Seersucker Season

Old traditions will say that it is inappropriate to wear seersucker before Memorial Day, or Easter, depending on who you ask. Those same people will say the end of seersucker season is Labor Day. Let me assuage your fears; that is old.

Out with the old, in with the new.

Seersucker is appropriate to be worn during the Major League Baseball regular season.

I was wearing my trousers earlier today at the grocery store. I’m pretty sure a middle-aged belle grabbed my butt and said “that’s how you know spring is here.”

Seersucker is where its at.

Maybe it is time for something new

I had a visit from my (former) partner Slimm the other day. He said he had a day off, and he wanted to take the trek up to my neck of the woods. I’ll always take an excuse to see my buddy, and our kids play well together. So the ladies and children went to the playground and did what kids and mothers do at the playground.

Slimm and I sat down in my living room and had a drink, and I told him that I have been thinking that I am done with EMS. “Why?” was his question, followed by “what are you going to do next?”

A good question, without much of an answer.

I’ve given this EMS thing sixteen, almost seventeen years of my life. That’s quite a long time for someone my age, and longer than many people I work with. I certainly have more years in EMS than any coworkers my age. I started in EMS in high school, after all.

It’s been a good ride, but I really think it is over.

Over the next few hours or so, we discussed our futures, specifically mine. Mostly we discussed how I came to this realization that EMS wasn’t for me any more.

“But you’re a good paramedic” is one argument I heard. But it isn’t about being good. It’s more about being happy.

I can’t point to a single occurrence, but more of a sequence of events. Kind of like when you know a relationship with a girl is going nowhere. You try, but she isn’t interested any longer.

When I first started at Local Ambulance, people listened. Management was interested. They were excited to hear my ideas, my personal and professional goals, and we worked together to accomplish some of them.

But lately that’s changed.

Over the past several years, I’ve had many meetings with members of senior management or administration. I’ve brought dozens of ideas to them, from how to improve and establish a critical care program, to courses we could offer for continuing education, to beginning a community paramedic program. Each time I’ve been fed like a puppy on a leash, and then let go. Some of my ideas have been implemented, but have all failed. Maybe it is because I wasn’t a part of the implementation, and maybe not.

Maybe I’m just tired and in a rut. I’ve spent a long time focusing on other, different projects within EMS, and maybe I need to focus on just being a paramedic for a little while.


Part of me feels bitter, and I think it is rightfully so. I really don’t know if every service would be the same, but I can’t think that they would be.

Maybe I’ve reached a pinnacle of progression in EMS, and there simply isn’t any more room to go up. Maybe there is more room for growth, but not where I am now.

I like being a paramedic, but at the same time, I don’t like being a paramedic anymore. This is really a strange situation I find myself in.

Slimm thinks I should stick it out some more. He tells me that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

“It is if they fertilize it properly.”

The flickering flame of a paramedic

Lately, I’ve been feeling myself becoming more and more burned (or burnt, whatever) out. And I don’t like it. I love this job. I love taking care of people.

But sometimes I feel as if I have an unrequited love.

When I first started in EMS, everything was new and fresh and exciting. It was easy to get excited about the calls that didn’t need excitation, and very easy to get too excited at times.

Now, after seeing hundreds of people who are simply seeking drugs, I’m cynical. I don’t want to be cynical, and I want to take care of my patients appropriately, but something is happening to me that I don’t understand.

Yesterday, I picked up this middle-aged lady, who I have picked up several times before. Her complaint? Chest pain. Every time. She says she has 14 stents, and has had 7 or 8 heart attacks. “I stopped counting after five,” she says. She then tells you that she has to go to the University Hospital, 30 minutes away, not one of the 7 (seriously, seven) other hospitals that are just as capable as the University one.

It gets better.

She’s allergic to nitroglycerin. And aspirin. And literally almost everything else you can think of. The list is incredibly ridiculous. Then she says she can’t have a heart cath done, because her doctor says if she gets put to sleep, she might die. Never mind that they don’t actually put people to sleep for heart caths, she says she can’t have one. “So what does the hospital do for you, if they can’t really do anything for you?” is the next question that probably every other paramedic would ask. And it is a legitimate question.

“They give me painkillers.”

Well, there you have it. She wants painkillers. The cynical medic in my says “fine, you want me to drive 30 minutes, past 7 hospitals, just so you can get some meds? Then I’m going to sit behind you and not do a damned thing. But I don’t want to be that medic.

Is she really a drug seeker who is simply wasting everyone’s time? Maybe. Is she having a legitimate event, and in actual need of narcotic analgesia? Maybe. If she was really a drug seeker, wouldn’t she want to go to the closer hospital so she can get her drug? Maybe. Does anyone benefit from a cynical, burned-out medic with a bad attitude?

Certainly not.

I started typing this about an hour ago, then took a break to take a walk.

And I don’t take walks.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say here, and how to say it. I don’t know what the problem is, or what went wrong, or when it went wrong, for that matter.

But something is wrong, and I don’t like it.

I miss the old medic I used to be.

Drunk drivers belong in prison

I’ve come up with a way to truly punish drunk drivers. I think it will work.

It goes something like this.

Upon being pulled over and failing the field sobriety tests, drivers are given breathalyzer tests. If they fail the breathalyzer test, they are immediately transported to a hospital, where blood is drawn and sent to two separate labs.

If the lab reports come back and the driver was impaired, straight to jail. Period. No bail. Held until trial.

If found guilty, five years in jail for the first offense.

Do it again, and get found guilty again? Twenty years.

Third conviction? Life. No possibility of parole.

I fail to see why driving drunk isn’t treated the same as attempted manslaughter.

Drunk drivers deserve to be behind bars for a very long time.

I have a story for you if you want to try to convince me otherwise.

“Daddy always comes back”

My son is at the age where he gets very upset when either myself or his mommy leaves. “Mommy always comes back” I tell him, and try to comfort him. “Daddy always comes back” is what I tell him when I am leaving for work. He sees me in my uniform, and knows he probably won’t see me until he wakes up the next day.

My son sort of knows what I do. He knows that I work on an ambulance and help people feel better. He knows what my company’s ambulances look like, and he can point one out a mile away.

He doesn’t know that parts of my job are dangerous, and I don’t know that he should.

My job isn’t nearly as dangerous as a police officer, or a firefighter, but he knows we work together. He knows that we are the good guys.

He also knows that sometimes, good guys don’t come home.

Blog birthday

Some time in the past few weeks, my blog turned 2. According to my well-researched research, I started blogging in August of 2011.

I think.

This has been a fun road, and I am glad I took this route.

Thanks to you, the reader, for taking your valuable time to spend a few minutes a week here. I have met some wonderful people through this blog, and hope to meet more.

Thanks to all you other bloggers out here (or there?) who are an inspiration for me. I’ve become a better paramedic, and a better person, because of the work that the more respectable bloggers have done, and the words they have written. I literally cannot name everyone, and would be remiss to attempt, lest I forget someone. You are all important to me, and I appreciate you.

None of this would be possible without the patients and coworkers, of course. This really wouldn’t be possible without my dear friend and partner, Slimm. Everyone should have the opportunity to work with such a partner. Our partnership rivals that of Ponch and Jon, Starsky and Hutch, and yes, even that of Johnny and Roy.

Thanks for being here. I’m glad to know you.

More things I said (last week)

I’ve been speaking Spanish to him, and he has been replying in English. It has been an interesting ride for sure.”

Sorry about all the gauze on his arms. I have a student today, and she was determined to get the IV.”

I really need to pee, can you sign this computer real quick and let me come back to give you report?”

How far is ‘yonder’? Further than you can throw, but not too far to walk.”

Do we want to go home early? The Pope; is he Catholic?”

Saturdays are pointless without college football. Only five more to go.”

You want to go to what hospital? Is that in this state? I’ve never heard of that one.”

Service dogs are one thing. I doubt your Bichon Frise’ is a service dog; he can stay home alone for a little while.”

How old is he? I think he said he voted for Coolidge.”

What trial in Florida?”

I was gonna be a doctor, but they don’t get to wear these cool patches.”

No, I think she is more alert than you think she is. Nieto is the President. Of Mexico. You didn’t specify which country…”

Yeah, the IV hurts a little bit, but I bet not as bad as when you got all those piercings.”

Six weeks. I’ve been a paramedic for about six weeks. But I studied real good in school, and I have read almost all of my textbook.”

I will literally trade you an Aaron Hernandez jersey for a cup coffee right now.”

Some days are easier

I’ve been privileged to be a member of this EMS family for almost 16 years now. Almost half my life. I’ve worked with hundreds of people in different capacities.

We’ve all seen a lot of death. I learned quickly that death is to be expected.

Some are harder than others.

The hardest ones are my friends. My family members.

Too many of my EMS family have died since I began. I miss them all.

A coworker of mine was killed in an MVC several years ago by a drunk driver. His funeral was beautiful, and the memory gives me a catch in my throat.

My mentor, a man who can only be described as the father of EMS in my state, had a funeral attended by over 1,000 people, and it is still talked about today, more than 5 years later. His death was not unexpected, but tragic nonetheless. The funeral that followed his several months later was unexpected, and I never got to say goodbye to another good man.

I’m tired of going to funerals.

Recently, a good friend and partner died in the line of duty. It was nothing like I could imagine, or describe. His death touched me more than any other.

I miss him terribly.

When we worked together, our first stop in the morning was at Starbucks. He would go inside, and come out a few minutes later with 2 cups of coffee. One for me, and one for him. Our last stop in the morning on the way back to the station before we went home was to the same Starbucks. Again, 2 cups. One for him, one for me.

I don’t drink coffee.

He knew that. But he got me a cup “just in case you wanted one,” as he would say.

That extra cup of coffee was never for him. He never drank that cup of coffee, and he never expected me to. That was the man he was.

On holidays, he would call me, just to ask how my family was. He remembered the birthdays of my children, and would ask about them each time we saw each other. He would greet me with the firmest handshake, widest grin, and strongest hug.

He was everybody’s friend. And he was my friend.

I miss those phone calls.

I wish he had known how important that cup of coffee, those phone calls, that handshake, hug, and smile really were. I wish I had known how important they were.

I am terrible at mourning. I wish I knew how to make this easier.

I really miss my friend.

Some days are easier than others. Most days are still hard.


The Great Gatsby is by far one of my favorite novels. So I jumped at the chance when a friend offered to take me to an advance screening. Secret stuff, you know.

I’m definitely no movie critic, but Gatsby was just awesome.

Carey Mulligan and Toby Maguire were interesting choices for Daisy and Nick, but played the parts perfectly. Leonardo DiCaprio was everything I have ever imagined Jay Gatsby to be.

My hat is off to Baz Luhrmann. He was an excellent choice to produce and direct Gatsby, and he did a magnificent job capturing the opulence of West Egg in the Roaring Twenties.

The Brooks Brothers suits and “so many beautiful shirts” were spot on.

It really was exactly how I pictured the book, and I can’t wait to see it again.

Silly bird

I’m no ornithologist, but I like birds. Springtime is great for birds.

There is a cardinal that has taken up residence in a tree in my backyard. I’m sure he is a nice bird. Probably a good bird-father, a loving bird-husband, and he makes sure he brings the highest quality materials so his bird-wife can make a good nest.

I named him Ozzie, after my favorite St. Louis Cardinal.

But this Ozzie isn’t too smart. I certainly wouldn’t call him a wizard.

Ozzie keeps flying into my windows downstairs. I have a sliding glass door, and he stopped flying into it when I moved the screen. Then he started flying into the other side of the glass, the side that slides.

He flew into that for a little while until I hung some stuff on the inside of the glass. Then he started attacking the window over the sink.

There are three other windows on the same side of my house, in the family room. I think Ozzie has attacked every one of those as well.

Earlier, while I was in the shower, he attacked the window there, too. And that’s upstairs.

All in all, there are are ten windows on the side of my house where Ozzie’s tree is. And he routinely attacks each one of them. Repeatedly. All day. Until the sun goes down.

I kind of feel bad for him, but then, his wife probably thinks he is a stud since he is always fighting off so many other cardinals.