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.

Gatsby

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.

 

300+ thumbs up

I don’t look at my Facebook dashboard too much these days. Occasionally, I will notice a notification over there when I use my desktop computer to play on Facebook.

Honestly, I don’t Facebook that often, and I most always use my iPhone app.

But I noticed a few days ago that my Facebook page had 305 “likes.”

That’s pretty cool, in my opinion.

If you like me on Facebook, thanks a bunch. If you don’t, that’s cool too.

Of course I could work retail!

So I am a big fan of dressing nice. Yes, I own more clothing than just uniforms, black socks, and blue t-shirts. I’m a big fan of oxford-Cuff linkscloth shirts, cuff links, pocket squares, and sport coats.

So when the opportunity to apply for a part-time job at my favorite men’s clothier presented itself, I jumped at the chance.

I wore my favorite suit: a charcoal 3-button I recently had tailored, paired with a crisp white shirt, and my favorite tie, exquisitely knotted. For luck, I wore my Star of Life cuff links.

“Mr. C, I see you have quite the resume’ when it comes to being a Paramedic, but I wouldn’t really know. You don’t have any retail experience…” started the interviewer after the requisite introductions.

“Thank you for your kind words regarding my resume’. I have worked very hard in my field, and I have enjoyed much success. But I would disagree with you that I don’t have any retail experience.”

“Oh? How so?” he seemed genuinely interested.

“I have spent the better part of fifteen years convincing people that they needed my services, that is, a ride to a hospital. Most people would do just find to either drive themselves, or have a friend or family member take them in a car, but I am pretty successful at selling people a ride on my stretcher, if you will.”

“But the people who call you, call you for a reason, they want to go to the hospital. How would that translate into success in this industry?”

“When a person calls 911, more often than not they want reassurance that they are okay. Which I am very capable of providing. What I must then do is convince them that there situation, while not extremely precarious, warrants close observation in the back of an ambulance. When a customer walks into your store, they have already made the decision that they are there to purchase clothing.”

“Okay, I think I see your point. Go on.”

“When a man walks into a men’s clothier and says ‘I need 5 suits and enough shirts and ties and belts and shoes to look good for my new job,’ he has already purchased those clothes in his mind. He is now reliant on me, the salesman, to sell him on what makes him look good, why he should buy it from me, and why he needs to buy it here. I know how to dress a man. I come from a long line of well-dressed men.” I went on: “When that patient calls 911, they have already made the conscious decision that they are going to the hospital, much like the gentleman that walks in here has already made the decision that he is going to leave with a few shirts and maybe some ties. I can dress a man sharply, and I can surely sell the man some clothes.”

—–

I prefer Windsor collars, with a half-Windsor knot, simple cuff links  and the TV fold if I am wearing a tie, or the puff fold when using a satin pocket square with no tie. I love liquid starch, a hot iron, and shoe polish.

Can a Paramedic work in retail? You bet I can. Especially if they give me a ‘generous employee discount’ and allow me to wear their clothing to work every day.

I look forward to starting my new part-time job.

Thoughts from the interstate

So I just got back from a long road trip. Very long. 11 different states, and over 2,000 miles traveled in 12 days.

My butt is sore and my credit card is beginning to melt.

So while my family was sleeping through the miles and miles of interstate, I had plenty of time to think. Hours upon hours, actually.

Some things that I thought of, and thought a lot about:

  • If you happen to be driving on an interstate, and you are in the left lane with nobody in front of you, and someone behind you, move the hell over. “Slower traffic keep right” means you, buddy. I am clear that you are scared to do more than 65 in your 1993 Ford Festiva, but I rented this Dodge Charger, and I enjoy driving it fast.
  • Arkansas: what the hell are y’all doing? Interstate 40 has got to be the most incredibly boring stretch of road anywhere. It felt like I was driving on a treadmill. Seriously. Crossing the Mississippi River into Arkansas was pretty cool, then it was nothing but flat fields of unknown crops and big rigs for two hours, followed by 30 minutes of Little Rock suburbs, followed by two more hours of big rigs and some hills with rocks, then Fort Smith, then thank God, Oklahoma. Y’all need to step it up, Arkansas.
  • And along that line, the same goes for you, Mississippi. I seriously think I took a nap on I-20 between Jackson and Meridian. Yawn.
  • This whole interstate-numbering system is ingenious. Probably the only thing the government has ever done well and hasn’t screwed up. I am astounded how much sense it makes.
  • You drive a big rig? You are going 59 but the big rig in front of you is going 58? Then you need to slow down. For crying out loud, step on it a little bit more if you are going to try to pass that other guy. Otherwise, it takes you 5 miles. Hurry up, I’m looking for the next rest stop so I don’t throw a P.E.
  • Why are we called “Ambulance Services” instead of “Paramedic Services?” We don’t deliver an ambulance, we deliver a paramedic. Well, I suppose we do sort of deliver an ambulance, but there is a paramedic in it. I didn’t think too much about this because it gave me a headache.
  • Teamwork is awesome. We hooked up with two other cars just outside of Saint Louis. The license plates sort of indicated we were going in the same general direction, towards Nashville. We made the trip in just a hair under 4 hours. It was roughly 300 miles. We would each take lead on the trip, about twenty minutes at a time, and it was easy to move past traffic as a group, since we were keeping up with each other. I enjoyed that part of the trip, and especially enjoyed the few glimpses of the attractive brunette passenger in the gold-colored Murano.
  • If you are not a law enforcement officer, you have no business trying to determine how fast other cars on the road should be traveling. Pulling alongside a slower vehicle and matching speeds is only going to solidify your position as asshole of the month, and reinforce understanding of why you were always picked last for kickball teams. I do not own this car, I paid for the extra insurance, and I have seen enough television shows to know how to perform the PIT maneuver. Move over, buddy.
  • Pink Floyd is excellent music to drive to. That’s all there is to that. CarTalk podcasts are pretty cool, but Pink Floyd is better.

 

Y’all stay safe out there.

 

 

Big words

I enjoy using big words in my reports. I occasionally get a chance to use something stupid-big.

So when I ran the call for the young woman in her college dorm room with the headache after eating a bowl of chocolate ice cream, and she really wanted to go to the hospital because her headache “just wouldn’t go away” and since this headache was “the worst she had ever experienced” I jumped at the chance.

Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.

Larry the Bird.

That’s a fact. You probably knew that.

I’m on Twitter now. I don’t know what on earth this Twitter is about, but hey, people seem to think it’s pretty cool.

I am @blog_CCC

Follow me if you want, but seriously, folks. I don’t know what I am doing there. I’m much to long winded to live 140 (or whatever it is) characters at a time. If I can figure it out, I promise to “follow” you too.

Social media has become somewhat of a popularity contest, hasn’t it? “Follow” me on Twitter, be my “Friend” on Facebook. But all the cool kids are doing it, right?

Can you believe some clown out there took my preferred name? I mean, just who does @CCC think he/she/they are? I think it’s some sort of German events thing or whatever.

And hey, a big shout out to The Unwired Medic. This was his suggestion. Thanks, buddy! Have you guys seen the awesome toys he gets? And he gets them before anyone else! Hey, if you think you could find a toddler’s Angry Birds bicycle helmet, that would be great. I need it by Christmas though…

I’ma go tweet sumthin’

Making friends is nice

Whenever I meet new people, which is usually quite rare, as I have a bit of a habit of avoiding people, the question invariably comes up: “What do you do for a living?” which is virtually always followed by something along the lines of “That must be exciting!” or “I bet you see some gross/weird/strange stuff!” And that question usually comes up too early in a conversation, and I become “the paramedic” instead of the “guy that happens to be a paramedic.”

True, I readily identify myself as a paramedic, and proudly so. I enjoy this job and get great personal satisfaction from it. There are many other things that I like to do aside from work, however. I golf. I paint. I cook. I read. I write. And on and on.

But herein lies the problem. I intentionally avoid socializing with my coworkers. They for the most part, form small cliques and tend to hang together. I can’t help but know that there is so much more out there than other paramedics and EMTs.

This may be why I isolate myself from people. I don’t like being “that guy that is a paramedic.” The majority of the people I call friends have known me prior to my career in EMS, which would have been high school. They know who I am without the uniform.

But occasionally, you meet a fellow EMS guy or gal who is truly interesting. Someone who knows who you are, but not really. Someone who doesn’t want to hear about the gross/weird/strange stuff you see at work. Someone who says, “yeah, I get it, you are a paramedic. But what else do you do?”

It is refreshing to have someone to talk to, to get to know. It’s nice to be able to call someone halfway across the country a friend, having never met them outside an internet or mobile phone connection. This anonymity lends itself to openness and honesty, and it is very refreshing.

You know who you are. Thanks for being my friend. I am glad I know you.

Is “Pinktober” over yet?

Look, I appreciate boobs as much as the next guy, and hate cancer just as much as anyone else, but this pink craze in the NFL has just gone too far.

I think it’s cute when MLB players will use a pink bat for Mother’s day. That is pretty neat. But seeing virtually every player in every NFL game in the entire month of October is just too much.

And now the NFL says they are going to use pink penalty flags for the Jets/Dolphins game this week, because of the suggestion of a 5 year old.

Hey, Commissioner Goodell, I have a toddler who would like to see the penalty flags be replaced by chicken nuggets.

Are we supposed to believe that the NFL cares that much about women and breast cancer research? When their poster boys are the likes of Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger, and Lawrence Taylor.

Why does it just have to be breast cancer? Why can’t it be just plain old cancer. Money raised from the pink brouhaha goes to “breast cancer research.” I would be interested in knowing how much goes to any research, and how much is for “administrative fees” and such.

Someone is going to have to sew those pink flags, after all.

What about other cancers? Digestive system cancers kill more people per year than breast cancer, as does Respiratory system cancer.

Prostate cancer is estimated to kill 28,170 men this year. But I don’t see guys playing football in kilts.

There’s an idea for you. We should get the KTKC guys on that next year.

Kilts on the football field.

I can see Peyton Manning lifting up the kilt of his center.

Whoa.