It's plungetastic!

Last week I participated in the local Polar Bear Plunge. Let me tell you now, there are at least 11,000 certifiably insane people in Maryland. That many people, (myself included) voluntarily got in the Chesapeake Bay in January. It is completely not normal to go out on a beach, bundled against the winter wind, and begin to take clothes off. Not normal.
It was a lot of fun though, it is a much bigger deal than I imagined with corporate sponsors, sand sculptures, and a lot of people. After hanging around for awhile, we made our way to the beach and claimed our spot. I changed into sandals which was just the beginning of the weird. Suddenly we were surrounded by strangers who are all slowly removing all their outerwear. Happily, it wasn't a long wait before we could run like maniacs into the water. After shouting a few expletives we then immediately ran like maniacs out of the water. It is not a surprise that it was more than a little cold.

Thanks to my kind donors, I collected a lovely "I Plunged!" sweatshirt and got a free lunch.

A repeat performance will not take place, at least not without a flask of whisky.

Afterwards, I was taken to the local Eastern Mountain Sports as promised and lusted after their many wares.

Confused Diabetic

Yesterday I was called to the highway to assist police with a possible diabetic. When I got there I found an obviously hypo lady who was generally confused about pretty much everything. I filled her with sugar and then we tried to piece her story together. This patient was a diabetic, doing a fasting blood test that morning, so by the time I saw her, she hadn't eaten in over 12 hours. She remembered testing her sugar that morning and driving toward the doctors office. Twenty miles in the wrong direction later, she was pulled over because she was driving across all the lanes on the highway.
Luckily the cop recognized that she was not drunk, despite looking like, driving like, and speaking like she was, and called an ambulance. About half way to the hospital, the patient wondered if she even got to the blood test. Aside from where I put an IV in, there wasn't a mark on her. Needless to say, she was quite freaked out that she had basically woken up far from home, unsure of how she got there, or what happened on the way.


At part time work there is a ski resort in our first due. From day one of opening our ER there is flooded with injured skiers and snowboarders. The medic unit treats a fair few of them as well, usually the head injuries that will be taken to trauma centers.
The other day I was there and the ambulance brought in a wrist injury. This poor soul had taken a fall from his snowboard (the details of which I'm unsure of.) When we took off the splint, his forearm had an extra joint and his wrist made a nice s-curve. Ew.
When the ortho guy came to set it, I asked if I could observe. He said sure, and asked me to get him a bucket of water that was exactly 101.4 degrees. I was a little afraid of him, and alas, he merely wanted to see the confused look on my face and to watch me hurriedly look for a bucket and then ask around for something to test the temperature of it.

We chatted about fractures and such while the patient was lulled into la-la land via morphine and versed. Then I took the guys elbow, and the doc grabbed his wrist and manipulated it in the most horribly awful way. I wanted to scream and shout and dance around and it wasn't my wrist. The patient barely noticed as it cracked and popped disgustingly until the doc found a fairly happy place to leave it in. Then we casted it up and he was on his way. I always thought being an orthopedist would be cool, but I'm not sure I could do that all day.


As you can imagine, I have already produced quite a robust list of things I have to do/sort out before the WAP can work. There are a lot of logistics. I also find that I worry about very silly things like how useful is it to bring shampoo, how many shirts to bring, what kind of bookbag I might need, how readily available school supplies will be, and are there any advantages to buying a laptop there? Yes, one: the pound sign on the keyboard. (£££ Is that a good enough reason?)
I have learned that my car has to be insured, even if it will be parked for a year. I can't take a year long educational leave of absence at work so I will have to quit and be rehired. Whatever. Hopefully the same bosses will be there and it will be somewhat easy.

My passport will expire while I'm gone, and will cost $75 to renew. Thankfully, they will return my old one with the new one!

My national registry expires next spring, but in a surprising and out of character gesture, they will allow me to renew this year so that I won't expire. I am shocked, the registry is accommodating!

Sending and receiving calls internationally is an expensive venture. Even with some sort of plan it is $1 a minute to call there. That's tricky. I haven't figured out yet what to do about that, other than suck it up, or get a sweet vodaphone or virgin mobile phone and probably pay the same to call the US.

I'm still looking for a debit card with no foreign transaction or ATM fees, any thoughts?

WAP, the reveal!

Ah so, this vaguely mysterious plan. I can safely reveal it now, because if it falls through it will be the fault of "the system" and not of my own shortcomings. I have been accepted to grad school! That is the wild ass plan, but what makes it particularly "wild ass" is that to go to the school, my next step it to apply for an educational visa. If the plan continues successfully, I will soon be in DC getting my retinas scanned and fingerprints put into a database so that I can be a fake British citizen for a year.

Why go to grad school in England? You may ask.
Why not.
Aside from being a huge Anglophile, I am in a spot in my life where I am unencumbered by mortgages, loans, husbands, children, or anything else big that may prevent this plan from being carried out at a later date. Also, when it's time for me to well, make more money, I can look for a job as a green emergency planner/manager. Though I have a feeling that it will take a long time for the paramedic thing to be out of my system. Also, this major is not offered at my Alma mater, so I might as well go somewhere completely different. I really think that the Brits have their crap together when it comes to disaster management and that we can learn a lot from them. Also, equally as important; tea, full English breakfasts, and really good chocolate.

This is a year long program, classroom based of course, with a thesis of about 20,000 words. Sweet!

I will be a safe distance from London, so I won't fail out because I've wandered away from school work and never returned. Although, I have found plenty of distracting things to do "out in the country" including local kayak trips, castles, hikes and a public paddling park. Oh no!

More details and, of course, close documentation of the whole experience will follow. For now, I have about nine months to sort out how to pay for this, where to put all my stuff, and what to do with kitty for a year. Any takers?

Ding Ding!

I can climb rocks! Okay, I can climb on rock-like man made things drilled into a wall. But really, who knew?!

Despite my best efforts, I had a really fun time, and met both of my goals. I didn't die, and I got more than a foot off the ground, success!
When I got to the top, I really wanted a bell to ring, or a bull horn, or something, so I just shouted "Ding Ding!" as if I had done something spectacular. Then came the hard part, which was getting down. To do this, you basically just let go of the wall. Let go of the wall, that is funny. From there your trusty belayer carefully lowers you back to safety. Fantastic. It's the letting go that's the hard part, so I just had a death grip on the rope on the way down.
It was a lot of fun, and an exhilarating way to get a good workout. Great, just what I need is another expensive hobby.

Photographic evidence: Climbing Pictures

Things I do

I drive home with the radio on,
trying to forget your dead face.

I stand under my shower,
trying to forget your panicked father.

I pour milk on my cereal,
wondering why you tied the knots.

I watch TV on the couch,
trying to forget the marks on your neck.

I walk to the grocery store,
trying to forget the hopelessness I felt.

I wander through the aisles,
trying to forget the sound of your crying mother.

I workout for an hour,
trying not to be mad at you.

I stir my frozen dinner,
wishing you had told someone.

I drift into a restless sleep,
wishing we had made a difference.