New Year

I went on almost 300 calls this year. It seems like a lot, until you compare that to the number of hours I've worked. Far more than 40 a week, I can tell you that. But that is beside the point, whatever that was. Another year gone, as they say. It's been a good one. I spent a lot of money! Well, I guess, more accurately, I borrowed a lot of money. So I owe a lot of money. So I'll stop thinking about that because it makes me anxious. In addition to the house I bought a fancy bike and recently two cats. Yes, 2 cats, but more on that earlier. Or later. Depends on how much changing of the dates I decide on.

So I ran calls and bought stuff. What a year!

Lets do the year in review based on the post written on 30 Dec 2010. The photography WAP is still up and running. I booked a show for September, and if I ever get it together, will sort out the 'spring season.' The craft show circuit is amusing, but hard work.
I did do more domestic travel. I should hit some places I've never been before, but you can't go wrong with the northeast kingdom and wherever your friends live. I'm planning more domestic travel this year and even next, so we'll see how that goes. Get ready, America!

Do local events: Fail!

Read the Bible: Fail!

Be a 'better communicator': Fail! Well, it is hard!

Time will always be made for the things that are important to us. Unfortunately, the things that I make time for as of late are playing video games and eating crap food. Success! I really should have written this post when I was feeling a little more optimistic. Okay, so get it together! I will still go to work and leisurely search for an EM job, take naps, and write blog posts. (and play video games and eat crap food if I'm honest)

I really want to write more. Last year I took up an hour a day project, writing for, oddly, an hour a day. I didn't do too badly. I did the actual hour (usually more) for a few months, now the hours are a little more sporatic ad I kind of ran out of things to write about. But, of all the fake careers I can develop at home: if you want to write, write. There it is. Other, non-goals include: go on a bad first date, buy less stuff, and never talk to anyone called 'siri'.

Ellie's guide to Online Dating Pt. 2

I have renewed my efforts in online dating as of late. I've joined a free site that a friend recommended and I like it so far mostly because it is free, but also because it really seems like they are putting an effort into matching you with acceptable people.

This recent foray has led me to create part 2 of my guide to online dating. I feel that many profile makers need a coach or a guide to follow to increase their chance of success. Despite my wild non-success, I still feel I can dole out some advice. I feel that in my absence from online dating, the weirdness has gotten worse. Now, I know you should be yourself and all that and not put up a false front, but sometimes we just need to do a better job at hiding our crazy. Everyone does it. It's quite a phenomena that we all walk around making vain attempts to look normal. We are not. No one is. That being said, women want normal guys, (as far as I know) and the more crazy you reveal in your profile, the less success you will have. Give it in small doses over a lifetime of marriage instead.
Profile:
  • please, for the love of God, message me in plain English. Not txt or 'abreevs' as this does not show me that you are a functioning member of society. It shows you are too lazy to use vowels. Stop it.
  • youtube should not be among the things you can't live without.
  • if you mention a woman's personal hygiene several times in your profile it is off-putting and makes you look crazy which you probably are.
  • online dating is not an appropriate forum to spread you religious or strange diet-based beliefs. Ease up.
  • put more Myers-Briggs personality test results. It reminds me of college.
  • don't put 'xxx' anywhere in your username. Honestly.
  • I know it feels silly to answer open-ended questions about yourself, but take at least one seriously.
  • amusing and clever lists of likes and dislikes are nice, and amusing. And clever.
Picture:
  • do not post pictures of yourself taken via webcam
  • on the same token, do not post pictures of yourself taken with your phone while in your bathroom.
    • these pictures right off the bat say to me that you don't own a camera, nor do you have any friends, nor do you do anything other than sit at your computer or go to the bathroom.
    • no lighting around a computer is good.
    • I do not want to see your bathroom
    • Unless your bathroom is in a palace of some sort, it is probably not the background that you want to be seen in before I even meet you.
      • can you see it framed in your home later?  "Oh honey, there's the first picture I ever saw of you.  Don't your tattoos look nice?  That shower curtain really won me over."
    • Just get someone to take your picture.
    • one caveat: if the picture is just of your abs, that's okay.
  • do not post posed 'olan mills' type pictures. Seriously, this is creepy. You might as well take one with you mom next to you. Oh wait. You did.
  • comb your hair. I saw one picture of a guy and his hair was literally covering his entire face. I don't want to date your hair, I want to date your face. If you are that hideous, I suggest lying.
  • avoid pictures of yourself photoshopped onto interesting backgrounds. You are not fooling anyone.
  • also, avoid any of the following picture situations: at comic con, doing cos-play, holding your pet chinchilla, with your car, posing with fantasy weapons, cuddling a stuffed animal.
  • while we're on the subject, just avoid silly hats and pictures taken in bars.
  • what's that? A picture of you with a kitten? aww, I'll allow it.

Getting Out There

I have a tendency to be a reclusive hermit. It is far worse in winter months as I will take any excuse now to stay in and sit by the woodstove. It's too cold, too cloudy, too rainy, or too dry to go out today. So I will sit and watch The Incredibles and all of the bonus features until it's dinner time. Then I tend to throw some half assed dinner-esque meal together. Bits of leftovers, progresso soup, cheese and crackers, or cereal. Yes, because I'm in college.
This behavior will not win me friends, health, enlightenment, or boyfriends. So, something must be done. I've decided by the new year (instead of those post new year actions that are never fruitful), I'll be joining the local arts council, a photography club and take a class with the local theatre. All of which should produce social interatction and/or amusing situations. The photo club will help me to stop missing deadlines for local shows and give me some fancy tips. Apparently one member shoots for the White House.
The arts council membership is possibly pointless, but at least I will feel a little cultured and will donate 25 bucks to local arts happenings.
The class is an improv class. Random, yes, but it can could be fun. My plan is to get drunk before every class (as it's in walking distance) and I think then I'll be a lot better. Or a lot worse. Time will tell. I am scared of it, in fact, I had a dream that they made us perform without any instruction the other night. But as Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Do one thing every day that scares you." That is probably extreme, so this Eleanor will say "Do something every once in a while that scares you." This keeps life interesting and challenging.
The thought of standing with some strangers on a stage trying to think of something funny to say sounds absolutely terrifying. So, game on! More on that in February.
If none of that works in the boyfriend department, at least I will have something to do. And, I am always up for more adventures in online dating, and just about to write Ellie's guide to online dating, part 2. Check out part 1  here.

School Bus

Imagine yourself driving. School's back in session and you get stuck behind a bus on the way home from work. What joy. Suddenly, the school bus indicates to the right, pulls over, puts on their yellow lights and stops. Oh, thank goodness, you might say to yourself, thankful for a conscientious bus driver letting you pass. A couple of blocks away, a cop appears behind you. You duly pull over, but it turns out, he's after you. Yes, this is how my morning started. The cop, I think, never intended to give me a ticket, but wasted 15 minutes of my time anyway. 'Why did it pull over?' I asked. 'Well, to get closer to the kids.' he replied. Oh, yes. That makes sense. It was seriously one of the most stupid situations I've been in. I refrained from any eye rolls and then I did speed after the bus and tried to run over some more kids.

800

Welcome to the 800th post! Yes, I can feel the excitement. '800 posts?!' You are marveling to yourself 'How time flies!' Just think of all the strange and interesting and nerdy tidbits about my life you've been privy to. And you can relive the magic of 800 posts simply by scrolling to the end of this page and clicking 'older posts' about 90 times. Please do, in fact. Especially if you want to publish 'A Work in Progress' the movie. I'm open to suggestion.

Ah, but now to the point. Well, to be fair, I don't have one. Oh yes, I was going to explain to the none of you out there who found yourselves wondering 'What ever happened to that car project Ellie was alluding to a few weeks ago?' Well, it is an interesting story so you sit right down and prepare yourself for a tale of woe and heartbreak.
I have lusted after a classic Mini Cooper for many a year now. Constantly trolling on ebay and minimania for that perfect, cheapish, and not in terrible shape Mini of the past. I came close a few times to buying one and by 'I came close' I mean that I really thought about it, looked at plane ticket prices, maps, and how much mini parts are and then promptly decided against bidding or forgot and the auction was over.
Perhaps one day the Mini gods would smile upon me. And then, out of nowhere, they did. While driving with some friends, I saw it.  Like a tiny beacon calling to me. 1984, red, shoulder belts, head rests, right hand drive, bonnet stripes, low mileage, manual, and most importantly: running. Perfect. And so was the price. So, it needed a clutch, a small price to pay.
I vacillated for about a week and tried to be adult about such a decision. In the end, decided that I could justify owning it in a completely practical way. I called the guy on a Friday to tell him that the Mini would be mine. High fives all around.
On Saturday it snowed. It was a very freak snow in October and it was wacky but tolerable. I thought of poor old mini out of a garage for the first time in 10 years an having it's first snow. Aww.
On Monday morning I called the guy to work out some deets. Things took a strange turn when he said that the mini had been hit by a snow plow. Seriously, at that exact moment I lost the call. He called back in a few minutes and I said 'Oh good, I thought I was going crazy and we entered a parallel universe where you told me that my mini was hit by a snow plow. That was weird!' It was then that he informed me that it had in fact been plowed. Literally. And not just any plow, a state owned enormous giant terrible plow. And you can imagine what that might do to a defenseless mini cooper.
And with that, the mini dream is back on and in case you were wondering, there's nothing on ebay right now.

That is not what I intended for the 800th post, but there it is. Here, have a tissue. Other than that I broke my not getting sick rule, started a lot of fires in my house, and really enjoyed watching Contagion. But more on that later.

Here's to 800 more.

p.s.  I just had to publish 2 drafted posts so as not make a liar out of me with this '800th post'  A cookie to anyone who finds them.

Refreshed

Finally I can write a boring post without being the cause. I have been in refresher class all this week, thus, nothing exciting to write about whatsoever. The End. Of course not. Like many of our instructors and fellow paramedics, I like to hear myself talk, so here's some more for you. This class is boring. And I worry about how boring it is. It should be introducing me to new innovations in our field and the medical community as a whole. New research, tools, tricks, etc. It should not be a rehash of the most mundane aspects of our job. I am assuming they're following the DOT recommendations, but seriously? I was hoping that this wouldn't feel like a waste of time.
But, having missed a year of con-ed, this class is certainly a necessary boredom for me. I also wish that we could go ahead and do the extra stuff so I can bridge from being a paramedic to being a paramedic for national registry purposes. Yes, if you haven't heard of this, Registry is revamping their certs, dropping the Intermediate and giving paramedics the post-nominals of 'NRP.' This all has to occur by around 2017. The bridge class will include stuff we already do like CO2 monitoring, and things we still won't do like foley's.

Some not very useful information can be found here. Most importantly, the rocker will be replaced on the patch. Whew! That was a crazy couple of years. The only problem is that it says 'Nationally Certified' (in their computer rendering, at least) and certified is a word that doesn't sit well with me. Ah, things outside of my control!

So I will be refreshed as of tomorrow and ready to hit the streets for a solid 72 hours next week. Woot!

Pearls of Wisdom

A lot of my friends are having babies this year. As a friend and non-mom, I have little advice to give them. Or anyone for that matter, regardless of their situation. But over the years, thanks to work, I have developed a few blanket statements that are applicable to everyday life.
For example when it comes to drinking. Don't drink and drive, drink and hunt, or drink and ride a bike.
Always wear a helmet. Perhaps literally always, because life is unpredictable.
Don't sleep with your infant in your bed. Period.
Be exceedingly careful if your morning routine is changed. Especially when it comes to who is dropping the baby off at daycare. Just trust me on this one.
When you mow your lawn, lock the kids in the house. Or, the neighbors house. Or, a house in the next town over.
Take your medication. But not too much of it.
Just quit smoking.
Just stop speeding.
On that subject, don't drive and talk on the phone, text, or eat a pie. It only takes a second.
Don't climb tall trees without thinking it through. Or, stand on roofs, or stand on ladders while using saws.
Pay attention when a loved one is in the hospital. Be their advocate. Educate yourself and check up on their treatment. Medical people hate this, so do funeral directors.

I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them. If you take this job too seriously, you'll go crazy. But these, these you can rely on.

Reunion

I think it may be safe to say that a class reunion is one of the more strange social situations one can encounter. It is an evening full of seeing people who look vaguely familiar and, in my case, completely blanking on their name. I really should have reviewed the yearbook before I came. But instead, I went with my closest friend from high school and we relied on eachother to ID people. And a number of the people we came up empty on. I guess that's typical after ten years and hundreds of classmates. But you can't help feeling like a jerk when someone shouts "OMG, Ellie, how are you?!" after you spent five whole minutes sitting in the corner trying to remember their name.

The whole thing brought me back and I should have panicked about what to wear far sooner than I did. As I went to my fallback stores and found nothing, I began to realize that I am as in touch with fashion and trends now as I was ten years ago. I felt just as lost choosing what to wear to every event that took place back in the day. I was saved when, I found a dress for $14 and everything worked out okay. I was not over or under dressed and now I have something to wear to any future job interviews (if there ever are any).

That was another realization. If I ever did get a job in an office type setting, where I have to go to work like, five times a week (?!) I will have a total shopping breakdown. Way back in the day I ranted about shopping here. Let's just say it is one of my least favorite activities ever. But I digress.

The reunion was a lot of fun. It was cool to actually get to see people instead of catching up in the weird facebook way. Facebook has added another dimension of oddness to the whole thing. I knew peoples significant others because I had seen pictures of them online. I knew all the answers to the typical reunionesque questions thanks to facebook stalking. Someone told me that they read my blog, which is fantastic (by the way) but there is technology nearly eliminating the need to actually catch up. I'm proud of our class, and though I am not the first person in history to realize how weird it is to see people I've known since first grade grown up, parents, homeowners, and contributing members of society, that does not make it any less weird.

Back on the Wagon

Having house guests had the desired effect on me. We ate plenty of meals at regular intervals, rearranged the living room (for the better) and hung out like normal humans. My fridge was stocked and I bought a new chair. I learned I can deal with a dog, but that whole 24 hour job thing still gets in the way.
In addition, they brought their bikes here and we had to justify that. I've been biking more in the last month than I have in the last three and it feels good and bad to be back on that track. I am reminded that the bike was expensive and I have to take it out to justify it. I was also reminded that if you stop exercise, it doesn't take long to feel like an out of shape lazy-ass. Inspired by my house guests' fitness, I have started back at the gym, which I immediately regretted when I climbed stairs the next day. But, fear not! Especially if it keeps snowing and unseasonable amount, I will have no reason to avoid it. The biking has been great and with only a few trips I feel slightly more in shape.

These house guests and I were proper roommates back in the day and it was truly wonderful to have them around me again. They give excellent advice and I value their opinions. They'll be moving pretty far away next year but I have already resolved to follow them around the country/world for the rest of time. And, you know me, any excuse will do for travelling purposes. This will solidify that my next adventure will be domestic which is what I had meant to accomplish all this year.

In other news, I will be spending some of my travel money on a 'new' 'commuter car.' The details on that are in short supply, but rest assured they will come.

Now, I anticipate a bit of sadness as I bid my house guests good-bye. Another reason to have house guests is to keep you sane. I realize that the longer I stay single, the less eligible I become to maintain a relationship. Mostly because living alone makes you a bit crazy and set in your ways. Now, I only had a couple of 'Misery' type moments of shouting "The penguin always faces due south!!" in these last few weeks, but the whole thing has served as a reminder that I need to be flexible and accommodating and maybe turn on the heat every once in a while. And maybe, maybe, turn on the porch light. Though I doubt it. I mean, my frugality knows no bounds, and seriously outweighs my welcoming nature.  

The Note

It is simple and concise.
Far from elegant
thoughtful yet chaotic,
typed and careful.
Paragraphs and lists.
These are the reasons,
the pains and unmet needs.
The counting of the blessings.
Thankful for the good times,
it reassures and probably,
assumes too much.
This whole life in a few lines.
Are these words enough,
this simple correspondence.
Enough for forgiveness,
for understanding.
Is it long enough
to heal a broken heart.
Is it desperate enough
to make it okay,
to pull the trigger.

Home: One year on

I've been back a year today.  It feels somehow like a far longer time has passed.  A lot has happened, unhappened, and rehappened.  It's almost as though nothing has changed, though everything has.  And now I am out of 'life changes, deal with it' type statements. 
It's been a great year!  And strange, but I am beginning to feel that strange is the new normal.  I haven't done anything with my degree from last year except to hang it on the wall.  I only yesterday applied for an internship that I am probably not qualified for. 
But who cares?  I still love my job and the people I work with.  The commute is getting annoying and the pay stagnet, but at the end of the day, it's employment.  And that alone is saying something.  I would like to avoid lateral career moves, but something closer to home might be nice. 
The photo selling wild ass plan is...um, going, and will probably be on hiatus until the spring.  After two shows I'm not giving up, though I could have enough Christmas presents to last me a good long time if I don't sell anymore. 
I guess I just wanted to blog for the occasion, as I'll forget in coming years.  Getting back to England, if only for a visit, is always on my back burner.  I can't help it-I really love it there.   But I love it here too.  I think I will continue with my domestic traveling for a while and continue to save until I can do a proper trip.  I intended upon my return to spend more time with friends and family, which has gone okay.  Time is difficult to find, both on my end and on theirs.  But, time will always be made for what is important. 
I also wanted to do more local activities, and in that I have had a total fail.  I really need to join a club or something to get out there.  I live blocks from downtown, I really have no excuse. 
So, on to the next year, and fulfilling maslows hierarchy of needs! 

D2B

A few weeks ago we went on a chest pain call.  Chest pain is really our bread and butter, and most of the time it's people who have stable angina that just didn't go away.  Every once in a while, we get the good old STEMI, which is our decisive way to 'diagnose' a heart attack in the field.  These patients, like this one, stand out from typical chest pain calls.  They are often writhing around, unable to get comfortable, sweating like crazy, pale, and of course, have crushing chest pain.  This patient was pretty classic.  And as soon as I saw that it is not all dramatics, we headed straight to the nearest interventional cath lab. 
I love these kinds of calls.  They are the times that I feel like we're doing what we're meant to do.  I sent the EKG tracing ahead of us so that they could assemble the cath team.  I love when they take us seriously.  'The cardiologist loved your EKG.' one of the doctors told me when we arrived.
So, we got the patient in and left and I finished the story in my head like usual.  But this week, I heard back, that the patients 'door to balloon' time was 33 minutes.  That's the time we arrived at the ER to the time the patent's heart attack was definitively treated.  Within 33 minutes, heart tissue stopped dying. 
I won't be too dramatic, but I was pretty happy to hear that. 

Promises, Promises

Well, I didn't exactly promise to write more.  I didn't even take the advice of the beer cap!  I've been in a bit of a rut, in writing and pretty much everything else.  I wish that I had a good excuse for it, but I really don't.  Believe me, I've tried really hard to blame something other than myself.
I kind of feel like I need a little inspiration.  Luckily, I have found several sources.
Firstly, last week three of my girlfriends had babies.  I was honored to be in the room with one of them to take pictures and it was truly the most amazing thing I have ever seen.  I have never been more proud of her.  And, who doesn't love babies?!  Crazy people, that's who.
It was also great to leave her room, and slide right across the hall to visit my other friend.  Their babies were born 12 hours apart.  I hope they stagger the birthday parties!  It is inspiring to see friends build their family.  Nothing was more surreal than checking in on them the next day to see her cradling her beautiful baby.  I guess it's more surreal because I've known her since high school, and it is strange to admit that we are growing up. 

Secondly, my photo selling wild-ass plan is soon to be self actualized.  Well, that may be stretching it.  But I do have my first show this weekend.  This weekend!  Holy crap.  I think I'm ready, but I have yet to do a dry run of setting up the tent and such, as it's been raining pretty much constantly for a month.  Well, that may be stretching it.  But it has been hard to find a dry couple of hours to put it all up.  Head on over to thesamesunphotography.blogspot.com to learn the deets of the, how you say? show.

Lastly, I am stoked to have houseguests for the next month.  My NH roomies are coming down to stay because they are awesome.  Well, mostly because he's in med school and has an internship, and she just loves Maryland (I'm told).  Either way, I am very excited to actually have guests in the guest room.  I should probably practice having other people around (i.e. shutting the bathoom door all the way) but I'm just going to do it on the day.  Haha, now that they've read that, I'm sure they're really excited to be here. They'll inspire me because they know how to work an oven, might want to eat meals at regular intervals, may want to play tennis, and have strong work ethics.
So, I will take these sources of inspiration and attempt to put them to good use.  I need to get out more, use that gym membership, and be more focused on details and getting things done.  Although, in a fit of stupidity/bidding on ebay and thinking I wouldn't win, I bought a new xbox.  This, I'm sure will help me to make good use of my time.  Or, maybe reduce my road rage. 

Alcohol Preps

A few weeks ago, a new colleague of mine and I went on a motorcycle accident. When we arrived, the patient was being held down by about six firefighters and police officers while he struggled and shouted and was generally barely under control. They might have let him up if he hadn't cracked his helmet, been bleeding profusely from his head, and wouldn't believe that he was in an accident despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. My boss came to back us up and was immediately on the phone getting command orders for some sedation. (Yes, don't make fun of our silly state that has to ask for stuff. It happens). And, sadly, we got a (relatively) useless order for 1mg of IM ativan. My partner drew it up, handed it to me, and then as I leaned over to jab it into the patients arm, my partner pushed an alcohol prep in my face. My first reaction was, "Um, what the heck is that?!" as I continued to push the med while my boss was kneeling on the patients arm while trying to get him to stop shouting at us like a maniac. The rest of the story...doesn't really matter. He was eventually tubed, taken to a trauma center and all that good stuff. The thing that I remember about this call, other than artfully dodging flinging blood, is the use of alcohol preps. My new medic partner wanted to prep for the IM, double prep for IV starts, and meticulously wipe Y ports before we pushed drugs. And for some reason, it annoyed me.
On the way back from the call, I apologized to the noob for dismissing his alcohol prep when he handed it to me for the IM injection. It reminded me of me. Way back in the day my preceptor berated me for using two preps to start an IV. "If they need an IV, they need an IV." he said. Despite very dirty arms. He was probably wrong. I was probably wrong by feeling exasperated by the newbies desire to have a clean field for an IM injection. It wasn't wrong. It was impractical. Or was it impractical?
I worry that this post will now deteriorate rather quickly to a pointless monologue about how to balance the classroom and the real world. It is often a dichotomy of what is taught and what is practical, and really, a lot of rules are bent in EMS. Mostly because of the environment in which we work. Like, your house, or the street, or in the woods. But you already know that. Since I have almost zero readers, a hope of some discussion is probably out. So I will bore you with some clarification.
Should we take the time to use two preps on a dirty person who needs and IV? Should we wipe the Y port every time we administer a med? Should we prep the skin on a head injured altered person to give sedation IM? Really? Yes. Practically? I don't know.

New Stuff

Woah, Blogger.  Slow your roll.  I guess if you're not a blogger user, you don't know all of the wacky newness of their website, but it is confusing me at the moment.  A new post was requested.  So, here it is.  The end. I can't leave you hanging like that!  Well, there's not much to report really.  Let me think.  Is it scary that I have worked quite a bit in the last few days, and yet can remember almost none of my experiences?  It's not even that they weren't memorable.  I do remember one and I am working on a classic bit of depressing resqellie poem to dedicate to it.  I just can't write happy poetry. I have been slacking on the writing, both blogging and non blogging and I hope to fix that.  I wonder how many blogposts exist on the interweb that say "I will write more." and then six months or five years later there is another post that says "Wow, I didn't follow through there!"  Yeah, I'd like to avoid that.  I have just been distracted.  Or distractable.  I had started a project in May to write an hour a day, and it's been sporatic at best the last month.  Like going to the gym, I can talk myself out of the writing, think I'll do it later, or just not bother.  How sad.  I could benefit both from going to the gym and writing more.  I even got a magic hat beer bottle cap the other day that advised 'You should write more.'  Advice from beer?  I can think of few more reliable sources.
This weekend I am heading to the wilderness medicine conference I went to two years ago.  Horray for a conference that involves camping, lectures on trench foot, a pig roast, and starting fires with sticks. Full report to follow.  Maybe even a pic of my non-fire starting.  Until then, I, will have to tolerate 28 more hours of work and maybe six more inches of rain here in the mid-atlantic.  Hopefully I won't be setting up my tent in a swamp on the weekend.

Other than that I saw a space shuttle, ate tofu, and showed off my truck.

Years of academy training, wasted!

Yesterday I was able to cross something new off of my list of things to do: survive an earthquake. Of course, I thought I might be somewhere more exotic than the Mid-Atlantic to fulfil this one, but I'll take it.
To be fair, it is only amusing and exciting in hindsight. In real time, I felt, and I don't admit this often, but, scared. I hated the feelings the experience gave me. And I've come up with several reasons why. But I guess I should begin with the story.
Several things happened at once. I was in our local mall for the first time in literal years, so I entered it like a foreigner, interested to see what had changed. Secondly, I was surprised, with no offense to her, (because I certainly didn't know where we were going) that my mom immediatly escorted us to the exact place we meant to be without any fuss. Marveling at the mall and our swift arrival with the neice and nephews in tow, the third strange thing happened, in that the floor began to shake.
It is wonderous where the mind goes at such times, as the jingling of the jewelry department and the low grumble all around us increased. My nephew (9) suggested a sumo wrestler had gotten mad. My mind, though, sadly went to far more likely scenarios, and more sadly, earthquake was not among my top three. Until earthquake was suggested, it was all down to bombs and terrorism to me. In the 15-30 seconds it took to stop, a myriad of things crossed my mind; exits, whether we should exit, what exactly was going on, and how to protect my family.

One thing I really didn't like, is how out of control I felt about the whole thing. I hated that I didn't know what to do and that I looked to the other equally useless members of the public to cue me into how to react to our siuation. But everyone around us looked equally dumbfounded and confused. All of my knowledge was buried under a pile of temporary panic, and after a few tentative minutes of consideration, we continued on as usual, as if we lived in LA and this kind of thing happened all the time. This whole 'not knowing what to do' thing really bothers me on a personal level as I am an emergency planner, the paramedic, the problem solver. I bring order to chaos (on a finite scale) all the time, and yesterday, I really wasn't sure where to turn. I wasn't sure what to do when my most beloved people in the world were at risk.

Within the next ten minutes, the information came trickling in, 5.8, northern Virgina, and if people felt it while on the highway (they didn't.) Once it was confirmed as an earthquake, we were like, 'okay', made our purchase and went straight home. We managed not to panic the kiddos either. They thought it was cool right away, and were still hoping to glimpse the sumo wrestler. It wasn't until we left that we realized our phones weren't working properly and that maybe something serious could have happened.

It wasn't until I was on my way to work today, that I thought back to when I read the first few pages of the 9/11 report. It didn't take long for me to feel nauseous and stay up half the night with worry, so I stopped reading it. But. Something I do remember is that the people in the tower that wasn't initially hit (but felt shaking and swaying, etc.) did one of two things (basically.) They either immediatly left, thinking something wasn't right and they should probably get out (survived), or, carried on as usual thinking nothing of it (did not survive.) Now, this is extremely grim, but what did I do when the building I was in shook in a suspicious manner? Nothing. What a great example for an emergency planner to set! Technically, we did the right thing for an earthquake, stay put and wait it out and stay away from big stuff. But I didn't think it was an earthquake initally and I guess that makes me a pessimist, or a realist, or something.
But I guess, despite training and knowledge, I psychologically did what all other lemmings do. Seek comfort in the actions of others. I think we Americans like to say 'no big deal!' to lots of things, hence we carried on as usual. But I think next time, I might think a little more carefully.
I did think about demanding that those around me use their smart phones to figure out what had happened. I did think that if it were my doomsday scenario we were slightly safter inside. And this all has gotten me thinking of how well we are prepared as individuals.
When it comes down to it, perhaps we will not have the government or the media to tell us what to do, but will have to think and plan for ourselves. Especially when we are out and about and all we may have are the contents of our pockets to get us through. When you are in it, it is difficult to see the big picture. Could we have stepped outside and seen the mall fall down, a cloud of smoke in the distance, a plague of locusts? Who knows?
Of course, I'm not going to build an Anderson Shelter in my back yard or stock my basement with spam, but I will give it some thought. I could embody another American sterotype, that of self reliance, a bit more fully.

I think that's all I wanted to rant about, and I am sorry it got on a bit, but I think it makes sense and is worth a ponder. Yes, I've now felt an earthquake, and yes, it did scare me. And, on a side note, it did feel and sound just like that simulator at the Natural History Museum.

My house was fine, and after nearly 100 years of standing, already had cracks in the ceiling, so I'm not sure if any are new. My playmobile ambulance did roll off of it's shelf, but survived the ordeal. The greatest loss so far are the finials at the National Cathedral and the renewed loss of innocence I have when I felt for a moment that I was in the middle of something very real and very serious.

C3,4,5

Among the millions of mnemonics one learns in paramedic class, one I still remember is "C3,4,5, keep the diaphragm alive". This refers to three of the vertebrae in the neck which if intact, keep the phrenic nerve working and telling the diaphragm to move so that breathing occurs (among other complicated things that keep you breathing). But on a physically tangible level, it is the most simple. This tidbit of information is not an extremely useful thing to know as we don't have x-ray machines and if your not breathing we'll help you out regardless.
But sometimes, it just cool to know. And it allows me to say things like "Well it wasn't C3, 4, or 5, because he was still breathing." Unfortunately, our patient wasn't able to do much other than that. It was a real lesson for me in spinal shock. This patient had well, one way or another, broken a window with his head which (I now know) broke some of his cervical vertebra and because there is no light way of putting it, paralysed him.
It was the first time in years that I saw a KED board (here's a low budget explanation) actually being used. And a more appropriate time I haven't encountered. The patient looked, for a lack of concise clinical wordage, like crap. To me, he really looked like an MI patient about to leave this world. This freaked me out and we did our best and happily flew this patient to the nearest trauma center as soon as humanly possible. After asking several colleagues, that is what spinal shock looks like: bad.
It was an interesting call and one I'd rather not repeat because it was scary on many levels.  One thing about this job that I don't like is how often it reminds us of how fragile we are. 

MI (s)

I was at my part time gig where we hang out in triage and help out in the ER (crazy, I know!). But sometimes we get to play, bandaging and starting IVs and stuff before they get to the department. The other day, a guy came in, said he had a little chest pain and thought he should be checked out. It was kind of busy so one of my colleagues took him to a spare area next to triage and hooked him up to the three lead. There it was, ST elevation in II, III and aVF. So we got him straight back, did a 12 lead, talked to the doc, sunk some IVs and he was flown to an interventional cath lab within 20 minutes. I must say, it was kind of awesome.
We got settled back in after that and about 10 minutes later another guy came in saying he just didn't feel right and thought he should be checked. The triage nurse and I put him in the monitor and low and behold: a STEMI! II, III and aVF again. It was deja-vu as I wheeled him back, we did a 12 lead, talked to the doc, sunk some IVs and he was on his way to an interventional cath lab within 30 minutes.
It was indeed strange, and though I kept trying to envoke the rule of '3's', a third MI didn't walk in.

Throat Holes

That title sounds dirty, but for some reason I like saying it. I mean throat hole literally, as in a hole in the throat. And not one that comes standard.
I went on a trouble breathing call, arrived to find a guy leaned over sitting on a bed struggling for breath. As he looked up at me, I noticed blood running down his shirt coming from his neck.
It turns out that he had a trach (a throat hole, if you will) placed a few months ago. He was attempting to change the inner catheter when he began to think that he couldn't breathe properly. He promptly panicked as any normal person would, and then pulled his entire trach out as any normal person would? Either way, it left him, not feeling much better. To add to his distress, as he leaned over, he was occluding the hole.
At a loss of what else to do, I took a regular endotracheal tube and shoved it into the hole, inflated the cuff, and he kind of felt better. By then, he needed a breathing treatment which I was happy to give and though he wasn't well by the time we got to the hospital, he was better.
It was kind of a fun call, getting to solve such a problem. Which is mostly what we do anyway.

Sorry, Blog

You've been neglected.  I've been focused on gluing photo mats together and making futile attempts at assembling an ez-up tent in my woefully too small back yard.  I've been working out a wild-ass plan with almost no mention here.  I've been going to work and going to calls, and yet, not one word to you.  I've been riding bikes.  I've even been writing, with surprising regularity, but not here.  How sad this is.  How can I stray so far from my roots?

I've stuck ET tubes in peoples throat holes (literally) treated two MI's in 10 minutes, and used a KED board, and do you know about it?  No!  How terrible.  If you were a person you'd be pale and emaciated, searching for nutrition and sustenance. 

But, fear not, blog.  You are loved.  Please do not be sad that your sister blog has been getting more attention as of late.  Hers is a specialty topic, and I'll run out of material soon enough.  Like the prodigal kayak, blog, I will get you out of the yard and into some water.  I'll make you promises that I intend to keep and soon get out of this summer lull.  After six years, I think you know that I'll always come back to you.  You are the outlet. 
I'll see you soon. 
Big Love,
Ellie

Under the Same Sun

Here's a little plug, for the now, (somewhat) official photography selling biz.  I have put some wheels in motion and spent some money and am almost ready to start selling photographs at craft fairs and the like.  I am particularly excited about my business cards which will be particularly awesome and officiall looking.
There's not much to see on the site at the moment, but it's a start.  Please check back often to my sister blog and come on down to a show if you can.  (If I ever get into one!)

Link: http://thesamesunphotography.blogspot.com/

email enquiries ellieunderthesun@gmail.com

All Was Well

I can't let this weekend pass without mentioning the inescapable behemoth that is Harry Potter. After a decade of waiting for the conclusion on screen, I have finally seen it, and my review is quite simple: It. Was. Awesome.
As a book purist, surely nothing can replicate the excitement I felt madly flipping through those pages of the last book back in '07, but this movie came close.
For the most part, it didn't feel rushed, the effects were wonderful, and every character got their moment in the sun. It was gory and scary and artistically raw when it needed to be. The changes from the book felt necessary for cinematic purposes, it felt truly epic and on a more tangible grand scale than in the book. Really, I just thought it was great. It is not every day that I see a movie and the audience breaks into spontaneous applause more than once, and I felt that at points, no one in that theatre was breathing. Much like Toy Story 3, I felt I could have probably cried through the whole thing. 
I am, of course, sorry to see it go, but what an amazing (over 21 hour) legacy it has to show.  I feel nothing in a long time to come could trump it on any level.  I will be happy one day to share such an amazing story with my kids.

The Rest of the Week

Thankfully, the rest of the first week of camp went by with just the usual maladies and complaints to be expected of kids on their first extended sojurn away from their parents. Most of them dislike it when I am completely unimpressed by their injury or complaint. They expect quite a lot of reaction that I expect they are used to receiving at home. Sadly for them, I don't particularly care that they have scraped themselves, have found a minute cut on their pinky fingers, or have a tiny headache. Well, I do care, but I am not going to fawn all over them. Camp is character building and although some are legitimately hurt or sick, most of the time, I'll put a band-aid over something and send them on their way.
I do love the kids that I can joke around with, I become incredibly sarcastic and when they can tell I'm joking, it is a lot of fun. One kid came to me with a microscopic cut on his thumb.
"Oh, my, look at that! What happened?!"
"I don't really know, I just noticed it."
I carefully inspected it.
"Well, it doesn't look too bad. Do you think you'll make it?"
"I, uh, yeah, I think so." He grinned, "But there is this bump I noticed."
"Hmm," I thoughfully palpated it. "Yes, that could be a problem. But I do think it's your bone. Would you like me to remove it? We can if you want. If it's bothering you too much."
He pulled his hand away, inspecting it himself, laughed and replied, "No, I think I'll keep it."
"Well, okay, but you let me know if you change your mind. We'll get that bone right out of there."
Oh yes, and that was in front of his mom. He ran off and she and I shared an eye roll. I love people with a sense of humor. Exhanges like that are what I love about being camp or when I look at their cut and shout "Call the national guard! Set up a landing zone for their helicopter!" and the kids just laugh.
I think I'm sick.

Afterbite

I am back again as camp nurse this year, and although it's just the first day, it has already been amusing, to say the least. We always start camp with a good old fashioned nature hike at the beginning of each week. Last year, apparently everyone got a little 'misplaced' on the hike and it ended up taking twice as long and they had to come get the youngest campers in a bus and it was all a huge mess. As soon as I heard this story, I was suddenly very glad to have missed it. Other adults came along this year to ensure that the hike would be back to its usual length.
Somehow, though, this didn't work out. I'm not sure when it became clear that we had taken a wrong turn but as we entered the second hour, even the least astute camper had noticed. I was more concerned with the inordinate amount of campers being stung by bees. It was like an M. Night Shyamalan movie. The suspense built, first a couple of kids were stung, then a while later four or five more, then later three or four more until at one point the whole group was at a standstill all comforting a sting victim while hugging eachother and sobbing uncontrollably. If it hadn't been so annoying, it would have been funny. Well, it was funny anyway. Thank God, none of them were allergic which was my nightmare situation despite having a reserve of epi. Some put on brave faces, but most quietly wept for the duration of the hike. Thankfully I had a stick of afterbite which I used as a placebo (it's more for itch than bite) on all the kiddos.  That and the promise of ice packs upon our return kept them motivated, even though I had no idea where we were or how long it would take to get back. By the time we emerged from the woods there had been ten victims (a fourth of the group) and all others were whiny, hot, and exhausted. Ah, that's what camp is all about!

Nothing like EMS

There is nothing like parting traffic with a wailing siren. Nothing like stepping over puddle of blood to get to the patient. Nothing like sinking those IVs and pushing those meds. There is nothing like having a backboarded patient throwing up while we are being driven emergency through a city. Nothing like fishing out a basin while dumping the entire contents of a cabinet onto the floor. Nothing like heaving the board on to its side and balancing it on my thigh while clinging to the center bar like a crazed monkey. Nothing like having to tell the patient he has no need to apologize. Nothing like that hard turn that nearly dumps me into the puddle of sick. There is nothing like giving a clean, clear yet unrehearsed report to the trauma team. Nothing like telling a doc that 'you might want to leave that strap on, it's holding him to the board.' when moving the patient. Nothing like the renewed fresh smell of a clean ambulance. There is nothing like this job.

Summer

I must have let it be known in the previous six years of the blog that I mostly hate summer.  Almost exclusively because it's hot.  Secondly because there are school age kids in public in the middle of the day in the middle of the week.  But mostly it's the heat.
A couple of weeks ago I got a hair cut (well, all of them, budum, chee!) mostly because the summer is hot and I hate it and the long hair really gets annoying.  But my hair is now just a little too short to pull back and must nearly constantly be beaten into submission and forced behind my ears.  This is fine unless I'm doing, well, anything.
Last week at work I ran a cardiac arrest and I found myself poised with a laryngoscope and taking a time out to pointedly put my hair behind each ear.  It took about 20 seconds for my hair to wriggle out and then be perpetually in my face because I didn't want to touch it with my dirty gloves.  That, plus the heat of the day was causing me to sweat in a very un-ladylike fashion and I was constantly wiping my brow pointlessly with my arm.  I couldn't take my gloves off as by that point they were kind of a permanent part of my sweaty hands and if I got them off, I'd have to wait an hour before my hands would be dry enough to accept a clean pair.  So, I had to fling my hair in a whiplash inducing toss to keep it relatively out of my face, and despite a good tube, constant CPR, and at least seven defibrillation attempts, the code was not successful. Which left me irritated, hot, and in desperate need of a slurpee. I must have looked more harried than I felt by the time we got to the hospital because no matter how insanely loud the a/c is running in the back of an ambulance, little progress is made toward it becoming less of an oven on wheels.
But sometimes, I really love summer.  Swimming, eating ice cream as fast as I can to keep it from melting, the smell of barbecues from every back yard, long days, the sound of insects in the evening, watermelon, lightning bugs, corn on the cob.  Not to mention almost unlimited time to play outside.  Okay, so summer isn't so bad.
Yesterday, though, I found myself taking my bike ride in the heat of the day (I know, stupid!).  I had decided on a little variety and took my usual loop backwards.  It turned out that this was a bad idea as some hills look much better going down than coming up.  In fact, some seem to never end.  I was ten miles from home and ready to quit, stopping at each shady patch to evaluate my situation.  It was so freaking hot and before me were hills and after me were hills.  I sucked it up (though I had no choice) and completed the loop in it's entirety cursing my lack of available safe short cuts.  The only redeeming feature was that I found a working pair of elitist headphones on the side of the road.  Finding stuff for the win!

Anyway, enough whining about summer.  It's not all mosquito bites and dehydration.

The Bruise

I press my fingers into the bruise
on the back of my right hand.
It does not hurt enough.
It does not take their pain away,
It does not save him.

Hand on top of hand, I did my best
to pump his dying heart back to life.
Never wishing so fervently
for a patient to open his eyes and smile at us
as we congratulate ourselves.

A slow leak in the brain
has left her a widow
with only one month in.
Does he have to die,
to remind us to live?

All of our tools could not compete.
Could not reverse the damage.
Still I plead with his heart.
Just start again
and we’ll give you what you want.

I press my fingers into the bruise
on the back of my right hand.
It does not hurt enough.
It does not take their pain away,
It does not save him.

A Race

They had picked up a patient at the nursing home and were coming down the hallway with him on the cot. Ahead, two women were side by side shuffling down the hall in their wheelchairs.
“Ooh, it's a race!” she exclaimed as they approached, pointing at the lined up wheelchairs.
Her partner laughed "Who's gonna win?"
They stopped the stretcher behind them and she walked up and squeezed the shoulder of one on them. “Do you mind if I push you along a bit, dear. We just have to get by.”
The wheelchair bound woman agreed and picked up her feet.
The EMT pushed her up and left her six feet in front of the other woman so that they could get the stretcher by.
As they passed, she pointing behind her with her thumb and, shaking her head with genuine concern said, “The other lady will never make up that time.”

Avalanche

Before we headed north, C suggested that we backpack one night and then hike in the high peaks the next day on a trail to "Avalanche Pass." To be honest, from the start I was not in love with the idea, and the addition of the word avalanche to our marathon of hiking didn't really sweeten the deal.
But, despite a questionable weather report and a significant drop in temperature from 60 miles east, we headed into the woods from Adorandack HQ. Though I had a 'tude on from the start, it was really good hiking. The trail was interesting and variable and there were no bugs! It was sprinkling rain throughout and the wind was cutting, but that really only made things better in a weird way. Until we stopped for lunch and nearly froze to death. We didn't do the whole hike to avoid walking along some exposed areas (didn't really want to brave the wind) but did make it to avalance lake which was beautiful. The trail got incredibly silly, comprised at some point mainly of wooden ladders carrying the hiker over enromous boulders. Did. not. like. at all. But, we made it to our 'goal' and it was altogether a good day.
By the end of the day, we brought our three day total to 25 miles. Not too shabby for the first hike(s) of the season.
The next day, we could miraculously sill walk and spent some time at a great and very camp mini golf course before going to a wedding. It was a fun time but we didn't leave until 9pm, drove all night and I got to bed at about 0515 and went to my grandmothers birthday party later that day. Whew!

NY

Last week we headed to upstate New York, starting at Niagara Falls, which really wasn't NY at all. I'm happy to report that it only took me seven months to get back out of the country, even if it was only for a few hours. I hadn't been to Niagara since I was about 4 or 5 when I refused to get on the maid of the mist. And then, once convinced to get on, refused to get off. Man that was awesome.
This time, we did the behind the falls tour on the Canadian side. Someone thought it would be a good idea to build a tunnel behind the falls which is actually pretty cool as you are literally behind the falls. The view was um, watery.
We then visited illustrious Watertown, NY, a veritable hotbed of activity. If you count the production of car freshening trees and memorial day BBQs. From there we headed into the mountains and hiked and camped for three days.
The first day we left from a little town called Wanakena. It was warm, but the sun was baking the piney smell right out of the trees and the air was filled with the most pleasing aroma.
That is, until the air was filled with black flies. Nine miles of hiking and all I could hear was buzzing in my ears. The trail was fairly flat, and great for a first hike of the season. We camped at high falls, a great place to be where instead of bugs, the sound of crashing water filled the air and made for a pleasant evening.
I had my first shelter camping experience and it turns out we dragged a tent into the wilderness for no reason at all. I didn't much care for the shelter, it was strangely warm all night and inside the sleeping bag was too hot, while outside, every exposed piece of skin was susceptible to an endless supply of mosquitoes. But, though a chipmunk tried to rob us, we didn't get eaten by a bear, and the shelter was nice at 5am when a storm stirred up and blew a bunch of branches (logs, I should say) out of trees right in front of us. Scary.

The next day we did have a maybe, kind of, could have been run in with a bear. We heard a very suspicious noise and C thought he saw it, but we didn't stick around to make sure. We just STARTED TALKING VERY LOUDLY FOR POTENTIALLY NO REASON, but it made me feel better about the whole situation. From there we traversed beaver dams and at one point had to cross a terrifyingly high log over an otherwise impassable creek. Did. not. like. Turns out, we found more obstacles I didn't like the next day. By day two we had almost 16 miles under our belts and set out to the high peaks.

When I'm 95

Last week, my grandmother turned 95.  For the last few years I have had a work in progress poem, progressively titled 'When I'm 92...93...94' and this year, I finally settled on the lines.
Happy Birthday Grandmom, I'm sure Mom will print this out for you.

When I'm 95, I want to be like you.
I want to be alive!
I want independence, children whose successes outweigh mine,
and grandchildren I can sip whisky with.

When I'm 95, I want to be like you.
I want to be a good storyteller.
But really I would settle for the stories. They are what define you.
The one of bread handed over a fence, a proud little red wagon, or how a pair of pants set you free.
Or how you picked up coal from the train tracks, your adventures at the cannery, and how much you loved selling stationary at the five and dime.

When I'm 95, I want to be like you.
I want to have found love. I want to have given all of mine and have it be enough.
I want to know the secret of a long happy marriage.
I want friends. Friends who truly know me, and after decades, it would be hard not to.
I want a family. Like yours, a family who can look past differences and distances. Family that can come together without quarrel, pretence, or shame.

When I'm 95, I want to be like you.
I want to know joy and sorrow, success and failure. I want to know what life truly is and understand the sacrifices it requires. I want the strength to make them. 

When I'm 95, I want to be like you.
Well, I'd like to be like you now.
Mostly, I want your generosity.  
When I come over, you never fail to shower me with, well, whatever you have. Doubtless, you would give me anything you owned if I needed it.
But, little do you know that I am satisfied now by what I have always been. A coke and a handful of M and M's. A taste of your unfailing love, and a good story, of course.

When I'm 95, I want to be like you.
I want to embody these traits of yours,
to be your carbon copy.
Because I know that when I am 95, I will want to have you.

1st June

The very astute blog reader would point out now that I have skipped two days of the photo a day project this year.  But, realizing this, I decided to do like Ramadan (not to compare the importance of Ramadan with that of posting a picture a day), but if you miss a day of fasting, you can just tack one onto the end.  Which means, a 'bonus' photo a day for June 1 and 2!  Luckily, I was doing something photogenic. 

So, here's a fern.  I know, exciting!

Pics

This afternoon I am headed to the northeast kingdom and the remaining pics of the day will likely not be posted until June.  Hope you'll survive the anticipation.  So, until then, imagine camping! and waterfalls! and mountains! and hiking! and miscellanea!
Hopefully they'll be worth the wait.

22nd May

I warned you about the excessive bike pictures. 
Took me ages to clean. 

21st May

Possibly the most awesomely fantastic bike on the trail, no, in the whole state, no, country, no, planet. James Starley would be proud.

Most definitely the coolest, most awesomely fantastic sweetest gift in the history of gift giving.

And it rips.

The Bar

Sorry, the pics have gotten a little messed up.  Well, I'm a day behind so far, but I've just been uninspired today.  But if I am consistantly a day behind, maybe no one will notice.  Who am I kidding, no one will notice if I am not a day behind. 
Also, I kind of think I set the bar pretty high yesterday.  I pulled over on the highway, crawled over to get out of the other side of the car, then ran down a hilly, wet embankment to cut power lines out of the shot.  Then I ran back up the bank through thigh high soaking wet grass.  Totally worth it.  And really, compared to that, a picture of some CPR mannequins from my PALS refresher today would just be disappointing.  Mostly for me.
Outside of that, I've gotten some good rides in recently, despite the rain.  Well, a couple of days ago, I made it 18 miles before I was drenched and had to seek refuge at a local school to wait out the torrential downpour.  Luckily, I did stop, but I was already quite wet by then.  I thought I could beat it, and when it started to rain, I found myself running the bike across a road and then racing like an idiot down a hill and over sidewalks to find a place to hide.
I am looking forward to a gloious and dry(er) weekend and hopefully the introduction of a super sweet new ride.  If that happens as scheduled, the rest of May will be nothing but glamour shots of the bike along singletrack in various states of cleanliness.  
Well, I'm not sure where I was going with this post, just apologies for consistant lateness of pics.  At least it is consistant.  And the stolen internet at the house is reliably inconsistant.  That has contributed a lot to late pics.  But, again, it doesn't really matter.  Uh, this post is disjointed.  I'll stop now before it gets embarrasing. 

14th May

Some giant plant that sprung up in the garden.  Looks cool after the rain. 

13th May

4 am boot portrait.  Late half because of blogger, half because of me. 

12th May

Check out this dinosaur!  Actually, I kind of like it, I think it only weighs like 20lbs as opposed to the 'fancy' motorized one we actually use. 

TV

I started the call cold and irritated.
After your apathetic husband, flagged us down,
then disappeared into a dark, unmarked doorway your shady apartment complex.
Once we found you, dramatically laying on the floor.
'Come on, get up now dear, laying there isn't going to help your breathing'
Stale cigarettes are in the air and as I give you a breathing treatment,
I start my lecture on smoking.
But as your story unravels
I soften
I kneel down to look into your face
and put my hand on your wrist
wishing I could do the impossible.
I cannot make your husband love you
I cannot make your children care
what I can do
is offer you my help
such as it is
I wish I weren't so jaded
didn't approach such situations with a negative attitude
but I grow suspicioius
when displayed in your squalid apartment
is a paper thin and absolutely enormous
TV.

11th May

I've been exploring where I can safely go on the bike from my new digs.  Sure, I could get back to my old bike route, but now I can get to other parts of the county too.  It's a cool city and I love how quickly I can go from downtown to a rural paradise.
The only problem with urban and suburban riding is the increased number of cars I have to deal with to get to these rural paradises. (paradises? just go with it).  The problem is not only do people somehow not see me despite lights and a beautiful high-vis vest, but they continually underestimate how wide a bike is, and how I just might not want to ride through the puddles or over the grates and tons of gravel on the sides of the street.  The new law in my state is that bikes must be given three feet of space when being passed.  So, basically I need to tape a yard stick to my handlebars to illustrate just how wide three feet is.
More importantly for my immediate safety is that I need to remember that in this heavenly time of year, people just might have their windows down.  I talk to myself a lot when I'm riding, most often exasperated cursing as I turn a corner to find yet another hill.  But I also talk to the cars on the street as if I were still in one.  I'm sure people have heard me ranting about their driving as they race past, or my general yelling of "It's okay, I'm not here!" and, "I'm not wearing this vest for my health.  Oh wait, I AM!"
Today I went down a road I didn't intend to where the shoulder is narrow and the speed limit a bit above my comfort level.  At least twice I was just yelling "AHHHH!" as cars hastily passed me without checking for oncoming traffic. Although, it was strangely exhilarating not only to shout like a crazy person while flying down a hill, but glancing back and seeing an impatient driver and their car in my back pocket.  "AHHHH! Don't do it!!!"
Come to think of it, finding exhilaration has been on my resolution list. 

Birthday Bonus Pic

My neice and nephew turn 9 today.  Here's a couple from the 'flipbook of supidity' I made while attempting to get one sensible picture of them.  Somehow saying 'act normal' didn't have the result I expected.




But, 'show me your guns' did.

10th May


The bike and I found some unauthorized trail today a couple miles from the house.  It wasn't trespassing exactly...

9th May

After six months cooped up in a suitcase, the prayer rug has found a home. Until I get a pet. 

8th May

Because I have extremely unreliable and stolen interwebs at home, the pic o' the day is probably going to be consistantly late on days I don't work. But today, it comes early for all you east coast readers.

Sometimes, it's worth getting up at awful hours to go to work.  

7th May

Even though I spent the whole day with C test riding bikes, you get a picture of my garden. Lucky you.

3rd May

Loaner ambulance, I am not sorry to see it go.  But it looks cool. 

Helpful Doctors

The post that never was. She said in a spooky voice. I meant to write about an overbearing 'doctor' mother I had who insisted that she could give me orders for racemic epi for her kid that did not need it. It was funny and frustrating and altogether amusing, but I never wrote it down. Now, If I don't publish this, the blog will make a liar out of me as I just wrote my 800th post. But technically since this one was never published, it was my 799th post. Once I hit publish, all will be right with the blogging world. Whew!

2nd May

I like my sweet new fancy pedals.
They do not like me.

1 May 2011

Crappy camera phone necessity.  Bin Laden is dead.

1st May

[no picture] What a good start to my project. The day is almost over, I am at work for the night, and I only just realized it was the first of May. No problem, I thought to myself, there's plenty to take a picture of here. One tiny problem. No one can take a picture without a camera. The fancy cam is safe at home, and the camera I usually carry at work is in my camelbak. What the heck. So, please envision the most amazing, wonderful, evocative, and moving picture to fill in for today. Or you can look at the picture of a miniature horse in a minivan I posted last month.

See you tomorrow.

Tattoo Evolution

I had collected a handful of trash in my gloved hand and went to take it off so that the trash would be trapped inside.  The stupid cheap glove ripped though and all of the trash spilled back onto the floor.  'Oh...you!'  My EMT suggested I grab a few pairs of their black gloves, as they are far superior.
'Oh, I love the black gloves, they make it look like I'm a tattoo artist.'
This piqued my patients interest and we got to talking about tattoos. 
'Do you have any?' I asked her, fully expecting a no.
'I do' she answered confidently
'Oh, where is it? If you don't mind.'
There was a short pause and she lowered her voice 'On the top of my breast.'
'Ooh! Scandalous! What is it?'
'Well,' she answered seriously, 'It was a hummingbird. But now it looks more like a bald eagle.'
There was a pregnant pause as my parner couldn't see the mischevious glint in her deadpan face. Unable to decide if she should laugh or not, she could bear it no more and let a short chuckle pass her lips, half embarrased. When we all joined her and I think the patient was quite pleased with her funny.

The Joys of Homeownership

To be fair, there are a lot. The space, the freedom, the amazing feeling I got when I declared war on the English Ivy in the garden. In just over three weeks, I've painted one room (not yellow), painted the bathroom (not bright yellow with an acrylic enamel for outdoor furniture), and planted my garden. Declaring war on the ivy was the beginning. I've also openly warring with peeling paint, the tree that shaded my yard into a desolate wasteland, and all of the bees that are boring holes in my porch. Did you know that it takes more than just yelling at them to get them to go away? Spraying them with some kind of poison is far more effective than shouting 'Get the hell off my porch! You bore me!'

Anyway, I'm not sure where I was going with this, but I have developed a disorder that leaves me with an inability to relax at the house. Something must need doing, and if not, I'll stand around staring at things until it does. And I think that not having TV or internet has turned me in to a far more productive person. I'm sure it won't last, so I'd better take advantage.
I can also say with almost absolute certainty that almost everything I own is under one roof. I rescued some boxes I had packed and stored in my sisters garage about five years ago. It seems that I was a bit better at prioritizing things then. I do want all of my playmobil, my high school diploma (don't ask me why), and the many, many tapes I used to listen to over and over again as a kid. If anyone wants a dramatic retelling of 'Bert and Ernie Side by Side' or 'Bread and Jam for Francis' I would be happy to indulge you.   The pic above was on a box I had packed.  I think I actually kept half of its contents.  So, I was half right. 

Other than that I finally got the bike out, used a weedwacker, and was asked to punch someone in the face.

Bonus Photo of the Day

It's not even time for the photo a day dealie, but I saw this today and knew that it had to be posted to the interwebs. Enjoy!

Come to think of it, why don't they make little horse trailers for little horses?  Maybe they do?  I'm gonna google it. 

Backpack, Suitcase, House

I liked the idea of squeezing everything I needed into two suitcases last year. Even then, I had plenty I didn't need, including about ten pounds of chocolate by the end. For a month this fall I loved the idea of squeezing everything I needed to live (apart from food) into a backpack. Home was on my back. But quite heavy.

Having survived out of two suitcases and subsequently a daypack, what has overwhelmed me in this official moving process is the amount of things I own and 'need.' In the past few weeks, I've been going though a lot of my things. Firstly, the things that I packed, well, hid, away at my parents house. The things that my 17 year old self believed were essential, but not essential enough to go to college, or really see the light of day for 10 years. It's funny to sift through these 'important' relics. Some are sentimental still, many more, completely pointless. But I am keeping in mind the things I'll find interesting in years to come. When another decade passes and I open that box, run the tassel from my high school graduation though my fingers, all those old memories will come flooding back again. And in that moment I'll be glad that I still have it. The problem lies in that between now and my next nostalgic sojourn, I don't particularly want to see the stuff. Nor do I want to furnish a place for it to live.
Now, since moving in, I've been going through the things that just a year ago I deemed to be 'essential.' Now, essential may be an overstatement, but some of it really is quite silly. It's funny the things that we acquire that hold meaning and I am by no means a hoarder, but some things just can't be given up. A few items I've rolled out of their protective newspaper and after 18 months of separation I gasp with the joy of having it again. And talk about silly. These are things like a ceramic model of the Colosseum, salt and pepper shakers in the shape of light bulbs, my tea kettle, and other little trinkets that I had all but forgotten.

So, though I can't help but be kind of horrified by the amount of things I have, it all just fits in the house, which makes me feel a lot better. It's crazy though to see the contents of a one room apartment expand like a molasses flood until it fills every nook and cranny of a much larger space. Still, I'm quite pleased with my little house and after being at work for two days, cannot wait to get back and have a nap on the couch.

Home

The sign has changed again, and now a proud "SOLD" has been hung. Yesterday I went to the settlement table with all it's dramatics. It got a little crazy when we discovered a couple of contract breeches (nothing major at all), that the termite inspector sent us the wrong report (3 weeks ago), and rather importantly, that my lender did not arrive on time with the money for the seller. Closing was postponed for a couple of hours while my Realtors head exploded and everything eventually got sorted out. So, in the afternoon, rather than the morning, all the papers were there and filled out correctly, and then I got a cramp from signing them all.
I was in by five and we had the inaugural meal, cooked in my fancy pants gas oven and then the fam left me to start cleaning. Since I'm back at work this afternoon, I haven't gotten much finished. The kitchen is ready, downstairs bathroom approved, and the upstairs bathroom is now adorned with my long awaited London Tube map shower curtain.

It pleases me greatly.
Over the next few days I'll finish cleaning and moving a few things in, the official move in isn't until next weekend because I kind of can't go home anymore because I constantly must be at work. It's a catch 22.
Oh, and although I am writing this on 1 April, I really did get in the house. No foolin'

editors note 13 April 11 20:58 Of course, champagne was provided. Don't be silly.

Nobody wants help

I've had a frustrating string of patients who, at the end of the day, called 911, but didn't really want our help. Especially where IVs are concerned. I mean, nobody really wants an IV, but I figure it's standard issue for most patients. One guy said he wasn't sure but I assured him that if I didn't give him I'd look like a slacker. In hindsight, it all sounds like I'm forcing these patients to take treatment they don't want. They want treatment, but they were all acting so aloof about recieving it from me.
One lady insisted on shouting "You won't find it, you won't find it!" while wriggling around like a fool when I went to start her IV. Well, I'm glad you believe in me, and I certainly won't if that's all the faith you have.
Another lady really just wanted a ride to the hospital I guess.
"I'd like to give you these chewable aspirin, is that okay?"
"Do you have any water?"
"No, but they're chewable."
"Well...no thanks."
...and later...
"I'm going to give you this spray of medicine under you tongue, hopefully it will help to relieve your pain."
"Really, can't you just wait until we get to the hospital?"
"If I did that, ma'am, my job would be obsolete."

Everyone is wanting to wait to get to the hospital.
"I'm going to start an IV in case you need any medicines or fluids."
"Do you have to? Can't we wait until we're at the hospital"
*exhasperated sigh*