dominique, who is in my group and who has
agreed to take over my primary care, gave me some Norco. She gave me 100, and
she guessed, with me taking 12 a day, 2 every 4 hours, that I’d run out pretty
quickly. She hoped that my post-op pain would be somewhat diminished after the
first week and I’d be able to get by.
Saturday, I called her and told her just how bad it was. My knee was swollen up
to the size of a soccer ball, I couldn’t walk on it and nothing, and I do mean
nothing, was doing any good. She commiserated with me, and told me as she was
on her way out to Quebec, where she is from and also has a practice, (she
rotates), to go to ER if I needed.
I, not wanting to bother anyone, just suffered. Sunday passed in the same sort
of haze, but today, the pain was even worse and my blood pressure, which tends
to skyrocket when I’m in severe pain, was in the stroke out region…
Reluctantly, I called in an ambulance crew.
Now, it’s always been embarrassing to me, when a medic like me, and I’m a good
medic if I do say so myself, (my colleagues agree), has to call for a rig. My
friends were available and were going to take me but they were a few miles away,
so they sent a fire truck to sit with me and monitor my BP…
This was part of the same fire crew that had given me a hard time last time
about my service dog. I did have them written up. I apologized, and they both
agreed that they’d deserved the write-up.
As senior medic in our corps, I have some clout.
So, finally, the ambulance got there and Dewey and I were whisked away to the
hospital. I decided to go to the same hospital which had performed the surgery,
seeing as how they would have all my records and everything.
We get there, and they put me in the waiting room. I raise holy H*** . I say,
“No way are you sticking me in this waiting room to wait for hours when I could
have a blood clot.” My friend Jeff, one of the medics who brought me in, went
over to the desk and the nurse said to bring me to triage.
After giving me the third degree on why I took nine schedule II meds and why
they were not working for me, and why I didn’t have most of my injectables, (I
am given a supply of injectables, if I use them as I normally do, I don’t run
out early, but if I use them as prescribed, I run out a day or two early). I
don’t ask for early refills. I explained that the reason I was out of my
Fentanyl and Demerol injections was that I am due to get them on wednesday, and
I had permission from my pain doc to up my dose if I needed because of surgery.
Finally, Dewey and I are taken into a room and another nurse comes in. She,
too, gives me the third degree. Then she rips the bandages off my incisions,
(nice of her), and says, “They’re not draining, your leg is bruised but not that
I said, “Oh yeah, watch this!” and I hopped off the stretcher. As soon as I
did, my knee began to swell, within a few minutes, it was the size of a
softball, that being the swelling. She said, “Oh my God, I guess you are in
pain, you poor thing. I’ll go get Doctor J.”
She leaves and I wait a while. By this time, I’m slipping out of consciousness
and a man, who I assumed was the doctor, comes in and said he had some pain
patches for me, where did I want them. I said, “pain patches? What kind?”
Imagine a drunken slur and you’ve got it about right.
He said, “Fentanyl, you take fentanyl.”
I mumbled that I did but by injection. He explained that they didn’t have
fentanyl injection in the ER. So, I got two 75 mcg patches on my right arm.
Then he taped them down. He warned me that they may take a few hours to really
kick in. I told him I was a paramedic and wasn’t stupid. Thank God, he took it
with good humor.
Then, the doctor comes in, and he talks about giving me something for pain. I
explained that I had already been given Fentanyl patches, and then he said he
wanted to do an ultrasound of my leg to make sure there was no blood clot.
After that, they let me go home. It was obvious that I was still in pain, and I
didn’t know this until I got home, but the doc had given Rod, who had come to
get me, some Fentanyl for breakthrough pain called actiq, which is a losenge on
a stick… Rod had two of them, since the doc told him it could be several
hours before the patch began to work…
Everyone there was so impressed with Dewey and how well he behaved. He made me
proud. I can’t wait until my Dobermann in training, Demon, can be the same way.
So, that’s my story, and…I’m sticking to it, or rather, it’s sticking to me!
Ok, I know you are all just dying to know what happened during the Dodge at Surgery Show… NOOOOOOOT. So, I’ll tell ya.
It went something like this. Rod took me and two books. One for him about telivision, and one for me called Leaderdogs for the Blind: Whither Thou Goest,
about the forming of that particular guide dog school. Why? You ask? Because I have been active in training dogs for service/guide and protection/law
enforcement work, as well as detection, search and rescue and competition, since I was 12, and it was my first thorough reading on the subject… And one
of my favorite books still today!
We had to wait for a looooooong time. Apparently doctor was behind. We made it to chapter 4. This book is out of print and was written in 1982, but if
you are a serious dog person, get it, read it, take notes!
Anyway, finally, they brought me back into a room. There was the usual changing into a gown stuff, which Rod had to help me with, because they wouldn’t
let me take my morning meds, no other docs have ever had a problem with me taking an opioid injection a couple hours before surgery. Then I was ready.
One of the nurses came in and gave me two pills, both for my stomach, then, they took me to “the Holding Area”. And I’m like thinking what the hell did
I do wrong? 🙂
While I’m there the first nurse who comes up to me starts talking to me about my service dog. I’m like how do you know I have one? I ask. She says they
wrote him, and his name and breed in my chart, along with how beautiful he is. She even let me see it. I had not brought him up there with me. The plan
was for Rod to bring him at the end.
I was then spoken to by the nurse anesthetist. She noted that I was very opioid/drug tolerant. I mentioned it, but she said she was aware, and by the
tone of her voice and her body language, she was. She talked to the circulating nurse and the anesthesiologist who then both came and talked to me. The
anesthesiologist said, “Well, since you didn’t take your meds, we’ll just give you what will get you up to the point as though you had, then, we’ll give
you the extra narcotics for your procedure.” They also gave me some verced, because I was so scared I was shaking. I wasn’t scared long. I received
that, plus Dilaudid and Fentanyl.
After giving me”enough narcotics to kill a horse” and being surprised that I was still chattering like a magpie on a sunny day, the anesthesiologist was
about to order me to have more, when the doctor said he was ready. this meant I got them on the move.
Flashback to the age of two, and when I had an organ transplant… A big room…bright lights…no one telling me a thing and them just slapping that mask
over my face and me freaking out.
This time, at least they warned me, and honestly, I was too relaxed and pain-free to care. I had nice pain free thoughts.
… … … … .. … … … …
I was “Mary”. I was dying. They told me I couldn’t go home because I was dying… I was very upset.
… … … … .. … … … …
I woke up. I found out later that there had been a Mary in the room. She had coded and slipped away. She was 99.
She gave it her best shot, but obviously, it was time for her to come home.
First thing I noticed upon waking was THAT I HURT! There was a nurse right there who asked me if I was in pain and I said yes, and immediately, I was given
some morphine. Again, “Enough to kill a horse.” It last a little over an hour and again…same dose.
The second thing I noticed is that I was freezing…I was covered with blankets. The third thing I noticed was… I had to pee. They bring me this bedpan
and I’m like, “Heck no, I can walk to a bathroom.” Nope. Well, I finally gave up on that, since they wouldn’t cath me or let me sit up and peeing lying
down is against my instincts. Probably against yours, too. Yeah, I know, I’m being gross, here. 🙂 No more gross, I promise. 🙂
Finally, I was ready to go back downstairs. I did and I basically waited around a while, but this time I got to see Rod! I was so happy to see him.!
I was also happy to see Dewey Mooey who lapped my face with kisses, and bumped my knee…twice!
Then, finally…finally…Finally… They brought me a wheelchair and I was able to do what nature intended. Thank you God!
More waiting and I got to leave.
While I was in recovery, and Rod was speaking to the doctor, Rod tried to explain to the man about chronic pain patients, breakthrough pain, etc, etc, and
that all these meds I take only help me deal with the myriad oooooos and ows I face every day, and there are a lot of them, not knew ones that might crop
up…He wouldn’t budge.
Not to worry, Dodge was prepared. Dodge thought ahead, and he did get some post op pain meds…just not from his surgeon. Thank you Doctor D!
I got out of there and was so hungry I could have eaten an elephant, so after stopping at my favorite place for take out, I came home, where I ate and have
been resting ever since.
I’d like to thank all those who gave me courage, all those who prayed, with the help of whatever deity, and all those who’ve helped me out… You know who you are.
You all call me “hero”. Ahhh, but you are wrong. It is your random acts of invisible kindness — a cyberhug here, a phone call there, an offer of help here, etc, that make *YOU* the real heroes.
I love you all…More than words can say. You, you are my reason for living.
THIS POST WILL CAUSE YOUR SIDES TO SPLIT!!!!!!
Due to a power outage, only one paramedic, me and a driver, responded to the call. The house was very dark so I asked Kristen, a 3-yr-old girl to hold a flashlight
high over her mommy so I could see while I helped deliver the baby.
Very diligently, Kristen did as she was asked. Mommy pushed and pushed and after a little while, Bryan was born.. I slowly lifted him by his little
feet and spanked him on his bottom.
Bryan began to cry.
I then thanked Kristen for her brave help and asked the wide-eyed 3-yr-old what she thought about what she had just witnessed.
Kristen quickly responded, “He shouldn’t have crawled in there in the first place… Smack his butt again!”
If you don’t laugh at this one, there’s no hope for you!
A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing,
stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.
The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping
her cell phone and makeup.
As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to
exit her car with her hands up.
He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman
approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.
He said, ”I’m very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front
of you and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ bumper sticker, the ‘Choose Life’ license plate ho lder, the ‘Follow Me
to Sunday-School’ bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk,
so naturally…I assumed you had stolen the car.”
The second, and final time I got killed.
One thing you learn pretty soon after you begin your career in EMS is that those “great” stories you tell at the station don’t necessarily go over very
well during thanksgiving dinner. Mom doesn’t want to hear about how you and your trusty pilot came scant inches from getting incinerated in your helicopter
because you almost hit a power line yesterday. Somehow the thrill of such stories is lost when it’s your son telling you about almost not making it home from work. All this running around getting killed business is pretty easy for the primary character. It’s really exciting stuff and if things go terribly
wrong you’re not left crying over some overpriced wooden box with your favorite person in it, destined to cry through decades of “could have been” birthdays
and lonely Christmases. You’re just…well, dead. While most people agree that it is not at all a good thing to be dead, and I am in wholehearted agreement
with those people, let me tell you, things are not so good for those you leave behind either.
When I recounted the “Dog Story”, (available elsewhere on this blog), to my loving family I was bewildered to discover that they didn’t think it was nearly as funny as my buddies around the station had. They politely smiled and changed the subject. I assured them that my job was very safe, and that they could take comfort in the fact that I’d never risk my keester in such a foolish way again.
The story that follows happened about a week later. Needless to say, I politely ate my dinner and didn’t utter a word of it to them. “How’s work going?”
“Oh, same old stuff. These peas are great, Ma. Did you make these?”
My trusty partner Rod and I were, I’m sure, off somewhere minding our own business when we got a call for a “Possible Poisoning”. When we arrived we found
a shirtless, moderately confused looking young man who was maybe eighteen years old shuffling nervously around his living room. I asked the policeman who’d
preceded us what was happening and he said he didn’t know. My curiosity unquenched, I asked the young man, (we’ll call him Adam), what was going on. Adam
explained that someone had been tainting his food with angel dust. The words “angel dust” set off a tiny paramedic alarm in the back of my brain. Angel
dust, or PCP is an animal tranquilizer that consumed by humans sometimes makes them insane, invincible and capable of breathtaking feats of strength and
brutality. This is not a good combination. Adam, however, seemed calm enough, so I let it ring. I asked him in my calmest voice, with my best look of passive
concern if he’d like to join me for a nice, quiet ride to the hospital, so that we might ascertain his chemical status and provide him with whatever assistance
he needed. He thought that was a good idea, as he wasn’t feeling quite himself. He just needed to go in his room and get a shirt. Great, I said. No problem.
One of the super, duper most important rules in “The Paramedic and EMT’s Guide to Living through Your Career” is that you should never, ever, let a patient
“go to his room to get something”, because “something” might turn out to be an Uzi. Having learned my lesson the first time I was nearly killed by not
following the advice found in “The Paramedic and EMT’s Guide to Living through Your Career “, I followed Adam into his bedroom.
When I crossed the threshold I wasn’t sure initially if I wanted to rush further in or turn on my heals and run for my life. The walls of the room were
covered from floor to ceiling with symbols, a swastika here, a pentagram there, a lovely demonic saying over by that festive little lamp. The bells were
ringing really loudly now. After carefully considering the “run like hell” option for a few minutes I decided that if I got closer to Adam I could have
a bit more control over what he picked up, and I stepped in to the room. Adam and I found a suitable garment without any trouble and I led him cheerfully
but carefully to the ambulance. As long as nobody threatened him, I thought, things would be okay.
I sat him in the “jump seat”, the backward facing seat at the front of the ambulance, rather than on the stretcher so he wouldn’t feel confined, and off
we went. About half way there we came to a stop at a traffic light. Adam suddenly looked confused. “Where are you taking me?” he asked, politely. “To the
hospital, just like you asked.” I replied, that alarm still ringing the near background of my mind. He seemed to accept this and settled back into his
seat. I settled back in mine and exhaled. What does that stupid old alarm know anyway? He’s cool.
Adam suddenly sprang out of his seat belt and lunging toward me. Shocked, I lurched back. To my surprise he didn’t plow into me, but went right past. “Damn,”
I thought, “he’s going for the door.” I caught Adam around the waist and yelled for my partner. Adam managed to get one door open and we struggled, halfway
inside and halfway outside out the ambulance. Scant inches past my struggling charge I saw the wide-eyed face of the man in the truck behind us. It was
an armored car, and he looked as though he thought the heist was on. He was starting to reach for his gun when Rod arrived at the back door. Rod grabbed
the inside of the door frame so he could lift himself into the back of the ambulance and at just that moment Adam, whose hand was still on the inside door
handle, slammed the door on Rod’s hand. In doing this he lost is, (our?) balance and we both tumbled to the floor. Just as I was about to reacquire a grip
on things I felt what I thought must have been someone smashing my guts flat. It was Rod, jumping on top of our unruly guest, who was, as it turns out,
on top of me. Funny things occur to you at times like these, and my thought at that moment was “What the hell did the guard think he was going to do with
a gun from inside an armored car?” Just then Al and Adam rolled far enough off of me that I could move again and I was able to joined Rodin the battle
to restrain Adam.
Adam was a skinny guy and we had him two to one, so we managed, after a protracted battle to get him under control. We got him on the stretcher and tightly
applied all three seatbelts. Having exerted himself mopping the floor with both of our asses, he settled in for a bit of rest and returned to his former
calm self. We were scant minutes away from the hospital, so we elected to rush toward more help rather than try and wrestle him into restraints on our
own. We knew from past experience that the sight of restraints would probably incite him to more posterior enhanced housekeeping. I sat at the foot of
the stretcher, between him and the door, looking menacing, or as menacing as I could while trying to catch my breath.
He stayed calm for a few minutes and then looked at me and said the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever heard anyone say in my life. He said, “…so, do you
want me to blow you, or what”
My heart fell. Suddenly I understood. This kid had gotten mixed up in some bad drugs with some bad people who had used him for unspeakably bad things. I
wanted to cry. “No”, I said. “We’re taking you to get some help. You’re going to be okay.” This kid had suddenly been transformed in my mind from a threat,
from an enemy, to a scared, hurt kid. Ten minutes later, I was a scared kid too.
We took him into the hospital, found him a bed and, more difficult, found a nurse who could take report on him. I told her all I knew. The factual information
didn’t boil down to much. As I closed I added that she really needed to put leather restraints on him, as he was likely to be dangerous. The nurse looked
behind us to see our “dangerous” patient filling out paperwork for the registration clerk. She gave me a disapproving glare and walked back to her patient.
“What a jerk.” She didn’t quite say. I shrugged and walked over to a desk to do my paperwork.
A few minutes later I heard yelling coming from where I’d left my new friend and knew just what had happened. Adam had freaked. I jumped up and went over
to help. The nurse and a tech were fighting a touch and go battle to restrain Adam’s left hand while he pummeled them with all of his remaining free appendages.
Rod, my trusty partner was suddenly at my side, and with the help of another tech and the just arrived policeman from Adam’s’s house we joined the battle.
Adam was not interested in capitulating this time. He was giving all six of us a run for our money. I grabbed his legs just above the knees to keep him
from finishing the job of kicking the stuffing out of the nurse. Rod held Adam’s head in order to keep him from biting anyone, not least Rod himself. As
I concentrated on my knee holding technique I heard those four little words you never want to hear from a police officer. He said, “He’s got my gun!”
It was at this point that things became a bit more serious. I looked, reluctantly, in the direction of the officer’s service pistol. I was a little
relieved to see still partly in it’s holster. Adam’s right hand was wrapped around the grip of the gun, the veins in his forearm bulging as he began lifting
the cop off the ground by the barely holstered gun. The cop had both of his hands on top of Adam’s; struggling to keep his gun in the holster “Adam must
be killed” was my first thought.
I let go of his legs. I suddenly didn’t care who he kicked. Kicking suddenly wasn’t that big a deal. I grabbed Adam’s forearm with both hands and began
forcing his arm back down toward the bed, the officer descending with it. I’m not, I wouldn’t say, a violent person. I wait patiently in the 10 items or
less line while the guy in front of me tallies enough frozen vegetables to feed the third world for a few months without so much as a sneer. At this moment,
though, struggling for a loaded handgun in an ER full of nurses, patients, children, and me, my heart knew violence. “If that gun clears that holster,”
I thought, “I’m going to have to break Adam’s arm”. Just then the cop, his training returning to him, twisted away from Adam, applying some strange Asian
finger hold that caused Adam to howl in pain and, more importantly, release the gun.
“Get this red headed m*&^%$ f&^^%$ off of me.” He screamed. Relief at the sight of Adam’s now empty hand turned to curiosity and I turned toward Adam’s
head. When I did, I saw less than half of it. Rod, my red haired partner, was all but standing on Adam’s head, the weight pushing most of it into the soft
mattress and out of view. Rod yelled back “Nobody’s letting go of anything until YOU settle down, damn it!” I smiled at him, my hands still firm on Adam’s
arm, and then laughed. He looked at me like for a second, puzzled, and then he laughed too. Then we all laughed. Adam, confused by our laughter and a bit
tired from nearly killing us all, relaxed and was quickly restrained beyond all hope of escape.
Once I got over the rush that one gets from fighting for one’s life and surviving unscathed, a strange thought occurred to me. Things, I thought, aren’t
always black and white. Moments ago I would have broken Adam’s arm without a regret, moments before that I was ready to weep for his lost soul. What I
felt afterward was something different. Adam had nearly killed me, and others, and I would have done a great deal to stop him, including kill him. At the
same time, I knew why he’d done these things. He was lost, confused and scared beyond my ability to understand what scared is. He’d tried to kill me and
it was okay. He’d been lost, and I could forgive him for that. I shook my head, marveling at my new insight, and went back to my paperwork. This story,
I thought, was definitely not going be invited to dinner. “Great peas, Ma. Did you make these?”
Adam was a run-away. The nurse found his father, and he came and got his lost son. I don’t know where Adam is now. I hope he is well.
A certain poster on a certain yahoo group requested that I not answer their posts anymore. I will not. I no longer have any respect for this person, so have no desire to.
However, this is my blog and I can say whatever I like here, so if you don’t want to read it, why don’t you just move right along.
I posted a particular post that I realize was possibly inflamatory. I posted it because it felt like to me, ad if two lists I both enjoyed were being compared. What I said in the post is unimportant. The fact of the matter is, I did not know the backstory, and once I learned the backstory, I apologized again and again.
Apparently, this one person feels that I did notthing but come to the group to “start shit” and then had the nerve to threaten me.
That was not my intent. I specifically stated that I wasn’t posting what I did to make enemies and a simple, “I’m proud of where our group’s at” from the other poster would have cleared the air..
The poster is right. I probably should have asked questions, before jumping in with an accusation, but a person coing on board to “start shit” doesn’t apologize. Since this person was also in another group with me, this person knows that I do not “start shit”, but this person is allowed to think whatever they want.
Since that person obviously feels that I :started shit” and am a bullshit artist, I will be removing myself from the group.
Thank you Brady for this gem.
You Know Your Coven’s Getting Older When…
* The ritual feast is puréed.
* Last Beltaine the coven decided it would be nice to go out
to dinner to celebrate.
* The last time you tried to do a spiral dance your oxygen
feeds got tangled.
* Viagra is kept in the coven supplies.
* The maiden of the coven is a grandmother.
* The ritual room is outfitted with defibrillators.
* The coveners drive their RV’s to Scottsdale for Mabon.
* When you are at a festival you go to bed at sunset.
* It takes the whole coven to move the cauldron.
* The high priest still has a vendetta going against Richard
* You find yourself using your pendulum over the stock pages
in the newspaper.
* You tell an initiate that in your day you had to slog
through 5′ of snow uphill both ways when you did a Yule ritual.
* You drop your teeth in the ritual cup.
* At Samhain you see more of your coveners in the Wild Hunt
than you do in circle.
* You put your athame in the chalice during ritual but you
can’t remember why.
* You hold an all night blow-out drum frenzy and none of your
* You use Glenn Miller records for trance music.
* All of your ritual robes are tie-dyed.
* Your coven has a 401(k) retirement plan.
* A nitro pill vial replaces the crystal on your pendant.
* No one’s successfully jumped the Beltaine fire since 1983.
* You set comfy chairs around the circle.
* When you sit on the floor and can’t get up again.
* You do anointings with Aspercreme.
* The oak tree your coven planted died of old age.
* You use Bran Muffins and Prune Juice for Cakes & Ale because
you need the fiber.
* You don’t use salt to consecrate you altar because you need
to stay away from extra sodium.
* You use a walker during the Wild Hunt.
* You prefer to rent a Hall for rituals because the bathrooms
* You need a flashlight to find the candles.
The first time I got killed…
It was Christmas morning, my first Christmas working the street as a Paramedic. Things had been deathly quiet all night and my partner and I were amusing
ourselves in the wee hours of Christmas morning by playing Frisbee outside when we got a call. Happy that we finally had something to do, we rushed to
our ambulance and were off to the call. The call was in an apartment complex, for a cardiac problem. On the way there dispatch told us that another call
had come in for an electrical fire in the same complex and that we should be careful.
Dispatchers have a gift for the painfully obvious sometimes. They’re constantly saying things like “There’s a guy with a machine gun in the house, so don’t
go in there.” When the first part of the sentence would, in most cases, have sufficed. A dispatcher once told me that a car had struck a power pole and
that live wires were dancing on the car’s roof. At the end, he added helpfully, “…so don’t touch the car”. This they do with our best interests at heart,
so we accept these superfluous additional pieces of advice with as much patience as possible.
When we got to the apartment complex, we noticed two very disturbing things. First, the local residents apparently needed a dispatcher’s advice. The idea
of not standing in or very near a burning electrical panel had not occurred to them. As we looked on, a breaker exploded out of the flaming electrical
box, barely missing the apparently empty heads of the bystanders. Second, the wife of our patient was standing outside (not a good sign) looking at us
with panicked helplessness all over her very troubled face (a very bad sign).
The very first rule in the “EMT and Paramedic’s guide to living through your career” is “NEVER get separated from your partner”. This, we quickly surmised,
was a good time to abandon our good sense and break this most sacred of rules. The dim witted apartment dwellers needed to be directed away from their
imminent demise, and the patient we’d been called for was, by the look on his wife’s face, in serious trouble.
Having made this ill-fated decision, I grabbed my heart monitor and “airway bag” which together weighed about fifty pounds. Thus laden I followed the patient’s
wife into the apartment.
We entered the apartment and had to take a hard right down a hallway to get to the living room. As I got to the far end of the hall, I heard a sound. The
door behind me slammed, hard. My heart sank. That, I thought, was not a good sound. The more sensible part of my psyche begged me not to turn around, but
it lost out to more rash voices (again), and I turned around anyway, bumping my baggage into the walls of the narrow hallway as I did.
I should say, at this point that I’m normally not an easy man to intimidate. This is mainly because I’m missing a bit of good sense, but also because I
was, before the burn, 6’3 tall and I weighed about 250 pounds. On this particular evening and at this particular moment I was, in fact, quite intimidated. This was for two reasons.
First, the gentleman standing between me and the only way out of this small apartment was bigger than me; taller, and quite a bit more muscular than I
am. Second, he was holding a meat cleaver in his hand and looked to be in an extremely bad mood. This, I thought, could become quite serious.
I took quick stock of my situation. I was wearing a fairly heavy coat, which might have offered about a milliseconds worth of protection should my new friend
decide to hack me into tiny bits. That was a small comfort. I also had fifty pounds of useless junk in my hands. That would probably slow me down enough
to negate any benefit that the jacket might have provided.
My final assessment of my situation; I was about to be hurt very badly and there wasn’t a whole
lot I could do about it.
My patient took a step forward, and as he did so something occurred to me. Perhaps, I thought, if I smiled at him in a really friendly way, he wouldn’t
hack me to pieces me in the hallway. Not much to go on, really, but as this seemed like the best available option, this is exactly what I did. At that
same instant his wife, standing scant inches behind me, screamed at him at the top of her voice. At that moment I’m fairly sure my previously very reliable
heart came to a complete stop.
Time froze for a minute, my attacker in mid stride, his gleaming cleaver beginning to rise, me, helpless in an apartment hallway, a stupid grin on my face.
“Damn”, I thought, “my getting killed today is really going to screw up Christmas.”
At that moment things began to turn around. Why, I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it was my charming smile; maybe it was a Christmas present from God. Probably
it was his wife’s shrill command to “quit actin’ crazy”. I don’t know. What I do know is that he stopped and lowered the cleaver. My heart started to beat
again, but at about ten times its normal rate, as if to make up for lost time. My cleaver-wielding friend was persuaded to give up his weapon and sit down
with me for a chat at the dining room table. My partner strolled in a moment later, happy go lucky as ever, asking what he could do for us. This filled
me with an immediate desire to strangle him to death for leaving me alone with this murderous lunatic. Rather that end his life in front of our new company
I reminded myself to murder him later and discretely asked him to go find me some police officers, in case our new friend had another mood swing. He quietly
retreated outside and returned a moment later with the police.
Our patient, as it turned out, had a fairly healthy drinking habit. This being Christmas, he’d decide that he’d try to kick the habit. While it is overall
a good thing to stop drinking, suddenly quitting the bottle after long abuse leads to a litany of short term physiological problems, one of which is “the
DT’s”. DT’s are delirium tremors, a severe electrolyte imbalance caused by the change of habit that causes the person to see things that aren’t there,
snakes in this case, and in some cases have seizures. Our patient was chasing the snakes around the house with the cleaver when I arrived, and lucky for
me I didn’t look like a snake (must have been the smile).
We transported him safely to the hospital without any more trouble. There, on turning my deluded friend over to the nurse on duty, I found a nice quiet
room to hide in and had a small, private nervous break down. The Christmas celebration I had with my family a few days later was the best I’d had in years.
There’s nothing quite like nearly getting hacked to death to make you appreciate the holidays.
In the years that followed I had dozens of opportunities to leave my partner’s side to seek fame and glory. I passed on every single one.
I am not writing this for judgment. I am not writing it to be a freak show to others. If you think I’m sick, perverted, whatever, that’s fine. You don’t have to see or hear me again.
The fact is that I live in what is commonly called a leather family or “House”. I practice BDSM and Total Power Exchange. I am both a Master and a slave. It should be noted that slavery in the BDSM world is not slavery as in US history. In BDSM, slavery is a consensual thing — something that is given freely.
The fact of the matter is that my Masters, Rod and Hudson love me. They cherish me. I am not a plaything, or a weak-willed doormat, I am an intelligent, honest, loving, caring being who is cherished and loved by my friends in and out of the BDSM lifestyle.
My slaves, Algaliarept and Minias, who also happen to be my paid employees, love me and I them. They are not weak-willed doormats or tools.
We are not sick, perverted, twisted, depraved or any other such negative label. We are people who live a particular lifestyle.
Still, since I know I have many readers who are not into BDSM, and who don’t want to read about it, that is all I will say about it here. I do have another blog that I just created, in which I will talk about my BDSM lifestyle. Anyone is welcome to read and comment.
Love to all and may all your Yuel/Christmas wishes come true,
What a time!
“Diabetic problems” in the parking lot of a grocery store from some woman who thought by summoning an ambulance that she was going to get out of a ticket from
the sheriff. She didn’t.
“Breathing problems” from some guy who said a “big truck drove by [his] house and blew ‘sewage’ inside” causing him to become short
of breath. Blah blah blah.
I had JUST gotten my order at Burger King when our hand-held radios start crackling. “Are they calling us?” We couldn’t tell. Probably. Rod went out to the truck to check and I grabbed a napkin or two. Hell yes they were calling us. And hell yes we were going WAY out in our district. And hell yes it was for a cardiac arrest. Dammit. Not because it was an “arrest” but because I hate cold food. The call notes report it’s a 21 year-old male. Hmm. We
get closer to the address when we see on the MCT that the FD is advising a DOA. We slow to routine. We arrive on scene at a trailer on a dirt road. According
to the FD, this guy has been dead a while. Apparently, he’d been out drinking the night before and had called someone to bring him home. Today, some friends
came in and found him hanging half off of the bed and half in the floor. Somebody had put a sheet over him by the time we got to him. And yeah, he had
been dead a while. His arms were all sprawled out like he was doing a John Travolta move or something.
Meanwhile, EOC is dispatching one of the downtown trucks out to our district for a MVA. Since we’d seen all we needed to at this scene, we cleared and headed
down the road to said MVA. We arrive to find a vehicle over the guardrail on it’s side against a tree. On the ground, the FD has this little pip-squeak
17 year-old kid on a backboard. He’s drunk as a skunk and running his mouth. We get him in the back of the truck as he continues to curse and yell other
random crap at us. SHP shows up. The kid admits flat-out that he’s been drinking and the trooper asks him how old he is. “17! And if I was 18, it wouldn’t
matter!” What?! 21 is the legal drinking age, bud. Transported to *Butcher Hospital.* I was riding up front on that call, but by the time I opened to back doors in the ambulance bay at the hospital, he was back there apologizing to Rod. Okay.
Then we had a bunch of other bullcrap that I can’t remember. Around 11 PM, our fire station’s tones went off for an “MVA unknown” on I-30. About 10 minutes later, our phone rings, dispatching us to the same. Six thousand sets of blue lights- city police, highway patrol, sheriff’s department- illuminate the scene. There’s a car on it’s roof that’s flipped over the guardrails and landed in the median. Our drunk-ass patient has self-extricated himself and is
in handcuffs sitting on the guardrail with city PD. He’s got a little cut on the top of his head and is complaining of neck pain. Aren’t they always? He says, “I need a lawyer…isn’t that what they say on CSI?” Good lord. At first he wants to go to the hospital, then he doesn’t. Then he starts thinking he does because it’s going to get him out of going to jail. NEGATIVE. My partner explains to him that he’s currently “property of the state”- he can either
go to jail or he can go to the hospital and THEN go to jail. Finally he says he wants to go to the hospital. Fine.
(I guess God DOES “protect drunks and fools…”)
At 0300 we get dispatched for “heart problems” at a residence. In the call notes, I see the name “Sam Jones.” I know that name from somewhere. That’s the
guy we picked up a couple of months ago that worked at *a nursing home* who was having a MASSIVE heart attack when we got to him. Turned into a Code STEMI.
Hmm, I thought, there might be something to this. Apparently he woke up about 02:30 with a “sharp” pain to the left side of his chest. It was non-radiating,
no nausea, no shortness of breath. Sinus on the monitor, 12 lead okay. He had taken his nitroglycerin three times prior to our arrival with almost complete
relief, so I started an IV and gave him 324 mg of aspirin en route to the hospital. He didn’t even remember us. He was telling me about “last time” this
happened and how it “knocked [him] flat on [his] back,” and how soon after it started that they had him in the Cath Lab at the hospital, fixing him up.
I thought- “yeah, I remember. I WAS THERE. I‘ve got the ‘atta-boy’ email from our Training Officer in my inbox.” Transported to *Butcher Hospital.*
Slept for about 50 minutes in the recliner before I had to wake up and go to *EMS 691* (statistically one of the slowest trucks) for an extra 12. I was
nearly bored out of my mind- two calls in 24 hours, one of which was a refusal and the other was a confused old lady. I ended up sleeping most of the day.
Have a look at the top ten news stories of the FBI. Notice how many of them have naughty law enforcement officers going to jail?
My friends tell me to stay away from all the drama. They tell me not to worry about things I can’t change. Like, who are they really kidding?
I don’t like drama. I, in fact, hate it with a purple passion. Somehow though, it seems to follow me around. If not at work, then with my friends and their various escapades. I really don’t crave it… Honest…
It so happens that I have gotten myself in the thick of it, and now, one friend-no-more is attempting to discredit one very good friend and to turn another good friend away from the one she is trying to discredit. Actually, what she is trying to do isn’t just discredit this friend where my other friend is concerned, but among all his friends. I know why this is happening. I know intimately. Yet I feel hopeless and like there is nothing I can do. Nothing at all.
I can stand by him, and I will. I can try and work things out with the other friend, and I will. I can rid my life of the friend-no-more, and I have. Still, that doesn’t seem like it’s enough somehow.
This morning, we are sitting here keeping viggil, for we feel the wrongness in the air, and we know that something, however small has created a rift in the fabric of our lives. A rift that it will take a long time to repair.
For Jacques, who lived with me for only one month, but a month in which I was truly blessed.
ONE BY ONE …
One by One, they pass by my cage,
Too old, too worn, too broken, no way.
Way past his time, he can’t run and play.
Then they shake their heads slowly and go on their way.
A little old man, arthritic and sore,
It seems I am not wanted anymore.
I once had a home, I once had a bed,
A place that was warm, and where I was fed.
Now my muzzle is grey, and my eyes slowly fail.
Who wants a dog so old and so frail?
My family decided I didn’t belong,
I got in their way, my attitude was wrong.
Whatever excuse they made in their head,
Can’t justify how they left me for dead.
Now I sit in this cage, where day after day,
The younger dogs get adopted away.
When I had almost come to the end of my rope,
You saw my face, and I finally had hope.
You saw through the gray, and the legs bent with age,
And felt I still had life beyond this cage.
You took me home, gave me food and a bed,
And shared your own pillow with my poor tired head.
We snuggle and play, and you talk to me low,
You love me so dearly, you want me to know.
I may have lived most of my life with another,
But you outshine them with a love so much stronger.
And I promise to return all the love I can give,
To you, my dear person, as long as I live.
I may be with you for a week, or for years,
We will share many smiles, you will no doubt shed tears.
And when the time comes that God deems I must leave, I know you will cry and your heart, it will grieve.
And when I arrive at the Bridge, all brand new,
My thoughts and my heart will still be with you.
And I will brag to all who will hear,
Of the person who made my last days so dear.
The call seemed to be a run-of-the-mill straightforward call.
“39 year old female, unconscious in pet shop,” said the screen. Well, actually it named the shop, but I’m not going to here. “Patient woke up, but
has gone back to sleep again,” the screen updated. Probably a bit of attention seeking going on.
My phone beeped – it was Justice. ”
I’ve taken your call – beep beep, shit truck coming through!” It had become a bit of an in-joke after the total rubbish we went to the last time our shifts
“Probably seen the price of the dog food,” I joked to my Rod as we made our way to the call.
We arrived at the address. It wasn’t a pet store, it was a dollar store. You know, one of those everything for ninety nine cents. The caller had given the wrong name for the shop. I made a mental note
to tease dispatch about it later.
As we walked to the door, I noticed a woman sitting in the window of another section of the shop. She was reaching to shelves on either side of her, pulling
things off them, ripping them apart, throwing some on the floor, and shoving some into her mouth.
We entered, making sure to keep a safe distance from her while we assessed what was going on.
Rod spoke to the patient, who replied by turning around and spitting at him, spraying the shop with half chewed bread and sesame seeds.
“I’ll get the police,” I said, and made my way back to the rig. I was waiting for dispatch to acknowledge my request to speak to them, when I was tapped
on the shoulder. I turned around, and a man said “She’s come out of the store now, and is sitting in front of a bus.” He pointed to where the woman was.
I stepped back so I could see her – sure enough, she was sitting in front of a bus. Then she crawled under it. She’d managed to bring a very busy main
street to a stand still, and there was quite a crowd gathering to watch. I went over to the priority channel on the radio, and asked for urgent police.
While we waited for the police, the bus driver got off and took a picture of her on his phone. “My boss’ll never believe me if I don’t,” he said, then added
he would be adding it to facebook later!
The police arrived, dragged her out from under the bus, and then detained her under section something-or-other of the TX Mental Health Act 1992. This is where the fun really
None of the local mental health units had any space, so we waited while the police tried to find a bed for the patient. One unit was closed due to lack
of staff, another wasn’t taking patients in because there was an “incident” going on, and one refused point blank because the patient was on “their” patch.
Eventually, after about 2 hours sitting at the side of the road, and the Chief of police had got involved and lost his temper with the police Mental Health
Liason, a bed was found at a hospital miles away. We set off, arriving half an hour later. We pressed the buzzer at the door of the secure unit, and a
nurse came to the door. He proceeded to have what became quite a heated argument with the police as he refused to accept the patient, again because she
hadn’t been picked up locally.
The officers with us got back on to the Chief. He was far from happy, and told us to stay where we were while he made a few more phone calls.
We waited, and waited. Then we waited some more.
Finally he came back to us, telling us the nurse would be reappearing shortly with good news. He did, and we were able to leave our patient in the care
of the mental health team.
We’d spent over 4 hours on that job. It never ceases to amaze me that if the local unit is full, it can be an absolute nightmare finding a bed for
a patient in need of help from a mental health unit. I don’t understand how a unit can refuse to accept a patient when they have the space available, just
because they were picked up in a different area. It annoys me tremendously — these patients need help, not to be used as a human tennis ball being batted
around between units who fight among themselves over who’s going to take them. Meanwhile, the police and ambulance are stuck, unable to become available
for the next person needing help.
Still, despite the eventual result of the patient getting appropriate help from the appropriate team, the government will still see this as a failure –
we arrived on scene 10 minutes after the call had been answered by dispatch — the government says we should have got there in 8 minutes, because it was a
Priority 2 call.
Ah well….Fuck ’em!
Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve
defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always,even death
itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? – William J. Bennett – in a lecture to the United
States Naval Academy November 24, 1997
One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me:
“Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.” This is true. Remember,
the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans
are not inclined to hurt one another. Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number,
perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime
is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number
of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.
Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably
rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation.
They are sheep.
I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin’s egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into
something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday
the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful.? For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.
“Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.” Do you believe there are wolves out there who will
feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that
or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.
“Then there are sheepdogs,” he went on, “and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.”
If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow
citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens?
What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal
human phobia, and walk out unscathed
Let me expand on this old soldier’s excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them
sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers,
fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids’ schools.
But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid’s school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be
killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep’s only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming
to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.
The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that
the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.
The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.
Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn’t tell them where to
go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog
cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, “Baa.”
Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.
The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time
of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were
clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little lambs feel about
their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door.
Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about
their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?
Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter:
He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle.
That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when
needed right along with the young ones.
Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks
on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, “Thank God I wasn’t on one of those planes.” The sheepdogs, the warriors,
said, “Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference.” When you are truly transformed into a warrior
and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.
There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive
and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population. There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent
crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority
said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big
cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.
Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which
one they want to be, and I’m proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.
Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on
Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he learned of the other three
passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, “Let’s roll,” which authorities believe was a signal to the
other passengers to confront the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers – athletes, business people and parents.
— from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.
There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. – Edmund Burke
Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep,
are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn’t have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever
you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.
If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved
ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you
down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior’s path, then you must make a conscious
and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.
For example, many officers carry their weapons in church.? They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked
into the small of their backs.? Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation
is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.
I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop
replied, “I will never be caught without my gun in church.” I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a
church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen
people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do
was throw himself on the boy’s body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, “Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself
Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn
him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for “heads to roll” if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or
that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids’ school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen
and that there must be safeguards against them.
Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks
himself, “Do you have and idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly
because you were unprepared for that day?”
It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive
and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up.
Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn’t bring your gun, you didn’t train. Your
only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically
shattered by your fear helplessness and horror at your moment of truth.
Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our
current world situation: “…denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it
isn’t so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling.”
Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level.
And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes. If you are warrior who is
legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today.
No one can be “on” 24/7, for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take
a deep breath, and say this to yourself…
This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum.
On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most
of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward
accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away
from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.
Well, it’ll be a long time before I visit one particular burger joint again… Now begins my story.
This is called Don’t Let This Happen To You…
Election Day started out in a normal way. I had already voted, and I was bumming around the house, preparing to go to work that afternoon. I decided around 2 PM. to eat some lunch. I was starving. I got a burger from a local burger joint and headed home again. I ate lunch and was quite pleased with myself. I was getting ready to leave for work a few minutes later when it happened.
I’ll spare you the details, but it was awful. It was so awful, and I was so weak, that I had to call a crew to come get me. This not even an hour after the symptoms began. I was in so much pain that I feared I would pass out, hence my reason for calling in said crew.
The crew, of course, gave me a hard time about my service dog, much to my dismay, but I was in too much pain to deal with them as I should have done. I get to the hospital, and we’ll just say I was sick as a dog. I saw a doctor relatively quickly and he said you have a gastrointestinal upset. I’ll give you some prescriptions, one of pain and one for nausea. A GI upset? Gee, ya don’t say? I’m just a medic, and I could have told you that. I went home and a friend offered to go get my scripts. Of course, I didn’t get better. The pain med didn’t help, and the nausea med didn’t help. In short, I was sick in more than one way and I was getting weaker and more dehydrated as the night wore on.
Finally, my dad came over and agreed to take me back to the hospital. This time, I was damned determined that they would not just fluff me off and say I had a GI upset and send me home. They would give me some real meds to help with the pain and meds to help with the other very messy symptoms. We got to the hospital at midnight and didn’t leave until four AM. It was awful. They did give me a med for the nausea, they gave me a liter of fluids, and blessed relief, a shot of Morphine. After the blood work, urine sample and CT scan, I received yet another shot of Morphine. Then, my IV infiltrated my arm, which is to say, it came out of the vein, and the fluid went into the tissues of my arm. That hurt!!!!! My arm swelled to the size of a small tree trunk, but finally, finally, I was allowed to go home…
I went home and slept for four hours, then, I got up and called a friend. I’ve been on a diet of clear liquids since I got home and if I don’t eat some real food soon I’ll eat my own arm! I’m starving!
Ambulance paramedic arrested on suspicion of murdering three-month-old son
A paramedic has been arrested on suspicion of murdering his three-month-old son.
His wife, who worked for the same ambulance service, has been arrested on suspicion of allowing or causing his death.
The boy, who is a twin, was taken into a hospital in South London on Friday morning suffering from a serious head injury.
The father – a paramedic – was arrested on suspicion of murdering his three-month-old son
He was transferred to Kings College Hospital for specialist treatment but died the following day.
It is thought the boy was a victim of shaken baby syndrome. He was unconscious when he arrived at hospital.
Following his death, checks were carried out on his sister who was in hospital suffering from pneumonia.
Hospital sources said she is believed to have suffered a number of broken ribs and she was taken into emergency police care.
Two weeks earlier the boy had been taken into hospital with a broken arm.
His father claimed the child had slipped off his lap, doctors accepted this and the boy was allowed to go home.
The father, who is in his 40s and works for the London Ambulance Service, was arrested on suspicion of murder and grievous bodily harm.
His wife, who is in her 30s and works in the control room, was arrested on suspicion of GBH and allowing or causing the death of a child.
The couple are from Bexley in South London. Detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s Child Abuse Investigation Command are investigating.
A Met spokesman said yesterday: ”Detectives have started a murder investigation following the death of a three-month-old baby at the weekend.
”We were informed at approximately 11.30am on Friday 24 October that a three-month-old boy had been brought to a south London hospital suffering a serious
”The child, from the borough of Bexley, died on Saturday 25 October at Kings College Hospital.”
It’s been a long, exhausting day. Playing paramedic, law enforcement officer and firefighter all in one day is very tiring. Not to mention, sometimes just outright excruciating. Tonight was one of those nights.
I’m sitting at ome with Rod and a pack of dogs around me. I was at my computer, reading a book which I’ll get to in another post… So I’m sitting there eating nachos, and my dogs are licking their chops, slaver-jawed and begging without begging for food. Rod was doing something in the garage with the radio on. The alert tones go off. A high-speed MVA, a role-over, passenger invasion of the windshield. Oh God. This is going to be messy, I think, as I head to the rig. rod meets me there, jumps in the driver’s seat and we begin to go see what crisis awaits…
It takes a few minutes to find the address. It’s a street in the middle of town, a bad neighborhood. Finally, we see the wreck. We get out and I ask one of the bystanders what we have. Then, I find out the details. She had just turned 16 this morning, was on her way home from a birthday party with her friends. On her way home to her mother and father. She had called them and said she’d be home in 20 minutes. She never made it. That’s what drunk drivers will do to you.
We get her loaded in. She needs immediate medical attention. No time to sit there at the scene and work on her. She needs a trauma room, and now! She arrests in the ambulance. We bring her back. Again, she arrest, and this time, we can’t save her.
We transport her to the hospital, where she is pronounced DOA, (dead on arrival). Rod and I are getting our gear and leaving when we see them. Two people, a man and woman, embracing, crying, keening out their grief.
I go over to them. I say the words that seem so trite, “I’m sorry for your loss.” Then, I softly tell them that we did our best. That she didn’t suffer. It’s not quite true, she was in a lot of pain, but I saw no need to increase their pain. The young girl’s mother looked at me, tears in her eyes and said, “We love her so much.” I took her hand in mine and said softly, “She said she loved you both very much… She said, “I love you Mommy, Daddy. I love you with all my heart.” Then she died.”
I don’t know if it will help now, but maybe, in time, it will give them some comfort.
And now, I sit here, drinking beer, and thinking about just another young girl who went down…
Don’t drink and drive.
As I wrote in a previous post, we had a dream about a group. A dream that is now reality… A group where people will give support, exchange knowledge, get educated and do something about their pain.
Ok, so at the present time we have 29 members. We had 30, but one felt compelled to leave. another would have left, but I hope I talked her out of it. I really value both of these people, and the one who still remains I consider a personal friend. I wish she’d speak up a bit more, like she used to, but I understand that sometimes, feeling sick doesn’t leave us up to the task.
Still, I take it personally when someone I like joins my group and then leaves it without an explanation. Why? I don’t know. Maybe I’m just depressed. Ok, I know I’m depressed. I’ve been depressed for days. There are times I just want to say the hell with it all, delete the group and pretend it never happened. But then, how would I feel about that? Would I be doing a disservice to those like me who need support? Yes, I think I would.
So I’ll continue on, giving support where I can, taking it when I need to…
Still, I can’t help but take this all too personally. This group is like my family, and when someone leaves that family, well, ya know…
So, y’all don’t mind me while I throw a pity party. If the group doesn’t take off in a month or two, I suppose we’ll close it down, but, for my sake, I hope that doesn’t happen.
Two failed groups ago, a dream was formed. A dream of giving support to those in pain, of providing education, knowledge, and insight for those people in pain, their families, friends and caregivers. A group where doctors would answer questions on pain and the conditions that cause them…
Now, after two failed attempts, that group has formed under new management and ownership. Part of that ownership being me. Come join us in our different reality.
The Dog Story
My trusty partner Rod and I were cruising back to our station after a nice dinner at a local restaurant when we got a call for chest pain. The call was
easy to find, quite distant, which gave us time to mentally prepare ourselves for the adventure and being a chest pain call, promised to be very routine.
Easy money, I thought.
Shortly after we got the call the dispatcher came on the radio to tell us that the caller had told him that there was a dog that might give us some trouble
in the man’s yard. He’d called animal control and just wanted us to know not to go barging in lest we become dog chow. Still not impressed we continued
on our merry way. Minutes later more news arrived. The animal control officer, apparently there was only one, was tied up on the other end of the county
and wouldn’t be able to join us for nearly an hour. No problem, I thought. This kind of thing usually involved a Chihuahua with an attitude who could easily
be subdued by sacrificing a half-eaten cookie out of someone’s lunch box. “Oh, by the way…” the dispatcher added, “the caller advises that the dog is a
police department trained German shepherd that they rejected because it was too aggressive.”
Okay, so we had a problem. We then devised a carefully thought out strategy that involved staying the hell out of the guy’s yard until animal control or
somebody else who was dim enough to try and subdue a psychopathic canine managed to get the dog out of our way.
When we got to the address we found a dingy singlewide trailer with a porch and a room built on to the side of it. It sat on a fenced in lot, and just inside
the fence was our friend the dog. He was a large dog, even for a shepherd, and he was very, very angry. One of the fire fighters who’d arrived just before
us had, he said, nearly lost a hand in an attempt to calm the dog. We could see our patient through his kitchen window. He was still on the phone with
the dispatcher, who confirmed that the patient was doing well, save his chest pain. We’d wait as planned, we decided.
We returned to the air-conditioned, teeth resistant safety of our ambulance to wait and after five minutes or so the dispatcher called us again on the radio.
“We’ve lost contact with your patient. Can you still see him?” he said. We got out of the ambulance and walked over to where we could see into the kitchen
again. Rod reached the spot first, turned quickly and said “He passed out!” I barely heard this over the snarling, barking, growling rage of the
shepherd, but its message sunk in quickly. I looked to see the phone cord trailing from the wall straight to the floor. We couldn’t wait anymore; we had
to get inside.
“I’ll distract him and you jump the fence” said Rod. This seemed to me to be a less than spectacular plan that would almost certainly result in my being
severely lacerated, but, lacking an intelligent plan we decided to give it a try. Rod went to the edge of the yard and began yelling at the dog. The dog
quickly bolted to where Rod was and gave him its attention. Great, I thought. Maybe I can make it across 30 feet of open ground to the door with 60 pounds
of medical equipment before the dog can cover the 50 feet from Rod to where I was. Assuming the door was unlocked, which was a big assumption, I might
have a chance of getting inside unlacerated. “Great plan,” I thought.
The second I touched the fence to find my footing, the dog was right in front of me again. I backed off. “Okay, we need a new plan” I said.
We regrouped and decided after careful consideration that Rod and I would go to the back of the lot where the dog couldn’t see us and try to get in the
back door while the guys from the fire department kept the dogs attention. Not exactly D-day, but possibly workable.
We took our gear to the back of the lot while the fire fighters distracted Attila the psychopathic attack dog from hell. I’d donned a bunker jacket
to mute the crushing chomp of Attila’s incisors if things went wrong. I also collected an extrication tool (basically a short axe) with which to convince
the door of my extreme interest in its opening once I arrived. Rod got where he could see the dog. I, as quietly as humanly possible and in direct opposition
to any shred of common sense I ever had, eased over the fence. I made my way to the back door successfully, climbed the steps and put my hand on the knob.
It was locked. I cursed under my breath. I then carefully and quietly brought the extrication tool up toward the glass panes in the window. “I can’t believe
I’m doing this,” I thought, and then I broke the window with a sharp rap.
The dog, on hearing this left our fire fighter friends to investigate where upon Rod, having lost site of the dog said my name with a distinct note of
alarm. I think I covered the 20 feet from the back door to the fence in three steps and I was standing at his side before he finished the word. “I got
it,” I said, catching my breath. “We can get in.”
The dog had not wandered from his distracters long, and was back with them before I made it over the fence. We decided on a final blitzkrieg. We’d split
the gear and make a run for the door. We piled on the gear and in a carefully coordinated assault hopped the fence and ran full speed. I reached the door,
stuck my arm through the newly opened windowpane and opened the door. Rod was fast at my heels and as I flung the door open we both rushed inside. The
next thing I knew I was face down on the floor with Rod and all of our equipment on top of me. We were wedged between two twin beds, one of which was
in front of the door we’d just fallen through. Rod, having been put on the planet to make me as nearly insane as possible, began laughing hysterically.
I of course couldn’t help but laugh with him, or as near a laugh as I could produce with my face pressed to the floor by 60 pounds of gear and the weight
of a full grown adult. Then something occurred to me that made me stop laughing. “Rod, I muffled “the door”. We stopped laughing and we both began scrambling
to get up and close the wide-open back door before Attila decided to come through and rip our throats out. After we’d both managed to stomp one another
in several vital areas each Rod reached the door and latched it. We stood, collected our gear, composed ourselves and headed for the kitchen.
On the kitchen floor we found a very boisterous, very drunken man in his late sixties. He still had his chest pain and was deliriously happy to see us.
He slobbered his eternal gratitude as I tried to find out exactly what was wrong. We gave him some oxygen and put him on out heart monitor and all looked
to be in order. I started an IV and gave him some nitroglycerine and his chest pain subsided. “Great,” I thought, now we’re ready to take him to the hospital.
It was then that I came to the brilliant conclusion that we were still in a bit of trouble. We were now trapped inside with Attila outside and had not
only ourselves to rescue, but a 250 pound patient as well. This, I thought, might be difficult.
Rod discovered that the extra room that had been built onto the house had a door directly opposite the porch. He surmised that if we could draw the dog
onto the porch that he might be able to make a very quick jaunt across the 10 feet that separated the bedroom door from the porch door and lock the dog
inside the porch. This was, I thought, risky but possible.
At Rod’s urging I stuck my head out the inside porch door and tried to convince the dog to come inside and eat me. Attila wasn’t buying this. He was perfectly
happy to wait until I walked all the way through the inside door before he even made a move for the porch. Then Rod came up with plan B. “Got any luncheon
meat?” he asked our patient. He assured us that he did and we retrieved some from his refrigerator. Rod moved to the extra bedroom to wait and I dropped
a piece of meat just outside the kitchen door. Attila took no notice. Emboldened by his disinterest I stepped through the door, went to the open porch
door leaned outside and dropped a piece of meat on the ground. The dog immediately stopped barking at the fire fighters and made tracks for the snack.
He consumed it in one chomp, and from the relative safety of the kitchen door I dropped another slice, this one inside the porch. This time he bought it.
He slinked past the open porch door and headed for the meat. Rod burst from the bedroom door and slammed the porch door from the outside trapping Attila
inside. He leapt at the noise, assessed his situation and then, without so much as a bark, he laid down in the corner. He knew he’d been beat. Rod smiled,
out of breath, as he latched the door. He came back into the house. “Man that was fun,” he said. “Yeah, I especially liked the part where we almost got
mauled by a rabid attack dog” I said with a weak smile.
Our patient made it safely to the hospital in our care and after careful assessment was sent home to console his dejected hellhound. We never heard from
Attila or our patient again, but I’m sure they’re terrorizing some unsuspecting passer by at this very moment.
Never talk to the police without an attorney. Here’s why.
Schuyler, Knobloch And Bickhardt – This Old House lyrics
There are fifty liquor boxes in my hall
And a hundred empty nails on my wall
There’s a sign out in my yard that reads “FOR SALE”
And if this old house could cry the tears would fall
There are bargain hungry vultures everywhere
Buying broken toys and old clothes and tubberware
The phone has been taken out they’ve stopped the mail
And if this old house could talk I’d say a prayer
I’ve been strong and I’ve been sturdy
And I’ve weathered every storm
I’ve always kept your family safe and warm
Now your packing up the laughter
And your sweeping out the tears
If this old house were build on memories
I would stand a thousand years
This old house this old house
If this old house was built on memories I would stand a thousand years
Take another look before you lock the door
Where your shoes have worn the finish from my floor
Listen to my banging pipes my creaking stairs
Let your boys slide down my banister once more
I’ll remember where you hid the extra key
Where the hammer and the bandaids use to be
I will smell your morning coffee in the air
And I’ll see you hanging tinsel on the tree
I’ve been strong and I’ve been sturdy
And I’ve weathered every storm
I’ve always kept your family safe and warm
Now your packing up the laughter
And your sweeping out the tears
If this old house were build on memories
I would stand a thousand years
This old house this old house
If this old house was built on memories I would stand a thousand years
I have decided, for some fun, humor, and to ease my boredom, that each week in my own little corner of the bloggosphere I will pick a theme, and each day of that week I will provide songs either in MP3, or wav format, song lyrics, poems, videos, websites, book reviews and essays on that particular theme. Our first theme will be Old Houses. So, watch this space for what I’ll blog about houses next week.!
Well, here it is. Three years now and I’m still alive. How bout that?
Sometimes, I wonder if my life has meaning. Then, I wake up and know it does. How bout that, too?
Three years, and I can’t help but feeling sad, angry, nostalgic.
I had a life. Was a good Paramedic, a good firefighter and a good ranger. I had friends, was happy, was on the way up. And because I got burned, everything came to a sudden, grinding, time-standing-still hault.
I sit here today, and let the feelings run through me. Let them run…and let the tears come.
For a man who loved his work, for a man who loved his parks, for a man who loved saving lives and helping others.
Is that man dead? Should I grieve? Pay tribute? Homage to a man long gone?
Or should I rejoyce? Rejoyce for a man who is not dead, but changed. Changed forever. Eternal.
No, I am not dead. I am alive. Alive and still breathing. My life moves to a different drumbeat.
It’s been three years on. I can look back to before, to that time long ago, and see that man. That man who loved his work, loved his parks, loved life… I can see him and realize that unscarred, without pain, with his body intact, and all the vigor, innocence and invincibility of youth, he was just a shell.
I can look at this man now and realize that with his scars, with his pain, with his deeper sense of the world, the meaning of life and his own personal niche in it, and see that this man, with all his flaws and faults, with all his pain, suffering and dark despair… This man is whole.
How bout that?
If you are a member of any support groups that I am also a member of, then you have read this before. You may skip it. If not, enjoy the tale written here about me. This story was written by Dewey the story-writing dog, and all credit goes to him. He’d like two milk bones and a Big Mac for every reader, please. 🙂
Rod and I are back. Here’s what kept us away. Two things, actually. There is
some humor in this tale, so please don’t say I’m being insensitive, when I am
only meaning to tell my tale, and have a bit of fun at the same time. The tale
is written by Dewey, the story-writing dog. Why? Cause I don’t want to claim
It all began last Tuesday, [the 16th], but I’ll start a little further back.
Once upon a time, in Dodge and Rodland, a hurricane decided to sweep across the
land, because everyone was tired of Dodge complaining about the summer heat and
lack of rain. It could rain every day in Dodge and Rodland and Dodge would
still complain it wasn’t raining enough. The weather gods decided to call this
hurricane Ike. Now, Dodge was both happy and unhappy about Ike’s presence.
Happy because it meant he’d get to help people and do things he loved, and
unhappy because lives could be lost and homes would be lost and it would
generally make a wreck out of Dodge and Rodland — something Dodge would
undoubtedly have to clean up in one way or another… So, he approached Ike
with mixed feelings.
The all-knowing, omnippitent National Weather Service predicted that Ike would
leave destruction in his wake, and Dodge felt the adrenaline and the fear kick
up a few notches. Rod, as ever, was cool as a block of antarctic ice and Dodge
was ultimately convinced that he was not afraid, never has been afraid and never
will be afraid.
Then, the hurricane came. It swept across Dodge and Rodland and Dodge and Rod
were set to work — doing what they do best. They bandaged people, transported
people, bossed people around, did paperwork, bossed people around, took care of
evacuees, bossed people around, took their dogs out to search for bodies both
dead and living, did more paperwork, boss more people around, ate little and
slept even less.
Then came last Monday when Dodge and Rod’s voodoo doctor, (he’s a good one, I
promise), told them that their monthly voodoo spells and magic potions against
pain would be ready on Tuesday. This meant that Dodge and Rod would have to
leave the area in which they were working, four hours to the south, drive up to
the voodoo doctor’s, (Doctor Harney),office, get their scripts, get them
filled via a magic mirror, then drive all the way back to where they happened to
be at work. Now, you see, Dodge and Rod usually fly around Dodge and Rodland,
using some kind of a cross between a transporter and a time-machine, but it got
broken in the storm and Dodge is trying to draft a brief so he’ll be ready when
he goes to court to sue the weather gods for breaking it. 🙂 So, he must act
like a mere mortal and drive.
Actually, Rod must drive. Noone, and I mean noone, in Dodge and Rodland would
want Dodge to drive anything, not even a remote controled car. I promise!
Tuesday morning came, and Dodge and Rod rose at four AM like Farmer John and got
in their super sonic at the speed-of-light truck, and drove all the way back to
the part of their land called The Metroplex. I don’t know why it has that name,
but it does… I don’t want to know. 🙂
While Dodge and Rod were in the voodoo doctor’s candle and incense burning
office, 🙂 the voodoo doctor saw fit to come out and talk to them — a great
honor since neither one of them had an appointment to see him. He wanted to
discuss Dodge’s MRI. The news was not good. Dodge had a lateral patellar
subluxation with tilt and all the ligaments in his left knee were torn. The
same thing is beginning in the right, although it is not quite severe… This,
the voodoo doctor said, would require open surgery and could not be put off.
This, unfortunately annoyed Dodge some, and left him in a state of depression.
He stormed out of the Voodoo Hippy’s office, down the hall and to the elevator.
He pushed the button… No elevator. Pushed it again… Nothing. He then
decided to take the stairs…
In his fury, haste, confusion and anger at his body failing him yet once again,
he ran down the flights of stairs. At the bottom, he ran outside, jumped down
the steps outside and fell… Bad karma? 🙂
When Rod finally caught up with him, he could not move, let alone speak for the
pain. He ended up having to be taken to a hospital and fixed. And I do mean
fixed. Not only did he have open knee surgery to put things back together
again, he also had a major skin graft as when he fell, his skin was, well, it
needed grafting even more then. He rebroke his elbow and his left wrist, so
hasn’t been able to do anything since he got out of the hospital, but sit at
home reading Dean Koontz novels while eating strawberry ice cream, Gardettos,
chocolate chip cookies and brownies… In no particular order.
He finally feels well enough to get back on the computer, but is still facing a
deep anxiety and depression that even the voodoo doctor’s magic potions, pills
and powders cannot cure. Why? Because he is not working, and like any good and
respectable workaholic worth his paycheck, he lives for his work…
So, now he is back, but will have to mass delete a lot of email, too bad he
doesn’t have a charm for that.
What of Rod? Rod and their friend, Minias, (don’t ask me to explain the name),
took good care of him, making sure he had plenty of ice cream, Gardettos,
chocolate chip cookies, brownies and most of all, diet coke.
A minor hitch happened that is worth mentioning. While Dodge left the hospital,
his laptop didn’t. It was two days before anyone noticed, but it was kept safe
for him, and he got it back when he felt like calling their and asking if it was
still around. He wouldn’t have wanted to claim the insurance.
The other thing that happened, happened on Thursday. In Dodge and Rodland lives
Rod’s brother, R. The letter R is used to protect the guilty, although I don’t
know why he’s worth protecting. R has two boys, Cash, age 10 and Gauge, age 12.
R decided to go out and get drunk and R decided to do something he shouldn’t
that will end him up in a dungeon under the palace of King’s Dodge and Rod for a
long time, that is, unless they decide to bannish him to that lesser place…
The one they call jail. At any rate, he’ll probably be there for a long, long,
long time. If Rod and Dodge are lucky, probably the rest of his life. We can
only hope. He was and is, not a nice man.
Since both Rod’s folks are gone, and since there are no other family members,
Dodge and Rod had to take custody of the two boys. Dodge almost had a heart
attack when he heard… That annoyed him some, too. The boys, having lived
with the Evil R, are not in the best shape mentally and physically. In fact,
they are malnurrished, and have deep psychological trauma that will take years
It looks like Dodge and Rod will be keeping the boys, as the court jester wishes
it to be so. They hope to adopt them, although they both feel that they are in
some alternate universe and that someone is playing a cruel joke on them.
Still, for all that, they do care for the boys, even love them, but have no idea
of how to parent children. Dr. Spock, anyone? Oh yeah, he went out of fashion
in the seventies. Siggie the Fraud… Er, I mean Freud? Nope, to macabre.
So, Dodge and Rod are muddling through this having kids in the house thing,
making a lot of mistakes, but I’m sure they’ll get better with time…
Well, if this story hasn’t entertained, at least it’s told you where he and Rod
Dewey, the Story-Writing-Curly-Tailed-Anatolian-Shepherd-Service-Dog
Here’s what’s up. Think of my blog as my safe place… My haven… My home. When I put my blog in my signature, or when I give the link to someone to read, that is like inviting them to my home — my haven and safe place.
Unfortunately, as with life off the net, sometimes, people show up at your home that are not wanted. And as with life off the net, sometimes, a simple “go away!” doesn’t do the trick.
Think of this as a NO TRESPASS warning.
A spammer has visited my blog in recent days. A spammer with whom I have done battle over the past few months. This spammer runs a site for patients and caregivers, and also tries to solicit patients to participate in her “surveys” and “patient experience” questionaires, which are really a front for her marketing agency.
Now, while I have nothing against her website for patients and caregivers, I do take offense to her spamming groups to which I belong to get people to join her in her quest. She has already been banned from c-t-d, and will likely be banned from others, if I have anything to say about it.
So, here is my final warning to her.
BELINDA SHALE, OWNER OF ICARECAFE, DO NOT SPAM MY BLOG AGAIN!!! DO NOT LEAVE ME COMMENTS, DO NOT PING ME OR LEAVE TRACKBACKS. I AM NOT VISITING YOUR SITE, I HAVE NOT VISITED YOUR SITE, AND I WILL NOT VISIT YOUR SITE. YOU *ARE NOT* WELCOME HERE. AS OF RIGHT NOW, YOU STILL HAVE PERMISSION TO READ MY BLOG, BUT ONE MORE COMMENT, ONE MORE SPAM, ONE MORE PINGBACK OR TRACKBACK AND NOT ONLY WILL I BLOCK YOU FROM READING MY BLOG, BUT I WILL ALSO NOTIFY YOUR INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER.
LEST YOU FORGET, DEAR SPAMMER, I AM A NATIONAL PARK RANGER. THAT MEANS I AM A FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER. YOU HARASS ME, AND YOU WILL GET NAILED. THERE’S A FEDERAL LAW REGARDING ANNOYING/HARASSING PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET, AND I’VE GOT FRIENDS WHO WORK IN THE FBI COMPUTER CRIMES DEVISION.
STAY AWAY FROM ME!!! OR FACE THE CONSEQUENCES!
To anyone who patronizes this woman’s sites, I’m sorry if I offended you. It’s not her sites so much as the lying, bait-and-switch and spam she engages in to get people to join her…
I can provide proof upon request.
She has been forewarned.
Thirty seven Minutes
If you ever wander into an Emergency Department on a slow night you might be tempted to comment on how slow things are to the staff. This comment will,
in most instances, result in your being drawn and quartered by the nursing staff and then seriously injured by the physician.
Nurses and Doctors aren’t as a rule superstitious people, but their work comes in unpredictable floods and droughts. Every one of them remembers at lease
one time when things were blissfully quiet until some well meaning miscreant commented on how slow things were, whereupon a bus full of hemophiliacs hit
a truck loaded with plate glass head-on right out side the ED, or some other unspeakable horror began.
This is the story of one such horror.
Rod and I were working at a rural ambulance station that ran, on average, about five calls in a 24-hour shift, and things were slow. By slow I mean we started work
at 7AM and by midnight we hadn’t done anything other than check our truck off, eat, sleep, and eat some more. I was talking to a co-worker on the phone
when he mentioned that someone in town had worked a “gunshot to the head” call. “Some guys have all the luck”, I said and then added “I’ve been on the
street for seven years and I’ve never worked a gunshot to the head”. These were words I’d live to regret.
I went to bed around 1AM and was awakened at 3AM by the shrill voice of a dispatcher on the radio. (All voices that awaken me at 3AM are, by definition,
shrill, and all dispatchers are trained to the doctorate level in how to maximize their own god given shrillness.) “Possible shooting, 14280 NE XXX Ave.
Caller advises the scene is safe.” We rolled out of bed and were careening down the road at breakneck speed before we were fully awake. (This is one of
several very good reasons to yield with conviction to all emergency vehicles, particularly after midnight.) By some miracle we found the obscure address
in the middle of nowhere, a modest house standing alone at the end of a dirt road. We jumped out, grabbed our gear and went inside.
Inside we found a mother in her late 30’s and her two daughters, maybe 8 and 10 years old. Their faces bore tears, terror and disbelief as they anxiously
lead us to a back bathroom. We found dad in the shower, sitting on the floor, dead, leaning against the shower wall with most of the former contents of
his head dangling toward the floor like thin, gruesome stalactites. A stainless steel revolver lay idle at his feet. The house was quiet for a minute as
they waited for me to perform some miracle. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. I didn’t have any miracles.
We confirmed what we all knew with the heart monitor and then turned our attention back to the family. I told mom and the kids that dad was gone and we
couldn’t help him. We waited uncomfortably for a few minutes for the police and a counselor to arrive and then quietly picked up our equipment and left.
As we got to the end of the long driveway the dispatcher called us again. “Now what?” I thought as I answered. ” Copy another gunshot to the head?” I looked
at Rod in disbelief, and then at my watch. It had been 37 minutes since we got the first call. “Is this a joke?” I thought. It wasn’t.
We immediately returned to full speed, this time down a very dark, very thin rural blacktop. The dispatcher wasn’t able to determine from what she was hearing
on the phone exactly what was happening. She thought the callers might have loaded the patient into a car and struck out for the hospital on their own.
As a result she’s sent two ambulances, up each of their two possible routes to the hospital. After some of our own confusion we figured this out and began
looking for the car in question as we drove.
Having sorted all that out I returned my attention to a map book, looking for the address. A second or so after I turned my attention from the windshield
Rod suddenly locked the brakes on the ambulance up and we began screaming to a halt. I looked up to see what looked like a body in the road. Things
are happening way too fast, I thought. We stopped scant feet from the carcass and just as the ambulance lurched backward from the hard stop the “body”,
which I’d assumed was our patient left in the road by his panic stricken companions, got up and ran from the road. As he reached the edge of the road he
ran full speed into a utility pole and fell to the ground. Dazed, he sat up and shook his head. My Rod, ever the pragmatist, rolled down his window.
“You okay?” he asked the former corpse. The corpse made a hand gesture that seemed to signal his good health and Rod again applied his full weight
to the accelerator. “Probably some drunk who fell asleep in the road” he said. Too stupefied to answer I returned to my map book.
We arrived a few minutes later at a remote singlewide that seemed to have taken years to get to. There were two guys and a girl inside, all of them looked
as if they weren’t sure whether to scream, cry or vomit. They were all in their late teens or early 20’s. There were beer cans and a full ashtray on the
coffee table, the obvious result of a small party.
The quietest of the three directed us to the kitchen as the girl suddenly screamed “do something!” We found a 19-year-old kid lying face up on the kitchen
floor. He’d been shot through both temples. I made a mental note that the gun wasn’t in view and silently hoped that whoever had it wasn’t in the mood
to use it on me. I quickly put the thought out of my head. He was breathing shallow, regular breaths. There was blood and some brain matter oozing out
the hole in his right temple. His pupils weren’t reactive to light and he didn’t respond to pain at all. The bullet had done catastrophic damage to his
brain, but hadn’t destroyed the “vegetative functions” section of his brain. He was brain dead but still alive.
I immediately began working on him. I put a tube in his trachea to protect his airway, started IV’s and we began the long journey to the hospital. When
we got to the hospital the kid’s mother was there waiting on us. She talked calmly with us and the Doctor about her son’s condition as we moved him to
the hospital’s stretcher. Hers was the first calm voice I’d heard in hours, it seemed. This was to my utter amazement. After she fully understood her son’s
condition she suggested organ donation without even being asked. I was nearly moved to tears. At the end of two of the most harrowing hours many people
could imagine, I was faced with possibly the strongest, bravest person on the planet. Her son had gotten into an argument with his girlfriend and fueled
by alcohol and youthful passion had found a very permanent solution to a temporary problem. He’d shot himself.
His organs were successfully “harvested” and now live on in the bodies of half a dozen people, all of whom owe their lives to an incredible woman that they’ll
It was, all in all, a completely unbelievable night, and the last one during which I uttered the words “Some guys have all the luck”.
A rebuke, and an invitation.
I am a Pagan. It comes from the Latin, PAGANUS.
It means simply, “country dweller”, one who lives close to the earth,
In harmony with nature, and her cycles of seasons and weather.
I am NOT a be-deviled worshipper of Satan, which to me is a demonized
construct of the early Christian Church fathers, an entity who is
younger by eons than the Divine Spirit
Who quickens the life of my body and animates the Universe itself.
I am NOT a godless person, devoid of spirituality, ethics, or moral
I am NOT a worshipper of “created things”, I am NOT a “weirdo” who
labels myself religious
While having no real depth to my so-called spirituality–
Despite the contrary and zealous assertions of those who would force
feed me their interpretations of Biblical doctrine like bitter castor
oil “for my own good.”
No, in fact I connect with the Sacred, with the Divine Immanent in
all things, and I do not worship their material presence alone.
When the Sacred within me communes with the Divine within you, that
Truth and ancient Dance leaves little room for evil, hatred, and
Though I daily encounter many who seem more than willing to assail me
with their own loathing, fear, and rejection of what they do not
understand, all in the name of One who preached only acceptance,
compassion, tolerance, and understanding.
For me the Divine can be Goddess, The Maiden Huntress of forest,
field, and hill, The Eternal Mother, whose natural bounty and
blessings surround us, The Ancient Crone who imparts wisdom of ages
and healing lore.
For me the Divine can be God, The Lord of the Dance, the Animals, the
Hunt, The Sacred King, whose cyclic end Renews and rebirths the Land
and its people, The Ancient Sage, the Wise Old Man Who beckons us to
greater spiritual understanding.
I am a Pagan. I honor the earth and the Divine within it.
I decry those practices which lead to and perpetuate its devastation
I listen to the ancient music, whose strains are yet audible in my
It calls me to dance, with the drumbeat, the pulse of the Earth
My ancestors live again through me. I follow the Old Ways, and those
lost Mysteries surface again, with new significance for modernity.
I care little if you choose to do as I do. But talk to me if you
will, If you would understand me and what I represent. For know this
well: The Old Ways are indeed returning, and many of us are hearing
the call to follow these ancient Paths once again, for the answers
they provide to questions which burn in our souls.
Some of us have kept these traditions alive in our own families with
varying degrees of secrecy and success. Others learn from the
remnants found in old stories and poems, and incorporate those
remnants into entirely new practices.
Our numbers grow, though we do not proselytize. Whatever you choose
to do, we will not simply go away, whether you wish it so or not. But
talk to me if you will. Let us share our stories with each other and
see what happens next.
Police probe confrontation over 911 distress call
By Jason Alley, The News-Herald
PUBLISHED: September 3, 2008
LINCOLN PARK — It appears that a teenager who feared police were ignoring her pleas that an ambulance be sent for her father who was having a seizure had
a good reason for concern.
The officer who answered Adrainne Ledesma’s 911 calls Aug. 19 told her point blank that he wasn’t going to dispatch a rescue vehicle.
After she asked if police could send an ambulance to her house in the 2100 block of Hartwick, police Sgt. Robert McFarland called the 17-year-old a “stupid
ass” and told her, “No, you’re not going to get one.”
When she called back a minute later and asked for the officer’s name, he refused to identify himself, instead calling the teen “a buffoon.”
The exchange between the two was captured on the Police Department’s recorded 911 lines. While police officials refused to release a copy of the audiotape,
a transcript of the calls was made available.
The teenager also said McFarland repeatedly hung up on her when she called 911, but the transcript gives no indication as to which party ended each call.
Ledesma called 911 three times seeking an ambulance — each call one minute apart from the next. Six minutes after her initial call, McFarland dispatched
a unit to her house.
James Bowens, chairman of the city’s Public Safety Commission, which oversees the city’s Police and Fire departments, gasped when he read a copy of the
“His comments to her are unacceptable,” he said. “I also want to know what happened between 10:07 (a.m.) and 10:13 (a.m.) and why an ambulance was never
dispatched in that time.”
Seven minutes later, when Ledesma walked into the police station to find out the officer’s name so she could file a complaint against him, the teen was
arrested for misusing the 911 system and locked up pending a court hearing.
The incident started at about 10 a.m. when Ledesma was awakened by a loud noise in her house.
When she went downstairs, she found her father, Adrain, who recently underwent brain surgery, lying on the kitchen floor, having a seizure.
Upset about what she was seeing, she said she started to swear as she dialed 911 for an ambulance. She was in the midst of a swear word, she said, when
McFarland answered the phone.
“He started to lecture me about not cussing because I think he thought I was cussing at him, but I wasn’t,” she said. “Then he hung up on me.”
She said she called back and again explained that she needed an ambulance, but was hung up on again.
This was repeated once more, she said, until she finally got in touch with a relative and had him call for an ambulance, which transported her father to
Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. He was treated and released, and is recovering at home.
During the three calls, Ledesma used the “F” word five times, but never directed the expletive at the officer. He twice told her to stop swearing, while
swearing himself and calling the teen two derogatory names.
Police Lt. Brian Hawk said he supports his officer’s decision to arrest Ledesma when she came to the police station, saying the teen was disruptive when
According to police, she repeatedly swore in the lobby and yelled at McFarland, an officer for 20 years. Once she was arrested, the report says, the teen
refused to comply and had to be restrained to a bench.
Hawk said an internal investigation is under way to review the way McFarland handled the 911 calls. He said it should be concluded soon, but he declined
to name a date.
“If the officer made a mistake, it will be dealt with,” Hawk said.
Ledesma has been charged with phone harassment and disturbing the peace, both of which are misdemeanor offenses punishable by 90 days in jail.
She is due in 25th District Court on Sept. 9 for an arraignment and a pretrial hearing.
The teen’s attorney, Douglas Hamel, said he plans to fight the charges and also is considering suing the department for wrongful arrest.
“Anybody whose father is laying on the floor is going to be upset,” he said. “Yeah, she was upset and started to swear, but I don’t think they should have
locked her up. …
“It isn’t like she was playing games and making things up. He could have died.”
Contact Staff Writer Jason Alley at
As a paramedic with now fifteen years of service, who has also worked the dispatch center, I find this inexcusable.
Two years after Addrenex
Pharmaceuticals set it sights on building a new class of drugs to regulate
“adrenergic excess,” the small Durham company has signed its second major
deal with Sciele Pharma, this time to co-develop a new compound for
hypertension and other potential indications.
Adrenalin is well known as the hormone that triggers the “fight or
flight” reaction in response stress or danger. But Addrenex scientists
recognized this hormone, and its counterpart in the brain, noradrenalin, as
regulators of diverse physiologic functions — from blood pressure to
energy expenditure to thermostatic control.
“No other company is targeting adrenergic regulation as the root cause
of conditions,” said Moise Khayrallah, CEO of Addrenex. “We built our
company to address a wide range of conditions whose symptoms are being
partially managed by drugs currently on the market, but whose origins have
never been specifically treated.”
Last year the company efficiently advanced its first products,
Clonicel(R) to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and CloniBID
to treat hypertension, into Phase 3 clinical trials. In July 2007, Addrenex
licensed both products to Sciele Pharma for $6 million in upfront equity,
$11 million in milestones, and future royalty payments on product sales.
One year later, the company has signed this second, larger deal, to
include up to $27 million in development and regulatory milestones and
future royalty payments on product sales. In addition, Sciele will pay all
“The partnership with Sciele is particularly rewarding because
validates our work to date and confirms that our products may fill a
critical gap in the treatment of debilitating conditions,” said Khayrallah.
Addrenex began its foray into drug development by tweaking an existing
drug, clonidine, to extend its benefits and reduce bothersome side effects.
Company co-founder Joseph Horacek, M.D., originated the idea while seeking
a better way to manage symptoms of aggression, hyperactivity and
sleeplessness among his pediatric patients with ADHD.
The company quickly moved to advance its pipeline beyond traditional
alpha-2 receptor agonists to compounds that would more selectively target
specific subtypes of the alpha-2 receptor.
Alpha-2 receptors are present throughout the brain and body. They bind
with adrenergic hormones and neurotransmitters such as adrenalin and
noradrenalin to control a wide range of physiological functions.
Malfunctions in the alpha-2 receptor pathway have been implicated in a wide
range of conditions, including hypertension, pain, addiction, post
traumatic stress disorder, menopausal symptoms, aggression and
Yet few known drugs target the specific receptors involved in such
conditions, Khayrallah said.
In December, Addrenex dramatically expanded its potential pipeline of
drugs by licensing an existing library of 400 alpha-2 adrenergic compounds
from UNeMed, the technology transfer arm at the University of Nebraska
Medical Center. These compounds were originally developed by Procter &
Gamble and later gifted to the university. Scientists at the university and
Addrenex have already begun sifting through the data and examining
compounds that appear to have selective affinity for the various alpha 2
ADX415 was selected as a lead compound because of its receptor subtype
profile and because it had undergone extensive preclinical and early
clinical safety testing.
Rod and I came up with this list for your personal enjoyment… Needless to
say, we have been or done most of the things on this list. We had to get it
• You get to your vehicle, and you think, “Home sweet home…”
• You answer the phone with “1016 receiving… Over.”
• When S.O.B. now means Shortness Of Breath and not necessarily how you feel
about a person.
• When your spouse/significant other has his/her hands on you and the reason is
practicing patient assessment, not passion.
• When you’re on ambulance duty, you go home, and your own dog won’t let you
into the house because it no longer recognizes you.
• When members of the opposite sex are in the same vehicle in various states of
half-dress and nobody notices enough to mention it or to be embarrassed.
• When the word “Latex” no longer immediately brings to mind safe sex, but the
gloves that you wear.
• When family pets clear a path when they hear the tones drop so they won’t get
• When caffeine becomes a sedative.
• When you meet a person and your first thought is “Wow, look at those veins”.
• When a silent and motionless child is no longer a desired sight.
• When you notice that your worst Non-EMS hair day isnt even close to your best
EMS hair day, and neither you nor your partner care about it anymore.
• You know all of your frequent fliers’ medical histories better than they do.
• When starting your P.O.V. you reach for the “Battery On” switch. (I do know a
few people that require a battery switch due to the number of lights on their
• When the utterance of the dreaded “Q word” on a slow shift causes people to
start throwing objects at the person who said it.
• Have multiple pagers for multiple stations.
• Your personal vehicle is a tactical command vehicle (and has more lights than
• Talk more on the radio than a DJ does.
• Know every other station’s tones by heart.
• Your entire wardrobe is station wear or off-duty stuff from the Gall’s
• Sleep with the scanner on all night, every night.
• Wash the rigs every weekend, but have not washed personal vehicle in years.
• Park in the home driveway backwards.
• Never miss “Rescue 911,” “Cops,” “Trauma Life in the ER,” etc.
• Have multiple radio antennas on personal vehicle (more than a Russian fishing
• Correct dispatch over the air on how to dispatch units.
• Have reflective striping on personal vehicle.
• Respond to a scene after recall.
• Drive the rig like Mario Andretti.
• Leave the pager on open channel all day.
• Carry a pocket scanner.
• Subscribe to ALL fire and EMS magazines.
• Respond to the station during tone tests.
• Don’t drink because you might be dispatched.
• Have at least five different EMS hats, sweatshirts and/or t-shirts.
• Have 500 road flares in the trunk.
• “Star of Life” decals obscure the rear window of personal vehicle.
• Know every police officer’s name and thinks they are pals.
• Wear a “Star of Life” belt buckle.
• Chase other company’s trucks.
• Carry a stethoscope on the rear mirror of personal vehicle.
• Personal jump kit is bigger than the one on the ambulance.
• Uses a 5-cell Mag light to check pupil response.
• Own a window punch & seatbelt knife
We get a call to go to a man who’s been lying in the lobby of an apartment building for three days. He is confused, covered in urine, unable to clearly articulate and not oriented to time and place. We guess stroke. The people that called it in say that he’s been there for three days. And they didn’t call before why? Were they waiting for this man to up and die before someone called it in? This call annoies me some.
Had a good MVA, (motor vehicle accident), on the interstate the other day. Rod and I rolled on a two car MVA just at the entrance to the northbound
rest area on I-75. There is a turn-around there that an older gent used to cross over from the southbound side to the northbound side. Some smart old guy
a long time ago said something about two objects not being able to occupy the same space at the same time; well it is very true. Both cars ended up on the
east edge of the interstate fused together. The engine of the gent that we transported in cardiac arrest ended up in the center lane of north bound I-75
almost intact. The pt took his last breath as we pulled up. Rapid extrication with
manual c-spine and onto a back board. There were two people on the scene, an RN and an out county medic that assisted us. This guy is still alive up in
SICU, (surgical intensive care unit), but may have very little from the chest down. What saved this guy was our 80 mile-an-hour trip southbound down the northbound
lane. At one point I told Rod that we were going to die. —–an 8 minute scene time with patient being tubed, (intubated), boarded and tied.
Basically we are doing procedures of near surgical difficulty while driving down the wrong lane of the interstate at 80 miles an hour. A hell of
a way to make a buck.
A wonderful woman who I have had the privellege of getting to know over these past few weeks wrote a beautiful letter that I would like all of you to take the time to read. As a fellow medical professional with this same disease, I feel it’s important that the message get out…
I am a 44 year old registered nurse. I want to share a few things about my experience with fibromyalgia and add a few known facts about this illness.
I never ever desired to become ill. I have always been a worker and have worked since the age of 18 years old. I use to consider myself healthy. I had
the ambitions of becoming a nurse and fulfilled that ambition. It is not the easy way out to earn a degree. As a matter of fact many that enter nursing
school fail or quit because of the constant stress and knowledge it requires to graduate. I graduated with a 3.8 GPA with honors in 1992. I went to work
as a nurse and have continued until this day. (I tell you this because if you think that most of us are “do nothings” and are lazy or crazy… you are
During my course of study, I never had the word “fibromyalgia” mentioned. It still falls short of the curriculum in most nursing schools now. However,
the American Medical Association has just recently added fibromyalgia to the medical school curriculum. So, I did not make this illness up and never just decided one day to become a lunatic or a lazy hypochondriac to “get out of life’s” responsibilities. I also am NOT a druggie. I had ONE prescription drug until the age of 39.
This illness is very real. It is stigmatized worse than AIDS ever was. We, (the approximately 10-15 million Americans with this illness), are laughed at,
gossiped about, and are made the subject of skepticism. So, fibromyalgia would not be the diagnosis one would make up if they wanted any sympathy. Think
to yourself…WOULD you want this diagnosis? I suspect not. Many of us affected by this illness would rather not even tell about it because we know that
at least half the people we discuss this with will label us, ostracize us, doubt us, and just plain not believe us. I would make up something else if
I wanted to lie about being ill. I would make up something that people would believe if it was all a big hoax.
From a young age I noticed I required more sleep than others. I just brushed this off and paid no attention to it. I went to my doctor in my early twenties
about “being tired” all the time. He just told me to “exercise more”. I did that. It made no difference. (Tired has now progressed to chronic exhaustion).
This illness was mild back then. I also developed numbness and tingling in my fingers that would come and go. I ignored this too. I would experience
times when I would ache everywhere and would just say “I must have a virus”. I never once thought I had a chronic life altering disease.
This illness affects people with different levels of severity. Mine progressed. They say it won’t, but it does. In my late 30’s while I was still
working just like now, I became very ill with a “flare”. I had no idea what was going on. I felt like I was going to die. I had pain in my hands that
lasted for about 4 weeks — so severe I would cry. The numbness and tingling I had for years turned to burning pain. I was more than tired. “Tired” would
not describe the exhaustion no matter how much I slept or how little I slept. My knees began to hurt to the point I could not get in and out of a tub
without help. I was hurting all over to some extent. The stiffness of fibromyalgia also sat in about that time. Stiffness all over to the point I could
not get out of bed without help. “Fibromyalgia” was a word I had NEVER heard. But I was diagnosed by my family practice physician a few weeks later.
I am one of the lucky ones in that I have a doctor who knows that fibromyalgia is real. Many suffer this without anyone to help them.
I have never been the same since that flare that lasted about 6 weeks. I still work with much difficulty and have to support two young kids that came late
in my life. Believe me, if I could quit work, I would. I push my body beyond its limits. I suffer pain now on some days that is probably equal to that
of a cancer patient. I look like I have a hangover at work most days. (I do not drink). And believe me, these symptoms were all there before I ever
went on any medication. The balance and coordination problems were there. The concentration problems were there. But without medication, I would not
be able to work. Not because I enjoy paying for all the meds and doctor appointments out of pocket with no insurance. Not because I am “addicted” to
pills. But if not for the medications, I would be bedbound now. The meds do not get me “high” and they actually help me to function with this disease.
So, just because you cannot see this disease does not mean it is not real. Research is putting pieces of the puzzle together now. There are facts out
there which are documented by research. The whole picture has not been put together yet. But it is a disease of the Central Nervous System. FIBROMYALGIA
Sleep studies show that fibromyalgia patients never reach the deepest level of sleep. Stage 4 sleep is absent. Studies also have shown images of the brain
in people with this disease. Those images prove that even light touch or pressure on our body IS interpreted by the brain as PAIN. They have also proven
by brain imaging that every stimulus such as light, sound, touch, and smell are magnified in people with fibromyalgia. It is described as the “volume
being turned up” in our central nervous system. Studies also show that something called “substance P” in the spinal fluid is present in higher amounts
than “normal” people. Substance P is a chemical that has to do with processing pain in the central nervous system.
I would urge you to please, out of humanity, read some facts about this illness before you assume your co-worker, friend, or family member is a hypochondriac.
And please consider also that most of us do not fit the mold for being a liar or lazy. Many many of us have educations, have had or have businesses that
are lucrative, and have worked all our lives. Many of us have burned the candle at both ends for years. We were not sitting on the couch eating bon bons.
Also, many I have talked to the past 5 years have lost homes, relationships, and careers because of fibromyalgia. None of us enjoy losing life as
it once was so we can “make up” an illness that you cannot see but WE certainly can feel.
I do not enjoy the inability to participate in my children’s lives as they grow up. I have to stay home and rest while I miss countless activities in their
lives due to severe pain and exhaustion. All I can do is work to make the living and come home and collapse most days. I do not enjoy handing all the
responsibilities over to my husband because I am too damn sick to take care of my kids after working. I am not a hypochondriac, a liar, a “drug seeker”,
or an attention seeker. I am a victim of a disease called “fibromyalgia”. I get no sympathy. I carry the same load at work that any other nurse does.
I get no assistance from the government and CANNOT even apply for disability. No one can apply for disability while they are required to keep PUSHING
their body to work. So what do I gain from this illness? Nothing but the risk of skepticism and ridicule.
Debra van ness,
Well, it’s time for this week’s “I Believe”. Aside from the fact that this week’s edition is a bit late… Let’s jump right in!
This week’s I Believe is about something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately… Courage. So, without further adieu…
I believe that courage is knowing that you’re licked before you begin, and starting out anyway. I believe that courage is not being afraid to fail, being willing to take your chances and being able to deal with whatever life throws you with grace and style.
I believe that courageous acts happen every day. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s often the little, unnoticed things that make the most difference. Courage is an act of kindness, a smile, a helping hand, a word of encouragement…
I believe that it takes courage to live in this world today, and a coward to kill himself and end it all.
I believe that courage is waking up in the morning, facing seemingly unsurmountable odds and saying, “I can do it.”
I believe that courage is holding a newborn baby, reading a bedtime story to a little one, helping an elderly person across the street, or finding a beloved pet for a grief stricken owner.
Courage doesn’t have to be all blown up on TV, printed about for days in newspapers or made into this years award-winning telivision motion picture.
I believe that courage is selfless, unconscious and without forethought. Courage lives in all of us… All we have to do is find it.
I believe that courage is seeing life staring at you and boldly staring right back…
]So… What do you believe?
Before I get into the reason for my anger, let me say this. If you have a. left me a sweet, or otherwise nice comment here, even if you disagree with me, or b. do not feel the way I am about to tell you some people feel, then this is not aimed at you. This is aimed at the biggoted, insensitive bastards who feel the need to criticize something they *wish* they had.
It seems that I have made several people “angry”, “disgusted”, “revolted”, “nauseated”, “sickened” and “embarrassed” by my last post. These people did not feel that they could comment openly, where they know there comments would have more than likely been approved, but sent the comments to my email. And what, you may ask, is the source of their discomfort?
My relationship with Rod.
Now, I’m going to put this as simply as I can, folks. I am a gay male. I am in a relationship *with another* gay male. While this blog may deal with some hard issues from time to time, and while I may at times be explicit in some of my descriptions, this is not a what-Dodge-and-Rod-did-in-the-bedroom kind of blog. The only ones who need to know or care about that are me and Rod.
However, I am not going to disguise what and who I am. I am not going to leave Rod out of my stories and posts because you are grossed out by it. I am not going to omit our love from the things I choose to share.
This means you have a couple of choices. Now, let’s try to figure this out like big boys and girls, shall we? You can either choose not to read posts which deal with gay love and gay relationships, you can choose not to read my blog altogether, you can choose to read the post and skim over parts that make you uncomfortable, or you can go fuck yourself.
I’ll tell you a secret… As a gay male, I am very put off by het sex. Let me explain. I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s wonderful when two people share their love for each other in a passionate union — a melding of mind and body — but I don’t necessarily want to read about it.
I don’t mind reading romantic heterosexual writing… I quite enjoy it. And yet, I find descriptions of het sex to be “ick”. So, what do I do if I am reading something and a type of situation comes up that makes me uncomfortable?
I usually just skim over it, find the end and continue from there. Or I read it and deal with my discomfort. It won’t kill me, after all.
I *don’t* make nasty comments about how disgusting, revolting, embarrassing, etc, it is to the writer. How would you like it if I said that about the love you have for your husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/wife? You probably wouldn’t.
I don’t expect people to want to read, or even to enjoy, the play-by-play of what Rod and I do during our own private time. And if you did, well, you’d not be getting that here. I do expect a little courtesy and tolerance. I am fortunate to have someone who loves me no matter what, who loves me for who I am, who has given his heart and soul to me, and who I have given my heart and soul too. Rejoyce with me!!! Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. And if you must, don’t be afraid to express your differences of opinion in a *kind*, *civil*, *courteous*, *respectful* and *open-minded* manner and I will gladly air them here.
You see people, just because I don’t walk down your path, the het path, doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to walk my own… Just because you don’t walk down my path, doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to yours… H. Jackson Brown said it very well, “Just because someone has not found your road to happiness, doesn’t mean they have gotten lost.”
In conclusion, Rod is an integral part of my life. He has been for quite a long time now. He will be for many, many years to come. If you don’t like that, if you dont’ like reading about it, him, or our life together, deal with it in your own way… Don’t waste my time.
Now… I’m off to spend time with the one I love…
Proud to be gay and in love,
I am sitting there feeling sorry for myself because I want to check my email and my webmail is slower than shit when Rod comes in… See, Rod knows how I feel about my email. I used to hate it, unless it was EMS related. Then, I joined some support groups. Things were good for a while…real good. Then, they got real bad, real fast. I didn’t want to check my email My heart would race, my BP rise… I would be fine one minute and in severe pain the next… Not conducive to a happy paramedic!
So, I decided to take a break when 2008 started. One of the groups I had been moderating, a group I had thrown my life into, had been closed down by the fickle group owner. So, I did.
A few weeks ago, I decided to rejoin my old groups and some new ones… Amazing things happened. Those who I knew from before welcomed me back with open arms. Those who I didn’t know did the same. I found myself reaching out to these people, revealing little bits of myself that I had kept hidden away for a long time… I found myself able to give support, able to care, able to feel again… Feelings in me I thought were long dead have been reborn.
The most amazing thing is, that when I needed support, and when I didn’t expect to receive any…I did. Not only support, but overwhelming support. The result is that I have a whole new internet family network! I am truly, truly blessed!
So, when I was feeling down because I wanted to check in on my family and could not due to a cable webmail changing literally one page every five minutes, Rod comes in… He asks me why I’m angry and sad, (funny how he just knows how I feel without me having to say a word), and I explain…
He then says, “I know something that should perk you up. Let’s go get a hamburger.”
Well, I might be a paramedic, but that don’t mean I’m a health nut. Off to our favorite burger joint we went. Rod read to me from the paper while we ate, and I got nice and relaxed. Then, he says, “I know something else that will make you happy.”
“What’s that?” I ask.
“Let’s go get some Gardettos, those snack things you like,” he said smiling.
Gardettos! Gardettos! Gardettos! They are this sort of snack mix… this wonderful combination of things and seasonings…They are just… YUM!
“All right!” I jump up and headed to the truck.
We decide to go to Wal-Mart because it’s closer… Bad mistake. First, we hit the soft drink aisle, as we were out of Diet Coke… A staple in the Porter-McGinns household. Yes, my last name is Porter-McGinns. I took Rod’s name when we committed.
Then, we head to the chip aisle… No Gardettos.
“Where would they be?” Rod asks.
“With the snack mixes,” I reply confidently.
Of course, Wal-Mart can never be organized, and we spend about forty minutes looking for the snack mixes… Finally, a very nice man directs us to where they are… No Gardettos…
By this time, I am really, really hurting. “I give up,” I say sadly. “Let’s go home.”
“Oh no you don’t,” Rod replies, “I said we’d get you Gardettos and we’re getting you Gardettos.”
“But they don’t have them,” I whine. “And I’m hurting and I just want to go home, and I didn’t bring any pain meds and I’m dizzy, and my balance is bad, and I have to do paperwork, and we’re due to go on shift earlier, and I want the chance to take a nap before that…”
“And you’re going to talk my ears off and then we’ll be in trouble… Don’t fuss, child,” says Rod, patting my arm…
Back out to the truck we go… We drive to another store near home… We go in and before we do anything, we ask someone where the Gardettos are. Noone knows what they are… They look at us like we’re aliens…
Rod and I walk back to the snack mix aisle, and I begin to scan things… No Gardettos.
“Dodge!!! Over here,” Rod calls triumphantly.
I found the energy to run then… I found the energy to run! I haven’t done that in years! I ran to him… I grab up the three bags of Gardettos, and run to check out. I look back at Rod. I see him wipe a tear from his eye. “What’s wrong?” I ask, knowing full well he won’t tell me the truth.
“Nothin’,” he says shaking his head. “I just had something in my eye… It’s nothin'”
We get out to the truck, and Rod takes my hand… “What?” I say, not wanting to look at him.
“You amaze me. You really do. They told me you’d never talk again, and you talk. They say you’ll never walk again, and you walk. They say you’ll never work again, and you work. They say you’ll never run again…” He breaks down then, “And there you are… There you are bounding through life.”
I turn to him then, looking him in the eyes. “I couldn’t have done it without help.”
“Oh yeah? What kind of help?”
“Help from this guy I love… This guy who use to make me the butt of all his jokes, who used to leave things in my locker, who used to send me on all the dirty calls…this guy who would mix up my runs on purpose, who was there during every surgery, every graft, every debridement, every doctor’s visit… This guy who is my lover, my best friend, my lifeline…”
“Oh yeah. Who is he,” Rod whispers.
“His name? You want to know his name? His name is Rod. Rod McGinns. You know him?”
He smiles, “I might…I just might.”
We drove home in silence, holding hands.
I MADE IT!!! I MADE IT!!! I MADE IT!!! I MADE IT!!!
Got to thank some people for keeping it real. If I miss you, please accept my sincere apologies. YOU STILL COUNT!!!
Thanks to… Gilly, Michelle, Annette, Phyllis, Robin, Paula, MaryBeth, Ruth, Annie G, Dan, Dave R, Jeff, Rod, Neill, Harry, Drucilla,Susie B, Larry, Celine, Ruairí, Julie C, Georgia RC, and all the others on FSG and Ra-Factor that I can’t remember! And as always, thank you Rod… You’re my lifeline!
Now, I just have to get through my appointment with my pain doc… It’s gonna be hard, but I CAN DO IT!!! I CAN DO IT!!! I CAN DO IT!!! I CAN DO IT!!!
A forty four year old accountant calls 911 because his sixty two year old mother is having a heart attack.
The dispatcher asks if the man knows CPR. The man responds in the affirmative. Then, the man states that he has not initiated CPR because he thinks his mother is “Too far gone”.
And this man became a medic when? He has medical training how?
So valuable minutes are wasted while Rod and I get to the scene..Minutes that could have been the difference between life and death for this woman. This man’s mother!!!
Fortunately for her, his wealth of medical knowledge didn’t extend to how to correctly tell if someone was still living, and we were able to get her heart pumping again with the use of a little electricity.
This call really angers me!!! Really!!! Even if you think there’s no chance, no hope, no life left… Do CPR!
It’s time for this week’s edition of “I Believe” with Dodge. So, onto what…I believe.
I believe in the power of pain killers. I believe in opioids, and in making access to them easier for chronic pain patients. I believe that drugs should be legalized. This would lessen the tax burden, lessen the load on our police forces, and get rid of the “Cookie Jar Principle.” That being if you tell a kid not to stick his hand in the cookie jar, what’s he gonna do? Stick his hand in that jar.
I believe that cold water kills.
I believe that EMS, in particularly being a paramedic, is my calling. I believe it is rewarding work, I am good at it, and I love what I do.
I believe drug testing destroys morale, and is a violation of my privacy. If my performance is not effected…why should you care?
I believe that people aren’t dead, till they are warm and dead.
I believe that seeing people at their best, and their worst is something that gives me greater insight on the human condition.
I believe that dogs are good for the soul. There is nothing more fitting during a bout of severe depression, than a cold nose and a wet tongue.
I believe in anger, in continuing education, and in teaching first aid to our children…
I believe in proverbs, in passion, in the power of prayer, and in a creator.
And…I believe in miracles. I am one…
Chest Pain, Heart Attacks and another interesting adventure in cardiology.
This post is on heart attacks, but before we begin we should talk a little about what a heart attack is.
Cardiac muscle is unlike any other type of cell in your body. If you run well-oxygenated blood through, say, your leg, you’ll find that the leg consumes
only about 20 to 30 percent of the available oxygen and sends the rest on down the river. A leg muscle can continue to live for up to eight hours after
its oxygen has been cut off. Send oxygenated blood through the arteries that supply the heart muscle and it will suck every last molecule it can get from
the blood cells. Deprive the heart muscle of oxygen for a few minutes and it’s dead…forever. The only other organ with a similarly ravenous lust for oxygen
is the brain.
Knowing the heart’s voracious appetite for oxygen, you can see, I’m sure, why blocking the arteries that supply blood to the heart is a very bad thing.
Over the course of many, many hamburgers and fried fish sandwiches “plaque” or fatty goop collects in the walls of your arteries. It does not, as is commonly
believed form on the inside wall of your arteries. It collects between the layers that make up the walls of your arteries, sort of like a pimple grows
between layers of skin. At some point late in the cycle one of these “pimples” pops. This causes several problems.
First, all the goop that was formerly trapped in the “pimple” gets out and starts traveling downstream. As the goop moves along it eventually causes teensy
logjams as it reaches small blood vessels, causing them to be blocked. This usually doesn’t cause serious problems, but it certainly can if the logjam
blocks a large enough or an especially critical artery.
To understand the second problem you have to know a little about the way clotting works. The stuff that makes blood clots is a collection of several separate
components, collectively called platelets, that run around loose in the bloodstream looking for trouble. When they find trouble, they very quickly combine
together to build a sort of microscopic dam to plug the leak. What they look for is something that does not belong inside a blood vessel, like a piece
of a stick or some of the outside world. A damaged blood vessel wall also gives off some chemicals that clue the clotting mechanism in. When they find
these things, they start the process of building a dam that’s normally vitally important in that it stems the leaking tide of vital blood.
When the aforementioned “pimple” in the vessel wall breaks it exposes the inside of the fatty pocket to the flow of blood. This surface looks to the ever-suspicious
platelet like something that needs to be fixed. Eager to do a good job these tiny clot makers begin building their dam of life. Unfortunately in this instance
it’s a dam of death. (They meant well, really)
As the clot forms it slowly begins to block the artery and obstruct the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle. At this point the cardiac muscle down
stream from the blockage begins to die. This usually causes the owner of the heart in question to suddenly feel very poorly and begin to have some chest
Circulation from neighboring vessels can sometimes relieve some of the strain (called collateral circulation) and a person can live without as much as 30
percent of his or her heart muscle; though not terribly well. The most immediately pressing problem is that heart muscle has an attitude to start with
and being oxygen starved puts it in a very bad mood. This is very bad.
Cardiac muscle is the only type of muscle that has “automaticity”, the previously mentioned “attitude”. This means that left to its own devices heart muscle
cells will contract on their own, without asking anybody. This is sort of like your legs deciding on their own to go out for a stroll. Automaticity is
a protective measure that insures that even if the normal electrical system that controls the heart gets damaged or destroyed the heart will continue to
This system works very well as long as all the heart muscle cells can agree on when to fire and fire together, causing a coordinated contraction that actually
pumps some blood. The problem that arises during a heart attack is that the oxygen starved heart muscles become less and less attentive listeners and if
all goes horribly wrong, they begin contracting on their own without regard for the opinions of their neighbors. This results in an uncoordinated quivering
of the heart rather than any meaningful contraction.
At this point blood flow that was leaving the heart to supply the rest of the body, and not insignificantly, the heart itself, stops. This results in a
total loss of blood flow to an already beleaguered heart and if something doesn’t change very rapidly, a funeral.
The “everybody does their own thing” phase where cardiac muscle cells begin to contract independent of one another is called “fibrillation”. If at the onset
of fibrillation there happens to be a paramedic or other like minded individual near by who happens to have a defibrillator (that fancy machine you always
see people getting shocked with on TV) and that person happens to be paying attention to what’s going on, than this otherwise very serious turn of events
can be favorably altered. This is one of the paramedic’s best opportunities to look really cool.
What a defibrillator does is to pass a large quantity of electricity, say enough to run a large refrigerator, through the unsuspecting victim’s body. This
does two things. First, it hurts like hell. Second, it makes all the muscle cells in the victim’s heart contract at the same time. That it also makes every
other muscle in the victim’s body contract at the same time is a happy coincidence that makes for dramatic filmmaking. Once this contraction has passed
there is a possibility, maybe even a likelihood that the heart muscle cells will begin behaving themselves and the heart will begin to beat normally again.
This, when combined with some cool drugs and a bit of good luck will result in the return of a living, breathing, talking person from a corpse.
I wouldn’t say in the presence of an attorney that paramedics sometimes approach chest pain with a bit of nonchalance, but sometimes paramedics approach
chest pain with a bit of nonchalance. (You’re not an attorney, are you?) Once you’ve decided that the patient has cardiac or possibly cardiac chest pain
you break out your favorite chest pain recipe and start down the list. First a little of this, then one of those… Assuming the patient begins getting some
relief from the pain, which they nearly always do, the recipe remains the same. This you do two or three times a day, every day you work for years and
years. It’s hard not to get a little nonchalant. This is the story nonchalance derailed.
On a not very remarkable late summer morning my partner of the day Chuck and I were cruising the streets when we got a call for a 43-year-old with chest
pain. We arrived at an upper-middle class house and made our way to the back bedroom to find said 43 year-old sitting on the bed with his wife and two
daughters huddled around him. He said he’d been outside mowing the yard when he started having chest pain. This was not an at all unusual presentation
of chest pain, as yard work is a leading cause of chest pain. The gentleman in question looked pretty good so we put our new friend on the stretcher, wheeled
him to the ambulance and started down the recipe list. A few steps down in the recipe, which we cleverly call an algorithm to confuse people, I was required
to move a switch on the cardiac monitor so as to have a look at the heart in question from another angle. This allowed us to see if the heart muscle was
getting mad or not. The moment I switched it, the display became jumbled. This often happens when you take a piece of delicate instrumentation designed
to pick up a thousandth of a volt through two feet of flesh and bounce it down some pot-hole filled road. The jumbling is called artifact. Not to be undone
by a machine, I brilliantly turned the switched back to its original position. Much to my surprise and dismay the artifact was still there. In was perplexed
for a moment and then the answer hit me. V-fib…the monitor was thoughtfully displaying ventricular fibrillation. V-fib looks very much like a squiggly
line, which coincidentally is what most artifact looks like.
This new discovery had a detrimental effect on my being able to continue semi-mindlessly follow the recipe. The guy had had the nerve to up and die without
so much as a decent goodbye. This annoyed me some, and I decided that I could have none of it. Also I had thoughtfully reassured his family that everything
would be fine and it would be poor form, I thought, to show up at the hospital with dead patient. It was time, I thought, to do something cool.
I grabbed the paddles, selected 200 watt/seconds on the dial and zapped him. This could be really bad, I thought as I pushed the “fire” buttons. I’d be
really bummed if this guy died in the back of my ambulance. Possibly very uncool, I thought.
Just then, to my amazement, the gentleman took a very deep breath, opened his eyes and said, in a calm voice that his chest felt a bit better. My previous
reality shift had only started about five seconds before and this new shift left me reeling. He didn’t even know anything had happened. We talked a bit
(as I “nonchalantly” loaded him up with miracle drugs and did everything else I could think of to keep him from repeating his performance) and finished
our trip to the hospital without further adventure. As far as I know he never did find out that he’d died in my ambulance. He just stopped being dead.
I spent the rest of the day shaking my head in disbelief. I finally concluded that this defibrillation thing was very cool indeed. He stayed at the hospital
a few nights, had his coronary arteries cleaned out and went home to his yard work where I imagine he still is.
First, I’d like to say thanks to all those who have given me words of encouragement and said such sweet things during this difficult time. You truly make
it easier to bare. I am truly blessed and honored to know each and every one of you.
So, here’s what happened.
This morning, the head of the ER, Dr. Walker, called me to ask how I was doing and how satisfied I was with the way I was treated. I told him that I was
not pleased that there had been a “miscommunication” about whether or not I was to be given meds for pain. I told him that the nurse told me that the doctor
told him that I was to get steroids for pain and then, when those didn’t work, the doc said he couldn’t give me anything else due to my blood pressure
being low. I explained that this was odd to me, since my blood pressure had only been taken one time, at triage, and it was not low. Then, I told him about
the nurse saying, “You didn’t look like you were in much pain to me…”
So, he says he’ll send the complaint up the line to admin, and if I need anything, come on back.
Things got so bad about 2:00 I decided to go in. This time, it was a completely different scenario.
I was immediately taken into triage, my vitals taken and immediately put into a room. The doctor came in, and by this time, I was in so much pain I was
barely conscious. The doctor talks to me and reviews what happened last night. I asked him, in a rather slurred voice, “Dr., what exactly is “a Lupus thing?”
He just laughed and said he didn’t know.
I want a T-Shirt that says, “I have a Lupus thing.” 🙂
He told Rod that I looked like I was in severe pain and he’d give me something for it. He also took more blood and ran labs, stat. One…two…three…
shots of a Dilaudid/Morphine/Valium/Compazine cocktail and I am feeling no pain!
And what do you know… I have an infection of the blood. He gave me IV antibiotics and a script for injectable antibiotics and sent me home… He told
me if my pain got bad again to come on back and I won’t even have to go through Triage… I can live with that.
I hope everyone is having a less-pain day.
I love you all.
Ok, for the past four days I’ve had a temp ranging from between 99.6 and 102 and my pain has been worse than normal. When my fever stayed at 102 for about
half the day, and when my pain spiraled out of control on Monday afternoon, my partner Rod, also a medic like me, and the reason I get up in the morning,
encouraged me to go to ER and get checked out… Here’s what happened… Nightmare on Dodge Street.
Well, I hope this makes sense, as I’m a little bit sedated, no thanks to the damn ER staff.
Here’s what happen. We get there and get me right in to triage. Now I know, being a medic, that I’m gonna have to wait a while. No biggy, we’ll
wait as long as I get treated. So we go into triage and they take my vitals. BP was 130 over 87. Pulse was 124. Oxygen saturation was 99. Temp was 102.
Now, the BP is a little high for me, the pulse about normal when my pain is bad or when I’m anxious, and I was both in bad pain and very anxious…
So, they tell us we’ll have to wait in the waiting room till a bed opens up… So, we wait.
The longer we wait, the more Rod can see that I’m in real pain. Finally we get in a room. The doc comes in and says he wants to order some labs. I say,
“I think this is a Lupus flare and I want some steroids.” Doc says, “No problem, I’ll give you your ‘roids, something for pain and something for
We think…Finally, I’m gonna get some relief. Well, that wasn’t to be. The nurse comes in and Rod asks what he’s giving me. He says, “Well, I’m going
to start an IV take some blood and give him Iso, (a steroid), and something for nausea. “Aren’t you going to give me anything for pain?” I asked. “Oh,
the steroids are what you’re getting for pain.”
Well, Rod and I look at each other in disbelief. So, they stick me about fifty times, I lost count at 21, and finally, I say, “Just give me the damn
needle” and do it myself. They give me my meds and we wait and wait and wait some more.
I then turn and say to Rod, “Rod, I’m in so much pain, I think I’m going to black out.” So Rod flag down the doctor and rather scathingly ask when these
steroids are suppose to start relieving my pain… He says in a few minutes. Then, he proceeds to tell me that even if they don’t work, he can’t give
me anything for pain since my BP was 98 over 57. Now, I want to know just how that can be since I only had my BP taken once and I know what it was…
They ask me if I will take a drug test and I say, “Sure.” They do the drug screen and then finally, after I was literally hanging onto consciousness
by the thinnest of threads, come in and give me a teeny weeny bit of morphine which only barely took the edge off and I wouldn’t even go that far…
They get around to discharging us and give me my scripts. A pred pack, a med for nausea and Norco… I was in so much pain once I got out to the
car that I passed out. Rod dosed me up on morphine from the drug box we carry on our ambulance, regulations be damned, Harry our director said he could,
and now I’m at home and I’m going to try to
eat, but I might not as I don’t have much of an appetite.
When I asked just what was causing my fever, I was told it was “a Lupus thing”. Guys and gals, what is “a Lupus thing”? I think I missed that one in paramedic
So… That’s how it went. I had good reason to be anxious.
Time really flies, eh? I can’t believe it. I really can’t believe it. Eight days till my med change. I can’t wait! I really, really can’t wait!
I’ve been working and playing hard, and time just seems to get ahead of me. Hey, what can I say? I sure don’t mind. 🙂
Rod made brownies. Guess I’ll have to go eat ’em.
I was called to the scene of a homicide today. Of course, it was too late for the young girl for us to be of help… I had to write. Here’s what I wrote based on that experience. You may not think it’s good, but it is helping me deal with a senseless tragedy.
Ponderings of Immoral
A young and troubled Daddy’s Girl,
Consumed by things long past.
Living in an adult world,
Just how long can this last?
Grown up well before her time,
Her innocence in tatters.
Losing all the reason, rhyme,
Hearts, like glass, she shatters.
Longing to be free of chains
As yet still unbroken.
She Meets her doom in dark of night,
And not a word is spoken.
He takes her life, he does not care
He says it is for love.
And while she is dying there,
Her past floating up above.
He mocks her with a cruel laugh.
To him, it’s just a game.
And then she dies in a pool of blood,
Her past a candle flame.
That flickers twice and dares go out.
Only to be lit once more.
Beyond the shadow of a doubt
With a tapping on a door.
A policeman stands there, hat in hand.
What bad news does he bring?
For salt on open wounds and bitterness,
Will smart, and hurt and sting.
Her mother’s face, so wracked in grief,
Her friends all stunned, in silence.
How did a girl who was so sweet
Get mixed up in this violence?
Her mother wails and cries,
“Dear me, what have I done!
Why did my daughter have to face
Down the barrel of a gun?
A wayward teen, A troubled soul.
A sadness in her mother’s heart.
“I tried to tame her, and lost control,
Now my world is torn apart.”
“We’d all love to see justice done,
wouldn’t you agree?
But justice done won’t change the past,
Or bring her back to me.”
I think I can… I think I can… I think I can… I think I can…
I know I can… I know I can… I know I can… I know I can…
Thoughts are racing through my mind today about getting through the next twelve days. I know I will get through it, even if it is hard. Is that thunder I hear outside? With the rain comes relief… Cleansing, blessed, sweet relief. God, is that rain? Just a little rain? Just for a while… Pleeeease…
I suppose this is what you call free association… Just writing down whatever’s in your head. That’s about my style today. I’m thinking of posting some poetry… My friend Ruairí has some great stuff on his blog. All poems I really love… I might do that… Or, I might continue to play my new game… It’s called Claudio-1, and it’s a hacking game. Really complicated, but lots of fun…
The day’s been slow… A lot of transports and not much real action. Probably for the best, given my mood… Ok, I’ll stop rambling.
Ok, for just a minute, I’m going to write about Rod… My partner, both on the job and off. Yeah, I know I risk his wrath by writing this, but that’s ok… At least I’m alive to see it. Rod keeps me going. He makes the world ok when I just want to give up. On days like today, when I feel that nothing in this world has any purpose, any reason, any hope, Rod is there to remind me just how wrong I am… I don’t often like being wrong.
It’s been a stressful day so far, and my pain is sky high. Stupid ass me forgot to put my meds in my pack before coming into work, so I had to saunter into work…Medless. Not good. Of course, after working on a 17-year-old girl for an hour and being unable to save her, my pain level is sky high.
I’m sitting here, working on paperwork, when Rod comes over to me and puts his hand on the back of my neck. I can see the worry in his eyes.
“You’re not ok,” he says.
“Not really,” I reply.
He leaves for a second and then is back with a syringe. Following close on his heels is Harry, our director.
“Here, this should help,” Rod says, handing me the syringe.
“What is it?” I ask dubiously, thinking it will be toradol or some other anti-inflammatory agent that does me no good.
“Morphine,” Rod says.
“Yes, Rod here dropped a vial,” Harry said, an impish smile on his face.
“I did not!”
“Yes you did,” Harry replied, looking Rod right in the eye.
“I got it! Rod, you clumpsy fool… You dropped a vial.” I slip the needle into my upper arm and wait…
Rod really should be more careful, and I should remember my meds.
One of the interesting things about the ambulance business is its unpredictability. You just never know what’s going to happen from one minute to the next.
On this hot, sunny day my partner and I were cruising the magazine racks, wasting time until it was time to go to our next street corner when we got a
call for a gentleman who’d twisted his ankle while playing basketball.
We set down our magazines and rushed to the aid of this unfortunate soul. The call was scant blocks from us and we arrived very quickly. So quickly,
in fact, that we were puzzled to discover that at least four police cars had arrived before us. This gave us some pause, but not much, as there was a basketball
goal outside the house in question, and a friendly policeman was waving us over. Maybe the cops were shooting some hoops on their lunch break, I thought.
We grabbed some ace wraps and a roll of tape, and made our way into the house.
What we found inside was, well, something of a surprise. Standing in the kitchen of a quaint suburban home were three police officers, two holding
pistols, and one with a shotgun. They were pointing these implements rather seriously at something. We followed their pointed muzzles and found a young
fellow slumped against the doorframe between the quaint little kitchen and the quaint little dining room. He was more pale than anyone I’ve ever seen,
mouth agape, looking straight ahead. This was not turning out, I thought, to be your typical ankle injury.
“What happened?” I asked. The policemen were silent for a moment, then one said…”he got shot”. Suddenly everything was clear. This guy had been
shot in the chest and I was standing there with an ace wrap in my hand. “I’ll be right back.” Rod said. I nodded. He was going after all of our
equipment. As he was leaving the fire department medics strolled in, expecting an ankle injury, and had the same sudden shock I’d just had. “Let’s get
him on the floor.” one said. Sounded good. We carefully lowered him to the floor and by the time Rod returned with our gear we were all in the right
frame of mind. I remember thinking, “Jeez, two minutes ago I was reading People magazine at a grocery store” as I slipped the anti-shock trousers on the
Half an hour later he was dead from his wounds. He had, it seems, been burglarizing the quaint little house when a neighbor noticed a screen ajar
and called the police. The police came into the house through the kitchen door to find our young man running full speed across the dining room toward
them with a large knife in each hand. They had no choice but to shoot him.
As we were getting the shock of our lives, another ambulance sat across town, waiting for the police to tell them the scene of a shooting was safe
so they could go in. At the same time a confused, mildly injured basketball player sat on the ground wondering where the heck the ambulance he’d call had
got off to. The calls had accidently been reversed somewhere in the 911 system. You never know what’s coming next!
Jeff, my first steady partner
My first real job as a paramedic was in Travis County, Texas. I drove there on a rumor that someone there needed Paramedics and was willing to actually pay for
them. I drove around for a while until I spotted an ambulance parked at a convenience store and promptly grilled the cornered crew about where I might
find gainful employment. They gave me some rudimentary directions and before I knew it I was hired. My only problem was that I didn’t actually know where
I was going or, for that matter what the hell I was doing. This made life very interesting for me and untold unsuspecting paramedics for months to come.
Things usually went something like this:
Unsuspecting Medic: “Okay Dodge, I’ve pretty much got the bleeding stopped, lets go lights and sirens to Memorial Hospital”
Dodge: “Okay, great dude. Which way was that one again?”
Unsuspecting Medic: “Come again.”
Dodge: The hospital, Memorial, did you say? How do I get there from here?”
Unsuspecting Medic: curses under his breath, leans backward, an IV bag in his mouth, trying to maintain pressure on some gushing arterial bleed…”Take
a left at the stop sign…”
Needless to say, my initial attempts to acquire a regular partner were less than fruitful. Then, one day an interesting fellow came along. He had been,
at the time, a Paramedic for fifteen years or so and had just moved from Arizona. Being from out of state, his familiarity with the area was as full of
holes as mine. This bothered him not one bit. As it turned out, nothing bothered him at all, ever, as far as I could tell. Future exchanges went more like
Dodge: “Hey Jeff, the enraged homicidal maniac that shot your patient is coming to the back door of the ambulance to finish the job.
Jeff: looks up from starting an IV “Okay, cool” The perpitrator opens the door, blood in his eyes. Jeff says a few words I can’t hear. The guy nods his
head, waves goodbye and steps out of the truck, politely closing the door on the way out. Jeff sits back down and continues taping his IV down. “Okay, Dodge,
I’m ready to go when you are”
Dodge: Where was that hospital again?”
Jeff: “Dunno, maps in the console, take your time.”
He was present when Rod and I committed to each other.
Jeff and I were partners for a very brief six months. During this time I think I learned more about the practice of medicine than I did in the ensuing decade.
Jeff now flies the world in a learjet, picking up wayward Americans who’ve traveled abroad and fallen sick and transporting them back to the states. He
routinely transports patients who are hanging onto life by the thinnest of threads across the Atlantic Ocean, ten hours, just him, another medic and a
bag of supplies, and I’d bet he never blinks an eye.
Well, I made it through most of another day. And this is good. Thank God, I didn’t have to work today. I couldn’t have handled it. No way in hell. I was in too much pain. Hell, I still am. I’m holding steady though, and feeling a certain sense of optimism, but at the same time, a pervasive discontent.
I bought four new books to read… All crime fiction. At least I have something to pass the time. I’ll review them here when I’m done.
I wish I could just skip two weeks of my life… Just for once. Since I can’t, I’ll try to keep going, always moving forward… And countaing…
As I mentioned, I take opioids. They keep me functional, and sane… Golly, haven’t I said that before as well? Doctor Dumb Shit, as I call him, (my pain doc), decided to try me on a new maintenance med. Now, I take three maintenance meds and four breakthrough pain meds… Well, he substituted one med for another and said we’d change back if I was not satisfied. Well, I ain’t. I want my old med back. I have notified him and he says when I am due for another prescription on the 19th, he will give me my old med back! Thank God for small mercies. So, I have been trying to get through the interval in a variety of ways… My other meds just can’t keep up and I’m in severe pain.
I thought about crushing the beads in the time-release medication, to release the med all at once. I know that when I have been in the hospital and received this med by injection, it works! So, it’s got to be this particular time-release formulation. But, you see, ignorance is never bliss. I am a paramedic, and as a good paramedic, I know that releasing the time-release action would thereby put all the med in my system at once. Not a bad thing with a small dose, but my doses are *not* small… Anything but small. So, I resist the temptation!
I started counting down on the 1st. I’ve gotten myself through the first and now the second, and a good bit through the 3rd, and I feel good about it… It’s certainly not easy, being in severe pain and not having the right medications to take for it, but, as one of my partners tell me, “Dodge, you survived a car accident at 16, and a fire that should have killed you. It will be tough, you will feel like dying, but you can and will survive.”
I know he’s right. I know that, and that’s what keeps me going.
Thanks Jeff for keeping it real! You’re a good man.
Blogging and playing music helps, too. So does spending money. 🙂
It’s 107 here today… Supposed to be this hot all week… Bad for the pain…
Well, I’ll close for now… I’ll close and continue to count down the days…
Blood, Sweat and Bone: One medic’s story.
“That’s weird”, said Hal, my partner and pilot, “they just scrambled us and told us to crank up and stay where we are.” I jumped up off the couch, leaving
“The Simpsons” to their own devices and grabbed my flight helmet on the way out the door. I’d been a flight medic for the XXXXXXXXX county sheriff’s department
for only a few months and had learned that on this job you had two speeds, endless tedium and full speed ahead. We’d just switched gears.
We made our way to our helicopter, a military surplus UH-1H “Huey” helicopter much like the gunships of Vietnam, untying and unplugging this and that as
we went, preparing for take-off. The universal prayer of pilots, paramedics and other likewise employed people everywhere came into my head. “Dear lord,
please don’t let me screw up.” As I finished belting myself in the pilot’s words came back to me. “That is weird”, I thought, “Why didn’t they give us
a place to fly to?” Just then I got my answer. One of our ambulances came screaming down the ramp, lights blaring in the dark, headed right for us. “Oh,
hell”, I thought, there coming to us. This meant that I had to very quickly unbelt, disconnect and get out of the helicopter.
Seconds later I opened the back door of the ambulance, heart pounding, anxious beyond belief even after a decade on the streets. Inside was a flurry of
activity, four or five paramedics and EMT’s from the fire department and local ambulance service were sweating, stretching to reach in, talking in short,
hushed sentences over our patient. She looked young, maybe 21, obviously unconscious, a paramedic breathing for her with an ambu bag. He had just, I could
tell from the equipment scattered around him, intubated her. “Her compliance is bad”, said Todd, the medic rhythmically squeezing the bag. He was having
trouble getting air in, not a good sign. I stepped up into the ambulance and took off my helmet. “What’s the story?” I asked. One of the fire-fighters
piped up; “She was in a small car, just up the road. She went off the road, hit some kind of heavy equipment. They’re working on the road. Don’t think
she had a seatbelt on. We found her in the passenger seat; her clothes were ripped mostly off by the impact. Lots of passenger space invasion got the windshield.
She was unconscious when we got there. BP was 70 palp, heart rate’s in the 140’s. I have a driver’s license, her name’s Jamie.
“Jamie…is dying.” I thought. “What do her lungs sound like?” I asked. Another medic put his stethoscope in his ears and leaned over her. “Diminished on
the right, a little gurgly all over”. I turned to ask one of the medics for a needle decompression kit and she was holding it out for me. We all knew where
we were. Something, probably the jagged end of one of Jamie’s newly fractured ribs, had pushed through her tender lung and the hole it created was letting
air from her lungs into her chest cavity. This balloon of air, called a tension pneumothorax, had probably mostly compressed her right lung, and in short
order would push hard enough to kink closed the great vessels in her chest where they went through her diaphragm. If this happened Jamie’s blood would
stop circulating, and she would die. There was only one thing to do, pop the balloon.
I opened the kit, pulled out the needle, antiseptic solution and scalpel. “Please lord…” I thought again. I Put my right hand on the center of her chest,
found my landmark, “One, Two, second space” I recited. I took the scalpel and made a tiny slit so the very large needle could go through Jamie’s skin unencumbered,
then placed the tip of the needle at the slit and applied steady pressure. There was a pop, and the needle began to slide in more easily. I was in. There
was no air rush, every book I’ve ever read on the subject says there’s supposed to be a whoosh of air, but I knew from doing it half a dozen times already
that sometimes there was no whoosh. I waited anxiously. If there was blood rather than air in Jamie’s chest, her chances were near zero.
I thought for a minute about Jamie’s mother, her boyfriend, her best friend in high school. They were all sleeping now, probably, and didn’t know that Jamie’s
life, and theirs from this day forward, hung at this very moment on a breath, by the thinnest of threads. “Please Lord…” No blood….okay. I attached
a flutter valve to the needle’s hub to let air out, but keep it from going in, and taped it down. “Lets go”, I said. Jamie’s second problem, as if the
airway problem wasn’t enough, was that she was bleeding to death. A person can survive losing roughly half of their blood volume, but no more. Jamie, I
could tell from her vitals, had already lost nearly a quarter, and her accident had happened barely ten minutes ago.
I knew from experience that the only thing that could keep Jamie alive now was surgery, and that I couldn’t do for her. We needed to be in the air.
A very long minute later we had disentangled the wires and tubes that bound Jamie to the ambulance and transferred her into the helicopter. Julie, a fire-rescue
paramedic, accompanied us. People ask me all the time how I can deal with seeing blood and guts, and my answer is always the same. When there’s blood around
I’m usually much too preoccupied to think about how I feel. Jamie needed another IV; I needed to re-check her lungs, I was supposed to restrain her arms
and legs so she couldn’t pose a danger to the pilots and three hundred other things that all needed to be done at once. We were in the air, which meant
I had 15 minutes at best to do all of this.
Julie and I began almost automatically to work on the more important of these tasks. She began setting up an IV and I tried to get an idea about how her
breathing was going. This is a simple task on the ground; a careful listen to her lungs with a stethoscope and you learned volumes. In the air, under a
helmet, two feet away from a 1400 horsepower jet engine running at full speed, lung sounds were impossible. I studied her chest expansion and skin color,
and was reaching for an oxygen saturation monitor when it hit me…right in the lip. It took me a second to realize what had happened. It was Jamie. She
was waking up, cold, scared, and confused. I smiled, my lip growing larger as I did. “Nice right hook”, I thought. Jamie, who until now had been passive
in the battle for her life had just picked up a rifle and joined the fight. Restraints, I thought, had just moved considerably higher on the to-do list.
It seemed like scant seconds before we were on the roof of the hospital. A short elevator ride and we brought Jamie into a trauma room alive with nurses,
doctors and screaming machines, all anxious for Jamie’s attention. The blood Jamie so badly needed hung, waiting. The surgeon, visibly impatient, was already
trying to hurry her to a waiting surgery suite. She was awake now, fear and confusion in her eyes. Julie and I kneeled in the hall way amongst our discarded
equipment, our clothes soaked with sweat, blood smeared on our gloves. We looked at each other and smiled. She was going to live past her twenty-first year
because today…we didn’t screw up.
So… Just who is Dodge, anyway?
Yes, you read that right. My name is Dodge. No, it’s not a nickname. That is the name I was born with. Now, in deference to my greatness, please make no references to Dodge trucks, Dodge Kansas or “Getting the hell out of Dodge”. 🙂
I am a Law Enforcement ranger in America’s National Parks. When I’m not doing that, I am a firefighter with an emphasis on wildland, forest and brush fires. I am also a paramedic, and work on an ambulance and on a helicopter as a flight medic.
Two years ago, almost three now, I was burned badly during a wildland fire gone wrong. I won’t go into what happened that day, it’s just too painful, but I will say that I was burned with 4th and 5th degree burns, (yes, there are such things), over about 85% of my body. At first, my doctors said my burns were 3rd degree. They then revised that to 4th and 5th degree because my organs and bones were burned. Can anyone say crispy?
I have to have a sense of humor about all this, because if I didn’t, I’d be suicidal… So, I do. That’s that.
I am in my early 30’s, in a long-term relationship, (yeah, I’m gay, so what’s it to ya?), and likely to stay that way for quite a while. I am sensitive, compassionate, in tune with nature, serious yet possessing an often dark sense of humor that people either really love or really hate. I believe in kindness, compassion and treating others the same way you would like to be treated. I believe in dignity in medical care and in people living to their fullest, no matter what disabilities or diseases they have, because everybody’s got one. I believe in guns, because guns don’t kill people, people kill people. I believe in the death penalty, in tougher sentences for criminals, and in mental health testing for our police and corrections officers.
I am a gun owner, a vehicle owner, a dog owner, a horse owner and a boat owner. I am an avid player of video games, especially anything where I can drive fast or shoot bad guys. 🙂
I am involved in Search and Rescue with my German Shepherd, Ricco.
Because of my burns and autoimmune diseases doctors believe I acquired in the fire, I am in severe chronic pain, for which I take opioids. You’ll notice I talk about them a lot. They keep me functional, and sane, which is a good thing.
I am Dodge… Uncompromising, aggressive at my work, kind to those I meet, willing to help when I can and hurt when I must, serious about what interests me and about having fun, glad and lucky to be alive, and truly, truly blessed to serve in law enforcement and E.M.S!