19 December 2006

The Next Generation

19 December 2006

"The Next Generation"


This is Lauren.  She is the daughter of a life long friend of mine who came to visit me at work the other night.

I thought that this picture was more than adorable, it helps me keep in perspective just how great life can be.

Lauren is working to fix Mr. Snowman here and I have to say that I had a wonderful time with my new adoptive niece (she calls me Uncle Mike).

So, for all of you out there, I hope you can appreciate this shot like I do and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

The second part of the last entry will be forthcoming soon.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


16 December 2006

And The Plot Thickens

16 December 2006

"And The Plot Thickens"

Murphy's Law

the facetious proposition that if something can go wrong, it will.
Also called Murphy's First Law.

[Origin: Americanism; after a fictitious Murphy, allegedly the name of a bungling mechanic in U.S. Navy educational cartoons of the 1950s]
Oh yeah....he's back.
2030 Hours
Only Thirty-Five more hours to go!!!!!
Yep, you heard it right, sports fans. Yours truly has embarked on yet another journey of debauchery, madness, and mayhem in the dubious form of yet another grueling forty-eight hour shift.  Here to act upon the call to duty for those who are in need, for those who are troubled, for those who need a lending hand.  With one activation of the emergency signal, it is I who will come to your beckoned call in order to restore some balance in your life. It will be me who arrives to disipate the pain and anguish that may have overwhelmed you medically. It is I, who has come to help.   If you hear my distinct sirens off over the horizion, do not be afraid, for it is I who is coming....to rescue you.
Okay, turn off the damn music!
Pfft...who're we kidding.   They're all screwed.
Yes folks, it's a crap shoot.  Like playing Roulette.
   Place your bets......
C'mon, you know me. I am sympathetic to your needs, unless you did something really stupid...then it is just plain funny. Sorry...serious here.
Fortunate for me (Famous last words), Darnell came in at 1900 (7:00 PM for all those militarily challenged) which meant only one thing...
I didn't have to be in the back.....WOO HOO!!!!!
Yes, my little Darnell had went and got herself her paramedic card which is nice because since January, I have done every call that we went out on with the exception of maybe 3.  One gets a little tired of watching the world go by while sitting backwards in a fiberglass shell.  But it does make for some interesting stories (hence the blog).
My job....well, all I have to do is drive Ms. Daisy around.  I's think I be able to handle that.
Getting ready for the evening, I began to do some chores around the station.  Placing my mp3 player on, I went into the utility room to put some laundry in the washer. (Yes ladies, I can do laundry and I know to separate colors too).  Jamming to the tunes that resonated from my headphones, a distinct sound prioritorized my thought process taking precedence over the melodic tunes entering my sub-conscious entertaining my brain.
It was the bells of the emergency phone. 
Time to kick the tires and light the fires. (I didn't say that, Jimmy did in Independence Day).
  Yeah...there they are.
Running back to the bunks, I switched out my slippers (yeah, so, I have slippers) for my boots, grabbed my coat, and headed on our way illuminating the night sky with red and white strobes while piercing the calm of the country manner with our distinct siren tones as we literally drove off into the sunset.
Oh yeah, the song on my MP3player...."There Goes My Hero" By the Foo Fighters.
So, here we are. Off to the High School for a female who seems to have or had passed out while performing at her choir concert.  All I can say is that must have been one hell of a note she hit.
Pulling into the school parking lot, I noticed the unbelieveable amount of people who were scattering to their cars like they were leaving a bad party that hadn't really started yet.  Scanning the mob a little more, my gaze locked onto a set of flailing hands waving frantically in the air as if to say "over here". Attached to those hands were a small body who reminded me of a NASCAR vehicle coming around turn four at Daytona during the final lap at the big race...only to finish last.  You know it is pointless, but you have to give them an "A" for effort. God, I hope she doesn't fall.
Pulling around to the doors that I needed to, I parked the truck and instucted Darnell to throw everything on the cot and we would wheel it in like that. I mean, why make things harder. (this is called preceptive foreshadowing here).
Down a hall, a couple of turns, and up some stairs, we were at the beginning of a maze of curtains and particians that made the stage seem endless and cauldroness.  After unwielding myself out of the faded black velvet fabric of the curtains, I focused on a group of people surrounding a young soprano
 NO...Not THESE Sopranos....
 THIS kind.
A Young seventeen year old student laid there on her back in some considerable pain with something obviously going on with her as her answers to basic questions were correct, but yet delayed.  According to her mother, who stood vigil by her side, she stated that this was the second time in as many weeks that this had happened and that she was already seeing a specialist for an unknown diagonsis as to what is causing this to happen.  Handing Darnell the sphygnamometer (this is the medical term for a blood pressure cuff..see, you learned something), we got some quick vitals on the young chanteuse and I hooked her up to the monitor to get a quick looksy as to what was happening with her pump.
Reviewing what I had found, I was beginning to get that distain look on my face not really liking what I was finding. 
I decided to perform the Cincinnati Stroke Test (You can Google this one yourself), I found that her left side was comparibly weaker than her right.  This I didn't like...at any age.
Okay, now it was time to grab and go. I didn't want to play around anymore here on scene and if in the event it WAS or IS a stroke, then time is of the essence.  You see, here is where I run into a medical dillema.  Once a stroke starts, the clock starts.  We, as EMS personnel, have 180 minutes to get them to definative care so that the medical team can give Fibrinolytics (another word for you to look up...yes, there is homework). 
THAT was not the problem.  She had the neuro deficit and she would be to a hospital well within the 3 hour clock. The only thing working against her? 
Her age. (give yourself 3 points if you got that)
The minimum age is 18. She was only 17.  So the overall medical approach would have to be different.  How does that affect me in the field?
Well, it doesn't (ha, tricked you).  I still will treat my patients the same.
Now, it was time to load and go. 
Here my friends is why you keep coming back.....
Turning to go get our cot, Speed Racer reappeared out of breath and white as a ghost.
Looking at her, she was already beginning to annoy me, but I could tell she wanted to say something.
"What's the matter, girl, did Timmy fall in the well?"
No, I didn't say that....but I wanted tol.
"You have to come quick!" She managed to get out.
I really don't HAVE to do anything..I was already here.
"Why, what's going on, and breathe already. The last thing I need is you passing out."
That I DID say.
"Someone in the parking lot is having chest pains and is close to passing out." She mustered in one long, deep breath.
Now...let's review something really quick here....
In the country...two medics....two calls....one ambulance......
God I hate Muprhy.
To Be Continued......
Rounding Third and Heading Home,

11 December 2006

Going Global, Baby

11 December 2006

"Going Global, Baby"

I have to say, that when you write a blog entry, it is nice to get a little noteriety with it knowing that people are actually reading the stuff that you put down.   I didn't think one of my entries that I wrote would ever go this big though..lol

My "12 Days of Christmas - EMS style" seems to have taken a life of its own and is all over cyberspace in the EMS and even Non EMS community.    The funny thing about it all (even though I reposted it a couple of weeks ago) is that I wrote that two years prior to this date...I guess the entry is like a fine wine and needs to age.

If you type "12 days of christmas - ems style" in google, you will see my entry pop up all over the place.  I think this is kinda cool.

I do have one request that you can help me with. I took a lot of pride in writing this as I do with all my entries, and it isn't the fact that I am conceded or self serving, but if someone else DOES try to take the credit for this entry, please set them straight and tell them the truth.

You can go into my archives in December 2004 and see this entry as I wrote it wayyyy back when.

On that note, I would love to thank all of you who have come and read my blog and I will continue to write more as to my expiriences out in the real world.

Have a safe holiday...

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


06 December 2006

Ground Rules

05 December 2006

"Ground Rules"

Okay, it is now winter time. I can't say officially because the calendar still recognizes it as late autumn (has to be VERY late).

Anyways, there are some ground rules that I would like to set out to you all.  There are certain "rules" that I would like to express to all my readers out there in blogging land to help make it easier for EMS and safer for you all.

Keep in mind that these are based on those who, like me, have that fun little morphed precipitation called snow. For those of you who are fortunate enough to have  sunshine all year round and warm weather whenever you want it, you may have to adjust these rules some, but there is no doubt in my mind that you will get creative.

Okay, set your printers for "print"...here we go.

10.  Make sure your walk is shoveled.  People, I know that the distance from the street to your front door may be that of a stone's throw and you can literally walk out your door and get your mail out of the on-street box, but I have to tell you how things work.  No matter HOW close to the street you are, there will ALWAYS be some small mountain of snow that we have to trudge through.  Now, being knee deep in the frozen tundra is something that I can adapt to, after all, I DO get the discovery channel, but here is a little oversight that you all may have overlooked.  The cot that we bring in to tote you away, is NOT four-wheel drive.  Have you seen those strong men competitions where the guy is pulling the bus with just his weight....well, it is something like that.  I have no qualms with going sledding, but let's do it with a sled.

9.  Place your weapons on safety. Snow is fun for the most part.  It really can create an enviornment where the possibilities are endless...and it makes for a great secondary refrigerator if your appliance ever breaks down.  And, yes (for all you Star Wars faithful) it makes a great re-enactment for the Hoth world...

 This is Ohio in the winter....

This is Hoth...see what I mean.

The only difference is....Hoth has Giant Laser cannons.

Which brings me to my next point...

Snowball fighting is great fun. It really,truly is. But, for God's sake, watch what you are packing your snow with.   Sure, I bet it will bring you TONS of laughs to see little Billy go down after you tagged him square in the face with a snowball that you laced with some sort of stone, knocking him to the ground, and causing the snow around him to look like velvet curtains from the 70's (you all remember those...I know you do). Now Billy has to go take a 300 dollar taxi ride (taxi, cab, squad...the only difference is the we go around traffic legally). His Christmas gift is those 9 stitches that you induced below his left eye.   Yeah, he will look like a pirate for a few days with the eye patch he now has to wear, but it was well worth the laugh, right? I will tell you what, let me come and swing a golf club at your mid-section and we will call it even.  Remember kids when it comes to making snow balls, rake the ground before you take them down.

8. The thing called The Weather Channel.    Okay..look down..



See the pink doppler echos..that is what we call Accumulating snow.  What does that mean?  It means that you don't wait until that echo is right over your house to start shovelling your driveway because you don't want your car to get snowed in that you will need for work in like 18 hours. Or the fact that all of a sudden you remembered you need to go to the store in the beginning of the mother of all blizzards because you forgot to get cigarettes for tomorrow.  Why is this important? Well, here it is for you. Pink is snow, with snow, there is a temperature drop, when the temperature drops, things freeze, when you are outside, YOU freeze, when you freeze, you get frostbite, when you get frostbite, the tissues in your body turn black, when they turn black, you have to go to the hospital, and most likely, a doctor gets to use a medical version of Black and Decker on you toes so that you don't get infection and die.

Keep an eye on the weather so you don't get caught out in it.

7.  MMMmmm...Fruitcake!!!!  This is an easy one folks.  Fruitcake may be enjoyable (to whom I don't know), you may like it with your favorite tasty beverage, sitting by the fire, listening to Bing Crosby chime away on the stereo.  You take a great big bite of the multi colored....whatever it is, and swallow the goodness (because you can't throw it back up). Suddenly, it sure is really getting harder to breathe.  As your friends think you are playing some form of charades, you begin to get really light headed and pass out because your once fruit flavored goodness has sent you into a coma. Why???  Because there are nuts in the fruitcake and you happen to forget that allergy that you had.  Now I get to interupt your private time, stick you with a couple of needles and if you are more than fortunate, put the most uncomfortable piece of plastic tubing down your throat to help you breathe a little better.   You can thank your Aunt Betty for the cake after you get off the ventilator.

6.  Ice May Be on Bridge.  Yep...it will be.  I 100% guaruntee that while you are crossing the bridge, the idiot on your left will remember that he needed to make a right turn in 100 feet and cut you off because he is way too busy to get off his or her damn cell phone to actually look to see if you are right there and are most likely driving a car that didn't have the turn signal option installed.  You brake, the car doesn't. Next thing you know, you have me tapping on your window while standing in the middle of the median with cars whizzing by me at over 50 MPH creating a wind tunnel of sub zero air that even NASA can't replicate wondering if your car is actually on fire or if that is still the powder from the airbag that deployed in your once full sized car that now is the size of an 84 Escort....

 (Yeah..remember these)

Don't worry about the other girl...she's fine...her cell phone still works.

5.  Remember where you parked. Why do I say this? Because it never fails that someone ALWAYS forgets where it is that they left their chariot and will spend a good portion of the evening trying to retrieve their automobile. So, now, you are walking on the ground that is unfamiliar to you as to when you walked up to the store. You turn to look for some sort of sign and you get it...the license plate of the car right in front of you staring at you as if it were mocking you...because you slipped on the ice and fell straight on your ass.  Now, besides the twisting of your ankle and the shooting pain that it causes, the only other thing that is affected is your pride. Be that as it may, you now are fortunate enough to get baby sat by mall security while you wait for me to manuver through the endless rows of traffic and idiots who don't know that the big white truck, with all those lights means DON'T MOVE, I AM COMING AROUND.  So there you are, getting watched over by a pizza faced rent a cop who has as much first aid training as any third grader might have telling you not to move (which you already aren't doing) because help is on the way. (Thanks Genius). But hey, he got to turn on his pretty yellow lights and also gets to talk into his big, outdated radio.

 There he is....wave to him.

Don't Worry...I will be right there.

4. The Youth of America. Look, this is the easiest thing in the world. You KNOW that some kid is going to come to your door and ask if you want your driveway shoveled.  Here is my advice. Let him do it...So it cost you 10 bucks, you get to stay inside and drink hot cocoa while the next generation of young Americans provide cheap labor and learn the value of the almighty dollar.   See, here is what is going to happen.  You will go out there and think, "I can save a buck or two and do this myself.". You grab your trusty snow shovel and begin trailblazin' to the end of the driveway.  This is no sweat...you got this....but did you forget to let on to your back that you "have this". Now you are standing bent over looking like Quasi Moto

 Yeah him....

bent over in pain because your back just went out.  Sucks that you can't move doesn't it.  Not to mention the fact that it has started to snow and you are without yoru cell phone to call me to come rescue you.  When I finally DO get there, it is like an all out chore to get you on the cot and in a position of comfort to take you to the hospital so you can get some really good drugs to make you feel better....so you can go out and do it all over again.

For those of you with the snow blowers....there is always one moron who will put their hand in the discharge chute to clear the compacted snow....Hope you can write left handed.

And for those who get their driveway plowed......have them come anddo mine when they are done.

3. Deck the Halls...  Christmas. That wonderful and festive time where people go all out to decorate their abodes to celebrate the holiday season.  Whether it is finding the right tree to making the perfect cookie, people love to go all out.  This includes putting the lights on the house.  Okay, even I love to go out and make my house look great for the holidays, but here is something I don't do...I don't string the lights up alone.   Guys....I know it is a macho-ego thing to place the lights on the house while the little misses stays inside and cooks or whatever else they do. But think about this. Who is holding the ladder?  The higher you climb, the more it is gonna hurt when you fall down...and, believe me, you WILL fall down. (Well, I use "you" in teh second person narrative...I am sure that only a few will actually fall...but they are usually in my district).  Now I get to come and park in front of your house with all my lights on so your neighbors will all come out and be the nosey folks that are part of our human nature to see you on the ground with a blanket on keeping warm until I can backboard you and get you in the truck.

Good news, though. While the squad is up front, you DO have the best light display.  Give 'em all a thumbs up...you deserve it.

2. Lights Out.  Quick and easy here...when you go to bed...unplug the tree.....

Otherwise This...

Turns into this...

treefire1mid.jpg (16498 bytes)

Hope you have your insurance agent's home number...

1. Remember...the Tortoise beat the Hare.  I know we all run late from time to time, but the faster you drive, the worse you are gonna be if you hit something.  Throw in the ice, the snow, the deer, and the other not-paying-attention motorist and you have a recipie for disaster.  Let me meet you while you are walking out of a restaurant or store...not by me peeling the door off of your overturned car.

Just be careful out there.......

I will be back....real soon, but until then...stay safe.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,



30 November 2006

12 Days of Christmas - EMS style

30 November 2006

"12 Days of Christmas - EMS Style"

So, for you all, I thought I would post something that I wrote 2 years ago and became pretty popular in the EMS community.  Tis the season, I thought this would be appropriate.  I will try to get something more juicy to you soon, but it has been pretty uneventful.  I hope you enjoy this.


05 Decmeber 2004

"The 12 Days of Christmas - EMS Style"

On the First day of Christmas, my Dispatcher gave to me...Grandma who fell and hurt her knee...

On the Second Day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me...2 MG of Narcan for the out of work person who wants to end it all by taking her Husband's pain pills and won't tell me what she took and is feeling suicidal....and grandma who fell and hurt her knee.

On the Third day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me....Three stacked shocks for the 88 year old man who instead of paying the neighbor kid 5 bucks to shovel his driveway, decided to do it himself and have the big one in the driveway...2 Mg of Narcan for the psycho chick trying to off herself...and grandma who fell and hurt her knee..

On the Fourth day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me....4 AM in the morning I have to go to the nursing home because someone has had the flu for like 16 years and all of a sudden needs to go to the hospital....NOW,...Three Stacked shocks for the full arrested popsicle, 2 MG of Narcan for Morphine eating Momma..and Grandma who fell and hurt her knee....

On the Fifth day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me...Five minutes to eat.....4 AM shuttle call, Three stacked shocks, 2 MG of Narcan, and Grandma who fell and hurt her knee....

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me....Six run reports behind because the computer guy can't fix the system..Five Minutes to eat!!!!!!!!!!  4 AM Shuttle, 3 zaps to the chest, gonna have a stomach pumped, and grandma who fell and hurt her knee...

On the Seventh day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me...Seven car pile up while everyone was trying to beat the light so they can get into Wal Mart the day after Thanksgiving thinking there is only 4 dancing Elmo Dolls...six reports behind...Five minutes to eat.......4AM is way to early, 3 stacked shocks, 2 of Narcan Pushed, and grandma who fell and hurt her knee....

On the Eighth day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me....Eight flights of steps to walk up to getthe 400 pound person who is having shortness of breath since LAST Christmas and can't walk...oh, and of course, the elevator doesn't work...7 cars a crunching, six reports a writing, Five minutes to eat. 4 AM shuttle, CPR in progress, 2 MG of Narcan, and grandma who fell and hurt her knee...

On the ninth day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me Nine blankets needed to cover up grandpa because he is freezing and we aren't even out of the house yet but thinks he will get pneumonia and die for all of the 10 seconds we are outside...Eight flights of stairs, should have stayed home and bought off of Ebay, six reporst I'm writing...Five minutes to eat.....What the Hell time is it, should have paid the kid, 2MG of Narcan, and grandma who fell and hurt her knee.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me...Ten Minutes till I can get a bed in the ER because the nurses are busy figuring out who is going to lunch next....Nine blankets needed, Hope fire department is coming, 7 cars a crunching, six reports I need to write, Five minutes to eat...Can't you wait till morning, sick a fork in him, he's done, Man I hope she shuts up..and grandma who fell and hurt her knee.

On the Eleventh day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me....Eleven times I tried to get the heat to work in the back of the truck and maintainence won't take the truck in...ten minutes waiting, Nine blankets needed, eight flights of steps to climb, Hope you have Progressive, Give me a new ink pen...Five minutes to eat....4 AM is early, 3 Leads all show he's dead, 2 MG won't touoch her..and grandma who fell and hurt her knee...

On the Twelth day of Christmas, my dispatcher gave to me..a 12 Gague IV needle that I put into the drunk 19 year old who tried to swing at me...it is really freezing, Hope you choke on your sandwich, 9 blankets for grandpa, How did you get up here in the first place, man your husband is gonna be pissed, six reports STILL down...five minutes to eat...Better than taking them back, Hope I recorded the code, Man, just pass out already...and grandma who fell and hit her knee...

Merry Christmas,

Rounding Third and heading home,


15 October 2006

Medical Terms - M-Rod Style

15 October 2006

"Medical Terms - M-Rod Style"

Again, other than the occassional psych patient (really, you don't want to hear about that) or the drunk passed out person, I really have nothing to offer you.  So I thought that I would jot down some medical jargon that I use....that may not be in the books yet.

1. FDGB - "Fall down, go boom".  Pretty self explainitory and holds value to a high percentage of calls that we go on.   A good portion of the time, you get to their house and "reset" them. This meaning, you pick them up, sign them off (they never wnat to go to the hospital) and wait for them to fall again so you can do it all over again. It is a vicious cycle, but it is also the circle of life.

2. Gourmet Chucker - I classify these people who have the tendency to projectile vomit all over the rig and it is usually right after a hefty meal of hot dogs, chicken noodle soup, or mac and cheese.  Now, if you think it all smelled bad BEFORE they ate it, Imagine rotting food with mucus mixed in hovering in a confined space for a 15 minute ride.   Usually, I am the one sucking oxygen.

3. O2 (Oxygen) therapy -  Here is one of the many differences between police and EMS. They have guns...we don't.  And when you are locked in the back with a patient who just ripped his restraints off and is homocidal to the point where he has targeted you for termination, you grab the one thing that is heavy enough to make a statement, yet light enough to raise...the O2 tank. One good contact with that to their head and they will be sleeping off their knife wielding ways sooner than you can say "damn, that really worked". (Note: I do not suggest clocking anyone that looks at you wrong. This is a LAST resort issue so use judgement...I figured someone was going to complain about this so I typed in this disclaimer).

4. DFO - "Done fell out"  In other words...they are on final approach to heaven international airport.

5. JACOBS - or "just a couple of beers syndrome". Ask anyone how many they had to drink...and it is always "two beers".  What were the two beers? Kegs?  You in the field know what I am talking about.

6. Chipncokeia - This is the disease that one gets from smoking too much dope.  It is the expressed desire to consume some Cool Ranch Doritos and a Pepsi. Cures almost everything there.

7. Acute Lateralphobia - These are the people who have the fear of pulling over when the squad is coming down the road behind them.

8. Chronic Noctournal Influenza - Disaese that people have who call the squad for thier common head cold that they have had for 10 days and desire to go to the hospital at 3 AM. 

9. Paramedical Euphoric Antigen - My name for Tylenol PM...I think it is the wonder drug that should be put in the water.

10. Ambulatic Retread - Anyone in the field that has left and came back for some unknown reason.

Well, that should be an appetizer for you all....

Talk to you all soon....

Oh yeah, if you have Myspace, let me know and I will add you to my friend's list.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


04 October 2006

The Nocturnal Countdown - Part II

04 October 2006

"The Nocturnal Countdown - Part II"

For some unknown reason in my life, I have favored my left side. 

Maybe it was my competitive nature to always root for the underdog. That coming from a male who is right-handed by nature, I have picked my left side for several aspects of my life.

One, I can bat left-handed in baseball. I don't have as much power from that side, but I am fluent at it and can really screw up a defense that has me set up as a right handed pull hitter.

Then, there is video gaming.  Holding a controller, your left hand is the one that usually actuates coordination such as movement and aim.  Sure, you can operate it from the right also, but it is more comfortable from the left for me.

Plus, there is spelling....Left is shorter than right. Yes, I know it is only one letter, but I am pretty lazy at times.

So I picked to go left.  I knew that by going left, it would take me deeper into the woods whereas if I had gone right, I would eventally have met the road and logic has it that if his friend had come from that way and had come along the road, he would have A) been picked up be a motorist going by, B) Not had made it back to the house because it would have made him double back and disorient him more than he already was, and C)...well, there is no "C", but I incorporated it with the writing style so "A" & "B" could thrive on its own merits.

The path only grew darker as this pushed me even further away from the squad and the reference point it stood as.  The treeline to my right depicted a darkness that would scare the hardest of people as knowing what was beyond it was equal to stepping into an area of indefinate condemption.  You could feel eyes just staring at you from deep within and the fact that you could not see back held its own surrender and terror.

Calling out to see if a response would come from the patient, my words felt heavy like the deep humidity of a mid-summer's night deep in the country.  That kind where the cliche "you can cut it with a knife" emminated from.   Even if you called for help, no one would ever be able to hear you....ever.

There were only two sounds that were audible at this point.  One was the steps of my feet recoiling off the soft, damp ground. And the other was my heart, my pulse slowly growing as the increased adrenaline began to flow rampid in my blood.

Sweeping the light back and forth, I made a pass from the left and brought it across my body to the right where the light stopped...and so did I.

A reflection glowed from the brush just ahead and to my right about six feet into the woods.  The beating of my heart sounded rhythmically similar to a set of tribal drums used during a war dance.  My eyes widened as I stood there trying to slow the thought process that has taken on warp speed deep im my subdural.  I took a gasp of air...then I stepped forward.

Using the flashlight as a brush guide, I moved the surrounding vegetation and prepared myself for the worse.  "God I hope this isn't what I think it is. Please let it be something else." I began to cry with my inside voice taking my hand and removing the final piece of brush.

For those of you you who says God never listens.......

You will be saddly disappointed.

God heard me....

...it wasn't him.

Instead, I found what appeared to be an old street sign that had laid dorment in the woods with years of corrosion and rust supporting it deep inside the ground which became its new resting place.

Recaptuing my breath, a sigh or relief was quickly filled by a gasp of despair knowing I would have to go farther back...where it only got darker.

By now, I am a good mile and a half down the yellow brick road except that I have not even found the scarecrow yet, there are no rubies on my shoes, and if a lion did come out of the woods, I would guarantee you that I would set a new land speed record in sprints that would make Guiness go "What the hell was that?"

Wondering if I should turn back and wait for the rest of the search team to gather and execute the search with more than just a flashlight, a radio that has lost signal, and a open-ended prayer, my attention was caught again by something that seemed to break the cloak of night...and this was moving.

Half mile up, there was a right turn that split the already dark woods into a path that was as I dubbed, "the road less traveled".  Coming down this road was a light, a rather bright one at that too. Within a second, the one light became two and both moved in tandem rhythm along the dreary horizion.  They were headlights. Someone else was back here.

At this point, I didn't know if I should hide or wave who, or in this case, what, down to see if they had the same purpose as I did. God, I hope they did. Otherwise, I was an accident waiting to happen.

The truck pulled closer and I moved out of the way but stayed in site as to get the driver's attention. The truck speed towards me increasing speed.  Even standing to the side, I was in the direct path of the truck and I had no where to go even if I had wanted to. 

It was ironic, cinematic, and not a damn thing I could do about it.

I held my mag light up to show that there was someone standing on the path with the hope that whoever was driving would see me and stop.  I sure hope they stopped. Otherwise, it was yet another body that they were going to need to find.

My heart stopped, my eyes widened again, and I felt the need to scream at the top of my lungs. (well not really, but it segwayed nicely into this story at this point.)

Here it comes...moment of truth time.  Would I become a resucer or a hood ornament? I closed my eyes...I couldn't look. Then my brain processed a thought I wasn't prepared for.

"Shouldn't I have gotten hit by now?" I felt my subconscious tell me in that "huh?" sort of tone.

I opened one of my eyes only to see the truck had swerved and stopped beside me.  Recaptuing my thoughts and collecting myself, another voice overcame me suddenly, this one had a different tone to it. This one was petrified.

"Help my, he's in the back here. Get in, he needs your help."

The voice came from the passenger of the ATV who sat vigilant by his friend in the bed of the truck.  The truck which belonged to the father of the very injured son. He had left down the trail to find his son hell bent on bringing him back so that I could save him.

I jumped in the bed of the truck and we shot off like an aircraft off a carrier back to where the squad was.  The internal clock that I had started when we left the station had begun to tick even louder.  The two minute warning was over, it was time to play no huddle offense.

Getting closer to the squad, the reception from my radio improved and so did signs of life on the other side.

I screamed in the mic at Darnell to get the immobilization equipment ready and set me up my trauma roll-outs.

Racing in the back of the pick-up, I felt as if I were a field medic somewhere in the hot zone with 2 injured Marines racing away in a hum-vee trying to get out of the range of the artillery.  I had limited to no equipment with me, the sky still remained dark and illuminous, and judging by the response, or lack of, from my patient, I could tell that being "under the gun" was no where near the pressure that I faced with the uphill battle that I will begin.

Roughly 5 minutes after being picked up, we were back at the starting point. More lights, more equipment, and most of all, more people. I was glad to be back to a familiar sight, my squad..where I do my best, where I can pull off miracles.

Getting my first look at the patient, I could see he was in sadder shape than I had anticipated and I knew that if he had ANY chance of survival, I needed to be on my "A" game here. There was no room for error, for bad judgement, or for second guessing myself.  This was what I do. THIS was who I was.  Then, with that thought fleeting my mind, a switch was thrown, my adrenalin kicked in once again, and my field quarterback instinct kicked in. 

I began to bark orders at anyone who was in an ear shot of me.  "Get me a Backboard", "Hold his neck so it doesn't move,"  Cut his coat here."  The words flew rhythmically, I was in the zone.

Loading him into the squad, my challenge of saving this young man grew even greater for several reasons.

First, there was the fact that some of the signs he displayed showed that he had been down for quite some time.  The black and blue around his eyes (we, in the field, call these "raccoon's eyes") signifies that he has a significant head injury which could lead to and/or include a brain bleed.  Here is the catch-22.  There are certain meds that you can give to the patient that will greatly reduce the bleeding in the brain once given. BUT, you have to give them in the first 3 hours after the initial signs and symptoms have been identified.  He had been down for almost 2 hours. It took us 40 minutes to find him and get him back to the truck. It will take 10 minutes to get to the hospital, and even then if he DID have those, let's say, 10 minutes left, he would have to meet a criteria in order to get those drugs. One of those being if they suffered a serious head trauma in the last 2 weeks....Well, duh...he expirienced one within the last 2 hours. You see...catch-22.

Next was the factor that I was the ONLY paramedic there. Darnell is an EMT and even though she is a great asset, she can only do so much.

Finally, I had TWO critical patients.  Remember, I work in the country so getting one squad takes a while, getting a second could double that time considerably. I didn't have time to wait for the other truck so I elected to load them both in and get the heck out of Dodge.

Add into the mix that I had a firefighter drive us into the hospital.  This is kinda like having Scotty (from Star Trek) sitting right next to you saying Click Here to Hear Voice .

Load and Go. This is the only option that I have.  Sirens blaring, moans coming from the patients, Darnell kicking out vitals to me, I begin to manuveur from body to body, hooking up the ECG, startingIV's, seeing where bleeding is coming from, trying to make sense as to what is going on. 

Game face still on, I call the hospital and advise them of what I have and what they will be in store for and at the same time praying that the worse doesn't come to worst.

Feeling the speed of the squad picking up even greater, the concern now is taken over by anxiety...and not from the patients. 

"Okay, everyone here, slow down.  First of all, let's not try to get there before the squad itself...slow it down a little up there. As for everyone back here. let's all breathe while we are doing what we do." I reeled in my crew before they let the emotions get the best of them, and with that, I didn't want judgement getting clouded. 

Two things progressed forward from this point forward.  The distance to the hospital fell shorter...and so did the level of consciousness of my critical patient.  I could feel the "pucker factor" beginning to settle in my stomach knowing this kid was going down hill and I didn't have a way to stop him.

With that, as if the hand of God touched me yet again, I felt the familiar left turn that signified the squad pulling up to the emergency room.  Keeping the crew on their toes, I began to give the directions as to who to unload and where and that the game wasn't over just yet. 

Wheeling the first of the patients into the trauma room, it was pretty much a no-brainer (no pun intended here) that this young man was going to take a flight somewhere.  And before we finished unloading him, a call for the God Squad (what I call Life Flight) went out.

A few moments later, the second patient was unloaded and into his exam room also being attended with vigilant and utmost concern.  His fate, despite his slightly better health status, mirrored his buddy's as he, too, was going for a hop ina big yellow taxi.


Pulling the cot out of the last room, I felt a mental collaspe suddenly overwhem my body.  Running on sheer adrenelin, my body just physically gave out as thefatigue, the exhaustion, and the pain began to arise all over my body.

Making it out to the truck to get the clipboard, I peeked in the back of the squad which had looked like someone had flipped it over and all the contents found their way to the floor of the rig.  Poor Darnell, she had a lot to clean. (As a rule, before you all get like "why didn't you help her?" whoever is in the back does the report and the other cleans and restocks the truck. I know we were both back there but I am the medic of record so I have to do the reports and the fact that Life Flight was inbound, I had to get them done before they got there.)

There I am. Sitting in a break room, staring at the comment section of the run report.  It wasn't that I didn't know what to write, it is that the mental records of the events began to slowly catch up with me and the remininscing began to take place.  Did I do this right? Could I have done this different? What if I missed that?   Second guessing is a nature of the beast when it comes to EMS. (Hence my last entry).

I think I was doing fine, getting my head straight, focusing on the job at hand that I needed to finish...until the father walked in and requested my presence.

Here he was, a man who looked like he carried the weight of the world on his back and was just too tired to walk anymore. His eyes swelled with tears, his face just riddled of exhaustion. He was spent and was running on shear will power right now. 

Making a barely audible tone, he reached out to shake my hand. The tears began to flow. His voice crackled with sorrow and fear. He, was completely spent.

"I just want to thank you for saving my son. He is a good boy that just  got into a bad situation.  He means the world to us and I just can't thank you enough for all you do."

I didn't know what to say.  I don't know what I said. I am sure it was the standard issued "He is going it be fine" and "best of luck to you and your family".  It seemed like the right thing to say, I knew deep down it was all pre-programmed crap.

Watching him walk away, I couldn't help but feeling what he was feeling. Going through the anguish and earth changing fears running through his head. I couldn't help but see his world through his eyes while trying to be strong for the rest of his family. I couldn't help but taking the place of a parent, and expiriencing the hurt of your child, and being able to do little to nothing about it.  For a moment, I was that parent.

An hour later, we were as good as new, used and well beyond the capacity of function. Pulling out and around the hospital, I had Darnell stop the squad to watch the helicopter take off.  The dust began to lift as the strength of the rotors lifted the patient starward into the heavens.  He was in great hands now. All I could do is watch.

The whole trip home, I don't think I said much. If I did, it was utter small talk and beared no meaning what-so-ever to the case.   I couldn't help but feel as if the chain of events for the evening had somehow been etched into me subconscience for the rest of my life here on this Earth.  I don't know if I will ever forget how and why this happened....and in a way, I am not too sure that I want to.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


02 October 2006

The Nocturnal Countdown

01 October 2006

"The Nocturnal Countdown"

Time is money.

So I am told.

In the general population, the faster you work, the more productive you become causing a faster turn over and greater profit. On the other edge of the sword, the more time you give a project, the more intricate with detail and skill you provide give the authenticity of your work even more value.  Time can be a two headed monster with a negated path no matter which one you take.  Unfortunately, this is life, and it is one of those few things that we have control of.

In EMS, Time is more than money. Time is a luxury, a luxury that is often against our greater purpose and, along with it, usually has a lot of friends that makes relief and rescue just that much harder...and that much more tolling to the rescuer.


Song of this entry is "Superman" by Five for Fighting

0258 Hours

I could tell Darnell wasn't feeling too well with her constant shifting in her bed and the just above audible snoring that she had going on....Enough to wake me and migrate myself to the couch, not that it is her fault, I could never really sleep well while I was at work.  Maclimating my body into a position of comfort, I pulled my fleece blanket up to my chin and began to resume my duties of unconsciousness...

...Until the phone rang.

Now, unlike when I worked at my other job, when a 9-1-1 call comes in, you can hear the caller on the other line.  Now, this serves as a one of those necessary evils that you really don't want want to partake in but you need to in order to get pertinent information about.

Getting up and dressed, I began to hear the caller on the loudspeaker.  Her voice cracking, shrieked with terror, and it was if you could even hear the tears coming down her face.  The pitch in her voice reaching out as if it were a swimmer drowning looking for that one hand to pull her out of the water and bring her back to solid ground. 

Her son had left with a friend to go to a birthday party on their ATV to celebrate a friend's birthday with a bon fire and some adult beverages.  The weather warranted the closeness of friends and adding the celebration of birth only iced the cake a little more.

A few hours later, there was a knock on her door...from her son's friend who ventured with him through the woods to the party....and he was covered in blood.

On their way back through the darkened trails, the mixture of nocturnal cover and intoxication brought on speed, recklessness, and sharp left turn which negated further travel by hitting a tree squarely.  Both ejected from the ATV. Both without a helmet. Both of them going unconscious. 

With the grace of God, the passenger made it to his feet irregardless of the pain in his shoulder which had separated, not thinking about all the blood he had lost, and barely able to recognize where he was, returned to his friend's home to render help.

At this point, I can actually feel the anxiety, the tension, and the fear that this mother had for her son who lies helpless somewhere in the vast woods that  border their property.

Grabbing my Mag-Lite from the other truck, I made my way to the squad, opened the garage door, fired up the sleeping giant, hit the red, glowing switch marked "Emergency Lights" and began our journey into the brisk, cold, starry night.

Now, I have been on dozens upon dozens of DUI related crashes but unlike this one, they all had a common ground that made them a little easier to deal with.  These crashes were on the road or in the immediate vicinity so access to the patient was fairly feasible and, barring any extrication, accessible.

Tonight, the stakes were going to be raised.

One of my biggest concerns was the temperature. For the first day of October, and especially at 3:00 AM, the weather outside was in the mid forties.  Despite the countless and otherwise, celestial cover that drapes overhead, the absence of cloud cover creates a cooler environment that, with a trauma patient, can cause hypothermia if we don't find them quickly.

Next was the fact that we really didn't know where in the woods this person was.  He could be five yards back, he could be five miles back.  I just don't know, and that worried me even more.

And finally, the shear darkness of night.  I felt this was comparable to a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there.   You just have to put your hands together and pray.

Turning off the highway onto a two lane surface road, I tried to run multiple game plans in my head with priority on the actual search.  Because of where the house was located, the time of night, the rural area as a whole, and the amount of support staff that I can conjure up, it was pretty apparent that we were going to be the first ones to arrive on scene, and it was up to me to formulate a plan....and fast. 

Continuing down the desolate stretch or road, the only illumination that was granted, was the soft red and intermittent white strobes that were reflecting from the rescue squad.  Looking at the addresses, I saw that I was in the 4700 block of the road I needed to be on. My physical destination laid in the 5200 portion of roadway. 

Coasting over hills, I felt as if a stopwatch began to tick in my head and the race had officially begun.

4900 block. Getting closer.

I quickly began to feel my stomach sink as I realized one other factor that may cause a problem.  This being the vegetation that was rather abundant in the area.  Corn stalks grew in access of seven feet towering over even the tallest of men hiding with it unwanted shadows and disrupting potential orientation for the search parties.  Now I was starting to sweat.

5000 block.

I began to slow not really knowing if the numbers were going to make a crazy jump and I didn't want to pass up the address knowing that a frantic mother awaited and time being of the utmost essence at this point.  My heart began to pound to the point where I felt it against my chest wall.  "Okay Mike, calm down, time to get your game face on and just keep your emotions in check. " I began to tell myself as the 5200 block came into focus.  Pulling some extra light from the spotlight equipped in the truck, I found our destination. It was time to do what we do...and do it fast.

Turning right and ascending up the driveway, I saw a small figure emerge from the shadows waving frantically in the air signaling us to stop where we were.

Getting out of the rig, I knew right away that this was the caller whom so desperately seek our help and guidance to find her lost child.  Her face is plastered with concern, worry, and most of all, fear.  Tears streamed down her face and the shear exhaustion from the moment was beginning to catch up with her.

A brief, but thorough course of events were given to us and as I feared on the way over, we were the first ones to arrive.  It was time to go looking.

Turning on my flashlight, I found a basic set of tire tracks that led deep into the soft terrain and extended onward into the decidious landscape.  There was no way that I was going to get the squad back there without getting it stuck in the marshy grass, so I opted to go back on foot.  It was up to me now, and I wasn't leaving until I found who I was looking for.  About a quarter mile into our journey, I could see that this was going to be a bigger problem that I had anticipated and would soon need greater resources than I was capable to handle on my own.  Not to mention, I really didn't know what was back here and the fear of the unknown settled like a rock in the bottom of my stomach.

I made the decision to send Darnell back to the truck seeing I would be out of the range of the radio's repeater soon. I told her to grab the cell phone and to notify dispatch to alert the fire department and have them respond with their 4x4 vehicle.  It was the only way we were going to get this young man out...once I find him.  Also, I didn't need Darnell getting hurt or twisting an ankle.  I am trying to limit how many patients I actually have here.

Turning around to show her the trail back, the only illumination that was visible at any point was the headlights from the ambulance that looked like the sun shining through a pinhole.  The distance was great but the grass was soft and level so I knew she could make it back okay.

Continuing on, I would occassionally call out for the victim only to hear myself encased in the eerie calm that blanketed the vast area at this time of night. I was well close to a mile back into the woods now and the ground began to get even softer.  At the base of my feet, I could see that the landscape turned from ordinary lawn to soy plants.

The soy plants were about 18 inches in heights and covered acres of land on both sides of me.  Despite their meager size, it was enough to camoflauge a body had there been one even two feet away.

Hearing the portible radio crackle, I knew that I was just about out of range from the squad and soon, my search would be difficult at best without the communication aspect to help me.

Continuing on, it wasn't long before I ran into not one, but two separate problems that seemed to add on to an already complicated situation.  The first being that the tracks had stopped to the point where I couldn't see them anymore.  The second was the path stopped too.

Here I am, standing in the middle of a field, blind, cold, sensory heightened having to make the critical decision as to what to do next.  A few steps further, I notice what seemed to be a dirt service road of sorts.  The road ran from north to south and looks like it has been traveled a lot by other all terrain vehicles.  Now, my search lied in the hand of a coin toss.  Do I head right and stay in the small, yet still noticeable line of sight of the squad, or do I turn left and follow the woodline deeper into the muck.

Closing my eyes, I take a deep breath concentrate as to what I need to do, and open my eyes. My decision will have consequences if I am wrong.

It is time to go.....

To Be Continued....

Rounding Third and Heading Home.


25 September 2006

The Nature of the Beast

25 September 2006

"The Nature of the Beast"

Okay, so it has been a REALLY long time since I decided to put something down on paper, or in this case, pixels.  I guess it is because working out in the country, there really isn't a whole lot to share as far as runs that poise merit.  But, I thought that I would try to start this up again as per a request from one of my favorite friends (this is for you Melanie) and see what happens.

So....here goes, let's start the fall season of "Life as a Paramedic"


Music choice for this entry "Going Up to the Country" by Canned Heat

There are several things that I have learned about rural EMS.  One, travel.  Going ANYWHERE usually requires a nap and a bathroom break somewhere along the trip, the average travelling speed in the country is roughly warp 3.9, and roads are not marked, they are described by land marks. (i.e.  take a right at Murphy's barn and head down to the cattle fence and turn right.)  This is great...if you are the one who owns the barn or they are your cows. For those of us who are imported, it is a crap shoot.  I mean, even GPS on a computer displays "good luck".

Next, the general mentality of the country folk as it implies to EMS.  People in the country really ARE a lot friendlier than the average suburban folk that most of us encounter. But for some reason under the wierd equinox that overshadows the realm of the farm folk, they think that paramedic, such as myself, are just as homegrown as they are and have absolutely very little to no real world expirience.  Maybe it is the fact that growing up in a sparsely populated area, where everyone knows everyone else, that an outsider has no clue what it is like to live in the country.  News flash....I don't NEED to know. A cut in the city is the same as it is in the barn. A broken leg is still a broken leg whether it is in a shop or a silo.  C'mon people,  cut me a little slack here.

Finally, as I mentioned up in the last paragraph, everyone knows everyone else out here.  You know, in the city, when you call 9-1-1, the questions consist of "What is the problem?", "Is he/she breathing?", and "What is the address?"  In the country, it consist of, "Where are you at?". "How are the kids?"  How is your mom doing?" "What is the nearest cross road?" and "That was a great pie, can I get the recipie?"  I can usually get to the house which is 10 miles away before the dispatcher hangs up with the neighbor of her brother's wife's sister's third cousin's roomate's daughter who shared a fair booth in FHA.  Whatever happened to name, rank, and serial number?

Then there is the "X" factor as I like to call it. These are the "jolly volleys" or  your volunteer firefighters.  There are three departments where I work. Two out of the three are as good if not better, than most full time, union clad departments that grace teh bigger cities.  The other...well.....

The phrase "a monkey fucking a football" comes to mind.

I am gonna leave it at that for now...but I am sure that you will hear more about it in the coming weeks.

This is just a small taste of what you are in store for my future entries (yes...there will be more). But for now, I just wanted to touch base with you all and let you know that I am back.

Keep reading.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


01 August 2006

"It's so hot that....."

01 August 2006

"It's so hot that..."

Okay, the only good thing lately about going out in the heat is that the squad is air-conditioned.  If I have to be outside for an accident, Then one of two things happen.

They are either A) able to walk to the squad, or B) I pronounce them dead.  There is no median until it cools down. (No, people, I am really not that cruel.

So, in the mean time, I want you to send me your best "It's so hot, that...." jokes so we can all share and try to alievate some of this heat.

They can be related to EMS like "it's so hot, that the cold packs  hired an agent to renegotiate their contract..."

Fire..."It' so hot that the hydrants require four quarters to operate for 4 minutes."

Or police, such as.."It is so hot that the cops are chasing crooks to Alaska just to catch them."

Let me here what you got.


Rounding Third and Heading Home,


19 July 2006

More to Keep You Occupied

19 July 2006

"More to Keep You Occupied"

Okay..I had to share these with you all (the few that are left).

BELIEVE it or not ,
These are REAL 911 Calls!

Dispatcher: 9-1-1 What is your emergency?

 I heard what sounded like gunshots coming from the brown
          &n bsp; house on the corner.

Do you have an address?
  No, I have on a blouse and slacks, why?

: 9-1-1 What is your emergency?
:   Someone broke into my house and took a bite out of my ham
             and cheese sandwich

: Excuse me?
:  I made a ham and cheese sandwich and left it on the kitchen
            table and when I came back from the bathroom, someone had
            taken a bite out of it.

: Was anything else taken?
:   No, but this has happened to me before and I'm sick and tired
            of it!

Dispatcher: 9-1-1 What is the nature of your emergency?

I'm trying to reach nine eleven but my phone doesn't have
             an eleven on it.

This is nine eleven.
Caller:     I thought you just said it was nine-one-one
Yes, ma'am nine-one-one and nine-eleven are the same

Caller:    Honey, I may be old, but I'm not stupid.

9-1-1 What's the nature of your emergency?
My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two
              minutes apart

Dispatcher: Is this her first child?

No, you idiot! This is her husband!

And the winner is..........


Yeah, I'm having trouble breathing. I'm all out of breath.
              Darn....I think I'm going to pass out.

Sir, where are you calling from?

Caller:   I'm at a pay phone. North and Foster.

Dispatcher: !
Sir, an ambulance is on the way. Are you an asthmatic?

What were you doing before you started having trouble

Running from the Police
See why I have job security.....
Rounding Third and Heading Home,

02 July 2006

The First Law in Ambulance Driving

02 July 2006

"The First Law in Ambulance Driving"

Here is a short, yet sweet "Murphy's Law" as in regards to operating the squad.

No matter how fast you drive the ambulance to a call, it will never be fast enough, untill you pass a cop then at that moment you will be driving entirely too fast. Unless you are responding to an officer down. then you cant drive fast enough.

Have a great Holiday Weekend all and be safe.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


24 June 2006

The Washing of the Water

23 June 2006

"The Washing of the Water"

Please Press Here

I really don't have much to say here. I am kind of standing besides myself here.

Over the past two days, Northern Ohio has received so much rain, that it has been the worst flooding in over 35 years.

Several counties have been declared disaster areas. Hundreds of people have been told to flee their homes and evacuated.  The Northern part of the state has been left in ruins.

On Thursday, Two kids thought that they could take their Jeep past a barrier and make it across the raging flood waters in a town about fifteen miles south.  Getting stuck, they felt thier lives in danger, vacated the vehicle, and clung to a tree untill help came.

In the water went a diver from the local fire department attempting to rescue the two youths as their fear grew and the water rose.

The diver got caught by the current.....

And never came back up.

Tied to a rope line, his fellow firefighters pulled him in only to find him lifeless and still.

With a raging urgency to revive their commrade, the heroic attempts made to save his life on scene and en route to the hospital remained fueled and anticipant.

At the hospital, he was pronounced dead.

Below is the article if you care to read it.

To all my fellow brothers and sister out there...Please be careful...I am thinking of you.

Click here to read article

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


18 June 2006

A Walk Down Memory Lane

18 June 2006

"A Walk Down Memory Lane"

I am looking for a show of hand of those of you that are still out there whom have done something to relive a piece of their childhood or some other event that displayed a cructial part of your life.

Maybe you drove past your childhood home reminiscing your youth and the times that you spent there.  Maybe you rented a movie that you have seen more times than you can count, yet it brings a feeling of comfort and security in some sort of Hollywood magic kind of way.  How about going to a high school athletic event and while sitting in th bleachers, it takes you back to when you roamed the campus with your friends.

Each of have done something that turns back the hands of time whether we want to admit it or not...so stop trying to deny it.

Yesterday, was one of those moments...for me that is.

Saturday, I found myself proctoring a National Registry exam at my former employer where I still teach.  Before me were twenty-four young paramedic hopefuls brought here to demonstrate their abilities to fuction as a pre-hospital provider and don the title "paramedic" to their genre.

Looking into the eyes of these young kids, I saw tension, urgency, doubt, and most of all fear.  This was it for them. The hands-on test that they worked for over a years time to achieve.  The "Go hard or go home" atmosphere enstowed on them as they pulled the curtain back and entered onto the stage that would have twelve of their peers and other instructors grading them on a national recognition level.  This was it for them...and you could see it in their faces.

Looking at the students line up awaiting to see what station that they will acquire first, I closed my eyes and remembered the first time I was standing in that line awaiting my fate.

Gosh, I was so nervous. I remember that I spilled my coffee right off the bat as I set it down in the first station that went in. This was bad for two reasons. First, the impression that I felt I was leaving at the ripe age of eighteen, was a reflection of what I thought these instructors would think mirrors my ability to help people. Not something that I needed to accelerate my angst and already stirring emotions.

The second was that I didn't drink coffee...but I needed something to occupy my time while I waited.

Getting through that day was ranked right up there with starting school for the first time, picking up my first date that was unchaperoned at the door, my first kiss, my first break-up, and the first time I realized that it all comes full circle.

Watching the kids in the hall lined up wearing the uniforms for the company that they represent, it took me back to my first day as an EMT.

My shift didn't start till 8:00 AM but I think I was up around 5:30 with excitement and fear blended into a nice cocktail garnished with a nervous twist.  Could I do this job? What if I mess up?  What will I see once I am really out there?  I remember waking up in a cold sweat wondering...what is truly out there.

Putting on my new uniform, I remember that I stared into the mirror for what seemed like days making sure that every wrinkle was out and that my badge and name tag was polished to the hilt.  Looking at my watch, I saw that it was time to go. The five minute ride to the fire house would seem like a long torturous trip to a door where the unknown laid on the other side.  I remember standing in front of the door for a good five minutes before I knocked thinking...this was it. This is where you become an adult. This is where your life begins.  It was time to take a leap of faith.

Sitting in my seat, I saw my first student was ready to test out. An eager young man from Columbus who would be devirginized in the world of practical testing here in front of me.  He was nervous...so was I...for him.

He made it through flawlessly...as did many of the others that came to my station. The later it got in the day, the more relaxed these kids became knocking out their stations.  But...this was only part of the game...this was the easy part.

As I walked upstairs, I saw the canidates smoking, drinking copious amounts of coffee and soft drinks, and pacing wondering what was next.

Then it came....

Everyone was summomed to the conference room to find out their fates.  Did they move on...did they get to try again...or do they get told to try something else. 

I remember standing outside the door pacing so hard, I think that they had to replace tiles once I was finished. My friend handed me some more coffee..I think it was decaf this time.  I felt my hands sweat so much, the cup became slick with persperation. My heart beat out of my chest, and my stomach turned so much that it felt as if someone was constructing a city deep in my digestive tract.  At this point is where you start to second guess yourself. Did I put that belt on tight enough? Did I check to see if he was bleeding there?  Did I give the right amount of oxygen?  The speed of thought seemed so fast that light looked at my thoughts telling me to slow down.

Then the door opened....and my name was called......

Watching these kids go in and come back on was like watching American Idol when the auditions are playing.  Some of them came out jumping up and down elated that they made it screaming at the top of their lungs. Some came out crying and falling to the ground as if the world they were living in suddenly came down on them and told them that their time was up.

Watching the whole process brought me back to who I was and where I had come from. These kids were going to be the new hope, the new talent, and most of all, our new heros.

Welcome to the brotherhood, guys.  You earned it.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


26 May 2006

Whethering the Storm

26 May 2006

"Whethering the Storm"

Okay...see that picture on the left?  (I mean how can you miss it?)

This picture is NOT a digital recreation of sorts. It has not been touched with Paintshop or any other type of artisitic program.  The picture above is an ACTUAL photo.....

A photo of one of the biggest thunder bumpers in a long time.

The city you see in the lower right is Cleveland. 

I thought that the picture (Taken from the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer) was cool enough that I wanted to share this with all of you.  Seeing it is the season of the cyclones (or tornadoes seeing we are north of the equator), I thought that if I get some cool storm pictures, that I would add them to my site here. (Also, it gives me a reason to put something in...like I said before...not a whole lot going on.)

So, if you get any cool shots, let me know and maybe I can do a post with them.

Oh yeah, I got drenched in this storm...and I am still trying to dry off.

Rounding Third and Heading Home,


22 April 2006

The Cursed 50

22 April 2006

"The Cursed 50"

Okay, here we go.

This is one of those surveys that everyone gets and doesn't want to do...yet does them anyways.

This one was sent to me on my myspace account so I thought I would share it with you.

This comes courtesy of Brian (Becoming a Firefighter) and Kasey (The return of Kaseypalooza) Both, BTW are great reads so check them out.

So, without further a due....


WTG Bro..got me hooked

If you opened this, FILL IT OUT! Learn 50 things about your friends, and let them learn 50 things about you!

1. How tall are you barefoot?

2. Have you ever smoked before?

3. Do you own a gun?
Not one that shoots bullets

4.What's your favorite sport to watch?
Baseball..as mundane as it is.

5. How many letters are in your crush's name?
Wow...to remember way back when would be a plus.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
Isn't hot dogs a food group along with Ramen noodles?

7. What's your favorite Christmas song?
Blue Christmas - Porky Pig

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Slam me a Full Throttle

9. Are You In Love?
Sure I am, I got the finger jewelry to prove it.

10. Have you ever done ecstacy?
Is that a little Debbie snack cake?  OOOoohh..No, not that stuff

11. Do you like spam?
Spamburgers to the rescue (I don't make a habit of them)

12. Do you like painkillers?
Percocet and I are on first name basis.

13. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?
Once you throw them in the trunk of the car, they will do just about anything.

14. Do you own a knife?
Well, yeah, how else am I gonna cut the hot dogs.

15. Do you have A.D.D.?
I think so, but I don't know. I wasn't really paying attention.

16. Full initials?

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment.
1. I feel Mother Nature calling.
2. IOt is really wrong to kill the stupid football sized dogs next door?
3. Damn it is hot in here.

18. Name the last 3 things you have bought today.
1. Train pass
2. A hot dog...LOL
3. That is all...I don't have a lot of money

19. Name five drinks you regularly drink.
1. Fruit2O
2. Cherry Coke
3. Bud Light
4. Lake Erie Highball (water for you all not in the midwest)
5. Full Throttle

20. What time did you wake up today?
I think 10:30..all I know is the sun was out.

21. Are you married?
Oh yes

22. Describe your partner your wed to(if your not..use a friend)?
My sexy second half

23. Current hate?
Gas prices..I can't get into what I really hate.

24. Favorite place to be?
Chicago, Illinois

25. Least favorite place to be?
The Grocery Store

26. Where would you like to go?

28. Where do you think you'll be in 10 years?
Here, filling out another survey like this.

29. Do you burn or tan?
Tan..I am rican baby

30. Favorite color/s?
Black..it goes with everything.

31. Would you be a pirate?
Sure, can I play shortstop.

32. Last time you had an alcoholic drink?
MMM...huh..sorry,  I spilled my beer

33. What songs do you sing in the shower?
I act instead of sing..more captive audience.

34. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child?
King Kong...I know..how wierd is that.

36. Last thing that made you laugh?
My dog jumping on the bed the instant the thunder cracked.

37. Best bed sheets you had as a child?
NHL hockey sheets.

38. Worst injury you've ever had?
Fractured my Right ankle while running hurdles.

40. How many TVs do you have in your house?

41. Who is your loudest friend?
Mabe, by far..but he is a funny loud.

42. Who is your most silent friend?
Presently? I would have to say Andrea..someone needs to turn up the volume.

43. Does someone have a crush on you?
I don't know...do you?

44. Do you wish on stars?
No, alst time I tried to wish on a star, they hit me witha restraining order.

45. What is your favorite book?
Anything Tom Clancy

46. What is your favorite candy?
Dots...woo hoo

47. What song did you last hear?
California Dreaming - Momma and the Papas

48. What song(s) do you want played at your funeral?
I am not sure yet...are you planning on killing me?

49. What were you doing 12AM last night?
Watching Sportscenter...da da da....da da da

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning?
Where am I?


Boy, I am tired now. I am off to Downtown Cleveland where they are filming Spiderman 3..If I get pics, I will let you know.

Roundind Third and Heading Home,


The Back Seat Medic

22 April 2006

"The Back Seat Medic"

Isn't Television a great thing?!?!?

I mean, look at all the informative, high quality shows that are on TV now entertaining our brains, educating us as to the modern marvels of the universe, and most of all, transporting us to some sort of alter ego in which YOU are the one that saves the world, wins the race, or gets the girl in the end (Gets the guy if you are one of my faithful female followers.)

Ah yes, the TV. Let's stand and applaude.


How many of you out there are those types that like those medical based shows such as Emergency (Google it if you are too young to remember Johnny and Roy), Third Watch, ER, Gray's Anatomy, and House?

Wow, that is a lot of you.

And how many of you think that you are better educated watching these shows?

Again, a decent show of hands.

Now, how many of you think that you are actually medically competent now that you have seen these shows?

You..third row, white shirt..put your hand down, I know that you have a medical degree.

I am talking the average lay person that has not been to school for any sort of medical training.  And no, that first aid class that you took in high school doesn't count.

I see the hands have gone significantly down.

Well, for the sake of this journal, I will inform you , that they are out there.  Some closer than I would hope.

Below is a list of the top 10 pet peeves that I have after arriving on scene and the actual encounters that I have met.

10. Get a backboard. Okay. Why? Is this something that you saw on "Third Watch" within the last hour and thought, "Hey, My mom is on the ground, let's get an ambulance and put her on a hard, plastic board."  So your mom is on the ground. I am kosher with that. But ask yourself this. WHY is she on the ground? Did she actually fall, or did she place herself there because she was feeling weak?  One of the biggest attributes in being a good paramedic is the ability to think outside the box, not using equipment because of its pretty flouresent color.  I think another episode is starting, go grab a coke and take some more notes.

9. "You are hurting her" How do you figure?  Usually when they are unconscious and unresponsive, they tend not to talk. At least not any that I have ever had.  This usually comes when you are trying to transfer a patient from a confined space onto a piece of equipment that will allow you to extricate that patient.  And yes, we break bones when we are compressing on their chest because their heart stopped. But, I have yet had a patient who has come up to me after we have brought them back saying "Man, you should have let me die, not my ribs are broken and it hurts to breathe..thanks a lot."

8. "She said..." Wow. How did you do that?  How did you actually hear what she had to say seeing she hasn't moved her lips at all and the fact that she has drool coming from her mouth tends to put me in the mind frame that she can't say much of anything. But hey, that is me. I mean with all the modern innovations, I guess telepathy is something that I haven't mastered yet.  Glad you are here to tell me that, because now I can treat the fact that she is barely breathing WAY different now that I know where you told me it hurts on her.

7. "I heard you on the scanner..."  You did? Good. Great. Glad to hear it.  Now go back home and continue to listen. The last thing I need is a hovering fan from the cheap seats who comes down with the sole purpose of getting in my way...I mean looking to see what is going on.  I know you mean well, just mean well from like a half mile back. I got this.  I think "ER" is on TNT..better go check.

6. "He's just drunk" Whew.  Boy, isn't that a relief. It is so nice to know that the person who makes this comment has taken the time to do a complete blood work up and furnish me with the results just as I am getting there.  I guess that will just rule out the fact that his sugar level is almost below sea level and with a little glucose he will return back to normal.  But I guess you would have ruled that out when you spun his blood in your lab that you have behind the cook jar in the kitchen.  

5. "You might want to try..." Just because you heard this really long word on TV for some pill that is supposed to improve your chlorestrol and you thought it would be fun to say just one more time doesn't mean that this is what the patient needs.  I mean didn't you hear the disclaimer "May cause heart palpatations and dry mouth. Consult your doctor and do not try to pawn off on paramedics."  I know it..I have heard it.

4. "They are fine" You think? I guess that big gash that is bigger than the Grand Canyon that they have actively bleeding on the top of their head right now and the fact that they can't remember their name really translates into "They're fine".    Good thing that you saw St. Elsewhere (again Google it) and brought me that diagnosis. I guess I can go back to lunch now.

3. "Take them to....." This is an emergency service, not a shuttle.  I cannot begin to tell you how many people spit out in their first words as we arrive on scene.  Who cares that their pulse is very faint and the closest hospital is two miles away.   I should go to the one that is 20 miles further because YOU say so.  Do me a favor, don't follow the squad.  You might not like the route I take to the hospital.

2. "She doesn't want to wake up"  Well, that is because she is dead. I mean, when was the last time you checked on her?  Two weeks ago on Thursday.  Let me guess, the last shift before yours checked on her and she was fine despite the signs that the lividity in her body has pooled so much that rigor mortis has set in and the usually takes around 12 hours or so. Good call on her not getting up, you nailed that one.

1. "I'm a nurse"  Good for you...how is this going to help me? This is usually at the motor vehicle accidents that I come on and am approached by some sort of medical professional who identifies themself, and then proceeds to do nothing. I mean, c'mon. Put a band aid on, do some compressions, get me some information on the patient.  You telling me you are a nurse and then not doing anything because you don't want to be liable in case something goes wrong is like me going into a restaurant saying "hey, I am a paramedic, can I cook my food." Totally pointless.


Well, in case you haven't noticed, I made AOL's pick of the week again so a great big shout out goes to those who frequent here and a huge thanks to all of you who put up with my endless rants and complaining.  I hope this won't deter you and you will continue to come back.


Rounding Third and Heading Home,