Where we're headed?

This Guy gives me hope for my profession.

With folks like him riding ambulances and being members of our community, we will improve.



Jolly and I are on night shift at the main clinic when we get a call for a security guard who's collapsed at a facility about 45 minutes away.

We roll.

On the way, we're advised that the patient has been loaded into a security vehicle and they are racing to rendezvous with us. We meet on the dusty shoulder of a desert highway. A panic-eyed security guard opens the back door of the SUV and I see our patient.

He's blue. It's been at least 20 minutes since we got the call.

That's not so good.

BVM, good air movement. I holler over my shoulder to Jolly. He slides in and we quickly transfer our patient to the ambulance. No pulse, no respirations.

Load and go, pump and blow!

The drivers hired by our company for the ambulances are not medical personnel. They are local employees who are sliding towards retirement. They have NO training in emergency vehicle operations and no concept of what it's like to be in the back of an ambulance. They also drive like locals.

Our particular driver has been infected by the urgent panic of our patient's colleagues. He goes screaming down the highway, around corners and over speed-bumps in such a way that Jolly and I can barely keep up CPR, much less attach a monitor, intubate or start an IV.


Jolly is alternating between chest compressions and bracing himself against the movement of the ambulance. I'm doing my best to manage the airway with basic adjuncts while screaming "Schweiah, Shcweiah, F*****g Schweiah, already!!!" Over my shoulder. ("Schweiah" means "Slow") The panic makes the driver deaf.


At the ER, we work the code with the rest of the staff, most of whom were my students in an ACLS class I had taught 3 days before.

Asystole on the monitor.

Tubed with a 7.0. Bilateral 16s, wide open. Enough Epi to make a sloth break a 4-minute mile.

We call it after about 30 minutes of working. We went that long mostly for the benefit of the patient's coworkers who were looming outside the door.

51 years old. This was only the second time he's ever seen a doctor. Also the last. His previous visit was 7 years ago and it ended with a prescription for cholesterol and blood pressure meds that he never filled.

We did our best but there's always that let down. Maybe it's the adrenaline wearing off, maybe it's the obvious grief on the faces of his friends.

It's late. I clean up and hurry over to the commissary next door to grab a missed dinner before they close.

The Indian guy at the checkout looks at my name tag. He pronounces my last name carefully.

"Do you know what your name means in my language?"

I shake my head. I'm really tired.

He wears a big grin. "Murderer!"

Great. Just great!



Pretty Lucky Guy Part II

After about 26 hours of ground and air travel, I'm safe and sound in my little desert Kingdom. I got through Bahrain with no delays. Even drove right over the Pearl roundabout and spied some flags and banners. Not much going on. While things are showing as busy and dangerous on the news, none of the much-covered unreast reaches this far into the unpopulated wastes where I live. Occasionally a camel may protest by blocking traffic for a while but otherwise things are quiet.

I'm a pretty lucky guy.

On my way out the security gate to go to work this evening, the young security guard brightens up when he sees me.

"Hello my friend!" He says with a big grin. He looks vaguely familiar but I go through so many gates and see so many security guards that it's hard to keep them all straight. I figure he's just being super-friendly as many locals are here. It's really quite charming.

"Do you remember me? You helped me!"  He says,  reaching out his hand to shake mine.

BING! It hits. It's the pretty lucky guy I treated a few months ago. I shake his hand warmly as he grins and smiles.

"Ali! How are you my friend?" I'm a little surprised and delighted to see him.

"I am fine, Al Hamdulillah (thanks be to God)! Thank you so much, my friend!" And he is. He's got  few scars on his forehead from the accident but he's up and walking around with no pain. Back on the job and happy to be there.

And grateful.




"Home again, Home again, Jiggedy-Jig..."

A spinner takes a mass of wool and makes it come together into an organized yarn of useful thread. A knitter binds that thread into a useful garment that fends off the cold.

Tonight, I'm hip-to-hip with my father in the kitchen of my parents' house. We're cleaning up after an awesome dinner my mom put together. I can think of no better way to spend my last night in the USA after my awesome experience at the EMSToday Conference and the amazing meetups provided by Zoll, Chronicles of EMS and First Responder Network TV.

Mom put on a fantastic feast and Dad & I are doing are doing our duty to clean up the aftermath. We be talkin'... We talk about politics. We talk about race. We talk about women and, ultimately, we talk about music. We both love the blues and the popular music that has evolved out of the blues. He likes Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton. Me? I like 'em too, but I do see the DIRECT connection between the blues and Led Zepplin, the Black Keys, or, even, the Beatles.

"Sheesh, maddog! When are you going to talk about EMS? We didn't sign up for some discussion on popular music in the USA and the UK in the 20th century!"

Well, here's where it folds together:

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page didn't set out to be one of the greatest bands of the 20th century. They originally just got together to listen to some old recordings of American blues artists that were pressed onto vinyl and shipped to the UK. From this collaboration came the awesomeness that was (and still is) Led Zepplin. (If you ever doubt that connection, please listen to the Levee Song, Dazed and Confused, I Can't Quit You, Baby and just about everything else they've done  --- wikipedia link HERE)

After meeting many of my blogging professional colleagues this week (and a poet!), I'm beginning to realize that none of us set out on our own personal journey to be superstars. We just became 'medics to fill a need in our community or to advance our careers or to keep us busy or to follow our fate-given calling. Whatever the reason, we came to here, now. We are paramedics. We are internet users. We are attuned to convenient, prescient and useful collaboration.

And, as such, we are bloggers. Somehow, doing that (blogging), we become better medics. As bloggers, we gain different insight into our day-to-day work. Thus, as medics, we become better bloggers. We know we are not alone.

We all take all these disparate threads of our experiences, con-ed, seminars, advice of colleagues, websites and medical journals and we try to spin and weave something that resembles a competent practice that, under the right circumstances, can save a life or two. That's all we ask for.

But, wow, we often feel like we are the only ones holding back the tide of death and misery. How many times have each of us felt alone? I do it all the time. Every time that loneliness has cut me deep, my fingers dance on the keyboard. I tell you (the collective 'you') about it and that, in itself, fends off the lonely.

Thank you all for reminding me that I am not alone.

I say to the rest of you out there: You are not alone!

Ask the question!

Vent your rage!

Share your funny!

Say It! Ask it! Do it!

"...Do. Or do not. There is no try. ..."

I used to tell my students, "Go forth. Do great things." I can think of no better advice to my newly (re)discovered community of blogging EMS providers.

I thank you all from the very bottom of my living, breathing and creative soul.



Recent Keyword Activity

Apparently some folks in Canada have been getting to my blog by putting the following into their Google search:

"bedoin peeing in sand"

Will the madness ever stop?



So much to write about.

Wow! What an amazing time I had at the 2011 EMSToday conference. I learned a lot, met some amazing people and have been re-energized to make this blog fly.

There's so much to write on but I've got 90 minutes until hotel checkout and too much knocking around in my head. I'll be with family for the next day or so then I have about 24 hours of plane and car travel to get me back to my tiny desert town.

I want to write about the people I met and the impact of social media on blogging. I've seen a DRAMATIC change over the last 2-3 years. I want to discuss that.

The recent protests in the Middle East merit mention considering where I live and work.

Give me a few days to get all these thoughts organized and I'll be pushing out some posts over the next few days.



Boat? What Boat?

While at the EMS Today conference in Baltimore, I popped by the EMS blogger party hosted by Zoll. (Thanks, Charlotte!).

What an amazing time. What an amazing group of people! I met some of the brightest, sincerest and funniest bloggers out there. I realized that my recent inactivity and general decline of blogging has led me to miss the boat. Social media, facebook, twitter and the increased interconnectedness that we get from that has transformed EMS blogging.

I started it as a diary of sorts of my times and efforts becoming and then working as a paramedic. Now, these amazing professionals share information, teach each other, engage in collaborative learning that would not have been possible 10 years ago and would have been unusual 5 years ago.

I feel like I took a long nap and then woke up to find my house full of the smartest, most motivated people I've ever met and they're all clamoring to do cool stuff.

People like Tom Bouthillet, the Happy Medic and so many others were there last night and I have to say to all of you, thanks. You have made me feel welcome again into this growing community of blogging EMS providers and I'm really glad to be back. You have inspired me.



Growing Pains

Howdy, all.

As you can see, I've updated my blog template from the same one I was using since 2004. UGH!

Unfortunately, my old comments program, Echo, failed to make it across so I have to now start using the Blogger comments and have lost all of my archived ones.

Furthermore, I was using Blogroll for my links bar. They've now gone defunct and I failed to backup my links. If I've linked to you in the past, please send me an email or comment and I'll restore the links manually.

Oh, if you're in Baltimore, come by and see me and other bloggers on Thursday night! Click Here.


Baltimore EMS Blogmeet 2011 is ON!

Howdy, Kids!

I've traveled 8,000 miles to be at the 2011 EMS Today conference and I'm keen to meetup with some other bloggers!

WHEN: Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 from 6pm until about 7:45
WHERE: Pratt Street Alehouse, at 206 West Pratt St., Baltimore (right across the street from the Convention Center)
WHO: EMS Bloggers and all of our thousands of screaming groupies!
WHY: Why the heck not? At least you can come chastize me for not posting as often as I used to.

Afterwards, I'll be heading out to the JEMS Meetup at UNO's Chicago Grill. The details are here. The JEMS Meetup promises to be pretty big and I'd like to have one just for bloggers beforehand. Come out to one of them, come out to both! WOOHOO!

In keeping with previous blogmeets, I'll be wearing a hat to be recognizable. This year's selection is below:

See you all there! Comment below or email me as needed.