Sunday, May 29

CISD with OK GO part VI

CISD - Critical Incident Stress Debriefing

OK GO - A band


This is another in what I thought was a complete series of dealing with PTSD using the music of OK GO.  For over 4 years I've been seeing parts of my recovery in the lyrics of their songs and the images of their accompanying videos.  What started as a 2 song idea has clearly expanded as my recovery does.

We’ve covered the initial reaction – Don’t Ask Me How I Feel Part I, The Invincible stage of recovery Part II, then ask ourselves “WTF is Happening” Part III.

Then we realized the healing process is almost complete in Part IV – This Too Shall Pass.

When we think everything is OK we see the boys on their treadmills and realize Here it Goes Again.  We were done.  Or were we?


Recently OK GO released the video for their song Upside Down and Inside Out, filmed on a zero G training plane.  A number of the lyrics from this song struck chords with me in relationship to my continuing recovery.

"So when you met the new you, were you scared? Were you cold? Were you kind?  So when you met the new you, did someone die inside?"

I was stopped in my tracks by that line, it hit me like, well like the song says immediately following that line and in an aggressive tone, "DON'T STOP! CAN'T STOP! IT'S LIKE A FREIGHT TRAIN!"

Coming out of my injury period and trying to get back my mental footing was a challenge I look back on often when I wonder what we all do, "Am I the best person I can be?"

When I met the new me I did feel like someone died inside.  Was it the old me?  The questioning me?  The scared me?  It wasn't until almost 2 years after the injury that I came to complete terms with it, or so I thought.  Hearing these lyrics got me thinking about not just trying to move on but dealing with this nagging feeling:  If that had ceiling had never knocked me down, would I be the same person today?

The song goes on to tell us...

"Looks like it's time to decide.  Are you here? Are you now is this it?  All of those selves that you tried...wasn't one of them good enough?"

Well, damn guys, here I am again wondering how you can read my thoughts, this line had me confused I admit.  You go on to tell me "Because you're upside down and inside out and you can feel it. Inside down and upside out and you can feel it. Feel it."

Right as I contemplated this line, that when things are upside down and inside out, arguably completely messed up and you can feel something good, that must be a good thing, right?  Then we mix it up and create more chaos by telling me I'm inside down and upside out and I can still feel it?  That must be good, right?

Uh oh, here comes the freight train!

All the chaos, all the confusion, all the crap they had going on in this video, and I'm seeing my recovery.  Up is out, in is down and I can't shake the feeling that I'm supposed to be someone else sometimes, some other person.

Of all the selves that I this one good enough?



Friday, May 20

the Crossover - Ep 56 - Rooms for Shooting

crossoverlogo300In this week's episode, HM and MC talk about a concept making the rounds in certain circles of the world:

Shoot Up Rooms.

You read that right. Sanctioned rooms staffed with medical types (we hope) to make sure you don't die whilst cramming poisonous substances into your arm.

They also clear the air about Nalaxone (Narcan) or what the media would like you to believe is an antidote for heroine.  Here's a shocker: It's not.  Listen in to find out why.

It may not happen as often as you'd think, but on this, the guys land on the same side of the subject.

Tune in to see if it's a good idea or a not!



Saturday, May 14

the Ballad of Big Dave

My father, the Angry Captain, and our family is having a rough year.  Just over a year ago my grandmother, his mother, died suddenly from an apparent stroke.

All 5 children, scattered to the ends of America, were able to reassemble before her passing and I had the honor of being there in the hospital to be with the family and act as interpreter.  The Doctor would give odds and explain complications, then the family would spend the next half hour asking me what the Doctor was talking about.

One of the men in that room was Big Dave.

Big Dave is my Dad's little brother.

Was. Is.  This isn't easy.

Big Dave was a body builder early on and spent a lot of time in the gym.  He smoked a pipe and knew a good cigar.  He had a sense of humor more readily described as "dick and fart jokes."  At my Aunt's wedding, for the family photo, he's the one that shouted "Everyone look at Grandpa Bob naked!"  Not only is everyone smiling but the kids are hysterically laughing.  It's a wonderful photo.

When I was not more than a toddler he would don a pig mask and chase me through the halls of his house squealing loudly.  Much like the clown in IT and under the bed in Poltergeist, that pig mask is engraved in my youth.  I've come to terms with the first two.

Later on Big Dave used to watch me and my sister when Mom and Dad needed a night off.  He had no kids at the time so when Dad closed the door Dave would offer candy and chant with us, "No rules!" and we'd watch movies late into the night.

Big Dave was a self made business man, Mom even worked for him for awhile, as did I most summers and some weekends.  He supplied and maintained plants for businesses.

Family legend puts him very high in my book, not only because of the pig mask, candy or late nights watching R rated movies when I was 10, it was because of something he made my Dad do many years ago.

As the story is told, Big Dave wanted to be a Fireman.  A test was coming up and he needed a ride.  Who else do you ask when you need a ride but your big brother?  Turns out Dad gave him that ride and decided to take the test.  He was there and all, why not?

Dad got the letter, Big Dave did not.

Without Big Dave, does my dad ever become a fireman?  What am I?


Big Dave passed last night unexpectedly and hearing my father's voice early this morning on the phone telling me was nothing I'd like to hear again...much like I said a little over a year ago telling me his mother was dead.

Big Dave was the embodiment of larger than life.  He drove me to soccer practice in a Porshce 911 Carerra smoking a cigar and telling me jokes with swear words.  He was a God.

He was a son, brother, husband, father and uncle and always had a smile and a joke to make an awkward situation more awkward.

Miss you Big D.

Go, then.  There are other worlds than this.

Friday, May 13

the Crossover Episode 55 - Text me Bro

crossoverlogo300In this week's episode, HM and MC talk about new possible tech in NYC that would allow officers investigating collisions to determine if involved parties were using their cell phone immediately preceding the collision.

Should we be worried about violations of a little thing called the Fourth Amendment? HM and MC have a little fun and go 'round and 'round about this one.

Long story short, the spirit behind it is one thing, but the execution, as you may well imagine, is something guys think may just be an issue.

No BOLO this week, but there is a rousing game of Stump MC!

Saturday, May 7

Why vs How and Book vs Street

As of today the argument that street smarts outweighs learning from a book will be officially retired.  At the same time, the demand for an Associates degree before hitting the streets will also be retired.


Because one can not succeed without the other.  We all agree this is true and for years have been attributing a common phrase to one another:

“Do you have 10 years of experience or 1 year of experience repeated 10 times?”

Experience is respected in EMS, mainly because we eat our young and slowly replace the limbs and joints of our elders until they literally fall apart in their 40s.  If you've been here the longest, regardless of your skill level, you must know something.

EMS succeeds in keeping standards low to keep a fresh crop of adrenaline seeking folks in the seats to move Mr Jones back from dialysis at $42.50 and 50 cents a mile.

Too many EMTs and Paramedics I meet demand higher wages yet don’t think they need additional education to justify it. Most often their rationale is linked to their experience doing the job, not in learning how.

Ambulance Chaser recently re-opened the Crimson Tide Ramsay vs Hunter discussion of “Why.”  We are reminded that simply performing a task is not the goal, but understanding why we are performing the task, as well as the intended outcome and consequences is the benchmark of success.

“I can teach this cat to intubate, but I can’t teach him when not to,” is quite possibly my favorite EMS quote of all time and puts this topic into terms we can understand: cats.  We refer to supervising EMS as herding cats, denoting a variety of influences and intended outcomes rapidly applied in random fashion with the same outcome expected.  Put 10 Medics in a room and you’ll get 10 different impressions from an assessment.  Mostly because they all had different training, different education and different experiences.

How much weight do we give to these three separate forms of learning in EMS?

Can I interpret a 12 lead because of the class, the internship or the field time?  I've been devoting a good deal of time researching this idea and am hitting on some good points.  For example:

“Truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.” – Malcolm Gladwell

In one of his bestselling books, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell examines how we attribute success.  Most notably he points out that Bill Gates is described as brilliant and tenacious by those that know him and that his success comes directly from these traits.  “But I know brilliant and tenacious people who aren’t worth 60 billion, so what is the secret?” asks Gladwell.

I won’t spoil the book, but it turns out Gates was also a brilliant programmer with thousands of hours of tinkering and designing to go with his other skills.  Had he been around 10 years earlier or later, would those skills he enjoyed, was good at and did often combine with the same tenacity and brilliance to achieve the same level of success?

Not likely.


Where am I going with all this?

Our argument is not a new one.  Other professionals had these discussions decades or centuries ago and have been tweaking the qualifications ever since.  We are on the verge of an awakening of sorts, where EMS will not splinter into sub specialties but come together to recognize the need for a base of knowledge crucial to provide the services our communities expect and deserve.  From that foundation we can begin to build our profession to address the special needs and services so many communities already offer.  We won't do this with a certificate and a patch, but with curriculum designed with purpose as part of a larger program.

Chris Montera and others have been doing just that and are seeing success with their pilot programs that are not only spurring others to follow, but allowing their service to prove value and earn respect to begin moving into other niches left open.  When you can prove you were right people are more likely to give you another shot at success.  Take it.


Don't just want change in EMS, understand WHY we need that change.


Friday, May 6

A Mother's Day Crossover Show

crossoverlogo300I know what you're thinking.
"Those guys drink and swear all the time, would their mother actually attend?"

We had MC's mom in studio not long ago and she did not disappoint! It seems the ego didn’t fall far from the tree because she has insisted on being #MCsMom.

No mystery where he gets it, right?

The beer was flowing and the hilarity ensued.

Want to know a bit more about your co-host Motorcop? This is the show you’ll want to hear.


Thursday, May 5

Dear Valencia County Fire Chiefs

Are you Fracking kidding me?

I hope you have google alert installed so you can see this:

Steven Gonzales, Nicholas Moya, Casey Davis of the Valencia County NM Fire Department.

You went to FDIC clearly to have a good time, as evidenced by the inappropriate photos that have surfaced of you and scantily clad women at a bar.  I can't tell who is who in the photos, but it looks like a Department logo and your NAME on your shirt!


Remember when I was there and the Random Township folks disrespected an instructor and left?  I think you three owe the Township an apology.  Here I was thinking there was no way anyone was going to outdo that level of disrespect to the fire service.

You clearly make bad decisions and still live with the belief that just because you're out of the County the rules don't apply.  They wouldn't, if you had just changed shirts.


Is it so hard to do?


When I know I'll be visiting a place where things might get interesting, I leave the logo apparel in the room, fellas, then I think about what I'm about to do.  Two things clearly lost on you at the time.

For the younger guys that may have heard your stories about FDIC and the never ending party it is, did you ever mention Chief Bob Atlas and his 11 points of leadership?  What about Chief Viscuso's presentation on his book Step Up and Lead?  Did you make any of the classes or is this the only lesson we learned on this trip?  The news story mentions you stated that you were "waiting for the convention to open", not "in between classes."  Heck this was probably happening at the same time as my FDIC presentation on MCI. (It was amazing by the way)


What I see at FDIC usually makes me shake my head and wonder why folks don't just turn the T shirt inside out at the bar after class.  If you want to take these pictures after a full day of classes, training or whatever (and you're off company time) go for it, who am I to stop you?

If you're out in a Bass Pro Shops hat and SF Giants T-shirt I may not even notice. Go nuts dude! Consenting adults and all that...

If you go out wearing the cross you don't just represent yourself or your Department, you act as a symbol of what the rest of us stand for.  You are representing the ENTIRE Fire Service and I do not consent.


Your significant others are punishing you far more than I could and your Department should at least rescind all travel stipends and hours for the trip, so I'll leave your tongue lashing here and add this letter of reprimand to your file.


If you are lucky enough to attend again, might I suggest a quick lunch at nearby Kilroy's?  Great chicken strips and tots, and beer if allowed, without all the career risking shenanigans.  I do lunch there everyday at FDIC.

I'll be at the left hand side of the bar next year if you'd like to discuss this in person.