Catching up, Part II

From my previously referenced post:

2. Why I have been radically paranoid about posting anything for the past 2-3 years:

Well, it has to do with my fear of getting in trouble with my employer or with coworkers. You see, I've tried pretty hard to keep my blog anonymous. I've changed the name of the people involved, hidden some patient information and even edited a few photos to remove identifying marks and such. So far, as a simple medic in the big pool of medics out there, it's been pretty effective.

Then I got a job teaching at a university.

The privacy laws there are pretty strong. Also, my school is pretty unique and, I imagined, it would be very easy to figure out who I was and where I was teaching if I was blogging about my experiences there. Which is too bad. There were a TON of funny stories that came out of the classroom, let me tell you. So, you can imagine that I'm already unsure whether I should blog about my experiences at the Alma Mater.  The job is time-consuming enough that I'm not getting out on an ambulance very much but I am teaching, guiding and, in some cases, precepting paramedic students who do. Lot's to write there, like I said.

Then one day, I'm walking down the hall from my office and one of my students walks by and says, "Hey there 'Maddog!'"

He doesn't use my name (Mr. So-and-so). He calls me Maddog. I don't go by that name on a regular basis and I require my students to always use title and last name when addressing anyone on the faculty and staff. Now I'm thinking, "Crap! One of my students is reading my blog!!!! ...and that means they probably are ALL reading it!!!"

This effectively shuts down any blogging I do about that job! It also tells me that I'm not nearly as clever as I think in regards to hiding my identity and such. Now I'm paranoid that everyone is reading what I've written and knows who I am and is furious with me! This paranoia extends to all areas where I'm working and has lingered with me for the past 2.5 years. Only now, with much to write about and the weight of this blog being 6 years old, am I working to overcome that and get more words out to you, my readers.

So, there you have it. I've had some sweet part time jobs in the interim, done some pretty neat calls at the volunteer house but, here again, I've been too paranoid to write about them. My intention when I started this blog was to keep the content focused around my experiences in EMS and related topics however, in the past two and a half years, I've been worried about violating privacy laws and offending people in my EMS world.

All of this leads me to the next item on my list:

3. A discussion about what I intend to do with this blog.

I still want this to be EMS related but, living in another country, there will be a bit more of the "personal crap about maddog" stuff in it. I've got a lot of content already from being here but not a lot of calls. I ran my first actual ambulance call just the other night and I've been here for almost two and a half months (yes, it's slow). Expect to see a comparisons of how EMS is delivered here vs the United States, a few stories about some cool calls and a bit of content about my travels outside work. I still need to work out how I'm going to write a lot of this and keep within the guidelines of my employer. You see, my employer is very clear about how quickly they will fire me if I break their rules of confidentiality and such. I like this job so far and I'm not keen on getting fired. We'll see how it works out.

I encourage my readers (if I have any left) to use the comments function and ask me questions. I'll write about what I think is interesting but let me know what you want to hear about. Thanks for reading!!



Catching up...

From my earlier post:

"1. A synopsis of what the heck I've been up to for the past year or so"

In January, 2009, I had been working at the University for about 2 years and had all but made up my mind to leave. I was enjoying the academic life but I was realizing that it really wasn't for me. I didn't leave my job, sell my house and go back to school to be a college professor. I did all that to become a PARAMEDIC. Even though I was teaching students who, I hope, will become some of the best paramedics in the world, my personal practice of medicine was lacking.  Working at the University was a sweet job, however. I was left to schedule and plan my own work. I had summers off, great benefits and all that stuff. It was sweet! However, I did have a lot more administrative crap that I wanted to handle and, when it came right down to it, I wasn't being a paramedic as much as I wanted to.

So I decided to leave.

I still had the rest of the Spring semester to finish working and, thank goodness, have an income, healthcare etc.. You see, Herself and I had a small business, a Yoga studio, that took a hard hit when the US economy dived. We had to close the business and still had a substantial chunk of debt hanging over us. We had burned through much of our savings and, with our income at the current levels, could pay back the debt over time but that didn't leave much for retirement and savings. Now, we could have defaulted, bankrupted, etc.. Many businesses fail and those who invested in or lent the businesses money end up losing too. However, we felt we needed to be true to our principles, we decided to pay back every dime. (No bailout for us!!)

So I needed to make a lot of money.

One option was to get two full-time paramedic jobs. It's possible with offset schedules and a lot of people do it. However, EMS agencies were feeling the economic pinch as well and many weren't hiring new 'medics. Things were looking grim on the home front. I was picking up a lot of part-time work in addition to my time at the university but not enough to sustain us once I left my teaching job.

So I started looking overseas.

With my military background and the current state of affairs in some parts of the world, there were a LOT of opportunities overseas for me. I applied to a plethora of jobs. I had offers to go to Khandahar, Baghdad, Darfur, and other such festive locales, mostly as a paramedic supporting contractor operations. As you can imagine, they offered me a LOT of money and, if I came home alive, I'd be pretty well off.

Meanwhile, in the USA, I'm working at an EMS company that does inter-facility transfers and provides staffing for an ALS chase car in a rural county. I'm having me some fun!!! I'll blog on that later.

Herself and I are preparing ourselves to be apart for a year or more while I go out into the world to seek our fortune. Kinda scary but the money's good. Then an offer pops up that looks really, really sweet! I end up taking a job with an oil company as a paramedic. This company is so big that they own their own hospital and several clinics as well as an EMS agency. They offer me a position in the middle of the desert in a very secure, stable and safe Middle-Eastern country.

Now, pardon me if I'm vague. My employer is pretty clear about releasing specific information about the organization and such. I'm still navigating how I'm going to blog about it and keep within the rules.

I'm offered less money than the high-risk war zone jobs but, Herself gets to join me, the company moves our entire household to a lovely house in a company-owned, company-built town in the middle of the rocky desert. The benefits are AWESOME and things look good.

So, after a summer of paper shuffling, interviews and medical checks, We've sold our house and moved overseas!!! We're now living in a lovely man-made oasis and, it being January at the time of this writing, the weather is LOVELY. (we'll discuss this again in August!).

So, there's the synopsis. Things are very good here. We have a lot of chances to travel. We've bought a 4X4 for desert camping and getting around. We call it the "camel" since it's brown, has a hump on the back (1999 Land Rover Discovery) and gets us across the desert. Work for me is VERY SLOW compared to what I was doing in the U.S.A.. However, the character of the work is very different. More on that later.... I promise!