Relgion

I have always struggled with faith. I remember as a child I was told of a God that was everywhere and could see and knew everything. As a child it had to be true, a grownup said it, but even then I remembered having doubts.

I guess I would call my self agnostic, but atheist seems a little more fun.
I have found comfort in the lack of a God. It has me focused on NOW! To make the best of NOW. Doing the right thing now, being the best I can be now. Because when it’s over, it’s over. This is all that counts.
Maybe if these religious nuts thought this way. Maybe if the money hungry politicians thought this way. Maybe they would be a little more concerned on doing what’s right, and protecting the things that are important, the environment, the poor, the sick. Instead of having “faith,” that just because they believe what a book says they will get to spend eternity in paradise. Maybe then they would be focused on making the here and now more like paradise.

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Putting life in to perspective

We hear it all the time. “The miracle of life.” Let’s first review the definition of the word mirical.
1 : an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs 2 : an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment

I know this is probably a poor view to have of life for a paramedic, but this, I guess is what allows me to function day to day, so it works for me.
Without even going in to “divine intervention” which is in it’s self a whole other subject, let us explore this definition. A live birth happens about 353,000 times a day. This is not unusual, extraordinary or even much of an accomplishment. 353,000 times a day, I would suggest this is in fact very ordinary. In contrast about 155,000 people die each day. Death is actually more unusual or extraordinary when you consider the math of it.

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Racism is alive and well in the fire service.

One of my biggest disappointments in my new profession is the amount of racism still present. I work for a paid department that has a handful of volunteers at 3 of the 9 stations. It was clear by the end of my first week in the academy that this was very much a good ole boy system. But nonetheless I was thrilled to finally be in my profession of choice, and still am. 

While a probationary firefighter I was on the back of an engine at a different station than I normally am. This station happens to have not a single minority on this shift. (Unlike my assigned station.) While en route; to what sounds like a total BS EMS call in the project, the operator and acting officer begin to use the “N” word several times. Initially talking about the likely race of our patient, people walking on the side walk, and how many points one would receive if one of them would happen to be run over by the engine. 

After our return to the station I happened across one of my class mates from the academy. I, in a light hearted way (not to rock the boat too much as I was still a probie) mentioned how racist some of these people are. I made mention that they must not know I am married to a black woman. He agreed and we kind of chuckled at their ignorance. 
Cut to a week or two later the two bigots find them selfs on the medic for a shift and we run in to each other at the ED. They had obviously been informed of my interracial household (not to mention my army of black, hispanic, jewish, asian, and indian close friends.) They began tripping over them selfs apologizing for their use of racial slurs. I brushed it off and moved on. 

 In my time on the job, I have heard a captain use the “N” word, a senior firefighter, a firemedic, an engineer, countless firemen and a recruit. I have spoken with other people from other departments and unfortunately this isn’t very uncommon. This broke my heart. 

I am in no way justifying this racism. But after years of working at a firehouse in the middle of a project, with rampant system abuse, drug use, violence and everything else we are witnessed to, it isn’t hard to imagine someone generating a negative opinion of an entire people. You constantly see the worst of people. Day in and day out, it’s like Groundhog Day. I have come to the conclusion I am pretty well immune to this folly as I am married to a black woman, my best friend is jewish, my other best friends are black, asian, indian and everything else. I live in an almost all black neighborhood. I see my friends, some of the best, hardest working, honest people I have ever met live the opposite of these negative stereotypes. I see my neighbors walking to their cars, leaving their low to middle class homes to go to work. At work I see the minority, the ignorant, the entitled, the junkies, the criminals. At home, I see the side of the majority. The law abiding, the hardworking. Many of my co-workers live in rural areas and have limited encounters with people outside of their race. They are the truly ignorant. 

Despite part of my youth spent in a very southern, rural and racist part of the country, I was able to see past the hate. I could see that these people were just like me. They had 10 fingers and 10 toes, they had red blood, they were like me in every way except the most superficial of ways. 

I love how the fire service has a long history and holds to it’s traditions. I hope this is one tradition we can finally put to death. 

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A bit of a generation gap

The call 83 YOM chest pain.
PT awake and alert. Get to the medic and start placing the electrodes on. The monitor isn’t showing anything so I adjust one of the leads. In doing so a little chest hair was pulled and he shouted.
Me- “Sorry a little man-scaping.”
PT- “Who’s escaping???!!!”
PT- “I hope he got away!”
The rest of the crew had a good laugh.

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Quick update

A lot has happened since I was regularly writing on here. I got married, I became a firefighter, I bought a house and now the wife is talking kids. I have been pretty busy with work. I’m still volunteering, and I quit my transport job. I hope I can get back to writing on here again. Well see. I’ve got an idea for a post but I have a hard time getting my ideas from my brain to the screen without sounding stupid. So lets see how it goes.

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BOYS! BOYS! YOU’RE SCARING THE STRAIGHTS!

So it’s been awhile and I am still very busy with the fire academy, but a post over at Happymedic.com got me inspired so here we go. 

A few years ago I was at my transport job. We had just arrived at a doctors office with a patient needing a vascular scan for his dialysis site. Another transport crew from another company was lounging on the other side of the waiting room. Two young EMT’s (early 20’s or so.) where laying across the chairs, with muddy boots resting comfortably on the cushions. Their patient on the stretcher half reading and half paying attention to the conversations in the room. We are informed our dispatch had the wrong time by an hour and we would have to wait. So we grab some seat.

I begin paying attention to the room, a handfull of patients sit reading, waiting for their turn. I notice the two EMTs. A young man with a patchy beard, untucked shirt and muddy untied boots. The other an overweight girl with stains on her pants. I tune in to their conversation and notice the young man telling war stories, looking across the room at my self and my partner. I notice some of the patients becoming a little uncomfortable. The was stories are graphic. A woman who’s face was smashed in by a deer during a car vs deer MVC. The girl seems more than happy to interact with the stories, but has none her self to offer. The crew keeps looking over at us. It seems they are making it a point to be loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, especially us. As he tells his story, he keeps his eyes mostly on his partner, but quickly looks around the room and at us to make sure his audience can hear his stories. I meet his eyes with looks of disapproval, but these do nothing to discourage story time. As the stories continue and become more and more graphic and far fetched it is clear this young man has not been in EMS long enough to attain this number of calls, let alone the severity of them, he also has a poor understanding of physics and human systems. My partner and I sit waiting for our patients turn and try to maintain our professions dignity and professionalism. 

 

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Well hello again…

We met almost two years ago in your room. Your sister found you hanging from the pull up bar in your closet. Your face would enter my mind from time to time, but it’s been awhile. Ironically enough, today as I sat in class my blue water bottle kindled my memory, it’s dark blue almost a perfect match of your skin. Moments later Captain started talking to us about the horrible things we would see in our career. Some of my classmates have no prior EMS/Fire experience, they have yet to experience this feeling, the memories that randomly come from deep within your brain to the forefront. As I think this, Captain, almost as if he is inside my head echoes my thoughts. He tells the story of a hostage situation from his PD days. He, unlike me was able to keep his composure retelling the story of one of his ghosts. Then again it’s been almost 2 years for me, and over 13 for him.

  As I pushed on your chest, knowing we are fighting a losing fight, I noticed the cluster of small cuts on your arm. I am sure no one really knew how bad you where hurting. I hope you are in a better place young man, but you put your family through hell. I am sure we will be seeing each other again. I am still new to this profession, and I have lost other patients, but something about you won’t leave me. So here is to a long healthy career, I am sure soon you will have some friends. 

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