Friday, September 30

Kilted to Kick Cancer draws to a close

Well done for the month folks.  Our awareness campaign about male specific cancers during September can only be categorized as a success!

I'm out of the banner for a few weeks on a well earned vacation with Mrs Happy Medic and won't know the details of the fundraising efforts, but if we raised more than $1 I'm happy.


Kilted will continue, just in an abbreviated form, meeting whenever we feel like strapping on the kilts and drawing some stares.  The message will continue, of course, and plans are already in the works for a bigger and better KTKC 2012!


To those who wore kilts, well done.  To those who donated, thank you.  And to those bloggers that took up Kelly's fund raising challenge, thank you for turning your readers' attention towards a worthy cause.  At the end of all of this a special thank you to Too Old to Work who opened my eyes to my own risk factors and to Russel Stine who continues to scare the living shit out of me as he shares his cancer experience with us on his blog.

Inspiration comes from many places, the trick is spotting it.

Get your kilt ordered now for next year!


Tuesday, September 27

I'll be back

I'm on my way to the airport for a nice long trip away from everything with the Mrs to celebrate our anniversary.  I may or may not have internet access, so I'm pulling HM out of the sidebar until I get back.


There are a few posts pre-done and scheduled to go up, but I'll let you know when I get back.


Happy Travels,


It's burning my retinas!

We have all trained, at one time or another, to respond to a chemical release at a local swimming pool.  They keep enough chemicals on hand to cause quite the trouble, but how can I explain that to a mother who feels wronged?  By writing...a lot.



Dispatchers have hit the panic button on a full HazMat response to the local indoor pool.



My ambulance is the first of 3 responding as well as a complete first alarm assignment, HazMat, etc etc.  We arrive first and are met in the street by a number of lifeguards waving their arms.  In their little red shorts they look almost like valet parking attendants having a really slow night.

As I roll down the window ever so slightly we are given the initial report of the situation:

"It's only a couple of kids, there is no chemical release, their eyes sting after a swim lesson is all, the mom wants them to..."

and then he said it.  He said the line that gets my blood boiling.  The line I hear from the bulk of my clients and patients alike.  A line so innocent, but when taken to it's logical conclusion is never followed through with.  The line I hope to actually act on in the near future.

"...get checked out."


I cancel the bulk of the alarm, keeping the HazMat Battalion coming, just in case, and enter the pool where close to 100 people are still swimming and playing without problem.  In the back office a mother is sitting with her 2 children and their friends.

"They got out of the pool and were screaming and rubbing their eyes, I want it documented that this facility is using dangerous chemicals in the pool water."

I introduced myself and went about my assessments while casually mentioning to the Manager to bring me the MSDS.  For those not in the know, anywhere there are chemicals known to possibly cause harm, there are Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) which describe the chemicals, how to treat a person exposed to them and who to call for more information.  It's that giant binder crammed onto the top shelf in the janitor's closet.

As he returns with the binder we flip to the chemicals used in the pool.  I have Mom read, partially as a distraction, while I talk more with the assorted children who are more interested with my partner's phone than their "burning eyes."

I already knew, as you do, why their eyes sting.  We all learn that lesson early on.

As Mom refused to accept the reality that the chlorine in the pool actually belongs there, she reminded me I am not a Doctor and that she wanted her children...

and this is where the encounter should end.  Me informing the Mom of exactly what is happening, her digesting the information and making an informed decision, based on my professional medical opinion and diagnosis.  But, who am I kidding...

"...checked out."

My reminders that I had just completed the exam she had requested and that if further evaluation is requested a private vehicle would be more than appropriate went unheard, even unlooked at. She has turned her face away from me like one of her children would do. Then she reminded me I am there for her.  She never mentioned the kids.

We loaded up all 6 in seatbelts with Mom on the cot holding the youngest.  Then I documented all 6 patient encounters since she was convinced her lawsuit against the pool was a winner.

Good luck with that.  I'd love the get called to the stand on that one.  Too bad no lawyer will stop laughing long enough to file it.


Saturday, September 24

I am the Paramedics

In all the discussion, bickering and complaining about what EMS providers should be called (EMT, Paramedic, Ambulance Attendant, Steward etc etc) I got to thinking about the first part of my current title:



Walk into a room in most places on the planet, say you are a firefighter and I think it safe to say everyone knows what you do.  It has something to do with a big red truck and water and red stuff.  The specifics aren't important and where you work isn't important.  Or is it?

If I walk into that room as my 18 year old self I am a Firefighter following a 40 hour volunteer firefighter academy.  40 measly hours, yet I carry the same title as my counterparts in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston who have spent upwards of 18 weeks on the material.  They have more hands on training, more book time and a greater ability to do the job, but our titles are the same.  2 completely different skill sets and levels of education, same title.  No one who calls the Fire Department wonders how many IFSTA Certified, NFA FireFighter Level II's are coming.  They care about how many firefighters are coming because what they need are people who can do the job.

At a car accident, no one has ever turned to a friend and said "Quick, call the EMT-99s this person is injured!"  No one holding a cyanotic child screams "Help! I need 2 Nationally Registered EMT-Basics trained to the new curriculum!"

They shout one of 2 things:

"Call the ambulance"

"Call the Paramedics"

The Paramedics

I say we run with it.

I am in favor of calling pre-hospital care providers Paramedics even though there is a large gap in the training, experience and capabilities of the many levels from sea to shining sea.  They don't see the shiny patch on your shoulder is different than your EMT partner, nor do they notice you only inserted an OPA as an EMT instead of an ET.

They need help. We are it.  They call us what we are.

The  Paramedics.

Heck even most of us in the job are unsure exactly what a Paramedic should be, so what a great time to come together as one for once.

To those who will immediately back off and claim, falsely, that they earned a different title than the EMT when they completed their 2 year Paramedic program, come back when you've completed your Bachelor's in EMS and tell me if you feel the same way.


My name is Justin Schorr and I am a Paramedic.  I have been a Paramedic in my patients' eyes for almost 20 years, even though my little slip of paper says only 10.

Thursday, September 22

I got stopped...

...and I deserved it. Man I hate it when Motorcop is right.


I was driving through the City when my phone rang and it was work.  Sometimes I forget to take the radio out of my jacket pocket, sometimes it's the keys...etc etc, so I answered it.

Then they put me on hold for a minute, and that's when me and the Motor passing the other direction made eye contact.

I hung up, he swung around and I pulled over and waited.

I knew it was wrong, time to drink the tea.


CityMC - "Do you know why I turned around?"

HM - "I was on the phone.  Shouldn't have been.  No excuse."

CityMC - "License please. I'm going to cite you, this isn't safe."

He wandered back to the motor and began to scratch out the cite and my phone is ringing again.  No way in Hell am I answering it now.

He returns to the car where I'm patiently waiting, hands on the wheel.

CityMC - "Your license and your insurance have different addresses, which is correct?"


HM - "My insurance, Sir."

CityMC - "You need to get to the DMV immediately and get that remedied."

HM - "Yes, Sir."

He went back to the bike and was on the what is he doing? He's on the phone.  I make eye contact in the rearview mirror of him laughing and smiling on the phone and he turns away from me.

A few moments later he approaches the window and offers me the complete cite and asks me to sign.

I signed, no argument, no stupid excuse, no denying the obvious.

Then he gave me back my license and told me it was my lucky morning, he had just gotten good news.  This would only be a warning.  I should take what I would have paid in the cite and go buy a new hands free set, or 2, and use them.

And I will.


It just goes to show that if you are honest and respectful, and if he gets a lucky phone call, maybe you'll just get a warning.

Now if only medics could have the same kind of power in transport decisions...

Saturday, September 17

yeah, yeah...ok, ok

The brain works in amazing ways.  Our understanding of what is happening around us can be completely distorted by chemicals we ingest or otherwise introduce into our bodies for a variety of reasons.  Be it medicinal or recreational, habitual or experimental, the brain interprets it's surroundings as best it can and adapts actions based on those signals it receives.  The signals, however, are often changed by the substances we have ingested.

Case in point:

"Scooter Dude."



I've been special called as the Paramedic Captain to a "Major MVA" involving a cycle.



As I arrive first on scene, since this occurred not far from my favorite coffee shop (MC would be proud), I find a man slumped over the remains of the windshield of the scooter in the middle of traffic on a rather busy 2 lane road.  The engine is not far behind and we approach the scooter, which is still running to assess what has happened.

I've been to more than my fair share of "man slumped over steering wheel" calls but this is a first.  I have to pull my sunglasses down my nose just to be sure what I'm seeing isn't a reflection or other distortion from my $25 Target glasses.

Sure enough, he's balancing the scooter and unresponsive over the shattered windscreen, helmet on the ground nearby.  The front of the scooter is also smashed and the engine driver has discovered a few nearby cars with damage consistent with a run away scooter.

Our initial interventions were obvious, get him off the scooter, but as we grabbed under his arms he suddenly awoke.

Confused and clearly under the influence of something you would find on a pool table, his 6'2" 225lb frame is rigid and mimicking trying to start a motorcycle.

Our calm introductions are met with a diaphoretic face, lip licking and a simple phrase repeated over and over again, "Yeah, yeah, ok, ok," all the while his brain is convinced he is trying to make an escape on a motorcycle.

As the police arrive our friend is convinced he will remain on the cycle and even our basic interventions to lift him away are putting us in danger of not only a physical altercation we would surely lose, but the concern the scooter will drive off or fall over onto us during his extrication.

Seeing no visible trauma I instruct the officers, who are allowed to fight back when needed and have training in forcibly moving people, to move him to the ground.

That's when his brain suddenly realized he was not on  a Harley, but in hand cuffs on the pavement.


It takes 6 of us to restrain him and apply a spit sock since he has taken to trying to show his displeasure with saliva mixed in with creative verbage regarding my mother and a slew of other relations.

As the ambulance arrived my hero leaped out with a dose of  IM Versed that brought our new friend back into the realm of the moderately co-operative.

It was an interesting presentation that later allowed us to discover, from witnesses, that he seemed to be confused and riding the scooter in circles in the narrow street, crashing into a number of cars before inexplicably stopping in the middle of the street, looking all around as if he was hidden, then slumped over the handle bars, seemingly asleep.

It was also a reminder to work carefully and clearly with law enforcement since their end game is a person unable to fight back and ours is being able to treat them safely.  Talking through your plan ahead of time with the officers to ensure your plan matches their concerns is key to making sure a handcuffed recumbent patient becomes a properly restrained supine patient with no injury to any party.

And although chemical sedation was indicated and used, be sure to follow your local protocols when encountering agitated people who could mop the floor with you on any given day.

Friday, September 16

Tip of the Helmet - Lady in the Flip Flops

It's easy to see an accident and keep on walking, but something in some people kicks in to make them want to learn more. At a recent accident we've all seen on video by now a motorcyclist collided with a car and, surprisingly, they caught fire.
As random folks come to the car and look inside a woman in flip flops does what EVERY rescuer needs to do at EVERY roadway incident:

She looks under the car.

Seeing the unconscious body of the motorcycle rider she tries to lift the car off of him. Others seem interested and when she confirms again "there's someone under there" the troops are flocking to the scene to lift the car.

You can give credit to the worker who pulled the rider out of harms way, the cops and their interesting fire attack or even the firefighters and paramedics who magically appear, but the real credit goes to flip flop lady and her desire to answer the burning question she had inside: "Where is the rider?"

From NPR: According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Wright suffered a "broken leg, a shattered pelvis, bruised lungs and burned skin," when he and his motorcycle collided with a car. But, thankfully, he is "well on his way to recovery, his doctors said."


Thursday, September 15

Custom Kilt from Alt Kilt...Name your price

The gang at Alt Kilt are currently running an auction for a custom kilt to raise money for Kids' Cancer.


What kind of kilt?  Well, that's where the great part lies in all this:  You decide.  This is a 100% CUSTOM kilt from your mind to their tables to your waist.


I fully expect to see this won by a Kilted to Kick Cancer participant or supporter.  Anything less would be a disappointment.  If that is the case I'll add in a washed, but never worn Magnum RD Shirt embroidered with the Kilted to Kick Cancer logo.  So let's go folks, make it happen.

If you didn't have a kilt this year, here's a chance to get one custom made for next year.  No excuses.


I've bid and will bid again.  I have my eye on some of their steam punk inspired kilts and may take this opportunity to get one while supporting Kids' Cancer.

Think about it for a second.  You can get a kilt supporting Kids' Cancer, then wear it to support male cancers, then again to support any damn thing you want.

Efficiency on multiple levels.

BID!  The auction ends Sept 20th 6:25 am PST.


And I'll check with Magnum, but if supplies last I'll get you a KTKC T-shirt as well since all proceeds go to cancer research.

Wednesday, September 14

Smoke Conditions

I came across this video for a neat looking product for fighting high rise fires from the floor below.

During the video we see how water can be applied through the device in either straight stream or via a remote controlled combination nozzle.

I have no opinion about the product positive or negative, that is not the reason for my sharing the video.  As you watch, pay careful attention to the changes in smoke conditions between straight stream and fog.

Just in case you always wondered why there is more smoke when you use the fog nozzle as opposed to putting the fire out with the straight stream.


More reach, more water, less fire, less smoke.

Monday, September 12

KTKC T-Shirts and why you need

In case some of you were under the illusion that Magnum Boots has an open print order on Kilted to Kick Cancer T-Shirts, think again.

The first, and possibly ONLY Kilted to Kick Cancer T-Shirt is now available solely through Magnum Boots USA.

The cost:  $0.

Seriously, Magnum Boots is charging zero to get a shirt.  All you have to do is email them confirmation that you donated at least $40 to Prostate Cancer Research and let them know your size and POOF - Free Limited Edition T-Shirt.

I honestly thought that we'd run out of shirts in Las Vegas at EMS World Expo so didn't give much thought to it, but a recent communique from Magnum Boots confirms the mail order amount is starting to slow.

To slow?

I thought we were blazing the trail here guys and gals.  We have roughly a half a month left, barely over 2 weeks to get as much fundraising and awareness done about male cancers before everything turns pink in October.  Everyone's attention will be shifted to the noble fight against breast cancer and pink shirts will fill the TV, the workplace and people will empty their pockets for the effort as well they should.

But what about the male specific cancer that is set to overtake breast cancer next year if current trends hold?  Think about that for a minute while you fill out the $40 donation to the walk athon or arrange to go see the pink fire engine.

Next year more men will die of prostate cancer than women will die of breast cancer.


Next month most people will go back to not talking about it.  Get a T-Shirt so that you can wear it to the walk a thon and to see the pink fire engine and tell every man you see about their risks.  We're not going away but your chance to share this important message is.

I don't usually take this tone in this forum, but after the morning I've had somebody has to stand up and start talking.

Please make a donation and send your proof to Magnum to get a free shirt so that your donation can be the starting point of a conversation that could save more lives than any walk a thon or pink fire engine.  Cancer needs to be stopped and that takes research and research takes money.  To get the money we must raise awareness and me wearing this kilt all month and having these conversations may have already saved someone...who knows.  But a simple giggle from a T-shirt could start a conversation that could save a life.

If unsure of where to send your donation, Magnum Boots can help:

To get yours, donate $40 or more to, then email us your size and proof of donation to You can also send us a check, made to Prostate Cancer Foundation, to:

Magnum USA

Attn. Marketing

4801 Stoddard Rd

Modesto, CA


Don't let what we started die here and don't give just to help a blogger win a contest.  Give because you know it's the right thing to do.



Saturday, September 10

10 House "Still Standing"

Each year I choose 1 story to share in an effort to keep alive the memory of those who died. Buying a sticker or a T-shirt that says "Never Forget" isn't enough, heck it's nothing. Learning about the lives of those who went into that morning not knowing if they would be coming out and sharing their stories with others is the only way to remember and keep them alive in our hearts.
I used to think the ancient Egyptians were foolish for claiming they were going to live forever, yet we still speak their names and honor their traditions in our museums and textbooks. They truly did accomplish living forever and if we want these men to be remembered in the same way we must continue to share their stories and speak their names aloud.
In my search for a story to share about those who died on September 11th, I kept coming back to a number: 10.  10 years, 10 Engine, Ladder 10...10 House...

A firehouse is much like a family and when a member of a family dies it can have an impact on the survivors. But what if more than 1 dies? Or 2. What about 6?

This year I share the memories of 10 House and the day she lost 6 of her children.


10 House is the quarters of Engine 10 and Ladder 10 who, in 1984, adopted the logo of a firefighter straddling the tops of the twin towers on fire reading "First due at the big one." And they were.  Reports from survivors say that even as they rolled out the door there were already bodies in the street.
The firehouse is on Liberty Street directly across the street from the World Trade Center. The house survived the collapse and was re-opened after getting fixed up, but her family is still healing.
Both companies were established in 1865, later moving to the same house.  It is one of the few houses where the engine and ladder companies happen to have the same numbers. For almost 150 years she saw only 3 deaths in the line of duty, on that September morning the number would triple.

Lt. Gregg Arthur Atlas - Aged 44 years, Lieutenant Engine 10

Firefighter Paul Pansini - Father of 3 children, Firefighter Engine 10

Lt. Stephen Gary Harrell - Age 44, Member of 10 House assigned to Battalion 7

Sean Patrick Tallon - 26, Marine Reservist and only weeks away from completing Probationary status on Ladder 10.

Jeffrey James Olsen - Age 31, Firefighter Ladder 10

James J. Corrigan - Retired Captain from 10 House, oversaw Fire and Safety Operation for the WTC complex


The house was a gathering point for those wishing to visit the FDNY to offer their condolences.  Like many houses it was covered with patches and shirts from visiting firefighters, letting the members know they were in others' thoughts.  A beautiful memorial was erected inside dedicated to the 6 members who died and included was a newer plaque honoring the 3 that had fallen between 1867 and 2000.

10 House became the site of a 56 foot bronze relief sculpture donated by Holland & Knight , a Law Office, who lost  employee Glenn J. Winuk, also a volunteer firefighter, when 10 House lost her children.  The relief was dedicated in 2006 and is the only 9/11 related site on my list of things to see when I visit New York later in the month.

I don't want to see where 10 House lost, I want to see where she lives on.

You can learn more about 10 House on their excellent website.

2009's memory

2010's memory

Wednesday, September 7

What's Under my Kilt

Kilted to Kick Cancer continues to turn heads and open conversations with total strangers about male specific cancers.  More so than either myself, Motocop or the starter of all this TOTWTYTR could have imagined I'm sure.

A random woman in her "early 60's" (had I seen her at work I would have guessed 70's) asked about the kilt in an airport food vendor line.  I mentioned the campaign and our intent for men to get checked.  Suddenly, after having known me for less than 60 seconds, has mentioned her husband sometimes has blood in his semen.  He told her it happens to "men of a certain age."  NEGATIVE GHOSTRIDER!  I told her to call her husband from the airport to schedule an appointment with his doctor ASAP.


This is the exact mindset that likely has this man past the intervention stage if he does in fact have prostate issues.  If only she could have bumped into a kilted man 30 years ago.


And that is the point here folks.  We need to raise awareness so that when the generation staring at facebook is old enough they know what needs to get checked.  Heck, how many folks go overdue on their oil change on the car, let alone keeping up with their own health and that of those around them.


Visit the links, share them with important men in your life and if you can spare a few bucks to help research, click the links below the Kilted to Kick Cancer logo there in the sidebar.  Next month everything will turn pink for breast cancer and the kilts will go back on the hangers (not for too long though, details on that soon), but the fact remains that this cancer is killing almost as many men as breast cancer kills women and we've only scratched the surface on even researching it.  Like Motorcop says, cancer is like a giant domino game.  Once one falls, the rest are sure to follow.

Kilt up, and if you don't have a kilt, support a blogger who does!

Monday, September 5


From my childhood comes a fear so concrete, so engrained in my being that even as an adult in a well lit room I would be confronted by this fear and turn into the 6 year old I was when I first experienced it.

Goosebumps, anxiety, a desire to  Fear is a powerful thing and overcoming it isn't easy.

Those of you who attended the EMS World Expo HollyWood Nights party recently know exactly what, and who, I'm referring to.

I have a friend who is deathly afraid of clowns.  Any kind of clown, from cute to scary and he tries to punch his way out.  One year we thought we'd interrupt a Halloween party by having a clown ride through the party on a little clown bike.  That didn't go so well.  He didn't confront his fear and the clown recovered after a few days.

I don't mind clowns in general, just the one.


The clown from Poltergeist.  In the film a clown doll comes to life trying to kill a little boy who was my age at the time.  It laughed, it hid under the bed, it's arms grew, all the things clowns don't usually do.  That scene, which we all know I saw too young, burned itself into every synapse in my brain and every time that movie would come on I'd be fine until the clown scene.  Even a few weeks ago I tried to watch it on a warm sunny afternoon.

Nope, the fear was too intense.  I had to turn off the TV and go outside.  Like I said before, fear is a powerful thing.

At the party this last week there was a variety of movie memorabilia, props and the like from a number of films scattered about the restaurant.  Over in one corner was the gun prop from Escape from New York, over there a bit from here and over here a bit from there, you get the idea.  At the bar enjoying a drink I mentioned all the neat memorabilia around us when someone pointed out the prop not 3 feet from me the entire time.

The clown.

My fear response was intense, I'm told there is video, and I'm immediately trying to get to the door.  That clown will start laughing, break out of the glass he's in and try to kill me, that's what he's done all my life.  My friends built a wall and pushed me forward telling me I had to face me fear.

Reluctant is a word you could use.  Still squirming to get out of this confrontation my mind is telling me it is only wood and fabric, created by a prop guy.  The 6 year old in me is peeing his pants.  The fear was so intense I can barely describe it and before this encounter would never have been able to even write this much on the subject, let alone think it.

But this is where I tried to step up tall and face the clown who so permeated my fears.

I heard someone nearby say, "Look! He's not even wearing a kilt!"  I was, as many others were, and suddenly I was able to catch a breath, a half a breath at least and took that sliver of a window of opportunity and reluctantly reached out and touched the glass.  It suddenly, without explanation, looked different.  It was a neat looking clown toy, with little white bloomers and a clearly well carved wooden face in a classic clown design.  I appreciated the workmanship of the prop master and how the magic of the movies made him come to life.

And just like that, my fear was gone.  The rest of the evening I kept looking over at the clown in the glass and wondering if the 6 year old inside would think this had all been a dream and suddenly awake to see the clown at the foot of his bed.  But when I listened I heard him laughing at the clown. "You're wearing bloomers, you're wearing bloomers."