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.

Nothing to read here, move along

I haven’t done anything of consequence in weeks. Seriously. It has been weeks since a memorable or noteworthy call.

I took the same guy to two different hospitals in the same day. Once at lunch, and once at dinner. He said the Catholics feed patients better than Baptists. “But they both pray for you” was my response.

I’ve read no fewer than 4 books in the past few weeks. Several of you sent great reading suggestions, and I am enjoying the books. I have a stack of about 10 more that I want to get through.

A few days ago, I was so bored, I fell asleep while cutting my fingernails and listening to a Car Talk podcast. When I woke up, I was listening to All Things Considered, and the sun had come up.

I wish I could get a partner named Picov Andropov.

Our clinical department keeps track of interventions that we enter into the computer. Things like oxygen, IV, cardiac monitor, drugs, intubation, CPR, all that stuff. Basically, anything we do to a patient gets entered into our computer system and is tracked for success rates, billing, and generally for the hell of it. Mostly I think it is to give us EMTs and medics busy work.

I haven’t started an IV in 14 shifts.

I haven’t  given any medication in 4 shifts.

On Sunday, I listened to an entire NFL football game on the radio without the ambulance moving. 4 freaking hours.

I think I may take up knitting.

No Easy Day

I recently finished reading “Mark Owen’s” book No Easy Day. Tremendous read. I recommend it for everyone. Period.

I knew how the book would end, of course. We all do. It ends with bin Laden getting only a fraction of what he deserved, and the good guys winning.

One of the most poignant messages I got from this book, aside from how awesome America is, was how Mr. Owen made it through his ridiculously tough training.

“Just make it to the next meal” he would tell himself. All he had to do was make it to lunch, or to dinner, or whatever was next. I can’t imagine the mental toughness required to undergo such a grueling experience.

No Easy Day served to reinforce my faith in the military. The brave souls who are willing to die for me, just some schmuck watching Sunday Night Football. They don’t know me from Adam, but are literally willing to sacrifice their lives for me. And you. Those brave men and women deserve so much more than we could ever give them.

Hero isn’t a strong enough word.

I of course knew of the controversy surrounding the book. Frankly, I don’t care.

I don’t care if Mark Owen revealed “secrets.” It didn’t seem that way to me.

I don’t care if bin Laden was “unarmed and not fighting” when he was shot in the face. I don’t care. He deserved to die a horrible, miserable death a million times over.

I don’t care that one of bin Laden’s wives was shot in the raid. She deserved it.

I don’t care that bin Laden’s body was “buried” at sea. It was more dignified than any burial he ever deserved.

My hat is off to you, Mr. Owen, and to every one you serve with, and to every one who wears that beautiful American flag on their military uniform.

God Bless America.

A missed blogiversary, or “How blogging saved my career.”

Apparently I missed my blogiversary. My wife brought it up to me a few days ago when she asked how long I had been blogging. I figured it had been about 9 or 10 months. It turns out my first post was on August 20, 2011.

Oops.

But in all seriousness, blogging has saved my career. Let me explain.

Back in May/June of last year, I was in a bad place in my career. I was burned out, fed up, and all sorts of other things. This wonderful field is the only thing I have done serious with my life, though I have had other jobs. I was at a point where I was angry with EMS, and angry at myself for a myriad of other reasons. I was making serious plans to leave EMS.

Since I was a little boy, I have loved law, and wanted to be a lawyer. My mother says I would make a perfect lawyer, as I love to argue. She will tell you that I rarely argue emotionally, but rather I use a rational thought process in an attempt to sway opinions, or to lobby for a later bed time. The law just makes sense to me, and I truly love it. I like how the law continually evolves, and is a living thing. Much like medicine, law is always changing.

I frequently sit up in bed late at night reading court decisions, much to my wife’s chagrin.

So in early June of last year, I sat for the LSAT. I prepared a bit for the exam over a couple of months, mostly while at work in the ambulance. Preparing for the LSAT was a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to focus on something other than EMS work, and gave my mind a much needed distraction. I was able, while focusing on test prep, to fall in love with EMS again. After I sat for the LSAT, I took two weeks off from work to spend some time with my young family, and to evaluate my future.

Somehow I knew I wasn’t going to law school, and I knew I belonged in that ambulance. But I didn’t want to be there.

When my results came back, I was incredibly surprised. 156. While that is not a stunning score, it was better than I expected. Combined with my college GPA, I certainly wasn’t getting into a top-tier law school, but I would easily be accepted to a state law school.

Something clicked in my mind, and in my heart. I know I belong in an ambulance. There is something about this field, something that laypersons don’t understand, but my fellow EMTs and Paramedics just get it.

EMS is more than a job, and more than a career. EMS is a large part of how I identify myself. Husband, father, son, brother, Paramedic.

When I came back to work after my short hiatus, a coworker approached me and asked about a text document she found on the computer. I had run a particularly bad call that had a bad outcome. One of those once-a-year calls that just stays with you. I was having difficulty reconciling the events of this particular call. Almost two years later, this call still stays with me.

My coworker pulled me aside at the station that day after work, and asked me if I wrote that document. I sheepishly replied that I had, and expressed some remorse that I left that document on the computer. I had meant to delete it, but never did. The result of our conversation was the impetus for my blogging. We talked about that call for over an hour, and she made me realize that writing about the call helped my deal with the outcome.

So I started writing. I started taking my computer with me to work, with a backup spiral notebook. When I have down time, I write. I find that I don’t get writer’s block too much. Mostly, words flow through my fingers, and it has become remarkably therapeutic. My computer has a file with an inconspicuous name which is literally hundreds of pages of writing. I just keep adding to it. Occasionally, something is good enough for me to post here. Maybe one day I will do something with all those words, but for now, it is my therapy.

I received an email shortly after I started posting to my old blog site, which led me to Dave Konig, and EMSBlogs. He and I corresponded over a few days, maybe a week, and the next thing I knew, I was an EMSBlogs hosted blogger, getting thousands of views a week. I have made virtual friends, which are simply too many to name, and I feel like I have become a changed person. This has truly been an exciting ride, and I am grateful to have received a ticket. I don’t know where this ride is going, but I know that I belong in EMS.

I am extremely grateful for you, the reader, for being here with me. I feel honored to work in the same field as you, and am delighted to call my readers my brothers and sisters in EMS. I don’t have to physically meet any of you to call you friends.

This is the best career in the world, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. Thanks for being there with me in my journey. I still have my LSAT scores tucked away in a special spot in my office, but I’m not going anywhere.

CCC ain’t going out of service for a long time.