A ransom letter to Partner McHottie...


Dear McHottie,

Yes, this is your precious NuvaRing pen. And I am totally and completely holding it hostage. MUAHAHAHAHAH!!!! See? Your partner *does* have a dark and twisty side to her! I mean... what kind of person steals their partner's favorite drug pen and holds it for ransom??? Obviously someone dark, twisted, and sinister.

Learn to not bitch about my choice of routes or parking skills or my goofy grin or my lack of cot making skills and you shall receive your precious back. Until then... rest assured... NuvaRing Pen is in a safe place.

But for how long? That's up to you :)

Your partner,
Epi

It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn

Sunrise Myrtle Beach 1997 (Epijunky)

I have never been a morning person.

Never.

In high school I would drag myself into class and fight to stay awake for the first two periods of the day. It didn't matter if I had four hours of sleep or ten hours. I remember one time falling asleep with my legs crossed, waking up when the bell rang, and almost falling on my face when I realized my leg was completely numb. Priceless.

In college I would purposely schedule my classes to not start until after ten am. I got pretty good at that. I prided myself on it.

At my first EMS job I was lucky enough to score an overnight shift. 7pm to 7am. I remember watching the sun come up on a regular basis for the first time in my life. I fell in love with this tranquil time of the day. The vivid oranges, pinks, purples and blues that emerge as the sun is creeping above the horizon. The photographer in me lives for these moments.

At my current employer I work a day shift, beginning at the time I used to get off of work, 7am. It took a little getting used to, but I love it now. I still have to make my morning coffee stop, but I don't dread having to get up in the morning. Could I be turning into... A MORNING person?

Lately I've written about being in a dark place. I've had some things happen in my personal life that have shaken me to the core. I've felt alone, I've felt lost, I've felt angry and afraid and hurt and a million other things. I've found myself identifying with the dark solitude of night. It's a time I can sit with my own thoughts and attempt to sort things out. No kids, no husband... No distractions. My problem became that I found myself constantly sitting in the dark... I was forgetting about how good it feels to be in the sun. I was forgetting how those beautiful brilliant colors can evoke such wonderful emotions in me. Eventually you need to get up, climb out of your cave, and watch the sun rise.

I've had an unexpected person step forward and become a true friend. This person has extended their hand, and without demands or expectations has gently coaxed me out of the darkness and into the sunlight. I can't thank this person enough. You know who you are. I hope you read this.

I find myself again looking forward to watching the sun rise. I love the feeling of the crisp morning air on my face. I love standing outside our station, coffee cup in hand, closing my eyes, and facing the eastern sky. I can feel the warmth wash over me like a tender embrace. It can and often does set my mood for the day.

Whoever said it's always darkest before the dawn was onto something.

Emily...

Let us know you're okay... Please.

Edit: She's okay!!!! Thank GOD.

Why I love spring... POTD

This week I was fortunate enough to score a day off and was able to spend it with She Who Rules. It's been several weeks since "The Girls" have been able to hang out, and the sun was out, so we made plans to hit up the park to feed the ducks. On our way out I realized that my itty bitty change purse (containing my bank card and drivers license) was still in the ambulance. Perfect. I called McHottie partner and arranged to intercept the truck at a local hospital. She Who Rules LOVES the ambulance, so she wasn't terribly put off by the delay in our park outing.

Waiting for the truck to show up. Luckily this hospital has a pond.

Waiting patiently for my ambulance to arrive... Actually She's waiting for ANY ambulance to arrive.

And still waiting. Not so patiently now.

"No! I don't WANT to smile."

Luckily (for us both) the truck was right around the corner, and we were able to get my change purse. Unfortunately, She didn't want to leave. At this point mom had to put the camera away and drag a screaming three year old back to the car. It was.... fantastic. Needless to say the pond at the hospital was as close as we made it to the park that day.

Yesterday I decided to visit the local Farmer's Market to pick up a few flats of flowers. Last year I wasn't able to plant anything being that I was completely engrossed in Medic School. I swore to myself that this year would be different.

Obviously I have my work cut out for me. This is what you get when you're too busy to clean out your flower beds.

One of a few flats of Marigold flowers that I picked up at the local Farmer's Market.

Procrastinating once again... See... I don't have to deal with creepy crawly bugs if I'm taking pictures instead of actually digging. I DETEST creepy crawly bugs. So obviously that makes me a great gardener, right? :)

Then Mr. Epi brought me out a glass of Catawba wine. YUUUUUM. Of course I only managed about four ounces before I knocked the glass over and simultaneously sat in it. I rock.


Future Cardiologist relaxing on the porch swing.

A few hours (and several incidents of me screaming when something crawled over my hand) later, we two of the front yard flower beds mostly complete. I need to pick up some mulch today to finish it off.

Mostly done.

Hopefully I can finish both sides today... The other flower bed just needs to be cleaned out (no digging means less creepy crawly's!) and of course the mulch...

This week... Catching up.

I am *almost* officially pain free. Damn you sciatic nerve.. I hope you rot in hell. At least I can sit on my backside now. My foot still feels like it's asleep pretty much all day long, but at least I'm not walking like a 95-year-old arthritic with a stick up her ass.

McHottie partner *did* actually get his hair cut. Which means the insurgent hairs in his muttonchops are no more. And they supplied me with hours of amusement, so... Guess I'll have to resort to having an actual conversation with my partner.

EMS week was fantastic this year. It's probably a little more than sad that we get excited over free bagels and room temperature cream cheese. Hey, at least the company I work for gave us lovely duffel bags that (oddly enough) resemble the bags one of our local dialysis clinics give their patients. Between that and the key chains, travel coffee mugs, and pens... Epi cleaned up this week :)

I had a surprising number of actual "sick" patients in the last few weeks. I've had runs ranging from someone with no palpable pulse or BP with apneic episodes to head injuries to someone completely unresponsive with cheynes-stokes respirations.

We had a 550 lb patient who LITERALLY was as wide as he was tall. Sleepy Partner and his new partner were sent to help us lift. He looks to be doing well and it was really good to see him. While we were lifting he knocked one of the slippers off of our patient and a CLOUD of dried dead skin wafted up into my face. He laughed hysterically. I tasted evil that day.

The kiddos are doing so well. She Who Rules is talking a mile a minute (most of it about "Choo-Choo trains" and "Princesses") and Future Cardiologist is currently playing Trauma Center on the Wii. No worries, he's supervised :) He's out of school pretty soon... Let the fun begin.

My sister in law... First of all let me thank everyone once again who sent prayers her way. She's been released from the hospital and has no physical deficits from "the incident". I wish I could say she's in an inpatient program getting the help she needs, but I'd be... Only telling a half truth. I have many opinions on what's going on here, but I'm not able to share them now.

I had the opportunity to work tomorrow for double time and turned it down. YAY ME :) I plan on spending it with the kiddos and the rest of the family.

I hope you all have a wonderful long weekend... Just don't forget the reason for it.

New Pics...

Something more current anyway...

Epi and She Who Rules

Just me.

Sacred Ground. In honor and remembrance of those who have given the ultimate gift.

Sacred Ground (July 2004 - Epijunky)

"I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

It's the oath my baby cousin took three years ago before getting his orders to Iraq. It's the oath my Grandfather took before he was shipped off to Korea. It's the same oath my Father-In-Law swore to before entering the Army and heading off to Vietnam. It's the same oath I took twelve years ago.

Like millions of men and women before us, we took this oath because we wanted to serve our country. We wanted to protect our families' freedom. We wanted to put on the uniform, and do our part.

Regardless of the risks involved.

The Traveling Wall Exhibit (July 04)

My time in the Army was uneventful. I wish I could say the same thing for my cousin, my Grandfather, and my Father-In-Law. I'm forever grateful that they all returned home physically unharmed.

Countless others were not as fortunate.

That's a four year old Future Cardiologist asking questions I can't answer for him.

Memorial Day is officially May 30th. It's observed on the last Monday in May. Doing this provides for a nice long weekend. I'm just as much of a fan of the long weekend as the next person, but please don't forget the reason you are able to have that barbecue.

Never Forget. (July 04 - Epijunky)

Thank a Veteran. Remember those that have served our country, some coming home, and a lot who were not able to. Think about those who are fighting in a war right...this...very...second.

Remember them.

My guilty pleasure...

Is Grey's Anatomy.

Seriously.

Sam and I are watching as we speak. And we're running color commentary on IM.

Further proof she is my Blog sister.

Back to the show.

A Conversation With My Father...

Alternately titled... "Prepare for the cerebral beatdown"

Epi: Hey Dad... How are you?
Dad: I'm doing okay, yourself?
Epi: Well I'm working, so you know... Living the dream and all that.
Dad: (laughs)
Epi: So... Dad... I was wondering if you wanted to go shoot with me.
Dad: (laughing again) Go shoot with you? Who do you want to shoot?
Epi: I don't want to shoot anyone. Well, maybe I do. Actually I was thinking about going out to the farm and shooting out there.
Dad: Epi, you couldn't handle my handgun.
Epi: (aside, to Partner McHottie) Which guns did I shoot of yours?
McHottie: The .44 and the AK.
Epi: Dad, I've shot a .44, an AK, and an M16.
McHottie: And you've hit actual targets with them. You're not bad.
Dad: But... Girls shouldn't shoot guns.

And CUT.....

Seriously... What the HELL? I"m making an effort to do something with him. I'm making an effort to spend time with him. And all he can come up with is that "Girl's shouldn't shoot guns?"

ARE YOU FRICKIN' SERIOUS?

Way to go, Dad.

To you. You know who you are.

A few days back I posted about how EMS folks are a family. We would go to war for each other.

I know you're reading this.

Let the people who love and adore you help you out. Don't be too proud. Let us be there for you. Don't shut us out. Don't tell us you're fine. Vent. Vent again. VENT EVEN MORE.

This thing... this brotherhood/sisterhood that we're in... I can't explain it. All I can attest to is that it is what it is. You're stuck with me. You're stuck with all of us. Deal with it.

And remember I love ya.

In Memory of McHottie's Insurgent chops...


Partner McHottie got a haircut tonight. Or at least he was supposed to.

This means the stray hairs in his chops will be no more.

RIP Insurgent Hairs. You will be missed. At least until the next haircut is due.

Rock on the Range... By the numbers and with photo goodness.

Wow... What a day.

Number of vomiting patients I had: 8.

Number of times I was actually vomited on: 1/2. I can't say 1 because the vomit only landed on my pant leg. It wasn't much.

Number of head injuries I teched: 4.

Number of times I was hit on by a woman: 2

Number of times I was hit on by a guy: 11

Number of crowd surfers I caught personally: 2.

Number of crowd surfers I was convinced had a broken neck: countless.

Number of good concerts I saw: 5.

Number of celebrities I met: 1.

Number of times I was sucked up to because I was behind the barrier and someone wanted to get backstage: At least a hundred.

Number of hours of overtime earned: 19.

The day started out calmly enough. I showed up at the station early, sans coffee, which doesn't make for a happy Epi, particularly when it's the butt crack of dawn. I met some awesome folks from my company from other parts of the state. It was... calmly chaotic. Pardon the blurry pics... they're all from my phone.

The relative calm before the storm.

We caravaned (apparently that actually *is* a word) over to the stadium in company trucks. All loaded up with extra monitors, drug bags, airway bags and five times the amount of narcan we normally carry. I wish I had a shot of the seven of us loaded up in the back of the squad. Unfortunately I was too busy wishing I had just gotten that coffee before going to the station.

Once at the stadium we were assigned our partners for the day and assigned our backpacks and initial locations. We headed out.

Our initial location. Complete with an empty venue.

The first couple of hours lasted forever. At the very least we had seats to sit in. I can assure you there is NOTHING more boring than staring at the sky (praying it wouldn't rain) and at the empty stadium. Around eleven in the morning they sent us to get lunch from the hospitality tent. "Eat now... the crowd is being let in soon!" They told us. So we ate.

Then... the crowd was let in.

video

Once again, taken from my camera phone, excuse me for the dark video. Yes, that's two or three people running.

Once folks started filling in and the first band hit the stage (I was working the main stage at this point, where the more well known bands were playing) things started to pick up.

Well, at least we have people here now.

We (myself and my partner... a Basic from Cinci) got to watch a few acts including Finger Eleven (Who by the way, put on a GREAT show!) before being sent to Stage B. We were told to *expedite*... In other words... "Get your booty to Stage B, Pronto. Immediately if not sooner." We moved.

Stage B, where the lesser known groups were performing was actually more fun to work than the main stage.

Security escorts a crowd surfer back to the crowd.

The stage divers were INSANE. I can't pretend to imagine what possesses someone to trust complete strangers to carry them up on to the stage. We had more head wounds than I have treated over the entire duration of my career (which albeit has not been more than a few years, but still!) It's amazing what beer and drugs can inspire people to do.

At this point triage 1 and triage 2 stopped being referred to as such and started being referred to as "the Vomitorium 1 and 2". Over the radio. Apparently, back on the farm things were not going well.

The view from behind the barrier at Stage B. Not bad, eh? That's a LOT of people.

Stage B was actually a little crazier than the main stage, oddly enough. Apparently the fans of the lesser known bands were *slightly* more aggressive. Here is where the majority of my puking patients and head wounds came into play.

It's also where I met my sole celebrity of the weekend.

Me and Kyle G from Tenacious D. He was awesome :) He even wanted to check my camera to make sure the picture turned out!

Kyle G was there to see Filter. Filter put on an AMAZING show. He got to watch the show while I tended to the numerous head and neck injuries that resulted from the crowd surfing.

Smile for the camera ladies... And no, I can't get you backstage.

And when a video camera is involved... All hell breaks loose. What the hell is it with the video cameras? When this camera guy showed up we saw more boobs, vomiting and head injuries than we ever thought possible. A tossup between heaven and hell for my partner.


My Partner for the Day helping the roadies out with the speakers... Apparently the speakers don't like it when the wind blows. Nor do the Roadies. They were... to put it lightly... Stressed.

Ten hours after we had breakfast they sent us back to the main stage to work. YES! I got to see Disturbed and Stone Temple Pilots. It was their first concert in seven years. AWESOME stuff!

Disturbed... From behind and above the backstage..

The dude in the white shirt is Partner McHottie. And that's his favorite band playing on stage. He told me today he had both nitrile covered fists in the air. His words: "It's good to be McHottie."

The scene when Stone Temple Pilots hit the stage. Absolute chaos.

Disturbed was excellent. Stone Temple Pilots was awesome. And I got to watch them both from my comfy perch up in the stands. We were interrupted a handful of times to actually work (GASP!)... Two drunk females and a bump on the head. One puker. One missing drunk girl. At this point I was so exhausted and dehydrated and sunburned... It's kind of a blur.

And then... it was over.

Thank GOD.

The aftermath. Absolutely disgusting.

The concert floor was covered in vomit, urine, beer and beer bottles. Totally disgusting. We dragged our exhausted butts back to the first aid station (The Vomitorium 1, for those of you still reading) and waited like kids on Christmas morning for the okay to return to the station and head home. It finally came about 1230am. We would have sprinted for the trucks, but we were too tired.

The drive home took forever, and I'm missing large chunks of time where I was driving. Not good. I don't suggest ANYONE EVER drive when you're so tired you can't see straight. Bad bad stuff.

I've come to the conclusion that even if they offered me triple time and flew me down there first class and put me up in a five star hotel I STILL would not do this again. It was an excellent experience. It was fun at times. But I'm getting way too old to do stuff like this to my body :)









A Day In the Life of An Ambulance Driver: For All You EMS Types...

A Day In the Life of An Ambulance Driver: For All You EMS Types...

I'm not sure if it's the line about brillo underpants or "If you want to look at the economic reality of fire-based EMS, the EMS runs make up roughly 80 percent of the run volume for departments that do both fire suppression and EMS transport. Yet you will find that nowhere in this country exists a fire department that funds its training and operations that way. In fact, it's usually just the opposite; they spend 80 percent of their budget, 80 percent of their promotional pathways, and 80 percent of their training on preparing for that 20 percent portion of their calls."

I *heart* AD. From his mouth to my ears.

Submitted for your approval...

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area where logic does not apply. It is the area which Epi calls *pause for dramatic effect* The Dispatch Zone.

For the LIFE of me I do NOT understand what goes on in some of our dispatchers heads. Not all of them, not even most of them. A select special few.

Let me start by saying that the dispatcher who we have most of the time is one of the best dispatchers in the world. She is amazing. She is efficient. She takes care of us. She calls me "Baby". I love her. I'll refer to her as Mom Dispatcher. Mom is fantastic. But if you cross her she'll run your ass into the ground.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have... The Twilight Zone Dispatcher.

Up until a week ago we couldn't hear her on the radio and we'd have to ask her to repeat herself or we'd have to call dispatch to find out what she was saying. Finally someone with some power said something to the right person and they either got her a different mic or turned her mic on or something because we can hear her now. LOUD AND CLEAR.

We can hear her sending us to post in one area, then sending us to post in another area across town while she sends yet another unit to post where we just were. (Lather rinse repeat)

We can hear her send us from one hospital all the way across town to another hospital to pick someone up when there's a unit already at that hospital.

We can hear her send a unit that is at the end of their shift to pick up a patient that is right around the corner from us. When we speak up she declines our offer to pick up that patient and instead sends us twenty minutes across town to take a patient to an appointment that they were supposed to be at five minutes ago.

We have another dispatcher who routinely sends us on runs that have been on the board all day... FIVE MINUTES before we're supposed to be off the clock. I'm not talking about emergency runs, I'm talking about transfers. Luckily since I've been working with Partner McHottie I haven't had that happen. Before that... Yikes. Three out of four shifts for Sleepy Partner and I would end at least an hour after we should have been home. I'd come up with a name for him but being a good Catholic girl... well, I just can't put it in print. (Okay, you can all stop rolling your eyes.)

Okay, so I'm done ranting... I'm just sayin'.

A very sincere thank you.

To everyone who im'd me, or emailed me, or texted me after my last post. Or last several posts.

I'm okay. No worried, Epi's not completely going off the deep end.

All joking aside, seriously. I'm okay.

Dark Places.

When I was little, I was afraid of the dark.

As I got older I grew out of it. I learned that the scary shadows that resembled monsters (or scary babysitters, or...clowns...or Jon Bon Jovi) were actually just shadows. Light shining down on objects in my room and casting shadows. The odd thing was that the light forming the shadows that scared the hell out of me came from the hallway light that my mom left on for me. Funny how that works out. Irony, yes? Yes.

Well... I'm in the dark again. I feel like a six year old, laying in bed alone, scared to death of the light casting shadows on ordinary objects. 32-years-old going on six.

I'm not used to it. I don't like it. I don't like uncertainty. I don't like being scared. I'm a grown woman, right? I'm thirty two years old.

I'm in a dark place. And I'm too scared to ask someone to turn the light on.

Hug your Mom today.

Future Cardiologist washing the ambulance... You have to love cheap labor.


She Who Rules spraying down Future Cardiologist


Okay, so She's not happy.

I took the kiddos to wash the truck today, I could have done it during the week... ON THE CLOCK... But my partner... Partner McImpatient didn't care to spend one second at the station off the clock. We carpool and I have no backbone, so here I am, on a Saturday, OFF THE CLOCK, washing the truck.

Truthfully, the kids LOVED it. Not a huge deal.

For my partner, who I will be guilt tripping this coming week, you SO owe me Chipotle for lunch.

To all of the Mothers out there...

Happy Mother's Day.

Just like the Army... It's the toughest job you'll ever love.

Some things take awhile to figure out... (a DEFINITE ems post)

EMS folks are an odd bunch.

We love to talk about each other. We love to gossip. We can he hypercritical of each other, second guessing each others decisions. We LOVE to pick apart the newbies. We'll mock you if you are too eager or not eager enough. There have been times over the last couple of years where I've actually wondered if any one person in EMS liked any one other person in EMS or if we were all just a bunch of backstabbing cheating functional alcoholic haters.

Yes, I'm generalizing here. Indulge me.

What I learned this week first hand has convinced me otherwise. I've heard about the "EMS family"... I've read about it in posts on EMS websites and blogs... But I've only caught glimpses of it. I've never felt like I've been a part of it. I'm not talking about watching your partners back...

I'm talking about going to all out war for your EMS brothers or sisters. Circle the troops, call in the calvary, we're-allowed-to-fuck-with-each-other-but-don't-you-DARE-fuck-with-one-of-us camaraderie. I'm talking about coming unglued when a brother or sister is threatened.

Our spouses and families don't understand it. Our non-EMS friends don't get it. I'm not sure many outside the Public Service realm can begin to grasp it. I can't explain it. I just know it exists.

To my EMS family. I couldn't love you any more if I tried. I know most of you wont even see this, but I want it out there, stated in print for you to others to see. You are the best group of people I could ever dream of working with. I am honored to know you. I am humbled to be called a sister.

To Sam and Kyle... I don't work with you, but it doesn't make a bit of difference to me. I'd walk through fire for either of you. I adore you both. You've been a Godsend to me. And to think I found you both through blogging. See, the internet is not pure evil :)

Sorry I've been absent...

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for my sister in law.

She is alive. She is moving her extremities. She has three broken vertebrae, and is sedated, but has spoken and there is reason to believe that brain damage is non existent or minimal.

She has no memory of what happened and in fact doesn't yet know what happened.

Thank you... again... for proving that the internet is not a soulless existence where people just don't care.

I have some interesting posts coming up... Now, to sit down and write them :)

Prayers needed... Please help.

Today my sister in law attempted to kill herself.

Without going into specifics, this looks very little like a cry for help and a whole lot like she was VERY serious about ending her life.

So far all we know is that she broke three vertebrae, and she's intubated but attempting to breathe over the tube.

Please... Please say some prayers for her. She's 22 years old.

My husband and his family are beside themselves. More info when I find it out.