Sunday, May 27, 2007

EMS & Atheists

I am sure that most would agree that one of the most stressful things that could happen at work would be to spend the day with nothing but supervisors. Thursday I was the only EMT Basic on shift and there were many medics and Shift Supervisors as well as the Operations Director.

Well, the first tones went out around 8:00 AM and we were off! Went to a private home to care for a patient and were off to the hospital. It is after the run that my story picks up. Part of my training and getting off the probationary status is that I must pass certain tests and benchmarks. Driving is a very important part. I must drive back from the hospitals 3 times and show that I can maneuver on the expressway and make all the right moves and use all the correct equipment. All along this is with a supervisor in the seat next to me and another one in the back.

I was nervous AND it was our older ambulance, so it is not as comfortable and modern as the newest ones. I did not have time to really adjust the seat and mirrors as much as I would have liked. I was following the Directors cues and making all the correct turns etc. Then as we are driving along a neighborhood stretch there is a school zone with signs flashing, so I slowed down to 20. Not hard is this huge and heavy truck that has very little "get -up-and-go".

He tells me that I need to get in to the left lane to prepare to get on the expressway. As I check the mirror I see that there is a school bus coming up behind me and he tells me to remember my size and getting over. As I signal and begin the move I also see, out of the corner of my eye, a big playground ball bouncing into the street from the direction of the school. Director begins to say,"Watch out for that...." and then there is a big BOOM indicating that I had blown up the ball, but cleared the bus. I said, "Well, at least there wasn't a kid attached". Luckily the playground had a big fence. Although I had visions of all these little kids crying at the fence because I had flattened their only ball. Probably scarred for life.

Got on the X-way and hit 60-65 and made it back to station and even backed it in properly. Gave him the evaluation paperwork and I hope he has it filled out and in my box when I return on Wednesday. I know, after overhearing his phone call with our Medical Director, that they would like to hurry and get me "uncovered" off the probationary status because they need me to be able to drive and count as a real person.

Now on to other news..... I had previously heard about an atheist and author Christopher Hitchens on a morning chat show after Jerry Falwell passed away. I don't usually pay much attention to these folks because they usually are griping about the Pledge of Allegiance or the word God on our money and other misc. The reason that I bring it up today is because of an article in the Faith section of our Saturday paper. The article was about many new books that have been written, by atheists, and how today's political climate may be a big reason for this.

The idea seems to be that there is much greater open resentment about religion in today's political climate. The writer states that," Militant, theists writers are making an all-out assault on religious faith and reaching the top of the best seller list, a sign of widespread resentment over the influence of religion in the world among nonbelievers". Christopher Hitchens' book is titled God Is Not Great:How Religion Poisons Everything. Now, this is not a book that I will probably ever read, but I have to admit that it is an excellent title and probably has some merit. I mean, how many evil things are done or have been done in the name of God and / or religion. Religion, or people thinking that they are doing things on the side of religion have probably ruined many lives.

Hitchens goes on to say," There are a lot of people, in this country in particular, who are fed up with endless lectures by bogus clerics and endless bullying." I could not agree more. Even if one is a Christian how could you not find truth in that statement? Bad behavior in the name of religion is behind some of the most dangerous global conflicts and terrorist attacks in the United States, London and Madrid according to the atheists. As Hitchen states," Religion kills." Well he makes a good point. I can not argue with that.

The article , by Associated Press writer Rachel Zoll, contends that liberal outrage over the policies of Bush maybe partly fueling the sale of books of this type. Although she does point out that Hitchens famously supported the invasion of Iraq. Christian Smith, a sociologist of religion at the University of Notre Dame says, "There is this general sense that evangelicals have really gained a lot of power in the United States and the Bush administration seems to represent that in some significant ways." I have to agree. The fact that Bush considers himself "born again" bothers me because I think I was born okay the first time. I have no problem with a leader being a religious or Christian person, but I do have a problem when they let it control their work. I do not like all the ultra-conservative religious types that hang around and sway the policies etc. that govern this country. I may not think abortion is a good choice, but it should still be a choice that no one can govern. Personal choice with a person and what they personally believe. The same for gay unions. Why should a religious institution or organization be able to sway the things that they do not believe in or care for.

I do not consider myself a non-believer, although I think that they are right to protest the way the conservative religious groups are inserting their influence. It gives religion a bad name.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Day to Catch-up

I took today off, not just so I could catch - up on blogging, I like you guys allot, but also so I could do laundry, finish gardening and do some basic utility things around this place. One day off a week just does not give one enough time to do much. Today I plan to finish this blogging, go buy the rest of my plants/flowers, vacuum up the mountains of dog hair that are floating around on my hardwood floors..... you get the picture.

Sunday night the son & I went to an outdoor concert featuring some of our favorite bands; Cobra Starship, Plus 44, Fall Out Boy and The Academy Is. It was a fantastic 5 hour show and we were lucky enough to have 4th row box seats. I danced and we sang and screamed all night. Needless to say I was a zombie all day Monday at the coffee mega giant. Good thing that they have my drug of choice there! If you put some real whip cream, vanilla and several shots of espresso in a very short cup it can do amazing things for you! Fall Out Boy put on a show full of pyrotechnics with confetti and giant cartoons on a screen and so much more. They did an almost 2 hour set. A great, great time.

I read a great quote in one of the newspapers yesterday that went something like this, and I do not remember to whom I should attribute it, but here it is anyway," Anytime I hear something that is told to me by a bunch of white men that call themselves the "moral majority" it makes me very happy to be a part of the "immoral minority". I wish that I had saved that article because I am not doing it much justice, but it made me think a great deal about what and who makes up this so called "moral majority".

Who decided that we needed one anyway? Was there someone (Jerry Falwell?) that one decided that the rest of us were all so damned evil that there needed to be a group to speak for and / or guide us? I really resent the fact that I am considered an immoral person. I want to know what the criteria is that he used to lump us all together and why are those other folks supposed to be so much better than me. On the fast track to Heaven I presume.

I consider myself to be a very good human being. I have not ever violated any of the "10 biggies", I am considerate of my fellow humans I basically live a good life. So, I guess it must be based on my political views. Oh..... I did not know that the Big Man /Person upstairs had a particular political slant. That even if I am personally Pro-Choice that I am automatically damned to hell fire and brimstone for eternity. If I don't care if gays & lesbians want some type of union I am to burn for time and all eternity.

So are they basically the thought police? That no matter what good you might do if your views are less than ultra-conservative you are to be seen as immoral. It continues to frighten me that there are such large groups of people that are walking around and continuing to spew such nasty crap. How can any sensible adult even believe that Gods wrath has been to put these wars and plagues and hurricanes etc. upon the masses due to behaviors that He deems inappropriate.

It seems to be that maybe they need to read their Good Book more closely, or less if that is the case, open their minds more to the realities of our times and maybe roll-up their sleeves and do some good old volunteer work and worry less about peoples private lives. I think they have too much time on their hands and they need to do more to be a better part of society instead of constantly critiquing and making themselves feel better about themselves.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I have heard this term used in a variety of professional fields and in the business world, but it is quite another thing to hear the term used when one is referring to the war in Iraq. People have been talking for some time about the group Blackwater and their work in Iraq. Well, I am not going to ramble on much, but rather point you to an alrming article over at Mother Jones written by Jeremy Scahill who spent time with and reseraching their activities in Iraq and testified before Congress and has written a book about the entire mess.

Monday, May 14, 2007

First EMS Stories

Well, I had my first really busy day at the 'ol EMS shop. By the time the day ended my head was throbbing and I just wanted a glass of wine and some peace & quiet. I was also so sore, biceps and thigh muscles, that it took me 2 days to work out those kinks!!

For my 7-1 shift I am expected to arrive at 6:45 AM. The tones first went off at about 8:15 that day. It was also a code red. That meant that it was considered serious enough that we would be going lights and sirens. This person was the first one to throw up in my presence. It did not bother me. I also had wondered about getting car sick while working in the back of the ambulance, but you are literally so busy; moving around and actually working that you do not even realize that you are in a large moving vehicle. I walked all around the back of that thing. We got this guy to the ER and then decided, afterwards, to stop and get gas and some coffee.

The station we stopped at had a Dunkin Donuts. The other EMT was pumping the gas, the medic went for coffee and I headed right to the bathroom!! I really, really had had to go for quite some time. Everyone who knows me knows that I have a bladder the size of a peanut. Naturally that morning I had made the choice to have a 5 shot beverage from the coffee mega giant!! Not a wise decision. I have since decided that on my work days, with EMS, that I will drink a much smaller drink and empty my bladder often.

As I was taking care of business I can hear the medics pager going off and him yelling my name!! I finish quickly and run out to go the next call. It is also a code red and we take the next person the an ER with lights and sirens. The entire call takes about an hour. When we get the patient situated in his room we proceed to the EMT room where the other EMT, who is working on her paramedic license, fills out the reports. I am so dehydrated by this point that I get a Gatorade out of the fridge and watch and learn.

It is at this moment that the medic says to me, " Under different circumstances that might be a turn on" and I look to see that my zipper is wide open!! The pants that I am wearing are not mine. I was fitted for pants a few weeks ago, but until they come in I am wearing loaner pants that had been someone else's. I have to cinch the belt in a bit and that leaves some bulk material in the zipper area. So, since they were unzipped they were WIDE open!! Needless to say I did get quite red, but it did make for a good laugh at a much needed time!! I was already overwhelmed with knowledge and experiences that day.

We managed to make it back to the station where I was able to do my own training paperwork and quickly eat a PB&J when the next tones went off. Also a code red. It was a very busy day for me and I managed to work almost 1 1/2 hours past my normal shift. There is tons of paperwork to go around. My head was swimming. Learning where things are at different hospitals. Refilling items used on the ambulance from the various ER supply rooms. I felt like a rat in a maze. I must have gone through 6 or 7 pairs of latex gloves that day. I did so many things, and in such quick time, that I was not even sure what I did do and learn. You do become immune to the sounds of the sirens, but at the end of the day I drove home in an absolutely silent car.

It is hard, physical work. I am really going to have to kick a work-out into high gear to be able to keep this up!! The EMT's really do much of the grunt work, physical lifting etc. for the medics. That is where I need to be by next year. The lifting is the worst part. The vomit and blood do not bother me at all. The physical work is the hardest so far. I was exhausted.

It has truly given me a new respect for the people that do this work. It is much more than medical knowledge.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

It's A Lot Like Drunk Dialing.......

I think we all might be familiar with the phrase and maybe even one or two of us might have had opportunity to apply the action in the past. Well, the same rules that apply with the phone should and ought to apply to blogging!! Nuff said about that.

Yesterday, Saturday, after I finished up my shift with the coffee mega giant I went outside to the patio, opened my backpack and got out my journal and about a months supply of the articles that I print from the web site Living Life Fully. I also receive a daily meditative article from them that usually has good writing prompts for journal topics. Well, I have been printing them, but have not taken any time to read them or do any writing and I think that it has been one of the huge factors in my sense of being overwhelmed.
In one of the articles, "Do You Need More Time" by Helaine Iris, how weird is that that I picked out that particular article? Or was it karma? Anyway, she had a quote that she had come across in an issue of Oprah's magazine from the Big O herself that stated," If you allow yourself to be depleted to the point where your emotional and spiritual tank is empty and running on fumes of habit, everybody loses. Especially you."

WOW!! That hit me square in the middle of the forehead!! I sat there stunned. That is exactly what I was doing. As the days went along I always had the intention of taking time out for me, because I always carry the reading and writing materials with me, but I kept allowing myself to be distracted and taken off task and so it got pushed aside. then I finally felt the devastating effects.
The article went on to say, " Our culture teaches otherwise, but the paradox is that you owe it to yourself and those who rely upon you to become more selfish. Yes. Selfish. You can put yourself at the top of your list without being mean or taking away from those who are most important to you."
Again, I say...WOW! What a concept. It is so true. After I made it a priority to sit down and do what I enjoyed and what I felt filled my tank back up AND rejuvenated my soul, I felt SO much better yesterday. Even after working 6 days and some of them were very busy and not much fun, I felt refreshed and came home and we spent time together and even went out to a nice dinner and had great family time together. Instead of feeling so tired and spent and just going to bed and talking to no one. It was very nice.

Another quote from yesterdays readings really summed it up for me. In an article titled, "How Do We Deal With Setbacks?" By Gary Egeberg excerpted from a book titled, "The Pocket Guide to Inner Peace" he says, " The process of resolving an inner or interpersonal conflict or handling an emotion we have struggled with for many years or decades, such as anger or fear, in a healthy manner is one that frequently entails making progress and suffering setbacks. A setback, though often painful, is not without potential redeeming value, for it frequently paves the way for a comeback and gives us the momentum to grow more than we would have had we not suffered the setback." This was exactly what was happening to me. I could feel myself growing right there in that patio chair, sitting in the sun outside on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at the coffee mega giant. It was exactly what I needed and now I know not put it off anymore for whatever reasons or other crap might come along.

We make time for household chores, we make time for friends which is often a very worthwhile activity, we make time for family and usually by the time we are done making time for everyone one and everything else we do not think it important enough to make time just for ourselves. Well, not anymore. I might work 6 days a week and a few loads may have to go unwashed and a few globs of dog hair may have to continue floating around on the floors, but I AM going to take that certain hour, or two, and make them my own. That time where I can read and write and flesh out my thoughts and emotions for the week.

I am going to take the time and fill up my tank. How could I not? The cost of letting it go is just to high of a price to pay for just an hour of time to be alone with my thoughts. We are all very busy people, getting pulled in many different directions and by many activities and necessities, but I encourage you to to take the time necessary to do whatever you personally find fulfilling in your lives that make you a better person and also make you a more fit person in your world.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Hell, I'll be lucky to read or even write anything about the next election or the candidates!! So,,, I wish the best for us all!!!

Exhausted, Overwhelmed, Done & Giving Up

I am tired. I am tired & exhausted. That means tired and ready to give up. Tired of trying to work 2 jobs and get to the point where I am able to establish that second career. if I even thought that I might be bale to make it to, or through, paramedic school I now ask myself, "what was I thinking?"

It is just sheer craziness. I am getting tired of always trying to be "up" and bouy everyone else. I am also getting sick of trying to always be positive for everyone else. Where is the help for me? Where is my cheering section? Doesn't matter... it's too late now.

Here it is, only Tuesday, and already I can barely make it through the dishes, let alone get the laundry out of the dryer, and think about sheets or what I might have to do tomorrow!! I am ready, really ready, to just trash it all and just stay at home and do nothing and let myself be supported for awhile.

I am exhausted trying to take care of details and work 2 places and try and be everything to everyone else. How did I get to this point? How is it that som people can fall in a pile of shit and find their way to a life of "easy street" and I have had to work so damn hard for all these years? I guess I am just starting to get a bit resentful and jealous.

I'll admit it. With all my philosophical chatter I am still prone to the same human weaknesses. I want it all without having all the work. I am tired of having to work so hard. I want some of the fun without all the work.

My good friend just had a boyfriend that flew her to Florida to take care of his condo for a few days. How do people find that stuff? How do some get so fortunate? Why do others always have to struggle? I guess it all boils down to the fact that I am tired of the struggle and I do not think that I can put up the fight any longer.

What has brought this all on? Well, it is all too lengthy to delve in to, but a bottle and a few extra glasses of wine and an already too busy week have not helped. or ahould I say that they have contributed greatly. It is a good thing for spell check!!

It does not matter if anyone even reads this or even responds. I am just using it as an outlet. I also just notice that it has been almost 3 weeks since my last entry. I don't even have anything worthwhile to talk about right now because I am always too tired and too busy. I am lucky to have to stop in and see what you all are doing, maybe make a comment or two, and then it is either off to work or off to bed.

The fun never ends.