Showing posts from 2017

He's Dead

"Hurry up, hurry up!"  she shouted.
Why were they getting out of the truck so slowly? "He can't breathe, he can't breathe!"  she shouted. They are still taking forever. "He needs oxygen, he needs oxygen!"  she shouted Finally they are at the door. "Where is he?"  they ask.  Isn't it obvious? "In there, in there!"  she shouted.  "What happened?"  they ask. Isn't it obvious? "He needs oxygen, he needs oxygen!" she shouted. They are standing on his oxygen tubing. "Don't stand there, don't stand there!"  she shouted.  They opened their bags. "No breathing tube, no breathing tube!"  she shouted.  "What do you mean?"  they ask.  Isn't it obvious? She waved a paper in their faces.  "It says it right here, right here!"  she shouted "He doesn't want any of this?" they ask.  Isn't it obvious? "He just needs oxygen, just oxygen"  s…

He's Dead (reprise)

"Hurry up, hurry up!" she shouted.
They're going as fast as they can
"He can't breathe, he can't breathe!" she shouted.
Get the bag, the oxygen, the monitor, the board
"He needs oxygen, he needs oxygen!" she shouted.
Crossing the threshold.
"Where is he?" they ask.  How would they know?
"In there, in there!" she shouted.
"What happened?" How would they know?
"He needs oxygen, he needs oxygen!" she shouted.
They enter the room, evaluate the situation.
"Don't stand there, don't stand there!" she shouted.
CPR started, oxygen delivered, heart monitor on.
"No breathing tube, no breathing tube!" she shouted.
"What do you mean?" they ask. How would they know?
She waved a paper in their faces.
"It says it right here, right here!" she shouted
"He doesn't want any of this." they say.  How would they know?
"He just needs oxygen, just oxy…

Paramedics are like cats

Growing up, our outdoor cat would often leave us 'presents' after a successful hunt.  She sought praise, but often got indignance as we mourned a cute little mouse or baby rabbit.  Even now, my indoor cats will stare at a mouse- trapped behind something- for hours before eating what they want and leaving the rest for me to find (usually by stepping on it).  Oh, what good cats they are!

My favorite doctor in the ER used to be a paramedic.  So he knows it for a fact: paramedics are like cats. I proved this just the other day.  We started with a cardiac arrest. But not just any arrest:  one where I actually got to do stuff! To feel like I could do something or make a decision that would improve the outcome of the call.  It felt really good, (despite the ultimate patient outcome) to actually have to think and remember stuff that I haven't practiced in a while. (I'm not sure if that sounds good or bad to you, dear reader).  When got to the ER, the doctor too, seemed happy …


Back in August, I was invited to interview for PA school. I didn't say much about it here as I fear failure and getting to the interview stage is like being within arms reach of the dream. It was too close, and felt very fragile.  Instead I spent weeks agonizing over how to articulate my flaws without making them sound too negative.  It's pretty hard to justify "I don't take direction well."  "I am too independent"  "I actually hate people" "I lack motivation."  "I am too laid back."  "I'm only in this for the money".   You cannot be honest.  And definitely answers like "I care too much"  Or "I am too thorough" are frowned upon.

Googling "how to survive a PA school interview" is a slippery and horrible slope. Everyone has advice.  Most of which was very useful. Some of which was down right terrifying.
"They will ask you about the shortcomings of your application." one sa…

Let me check my calendar.

So.  I guess I should do a little update...then about 100 more.
Three years ago I made the decision to "go to PA school"  which I wanted to keep to myself due to the absolute impossibility of success. Somehow, everyone found out anyway.  I wanted to prevent the future conversation of "Hey, weren't you going to go back to school?"  "Me?"(looks around feebly) "No, I don't remember that."

Quite happily, I can report that I won't be having that conversation (Unless it goes "Hey, weren't you going to PA school?"  "Me?"(looks around feebly) "No, I don't remember that.")  and I will be starting PA school in the coming summer!

I found out last week and have vacillated between joy, disbelief, and terror ever since. There was literally a 0.05 % chance of success so it really seems crazy to me. I couldn't even tell you 'why me?' although I am sure my overly kind-hearted friends would give you s…


I didn't mention it before, but I have been planning a trip to Greece for the last few months.  It has taken some time to plan as half of the time I am here, I'll be volunteering on a refugee camp which I now know houses Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
Two dear friends and I are here now and I just wanted to check in.  We will be spending about 9 days on camp (though we are living in an apartment in a nearby town)  doing whatever needs to be done. So far we have helped arrange some storage, sort clothing, distribute bicycles, set up a clothes shop, and teach some first aid (with help of forgiving translators).
This may all sound very mundane, but it feels important.  Important to help these people (read:  people) to feel safe, comfortable, and normal.  There is just so much going on politically, I have barely a meager grasp of the details.  But what matters is that these are people in a terrible situation that could happen to any of us.
Anyway, there will, I'm sure, but a f…

The Race

Sometimes this job is like a race. Like you're carrying this person on your back, and it's a messy race. You're tripping and sweating and you almost drop them. It's bouncy and there's trash everywhere. And if you can just get them over that line. To the line and throw them over. Throw them over and into the ER, you're obligation is fulfilled. Your job is done. You've won the race. And for a long time, that was it. Mission accomplished and I wasn't responsible for anything else. I didn't care about anything else. Get them to the hospital.  Dust my hands off and pat myself on the back. But somehow, they crept in. What did happen?  Did they live?  For the first time I asked myself.  I began to bring them home. I put them on a shelf and they stared down at me. They said, did you run fast enough?  Did you fall?  Did you drop me?  You threw me onto this island- over your line, but was it salvation?  I left in a helicopter. I left in a c…

4 June 17


3 June 17


2 June 17


31 May

I didn't make this, but I wish I had.

26 May 17

Life is hard, man.

25 May 17

EMS week haul.

24 May 17

Sometimes I come home to presents.

23 May 17

Yep, there's a goat in your house.

22 May 17


19 May 17


18 May 17


17 May 17

Costco win.

16 May 17


15 May 17


14 May 17


13 May 17


12 May 17

Last day of school.

10 May 17

Nothing broken.

9 May 17


8 May 17

Double reds.

7 May 17


6 May 17

Support your local pint-maker.

5 May 17

A costco surprise.

4 May 17


3 May 17

Yeah, again.

2 May 17

"Sure, I can hang a new storm door."

1 May 17

A brilliant windy day on the water.

I Forget

Every year, I forget
the lush color of too-tall grass.
how bright the sun is on the way to work.
my jacket at home, even when I need it.
how long it takes for the trees to begin to bud.
that mice can get into the house.
the musty smell of impending rain.
how soon sun lotion becomes essential.
that carpenter bees love to eat my porch.
how tired I get when the daylight lingers.
the taste of a cold beer on a warm evening.
my favorite songs that drive away the winter blues.
that spring is my favorite season.

Late Night

Midnight: Flank pain. Been seen in the ER three times already. "It just hurts."
0330: Woman thinks temp is 108 due to using a 50 year old unreadable mercury thermometer.
Midnight: 30 year old with pain. Was in the ER this afternoon, left against medical advice with a diagnosed problem. Didn't fill prescription, didn't make follow up appointment, pain worsens.
0520: Shortness of breath that "just started" according to facility staff, been going all night according to patient.
Midnight: 20 year old throwing up for 1 hour. Doesn't know what to do.
0400: 40 year old with weakness for two days. Why now? It just didn't get better.
Midnight: 22 year old male with a fever.
2310: 29 year old with anxiety.
0230: 24 year old. Supposed leg infection. Just left er waiting room against medical advice. Walked to payphone, Called 911
0100: Short of breath. Just needed a chat
0245: 55 year old with blood in urine since noon.
0445: 26 year old with a…