Audience Driven Blogging, the answers.

OY! Where have I been? Sorry for the slowdown in posts. Not much going on EMS-wise but a LOT going on in the personal life and at school.

In my last entry, I asked you to tell me what you wanted to know. I'd like to address some of those questions:

This question is from Jason:

Q: "I check here frequently - but you don't update frequently enough!!!  I'd like to see more about your Coast Guard days - being a rescue/recovery diver, that type of stuff kind of interests me."

A: Well, I don't update much because I have been keeping this blog related to my experiences in EMS, Paramedic school, or fire department (through which I currently practice EMS as an EMT-B).

As to my Coast Guard experience, I was never a rescue diver. I was a shipboard rescue swimmer which meant if someone fell overboard, I'd be one of the people that might dive into the water (with a harness and line attached) and grab the poor sot. There's a lot more experiences I had in the Coast Guard but I think I'll let them come out as they become relevant to my current experiences or by request from my darling readers. Thanks, Jason.

From Clarke:

Q: "Just write about you- all of you, not just the fire dept you."

A: That's the thing. When I started this blog, I spent some time reading other people's blogs. Many were just rantings or stream of consciousness writing about people's personal lives. I don't think my inner thoughts and feelings are particularly interesting to read and the details of my personal life are not to scintillating either, "Woke up, Cornflakes for breakfast again, Drove to school in bad traffic....blah blah blah." I DO think my experiences in becoming a Paramedic are somewhat more interesting and the process gives me a more focused theme upon which to write.

The other side of that is, though I am quite outgoing, there are many areas of my life and self about which I am intensely private. My family and friends have not chosen to write this blog nor did i consult them about it. Therefore, I respect their privacy and don't write much about them unless it is relevant to the theme in question.

So, I shall write about the "Fire Department" me, The "Undergraduate Student" me (especially since clinicals start in the fall), and the "Getting mad about poor patient care" me. Don't expect to see politics, socially contentious issues or religion. Unless they relate to my experience in EMS, I find they are outside the scope of my subject.

I will give a few details about me, though:

I am 6'4" tall (2 meters for you metrics)
I weigh 235 lbs (about 105 kg)
I run marathons
I enjoy Shakespeare tremendously
I LOVE good beer
My nose has been broken 4 times
I work out every day and am still pear-shaped (It's the beer)
I wear glasses
I have an 11 year old dog that adores me
I have a 10 year old cat that kills everything
I speak Spanish
I love German cars
I am passionate about the Constitution of the United States of America
I love sailing
I box for fun (don't compete anymore)
I am disgusted by the fact that more people voted on "American Idol" than voted in the last presidential election
I do not have a television.

That should do it for now!

From Drew

Q: "As far as your content goes, just stick to what you have been doing. It's important that people know that EMS is not always lights and sirens. People have this weird delusion that EMS is glamourous and heroic. While that may be "sometiems" it's mostly dull and uneventful."

A: Thanks, man. That's what I'm finding this blog to be. It started as a description of my experiences and is becoming a medium where I can share my own feelings as well. This is greatly helped by knowing that people are reading and hearing their opinions and thoughts too.

From MedicMom

Q: " I don't think it would hurt write more things about yourself. You should be able to do that without revealing too much. People generally want to know a little about the author of the blog that they are reading."

A: Looking back, I see things about myself coming out in my writing. I suppose I could be a bit more open in reference to my topic. I just hate the idea of talking about "me" all the time. That's so easy to do and it's BORING to read.

Q: "Your tagline says, "This is my journey (late in life) to become a paramedic". I am curious to know how old or young  you are (approximate will do if you don't want to tell) and what was the one thing that made you decide to take this career path? We know it isn't the money. HAHA!"

A: I turned 33 a week ago. I suppose that's not TOO old but it's a bit late to quit one's job, be a full time undergraduate student (Can you say "mortgage?" OW!), and THEN start a new career (I graduate in 2006).

As to the "thing" that made me want to be a paramedic: it was a collection of things. I've had flashes of "brilliance" and "great ideas" that have led me into jobs before and they all have turned out to be unsatisfying. This decision to become a paramedic is more of a well thought out, complete realization that EMS what I am "made" to do and what I want to do. Let me recap:

I NEVER panic.
I NEVER get grossed out
I love helping sick and hurt people.
I am a walking font of compassion.
I LOVE the challenge of solving complex problems.
I'm fascinated by medicine outside the hospital.
I hate the 9-5, cubicle routine (see Office Space)
I am a total adrenaline junkie

It makes too much sense to ignore. I have been on this path for over a year now and the passion to do so has not diminished at all. The idea of being "called" to something is what we usually associate with clergy and crusaders. I really believe I have found my calling.

Q: "Where did the name maddog come from?"

A: It comes from my days on active duty in the Coast Guard back in the early 1990's. While I'd like to say that it comes from me being recognized as a total badass and that the nickname is a badge of respect bestowed upon my by my peers I'm afraid that's not quite the case. At the time, I was very enthusiastic, upbeat, high energy and always looking for ways to get into something. I would frequently be the one telling jokes, singing and saying "ARRRR!" as we fought 25 foot seas in -15 degree weather in a 21 foot boat in Alaska. Many of my supervisors and shipmates found this attitude to be somewhat exasperating and took to using the word "goddam" before my name. As cursing is generally discouraged around officers and members of the public we serve, my shipmates reversed the word and took to wryly calling me "maddog." Needless to say, it stuck.

Q: " What methods do you use to calm/comfort anxious/afraid patients"

A: I use a variety of methods depending on the patient and the situation. My time working in sales has taught me a lot about how people respond to different attitudes. Some patients are comforted in the presence of confidence, some like to have a lot of smiles. I generally stay cool, move with confidence and keep my voice down. I make a LOT of eye contact, I smile a lot if it works and will occasionally use distraction to keep a patient occupied. I'll ask questions, get their mind focused on something else, that sort of thing. If a patient responds well to being touched, a reassuring hand on the head or shoulder does a lot. Generally, I let my natural compassion come through, try to connect to the person who is my patient and perform my job calmly and with an air of competence. That's what I would like if I were a patient.

I hope that satisfies your thirst for knowledge. I will always answer questions from my readers. Thank you all very much for reading and commenting. I'll try to post more often.


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