I am from

I am from a regular town full of regular people.
People satisfied with purely living life.
Sometimes I yearn for such simple desires
as a two car garage, a dog, a big television.

I am not special, yet feel unfulfilled.
I’m a wannabe gypsy, a transient
who fears the permanence of real life;
of matrimony, contracts, escrow.

But I have roots.
Roots that are deep and don’t want to be exposed.
Covered in the dirt of childhood,
of old friends, of young and aging family members alike.
I cannot just shake them off
and plant somewhere new.

I fear looking back with disappointment,
but it spares my tail from being between my legs again.
Still I search for the courage. A matter of
closed eyes, trust games, and gambles.

I take stock of where I’m from
knowing I will inevitably leave again.
Though I am inexorably tied
to its people, its weather, its street names.

But when I leave,
I learn that where I’m from
is where everyone else is from too.

Pot Post

Not that kind of pot, silly! Per request, here are some glamor shots of what I've been doing in pottery class the last few weeks.


Today I took a walk after work. It was a beautiful day, and although I never thought I'd voluntarily take a walk again, I enjoyed it very much.

Today for the first time, someone thanked me for saving their life. I'm not convinced I did, but she was feeling better after some adeosine slowed her heart from 190 beats a minute and her symptoms went away. I was glad it worked out because the call didn't start well. First, I got lost on the way there. I'm going to go ahead a blame the lack of rural road planning. At one point I found myself at the junction of Hilltop Road and Hilltop Road. I threw up my hands and the ambulance crew took mercy on me an met me there.
Once we found eachother, the compartment doors of my truck wouldn't unlock. I spent several futile seconds attempting to unlock them with my keys, but Iam generally key retardent, so I tried the switch for the 20th time and thankfully it worked.

From there, I stepped into the ambulance, hoping that I hadn't set the tone for an altogether bad call. The patient was clutching her chest and had a heart rate of 190. Sufficient not efficient. She was really anxious and kept asking me if she was going to die. I was pretty sure we could sort out her problem without issue. But then again, I had already been locked out of the gear compartment of my truck. I got her IV started and warned her that adenosine may make her feel funny, but it wouldn't last. She asked "Funny like what?" "Um, funny like your heart is stopping." Just kidding. Oh so many differences between what I want to say and what actually comes out of my mouth. I pushed it and we watched the monitor with excitement. I watched as her SVT went into a couple short runs of VT and then settled into a sinus tach. I was relieved. I would have been freaked out if she had actually died, even though I never told her she wouldn't.

Today I finished my 400th blog post.


Apologies for the lack of updates. No time to update, nothing to update, no internet at work, catching up on episodes of 30 Rock...one of these excuses should do.

I have had some good calls recently. Including the suicide and the ROSC, I have had four tubes in as many weeks which is very exciting for me. The whole time I was at my first job I had one opportunity for a tube and managed to mess it up. That is the only problem with an all ALS system, skills are spread over so many people that often a great number don't get any at all. There is something to be said for suburban EMS.

I had an arrest two weeks ago, and we abided by the rule of 'if we have to think about whether or not we should attempt resuscitation, we probably should do it'. He really was too far gone, but we got him intubated, cannulated, and gave him some drugs. When that didn't work we called med command for permission to stop. This was the first time I successfully used a Miller type blade. It worked great, but I still reach for the Mac first.

Last week I had a guy who collapsed suddenly after dinner. The ambulance was there within minutes, and he got good CPR from them. He was in a pulseless electrical rhythm. Again, intubated, cannulated, and got some drugs. Unfortunately, we were not able to resuscitate him, even after continuing efforts in the ER for another half an hour.

Last night I had a CHF patient who made me a little nervous. She was full up with fluids and even with loads of nitrates and lasix (it's all we have) on board, and CPAP, she didn't seem to be improving. She did alright though and a few hours later she was off the CPAP. Horray for CPAP stopping us from tubing everyone!


With the exception of getting lost in a cavernous apartment building, the call couldn't have gone better. It came out as chest pain, and rapidly declined to cardiac arrest. There were no signs pointing us toward the correct apartment and we were left wandering around briefly cursing and looking generally confused in a creepy apartment building.
We finally found the patient sitting on a chair looking not so great (and by great, I mean alive). We lifted her to the floor and I put her on the monitor, VF! (a deadly, yet treatable rhythm) We ended up shocking her six times. My partner gave her a host of drugs as I intubated her and when I looked up at the monitor again she was in a 3rd degree block (a very dangerous, yet treatable rhythm) I immediately fiddled with some buttons on the monitor and began to pace her. (giving her heart a little electrical encouragement) and she had a pulse! And a blood pressure! We had an interesting trip out of the ridiculous building as the cot wouldn't fit into the elevator at all. But we were able to squeeze backboard in at a weird angle and celebrated when the doors successfully shut.

She remained alive for the about half a mile drive to the hospital, and after that, well, I'm not really sure what happened. The 12 lead showed a huge inferior MI, and shortly after we got there she was taken off the pacer without a problem.
All in all, it was a pretty cool call.


I was walking to the store and passed by a line of cars waiting at a stop sign. As I passed, a back seat passenger rolled down his window, stuck his arm out and dropped some trash on the ground. Shocked, I stared open mouthed at him as my timid mind considered what to do. Impulsively, I turned on my heel and headed straight for him. I stopped for a second at the door staring into the car of teenagers.
“I’ve got it.” I said angrily as I bent down and picked up the offending litter, and I walked off.
“I’ve got it?!” that was my hard-hitting retort to this idiots selfish act. Freaking typical. Far better things ran through my mind as I walked away, almost prompting me to jog back to the car and go into an insane tirade about how dumb, spoiled emo kids are what’s really wrong with this world. Of course, I wouldn’t have taken the trash, I would have thrown it in his face, and informed him that he was in serious need of a haircut. At the very least I could have added “you jackass!” to my original lame statement or shouted other curses at random toward the car. Oh well.

My only conciliation was the horrified look on his face as I suddenly turned toward him. Ah, that was pretty good. But seriously, “I’ve got it.” is super sad. Silly pacifist Ellie.

Inescapable reality

There was a medevac crash in Maryland last week. Four people were killed including the medic and the pilot. Miraculously, one patient survived and is expected to recover. This is the first medevac accident involving the state trooper system in Maryland since 1986.
I don’t really know what to say about it. Helicopters crash. It is the number one cause of EMS personnel death. But not here. I immediately, selfishly, thought it was some other service. I was wrong.
I have spoken to several of my old classmates about it. The trooper system holds a special place for us as we all rode with them for clinicals. We are left feeling vulnerable, shaken, scared. They were untouchable. We are left incredulous, full of questions. How could this happen anyway? All supplied explanations seem doubtful to me. It is a frightening reminder, and we inherently don’t like to be reminded of our own mortality.
My thoughts and prayers go to the victims and their families. I hope that their deaths will not become a political bargaining chip in the state and that they are remembered and honored for what they were. Those who were committed to serving their community, even at great personal risk.
It's not much, but it's all I can think to say.

Little interactions

The grumbling diesel engine of our ambulance brought us to a stop at the light. On the corner there was a little boy waiting to cross, holding his mothers hand. I could see him staring at us. I looked over and with his free hand, he waved tentatively. I smiled and waved back at him. Leaning over, I touched a button and lit up the ambulance like a Christmas tree. It was nothing compared to his grinning face. I had never been so proud as the light turned green and we pulled away.