Jan 31, 2011

A Tale of Passing Ships

To My Wife:

A ship is docked in port sheltered from the rampant storms rolling through the seas. This ship is beautiful and she is illustrious, known through the world for her abilities to handle any job near or far, a true jewel in the world of sailing. Her sails new and pristine, always the one of fashion. Her rigging made of gold, always polished to a shine. She is the pride of the shipping fleet. In the serene waters of the harbor she is calm and still, with her crew at rest, anticipation of tomorrows journey only just dreams as the light of the moon shimmers on her deck. Set to sail at dawn, she sits waiting, hoping that her companion ship will arrive safe in the harbor before the early dawn.

Her companion ship forever sailing the seas of night, navigating the vast emptiness of the ocean by starlight. Pushing through the waves and fighting through the storms which try to blow it off course. Heading to the same port of call known as home where she sits. He is weathered and battered from the struggles at sea. His crew worn and tired but always pressing forward, with patched sails and improvised rigging they have nothing to show but their love of the sailing life. No treasure, no goods, just stories and tales of the adventure on the high seas to pass on in port.

With dawn approaching the entrance to the harbor is in sight, out of food rations and the last few ounces of water left he catches a southerly breeze into the protection of the bay. At last he will see his beloved companion and the life at sea will have been worth it. But alas his beauty is no longer docked, on the horizon sails her silhouette as the morning light breaks over the ocean.

The mere glimmer of her silhouette on the horizon renews his affection to his companion ship. This life of passing may not be ideal but they are in it together and together they will be.

Ambulance Junkie

Jan 26, 2011

A Love Story

Open prescription bottles in my sink all barren of the pills once in them, empty beer cans lay waste on my tiled floor. I lay in the bath filled with cold water to numb the pain, feeling strung out and fading fast. My breaths slowing and more shallow with every passing minute. My eye lids getting heavier, the light diminishing, I'm unable to keep my eyes open. My heart slowing but my thoughts as strong as ever.

In the darkness of my own mind all I can think of is him, the one I loved who never loved me back. The pain and hurt that I went through day after day, night after night the tears I have cried. He was the one who was supposed to protect me, care for me, and love me. Not yell at me, abuse me or strike me. This will get his attention, he'll have to love me after this, he'll realize what I mean to him. As soon as he calls back he'll realize that he made a mistake and it'll fix us. He should call back soon to say sorry for our fight and he'll know what he's done to me.

The seconds slip by, the time is fleeing, the cold icy grasp of death creeps its way up my legs pulling me towards the end. Oh god why hasn't he called yet, doesn't he know what he's made me do, doesn't he realize I'm trying to hurt myself to make him see how he hurt me. Why doesn't he love me?

She begins to cry, the terror setting in that she's ending her own life hoping it would make him love her. The tears escape her eyes and she wishes she could take it back, she's sorry, she didn't mean for it to be this way.

Her cell phone slipping from her hand she goes unconscious, slipping under the water she takes her last breath. This is death, no bright light, nothing but emptiness and loneliness. Never realizing she is surrounded, surrounded by a group of men and woman fighting for her life. Complete strangers who entered her bathroom unannounced and pulled her out from under the water tomb. Strangers who will not let her slip from their grasp, doing what they must to bring her back from the brink. They breathe for her because she can not, pressing on her chest pumping her heart for it does not beat on its own, by counteracting the drugs she took to stop the damage she has already done to herself.

The why doesn't matter to these strangers, its between her and her maker. All they know is that she's not going to meet him anytime soon if they have anything to say about it.

Be Safe
Ambulance Junkie


Jan 21, 2011

A Walk In The Park For Us, Is The Great Unknown

Its dark out and she was woken from a sound sleep by an unfamiliar feeling. An uneasy feeling begins to set in as she gains her baring, readjusting her position in bed she closes her eyes. The sensation does not go away no matter which way she lays. Sitting up in bed she just cant shake this feeling, the sensation, the pressure as if someone is sitting on her chest. Not like reflux she has had before, but a feeling scary enough to call for help. 

The 3am call for chest pain is a walk in the park for most, but for the 65 year old female who has never experienced this feeling a day in her life its not just a walk in the park. Its the change of a life time, its scary, its not normal, its new and unfamiliar. We in EMS assess, treat, reassess, repeat; its what makes good providers. What makes better providers is the ability to ease and calm by voice, the ones who reassure the patients through the process of our skill set. Informing our customer of the next step we will take, the multiple things that will be going on all at once all around her.

Not including the frequent flyers, EMS typically knows a lot more than the average person of what goes on in the Emergency room in the first few moments of the ambulance's arrival. Its simply a matter that we get exposed to the initial greeting and assessments of the patient by the ER staff, the annoying wait times for a room, the feeling of udder avoidance by staff, or the paparazzi like attention patients get. As with anything repetitive it begins to be ingrained with in or such common place for us ambulance folks we don't bat an eye at the process. We have become use to it, or if your still a wet tag you'll get use to it and understand everything that goes on and even what to expect from the staff, depending on your patient .

The ones who don't understand are our patients, who already are scared for calling over their personal emergency. We have talked them through what we will do but have we talked them through what will happen?

Recently I have been complimented by coworkers and recent patients on my inclusion of what will occur once the rig stops and the off loading begins. I find it odd that it may not be common place for providers to share their gained knowledge and continue to ease our customer through the transition into the hospital. I'm no expert of what will happen step by step but I know that the process in my region is strangely similar to our first few minutes with a patient. 

So if you know that there is a chance of waiting for a room let the customer know that you'll be with them waiting and they wont just be moved into a chair and avoided. If you know their injury or illness is considered minor and that they will be placed in triage inform them of how that process works. If you know that the customers condition is one that will gain the ER's entire attention tell them of how many people will be swarming around them. 

After all its the least we can do for our customers to help them through the transition.

Be Safe
Ambulance Junkie

Jan 18, 2011

A frigid Morning

This morning was a rough one, it was cold. Not just any cold, it was single digit cold. Most people were inside their toasty warm beds just starting to stir when I was battling my demons. I blame no one but myself, for if I could have been inside in the warmth of my bed I assure you I would have been.

I was preparing for my venture home in the cold, my honorable Wrangler by my side to whisk me the 2.5 miles to my "estate" on top of the mountain. I inserted my key into the lock and turned, thinking I had twisted my wrist the wrong direction I reversed and went the other way. Funny I thought to my self no click notifying me of the lock being disengaged. I pull the handle thinking there must be a mistake to no avail, turning the key back the original way I pull the handle.....Nothing! OK, no problem after all I have a passenger side to unlock and I'll just unlock the driver door from the inside and be on my way. Oh what a thought, home in my warm bed to partake in my favorite activity, sleep. My boots crunching in the hardened snow I make it to the passenger side door. Turn, pull, turn, pull, the twisting and rotating useless, with nothing being achieved I sigh into the vast emptiness of the city streets at five am. My breath pouring out of me like puff the magic dragon, no fear my tail gate will work! Ah the trusty tail gate, its never failed me before when I've locked myself out of the Jeep. Though that was when I had the summer soft top on and not the hard top, never the less I insert my key and turn.

At last I am able to get into the Jeep, what success in a small battle, feeling vindicated in my efforts the reality sets in. The real work has yet to begin, the car seat I worked so hard at placing and securing this past weekend now has to be removed. Not only removed to make room for my rear seat to fold down but it has to be accomplished blindly from the behind the seat. Fondling like teenager working his first bra clasp I fuddle at the task. Accomplishing that, I fold down the seat and crawl my less than petite frame into the back of the Jeep. I still am in rather good spirits thinking the lock cylinder was just frozen and that the interior lock button would release the door and allow me in.

What kind of a story would that be if I gained easy entry? As I am sprawled out comprehending that The locks are entirely to cold to even work and begin to think of how to make it home. Starting my Wrangler and sliding my physique out I am still clinging onto the slim hope that cranking the heat and warming up the interior would make the locks work. Now 45 minutes since my end of shift have passed and still no access into the Jeep other than through the tailgate. I have tried steaming hot water in an attempt to defrost the locks, thought about laying extension cords across a busy street to run a hair dryer to warm up the locks. Even considered walking home, but when its to cold to snow its to cold for extreme mountain walking. And yes for those who see snow less than once a year, there is such a reality as to cold to snow.

No other options panning out I realize I have to begin the daunting task of climbing into the Wrangler and some how pivot my self around contorting limbs into position not even the Kama-Sutra would recommend just to get into the drivers seat. I am so glad that the local lady's were with "johns" and the Urban Nomads were in shelters other wise there may be a new You Tube video posted labeled Bear rummaging through a Jeep. Now finally in the drivers seat I am content knowing that I can at least head home and get into my nice warm bed and my ordeal is over.

.....Then I realize the tail gate is still wide open....sighing I knew what I had to do. Climbing back out of my seat I struggle to find the inner strength to continue, reclining the passenger seat I tumble over the slanted rear seat and reach for the tail gate. I had no intention of trying to get the glass down, I would rather just suffer the cold single digit morning air. Making it home event free I park and pray to every religion known to man that my door locks be free and I can exit this frigid ice box.

It was twice as hard contorting on the way out than on the way in.

Be Safe
Ambulance Junkie

Jan 15, 2011

Lessons from Jury Duty?

Why is it that its said to be a privilege to serve but no one really wants to do it, well other than retired folks who's soaps are reruns. Maybe its that it seems to come at the most inopportune times, or maybe its the slow drawn out process just to be initiated into the realm of juror that is rather a pain in the ass.

If you have never gotten the "opportunity" to be called for Jury duty is interesting, and nothing like Law and Order makes it out to be. Don't get me wrong because even though it is time consuming, it was insightful into the process involved. Its similar to what I'd imagine the military draft was like only on a civilian aspect. Being randomly (though I'm convinced that because I voted in the last high profile election it threw flags up as still being an active member of society) selected by mail a few weeks before of my required attendance. Sure you can get excused but than you still need to show the next time, so you cant really get out of it. Upon your arrival you realize that you are one of a lucky few 120+ members of the community to be reviewed and given the chance to be scrutinized by a judge and lawyers.

Now it got me thinking, what if EMS worked the same way the courts did? Your in a motor vehicle crash, and are in need of care but you had to wait close to a year until a group of knowledgeable folks question a perspective gathering of 120 people who have randomly been selected just to weed through them and reduce down to 12 people. Now that would all have to occur before you even had the chance to be assessed or the evidence of mechanism of injury reviewed. Than once that group has been whittled down from 120 to 12 those same said knowledgeable folks than present the information to the group of 12 who make a decision of if you've really been in a Motor Vehicle Crash before they pass their verdict of to the Judge.

OK,OK,OK I know a little far fetched, right? Obviously there is no way legally let alone ethically this would be a reality. My only point is that in EMS we strive to make things better, but let us not forget they can always be worse.

Be Safe
Ambulance Junkie

Jan 13, 2011

Nominating has begun!

Follow the link to The Fire Critic to see the details and rules of the compotition.

Nomination period:

January 11 – January 19.
Beginning at 0000 hours EST on January 12th and ending at 2359 hours EST January 19th.

Nomination via email or contact form:

Nominate using E-mail directly at firecritic@firecritic.com or our form on our contact page.
  • Please include the name of the blog
  • Please include the url of the blog (http://www.thesite.com)
  • Please include your name
  • Please include why you are nominating the blog
  • If you do not include your name the nomination will not be counted

 So what are you waiting for go nominate your favorite blog's
and if it happens to be for me that would be nice

Be Safe
Ambulance Junkie

Jan 9, 2011

The "Helm"

The chair is not nearly as comfortable as I once remembered, the room is filled with dim light creating shadows blending into darkness. There is no view to speak of, just the television with its changing pictures, for all intents and purposes its a cave. Not the awesome kind of cave like a caped crusader of justice would have, not even the kind with a hidden pirate ship much like the Goonies ended up in. Rather just a dark cave when the computer monitor's time out. A dark and lonely cave void of life other than myself.

Its not often that I sit at the "helm" of the ship, frankly I am not the biggest fan of it. Now don't get me wrong I have nothing against dispatching but right now in my life I love being where the rubber meets the asphalt. Sure I'm inside away from the cold and snow right now but I still have to deal with the same individuals that you meet on the streets except now they are on the phone. They are hard to understand, sniffling, moaning and other various bodily noises and usually have no more useful information than that provided by a 5year old. Or they tell me every amount of useless information including the color of the patients shirt and shoe size thinking that will make a difference in the speed the ambulance arrives. I would much rather be on the road where I can at least match up my minds image to the actual weirdo that gave the call info. That always brings a smile to my face.

Some may not appreciate the way that I have referred to my current obligation as "the Helm", many may even think I have gone mad! How could a Dispatcher be referred to as controlling the direction of the ambulance? They just sit in their comfy location and spew out orders of where to go and what to do! They have no real power and they always pretend that they do. Or they tell me one thing and upon arrival its completely different, I was not prepared for the call in any way, Damn you Dispatch! I pity those who don't have a good dispatcher, and I can relate to a bad one too. Once you find the good ones make sure you keep a hold of them.

The idea of sitting the helm invokes the job of directing the vessel into open waters on its voyage, a seat of assumed power. In terms of EMS its the road guys apparent rivals, who are only out to harass you and make your night a living hell. As if they have any real ability to control what comes in and needs to be dispatched. When actually they should be the crews best friend. The invisible force that is there to help us when we need a little bit extra. the one who manages behind the scenes and usually never get any credit for a job well done.

Instead of sitting the "helm" I like to think my post tonight as being the radio DJ during the request hour, sure not every song coming through the radio is your favorite but if its a requested it should be played. Though sometimes if you sit through the boring whiny songs you get to hear what you have been waiting for!

Go ahead and dance you know you want to

Be Safe
Ambulance Junkie

Jan 6, 2011


All the holiday splendor is over and the decorations are being picked up. The trees are being taken down and the stress of the family get together's are a memory of last year. Life has returned to normal and we can all relax, but some may not know that in several homes through America especially in my neck of the woods the holidays have yet to begin. 

In homes all through America and the world, Orthodox are preparing a traditional dinner for Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve? That was December 24th! On the contrary, in Orthodox homes who follow the Gregorian calender Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. With that being said, I have a tradition to celebrate every year since I can remember. I use to get out of school excused due to celebrating Russian Christmas. I always liked being able to celebrate a different holiday from most, not for the sake of religion, or the good thing to do to keep people happy, rather for the traditional importance I feel towards this event. The connection I have knowing this has occurred in my family with my grandparents my great grandparents all of who no longer are around. Knowing that in the short time my family has been in this country that we have embraced January 7th as our Christmas. Granted I never got presents of gifts, but it was never about that for "American Christmas was for gifts. The things I enjoy the most is the time with my parents, the smells out of the kitchen, and the joy I get from knowing this is worth passing down to my son, seeing him participate in the tradition I had done since I was young, thats worth having him experience it.

Tonight I will be going to my folks house to partake in the traditional aspects of  Christmas Eve dinner, such as washing our hands with coins to ask for prosperity in the coming year. Enjoying traditional ethnic fare and Momma Junkies Manhattan clam chowder. 

It really is one of the reasons that I am glad I have stayed in the area, in order to maintain a small part of my traditional heritage. Not many in the Junkie clan left locally to keep this small dinner going and I am glad we have the ability to keep momma Junkie happy and allow her grandson to participate annually. So I wish all of my readers a happy Russian Christmas from my Russian side of heritage. 

Be Safe
Ambulance Junkie

Jan 1, 2011

New Years Resolution

Now that the booze has flowed, the clock struck midnight you've gotten that new years kiss and the ball has dropped its officially the event we have all been waiting for. A new year for us to reform our ways, make a resolution to make our selves better. Its a unique opportunistic time that comes along in a rare 365days, just like the one before or the one before that or..um...the one before that one? Enough of the cynicism! Its a new year after all! A new slate with promises to break to our selves try really hard to keep going for a year. It allows us to lie to the ones who know us the best, the ones in the mirror and try real hard to change something about ourselves. This year we'll promise to hit the gym, kick that habit in order to quite smoking, cut our carbon footprint, recycle more, loose weight, car pool more, use public transit, achieve that goal of being more organized or other lies life changes we come up with.

If you haven't picked up on it yet, I do not believe in the all mighty power of the new years resolution. Nor have I in many, many years. I have no intention to stop being my sarcastic self, finding objects of amusement causing me to laugh (even at the expense of others), or even will I resolve to care more about petty things. I also have no intention of publicly making fun of people, pushing old folks down on street corners, stealing, or hitting anyone over the head with a Nine Iron.

I don't feel any need to resolve to change something that is making me who I am, much like I wouldn't resolve to start a R.A.P sheet for myself and ruin my "good" name. Now don't read this and think that I am totally against this holiday created by calender companies to market a product that you could make at home. I do appreciate the newness that the new year brings.

The new year is filled with potential, that new car smell of opportunity so to speak. The chance to start a new and go achieve the goals you have set for your self.

So if you have to resolve or just set goals to achieve in this fresh year best of luck to you. I hope this year is the year of action for all of us. Enough talk of what we want to do with our lives or our careers or our passions, this year is the year to make the move. Lets lay it all on the table and go all in, we have the mindset now lets have the success.

Happy New Year and all its potential.

Be Safe
Ambulance Junkie