Friday, February 27

Hi 911? I Have the Flu

Cruise on over for my latest article at Uniform


Hi 911, I have the flu

Wednesday, February 25

It's OK to Not Be OK

As many calls as I've shared in this forum, there are still those that won't make the cut.  Not because they're "gruesome" or "funny" or even filled with heroic actions or memorable scenery, but because of the little things.  Little things that are mine and mine alone.  Frozen moments in time that impact me to this day.

On a recent call one of my most memorable calls came back.  Not like a wafting scent or a slowly rising tide, but like a slap to the face and a punch to the gut, taking all my breath away.

The dispatch was a simple fall in the bathroom.  A bread and butter call.  Likely someone with one too many drinks and not enough sleep.  As I walked towards the restroom, donning my gloves and admiring the large artwork in the lobby a woman came running out covering her mouth in fear.  She was hunched over and moved erratically as she exited the restroom.

In half a heartbeat I was taken back over a decade.  My pace quickened, my heart in my throat.  The little things were there.  A glimpse of broken mirror.   The faint smell of bleach long mopped up.  The first drop of blood.  I was afraid.  I went to work doing what we do.

All I'll say is that I didn't sleep much that night.

Then or now.

We deal with things that most folks fall apart after seeing.  Trouble is, so do we.

If you experience something and need to talk about it please reach out.  It can be a friend, clergy, co-worker, even drop me a line.

You don't have to keep what we do inside.  You don't have to make sick jokes or make fun to get along in EMS, all you need is an outlet.

We all have calls that wake us from a sound sleep like a clown in an old horror movie.  The trick is finding someone to help you through it before it eats you away from the inside.

It's OK to not be OK.

It's not OK to let it get worse.  Everyone feels like you and I feel, some are simply too scared to share it.  You're not the problem.  If this job doesn't shake you to your core, chances are you're doing it wrong.

I'm reminded of that every time I see a handful of calls from my past.

I'm reminded of that when I read Kelly's story about the swing set.

I'm reminded of it when I see a young EMT freeze up at a scene and wonder if I'll be in their nightmares in 20 years, a simple bystander on their worst day.

I wonder if they know they're in mine.

It's OK to not be OK.


See also: CISD with OK GO, a 5 part series on addressing trouble using the music of OK GO

Tuesday, February 24

An EMS Expo Blogger Scavenger Hunt!

Here is a pic of a bunch of EMS Bloggers (and our ZOLL hosts) from 2011

Can you find them all in Baltimore this week?

If you find them, tag them and me (@thehappymedic) in a pic and throw it up on twitter.  Whoever finds the most gets bragging rights for at least a year and special perks at EMS World in September!


And if you are in this photo and don't want to be found, better get to hiding!

Monday, February 16

Don't Let Your Bucket List Fill Up

There is a common trend for folks to create a "bucket list" of experiences to complete before they "Kick the Bucket" a euphemism for death. Often I meet these folks when it is too late to complete the list. A bucket list should never be allowed to fill up.
Don't hesitate to experience life while you can.
If you put off that trip to Paris until "later" will you be able to enjoy it?

Recently I met Amy. Amy was diagnosed with a host of cancers at the age of 63 and deteriorated rapidly. At one appointment her oncologist told her husband to "get started on her bucket list while you can."
They quickly emptied the savings account and made a mad dash to the airport for a trip around the world.
Sounds romantic, right?
The first leg of their journey was cut short when Amy lost consciousness on the plane before they left.

Amy never made it to Paris. Her husband had already come to terms with her situation and explained to me that they kept putting off the trip for this reason and that, always assuming they'd have decades together to complete the list.

Sometime next month he will pass through my first response area again, with his wife's ashes, and leave her where she always wanted to go, but never got to see.

If you've started a bucket list, start crossing things off while you can. Live life while you can still enjoy it and get the most out of your list. Imagine being able to revisit all those places on your bucket list via memory, photo and video, instead of wondering what you could have done when you had the chance.

Tuesday, February 10

Welcome to [insert City here]

On a recent job we went running up the jetway and onto the awaiting plane after being told a person was unconscious. Much like most other calls in my almost 20 years it was not what we were told.
After ensuring the person on board was assessed, removed and healthy, we gathered our gear and started making our way back to the jetway door.
As the large aircraft is unloading we're like salmon swimming upstream. Part of the way there a flight attendant is passing by and tells one of the passengers, "Enjoy your stay in San Diego."
They laughed and kept moving. For those of you new to the blog, we are not in San Diego.
However, it is late and we decide to have some fun as the crowd moves towards us faster than we can get to the door to get back to the rigs.
I jumped in first.
"Welcome to Toledo, folks."
"Snow in Chicago tonight" the Medic calls out as a new group was nearby.
"You'll need flip flops in Vegas tonight!" the EMT said as we finally got to the door and started our way out.

I think I'll be trying this game far more often.

Tuesday, February 3

Write to Rufus - Share a Firehouse Story with a Retired Brother

On January 16th 2015 the folks over at Senior Wish posted an interesting request.  It seems that retired Houston Fire Department Senior Captain Rufus S (Last name not mentioned) is suffering from Alzheimer's and he can only recall  things he reads.

According to the SeniorWish folks Rufus got a few letters from current firefighters telling stories about their careers.  Apparently Rufus reds them often, reminiscing as if he was there.

Well, time to give Rufus some reading material folks.

I challenge you to write Rufus a letter about your day in the firehouse, exciting or not and send it along to him to read and relive as if it was his own.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Rufus S at Houston Station 7, back row right[/caption]

Senior Wish has included the following address for all letters:


Spread the word at morning muster and dinner, will ya?