I'm sorry ya'll...

I've been fighting off the trifecta of misery.

Absessed tooth. (Dentist on Monday, yay!)
Sinus infection.
Chest cold.

I'm flat out praying for death.

365 Project - Day 60

I went in with the intention of buying the ten dollar package. No more.

They will not talk me into a ton of pictures.
They will not talk me into a ton of pictures.
They will not talk me into a ton of pictures.


Anyone want a picture of my kids?

Dear Presidential Candidates...

Senators Barack Obama and John McCain,

Hi, it's me, Joe Voter for lack of a better name.

I'm the one you're both after. That vote in Ohio. For the record, I've made my decision, not that it matters.

Please, for the love of God and all that is holy...

Please stop sending people to my house to talk to me about, well, you.

Please stop attempting to cram your message down my throat by buying up all of network television during prime time. I expect commercials. I don't expect a half hour infomercial. And yes, I'm admitting it here. I watch tv.

And lastly, please, and I'm begging you here... Please stop calling my house. Particularly at 9 o'clock at night. I have children. Both of whom are typically asleep before nine pm. It's bad form to wake them up. It's really bad form.

Oh, and it REALLY pisses me off.

Thank you for your consideration.

Joe Voter

Hitting the road...

Never pass up the chance to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

Life is too short.

Heading to Newark for a day or two. I'll have internet access, find me if you need me.

365 Project - Day 57

I truly believe that my 3-year-old is mischievous beyond her years.

Three years old.

She already knows that when Mommy is on the phone, either for five seconds or five minutes, it's the perfect time for her to sneak off to the bathroom and "make herself up".

At first it was just powder.

So I took my makeup bag and stashed it out of sight.

Next came the foundation incident. She found the makeup bag, (not so) strategically hidden in closet, and dumped an entire bottle out in the sink, but only after smearing what she could on her face.

I washed her face, and moved the makeup bag up to the cabinet above the sink. That was two weeks ago.

I thought I was in the clear. I mean she's my daughter so she's doomed to excessive height, but she's only three. She's certainly not tall enough to get into the medicine cabinet, right?

I was wrong. And while the picture I took was kinda cute and might make you think I snapped at her (all it takes is a sharp word from Mommy and the tears come) , the truth is, I was scared.

Not because she decorated herself with my lipstick, but because my three year old jumped up on the toilet, climbed up onto the sink, and got into the medicine cabinet. Where drugs are stored. Not just my makeup. All of them are in the proper script containers, childproof for crying out loud, but still. FC proved to me that he could open a rx bottle of ibuprofen at the age of four.

And she did all of this in the few minutes I spent on the phone talking to my Mom. Not ten minutes, hell, barely five if even.

From now on I don't talk on the phone unless it's a cordless.

I got nothin'

I am devoid of... *attention wanders off to CSI episode on TV*

Yep, I think Epi has the ADOBSO that Crzgrl talks about.

Hopefully things will change tomorrow.

Hopefully I'll have some excellent news.


What the EFF?

I was talking to a long lost friend tonight. (Thank you Facebook!)

Friend: "So, do you still come with a disclaimer?"

Epi: (more or less) "Huh?"

Friend: "You used to say that you came with a disclaimer..."

What the HELL happened to me?

I used to come with a disclaimer? Screw that. This old girl, with her grey hairs and wrinkles (or laugh lines if you prefer) STILL comes with a disclaimer.

Even after two kids and a marriage, and ten years removed. Oh yeah baby.

I just need to figure out what it is.

Boo At The Zoo

Time for the annual trip to the Toledo Zoo for the Pumpkin Path. The kids get decked out in their Halloween finery and we head out and brave the crowds to enjoy ourselves for an afternoon. Or as the kids say, score some candy.

But first, the preparations. We have to get Sleeping Beauty ready. Makeup (not too much, we're not going for the baby beauty pageant look here), dress and tiara.

Second we get Captain Jack Sparrow ready for his debut. I have the Non-Biological Son again this weekend and he's one heck of a pirate but lacking the copious amounts of alcohol, monkey, and eyeliner that Captain Jack had in his movies. We're okay with that as eyeliner is for sissies, Monkey's poop everywhere, and I figure I'll save the liquor for after the kids go to bed. I'll need it more than he will anyway.

Following Captain Jack is FC starring as Anakin Skywalker. It doesn't matter that he's never seen any of the movies... All he knows is that lightsaber's are very cool. And yes, for those Michigan fans out there, he's wearing a Toledo Rocket's hat. *Grumbles under her breath*

With everyone suitably dressed, we head out to the Toledo Zoo. We arrive approximately half an hour after the gates open and we're already at the midway point of the parking lot. About 15 miles from the the entrance.

"Mom, where do we go in?" Anakin is squinting.

Captain Jack pulls out his telescope and sweeps his field of view across the parking lot. He points due west.

West it is. We head in. The Princess, the Pirate and the Jedi Padawan who will eventually become a Sith Lord.

It's always the quiet ones. I'm going to need to keep an eye on him.

It was chilly, so those who could wear their coats under their costumes did, and those who couldn't, The Jedi and the Princess, resorted to being a Jedi and a Princess wearing a heavy fall jacket.

I wore a wool winter pea coat, gloves and a scarf. Hey, I get cold easily :)

The Princess decided she couldn't walk any more and lept into Papa's arms. She spent most of the day there, and Papa, for his part, didn't complain. Not once.

The Motley Crew, posing. This was before the whining, the tears and the sugar buzz hit.

There were spiders. Everywhere. I'm not a fan. Even if they are ridiculously large and clearly fake. This one resembled one that I found in the garage last year. I think he winked at me.

Then this lovely specimen started eyeing me suspiciously. I herded the kids towards the next candy station. Maybe they have jello shots.

The animals might have made me a little nervous, but the colors were stunning. They were at their peak.

With numb fingers and wind burned faces we retreated into the aquarium building. Everyone was pretty impressed with "Nemo". They found him and his twin sister pretty easily.

These jellyfish type things (?) were mesmerizing. I spent two minutes watching them before I had three voices yelling for me. The monsters want more candy. Happy place denied.

My stomach started growling. Hey, I didn't have a candy bag to snack on, (and if I did I would have quickly ended up in a sugar coma. I saw this guy and instantly thought of lunch.

The little princess was starting to wear out anyway. I had to drag her away from this display. I'm not even sure what she was looking at, to be honest. The group was pushing forward towards the exit doors and we were quickly in danger of being left behind.

We were nearing the end of our trip. The kids candy bags were chock full of sugary goodness, we were all freezing. We just had one more stop to make. The new Africa exhibit. Polar Bears, seals, etc. I realized that I didn't have any pictures of me with the kids (hey, mom has to jump in a picture every now and then!). The boys had already run off with Papa, so it was just myself and the little princess.

And the princess was not all that excited at having to stop for a picture. Not in the least bit. No amount of coaxing would entice her to look up at the camera. That's what I get for letting her skip a nap.

She wanted to see the Polar Bears. Or Polar Bear in our case. I'm not sure where the babies and the other adults were. We did manage to get up close and personal with this one. He just stood there. Every two minutes or so he'd raise his head above the water and take a breath, then go right back to staring us down.

It was time to head home. But not before my moment of zen. This is a shot from under water looking up.


(Edited to add - Remember friends, I'm a very sarcastic person. I am not a racist.)

A conversation with a friend tonight...

Steve: I don't understand why you're not voting for Obama. You're from the neighborhood, you went to *inner-city public high school* for fuckssake. You should identify with where he's coming from.

Epi: And...

Steve: its because he's black, right?

Epi: Yeah, Steve, it's because he's black.

Steve: I don't understand why some think he's going to suck as president just because he's black. You surprise me.

Epi: Screw you Steve, it has nothing to do with him being black. And I don't understand why people think that he's due to be president JUST BECAUSE HE'S BLACK. I don't care what color he is. I don't understand why people can't just research each candidate, and figure out who they identify more with?

Epi: Why does race have to play into it? Why can't people just THINK FOR THEMSELVES????

Steve: you're pissed off at me now?

Epi: no Steve I'm not pissed... I'm frustrated. The truth is I don't give a fuck who you vote for. Just make it an educated decision.


I'm very interested in politics and have been for an obsene amount of time considering my age. This conversation just pissed me off.

I'm just frustrated.

Like I said. I don't care who you vote for, and that's the honest to God truth. Ya'll know where I stand.

Just make it an educated decision.

Do your research. And by research I don't mean watching the national news.

365 Project - Day 54

There's something about a comfy pair of shoes. They're beat up, yes. They're not stylish at all. In fact my Mom refers to them as the "Ugliest God awful things" she's ever seen.

My beat to hell pink Crocs. Some of the best money ever spent.


They're saying that we could have snow on monday.


I hate Ohio.

I can't sleep.

I can't believe that it's 4:30 in the damn morning and I'm awake.

Tomorrow is going to hurt, and it starts in two hours.

One last thing.

Don't drive drunk.

Particularly if you're wearing assless chaps.

Just sayin'.

365 Project - Day 53

"Hey FC?" I'm sitting in the recliner, camera in hand, trying to come up with an idea for my POTD.

FC is relaxing on the loveseat, deeply engrossed in his Game Boy. "Yeah, Mom."

Get this folks, my eight year old actually set his Game Boy down to talk to me. Without me having to ask.

"Do you remember when I taught you sign language?"

"Yeah Mom."

"Do you remember how to say I love you?"

"Yeah Mom, like this, right?"

"Close, baby. Close."

The kids love you guys :)
(Yes, they were playing outside today, their nails have already been scrubbed.)

You know what? I'm Joe too.

I'm pissed.

I'm pissed that at the last two jobs I've had my employers have paid me 8 bucks an hour and justified it by saying that we make our money on the overtime we work.

I'm pissed that in order to make enough money to support my family I had to work anywhere from 50-100 hours a week.

Here's what really pisses me off. Those weeks that I really put the hours in, because of a special event coming up, or to pay off a bill, or just to sock a little extra money in the savings account... I was rewarded by being bumped up into a higher tax bracket.

And then there's Joe.

This guy has been attacked by the media for one reason and one reason only. He was approached by the Golden Boy in front of cameras and dared to speak his mind. He wasn't disrespectful. He just asked a question.

They've attacked him because his name isn't really Joe. (It's his middle name. I happen to know more than a few people who go buy their middle names.)

They've attacked him because he had unpaid taxes. (Something tells me there's more than one Democrat out there with unpaid property taxes, just a hunch.)

They've attacked him because he doesn't have a plumber's license. (He's covered by the business he works for as far as that goes.)

They've attacked him simply for being a registered Republican when he claimed that he was trying to decide who to vote for. (I guess that being a registered voter to a particular party means you no longer get to use your brain to make a decision... Hrm.)

They've claimed that he's a plant for the Republican Party, and have even speculated that because he at one time lived in Alaska he has a connection to Sarah Palin. (This one makes the least sense to me. Honestly.)

Can you imagine if he admitted to owning guns or being pro-life? They'd be burning him in effigy.

The gloves are off.

So I have to enable comment moderation again.

Not that anyone really cares. :)

And for the Anon... You can talk about me. You can talk about me all you want.

You leave MY kids alone.

365 Project - Day 52

Sometimes it hurts.

Thank you Step Dad

My Step Dad is the Chief Videographer for a local television station, and as such he gets to cover all kinds of news events that happen in the area.

Today, Sarah Palin was in NW Ohio.

I wish that my next lines were about how I got to meet her, or how he got to meet her, or how I scored something really cool from the rally, or that I even got to go to the rally.

No, Nope, Nada, Negative.

He is, apparently, SO important that he can pick and choose which events he covers and delegate the less desirable stories to his underlings. Lucky bastard.

So instead of covering the rally, he chose to go to the Whitehouse Corn Maze.

Surely you've heard of the Whitehouse Corn Maze... Every year they pick a patriotic theme... This year... Sarah Palin's likeness.

And my Step Dad thought of me. The sole Republican in the family. The black sheep and red-headed step child (literally). He scored me a tshirt.

Thank you, Step Dad.

You rock.

And so does Sarah. Even in Corn Maze form.

A little motivation for you...

Rev Medic over at EMS Haiku has been creating some beautiful works of art in the form of EMS related motivational posters... The one today on SSM is one of my favorites. Go check him out.

The SSM poster

Got Posters?

On My Mind

Got Motivation?

There's more, but that's a good start :)

Back in the day...

Yearbook Yourself.

I haven't had this much mindless fun in months.




1990. My freshman year. Hello, my name is Epi and I own stock in Aquanet and Rave 4.

1994 - My Senior Year. I really should post a copy of my actual Senior picture, it looks eerily similar to this one. Good Lord what was I thinking?

365 Project - Day 51

I'm not sure what it says about me that I'm as equally excited about a Cabela's ad as I am about an American Girl catalog. Just not all that excited about what either of them will cost me.

The one where she cleans.

Mopping the floor in the kitchen, particularly one as small as mine should take ten minutes tops.

Unless... I realize that there are a few spots that a mop can't handle. Fossilized pudding, for example.

SO... I decide that the floor really could use a good hand washing. Which is going to take a little longer than ten minutes, but not more than half an hour.

Unless... I see that the floor boards are a little dusty. I can't leave the floor boards dusty when the floor is going to be sparkly clean.

SO... I work diligently on the floor boards (or floor molding, or whatever you call them). It should only add a few more minutes on. Hey, I'm committed at this point.

Unless... I notice that there are spots on the walls. And look... there's a spaghettio with a splatter of tomato sauce. Stuck to the damn wall.

SO... Committed to having a clean kitchen floor, I scrub the walls. This is clearly going to take longer than I had planned, but being committed (I'm going to have a clean floor dammit!) it doesn't matter how long it's going to take. It certainly wont take more than a few hours. Right? RIGHT????

Unless... Hey... what's that spot on the cabinet?

Fast forward three hours.

Clean cabinets. Sparkling walls. Gleaming white floor boards. Spotless counter top, windows, window sills, even the ceiling fan was clean. Oh. And I organized his junk drawer, eliminating half the crap that had accumulated in it.

Okay, So what about the floor... You know. The floor? The floor I had originally wanted to clean?

One third of it is pristine. Two thirds are spot cleaned and mopped, but could definitely use some attention. And what about that god awful butchers block cart? That could use some help too...

Moments. Why I LOVE photography. (Photos of the day)

I recently found this in my draft folder, I'm not sure if it was ever posted, or why it's in there, but I thought I'd put it back up. -- Epi

I've been asked quite a bit recently why I have my camera with me at all times. Here's why. Some of my favorite moments:

The Moment my Step Dad proposed to my Mom (1994)

The moment I fell in love with my first child.
(Future Cardiologist, 2000)

The moment I realized how exhausting Parenting can be.
(FC and I again, 2000)

The Moment I realized that when I yell loud enough people listen.
(That's a reporter in a what was the beginning of a sinkhole in my front yard. 2004)

The moment I realized that I know more than I give myself credit for.
(I won a years tuition at a local college for winning a trivia contest 2004)

The moment my Son met his baby Sister
(April 2005)

The last time I felt close to God. I'm working on it.
(She Who Rules Christening, 2005)

If it's broken, don't fix it.

"The more the fear, the bigger the courage needed. People should not feel shame for fear or weakness. Life is full of uncertainty and fear. The rest of the world knows that; our world avoids thinking about it by watching TV."

Dr. Rob at MODM. Go read.


Dear Family Member,

Thank you for thinking of She Who Rules and I when you signed me up for that American Girl catalog. We really appreciate it. She wants approximately $3500 worth of dolls, outfits, and random accessories.

And a pony. But that's another post entirely.

I'm sure I can count on you to chip in come Christmas time :)


To really laugh....

IM conversation of the night:

Friend for years: was beginnin' to worry bout you
Epi: I'm going to spare you my horrible mood.
Epi: I'm in a horrible mood. *points* Any conversation that takes
place after this point is not my fault. I just want that out there.
Friend for years: well... this thing has an "off" switch and I know how to use
it... so I guess I'm forewarned and forearmed. Two forearms even.
Epi: LOL
Friend for years: see, mood just got less horrible.
Epi: Amazing how that works
Friend for years: It's a gift... what can I say?


Hey, Bama Boy. That's my line. :)

But thank you anyway. For bringing a smile to this old girl's face.

BTW... You're not that funny, but I love ya anyway. :)

Take care, Henry.

It was hot. Not just hot, but that oppressive kinda hot where your uniform sticks to you. Your hair sticks to you. The heat radiates off the road making the local Taco bell ahead of you look like a mirage. Even doing that simple breathing thing takes a little extra effort.

You know, hot.

I pull into the parking lot of The Closet station and park next to Pseudo Dad's truck. He's got the light bar, the Fire Chief license plate, and the Lifeflight sticker on his back window.

I bet he never gets pulled over.

My car isn't nearly as impressive. No EMS stickers. No light bar. No special license plate. I don't have a FOP sticker. I do have a powder blue Littmann draped over my rear-view mirror. If I don't leave it there after every shift I'll forget it somewhere along the way.

Pseudo Dad and I were always early arrivals when it came to work. Our relief was the same way in the morning, and it’s mutually appreciated. Tonight is no different. We were sitting in the air conditioned station talking about what it's like to work as a Volunteer in EMS versus working for a Private service on a night car.

We talked about doing CPR on an actual human. Something that at that point, I had never done. We talked about what it felt like to actually make a difference in someones life, what it felt like to save someones life, literally. He told me it was a feeling he's only experienced a handful of times in 15 years.

*sigh* If someone would just have the decency to drop in front of me...

I wanted to know that feeling, even if it was just one time. To know that by my being there, someones life was saved.

Bless my sparky little heart.

I didn't know any better at the time. I believed that because I wasn't out there doing the more exciting runs, that I wasn't making an impact on anyone's life. And that's what had initially attracted me to the job. Like I said, I didn't know any better at the time.

Pseudo Dad understood what I was talking about. He reminisced about being new and being excited, and “Just hoping to see… Something... Anything.”

It's 6:55pm. Shift starts at 7.

As I’m about to pick up the phone to clock in at The Closet, it rings, startling me. "Uhm, The Closet," I stammer.

Cool Dispatcher, who is ending his long day in five minutes, laughs. "Forget what station you're at?"

I grab a pen and the pad of paper nearby, "Actually I have it written on my hand. I just forgot which hand. What's up?"

"Is your partner in?"

I look at Pseudo Dad who’s mouthing the words “No” while shaking his head. He's not nearly as sparky as I am, poor guy. I stick my tongue out at him. "He’s here, whatcha got?"

Cool dispatcher is on another phone, confirming the run, it takes him a few seconds to respond, "County Run, Code 3, at the Local Nursing Home."

I scribble down the nursing home name and hand the pad to Pseudo Dad, "We're clear and heading out."

I hang up the phone, grab the portable radio and say goodbye to the day crew. On county runs (911 runs) we have a mandatory "chute time" of two minutes. That means we have two minutes from accepting the run to get our butts out to the truck, contact our dispatch as well as County dispatch, and put ourselves enroute. At The Closet it's not difficult to make it to the truck in two minutes. Just a quick walk down the hallway and out the doors to our waiting truck.

Pseudo Dad, of course jumps behind the wheel. I glare at him and mumble under my breath as I climb into the truck. "I never get to drive." I key up the mic and wait for the beep telling me that I can talk. "Unit X to dispatch, we're en route."

"Clear Unit X, be advised Lifesquad is on the scene."

"We're clear." I put us en route with the County next, while Pseudo Dad turns the lights on and pulls us out of the parking lot.

I check each intersection as we approach them, making sure that our intended path is clear before we proceed through. The drive to the ECF is only four minutes. I can't help but notice had we gone code 2 it would have taken us maybe thirty seconds longer. Even with one of the safest drivers I've ever had the pleasure of riding with, the risk doesn't seem worth thirty seconds.

We arrive at the Alzheimer's Unit of the ECF and unload the cot. Lifesquad is still there, which is unusual. Typically they're gone before we arrive.

One of the TFD Medics meet us at the door and explains the situation as we work our way through the building. "The Patient was eating, aspirated some food and started choking. He has a DNR. His sat is at 68, up from the low 50's. They're suctioning him."

Pseudo Dad looks at the empty cot we're dragging toward the patient's room and exhales. "Damn... Okay, I'm going to run out and get the portable suction and the airway bag. I'll be right back."

I nod and continue to play Follow The Medic. I find myself turned around. Haven't we gone down this hallway twice now? "Do you think they design these Alzheimer units as a maze of hallways on purpose. I'm not sure I can find my way out on my own." I'm not kidding.

No, that wasn't my half-assed attempt at flirting. He was cute though. I love a man with a southern accent.

The red headed Medic laughs, "Hell it took me five years to figure this place out. No worries, we'll getcha out. Have ya'll been busy tonight?"

"No, Sir... We haven't had a busy night in a coon's age." Okay, I didn't say that. "We just came on, actually... We work overnights out of The Closet ER."

"How do you like it so far?"

Holy cow, the TFD Medic is talking to me. "I like it well enough. It's not TFD, but I work with some excellent people."

"Have you thought about TFD? We need more Ladies on, yanno."

Sign me up for the next test. Sign me up now. I respond by blushing and telling him that I'd be sure to get an interest card sent in.

We round one last corner and are instantly greeted by a wall of navy blue. Seven from Toledo Fire. They get to wear shorts to work while I sweat my ass off in BDU pants thick enough to stop bullets. I'm not bitter. Really.

Oh my goodness. Here we go. Where in the hell is Pseudo Dad?

I'm pushed forward by some of the FF's into the patients room. He is BLUE from the knees down. his hands are blue as well, although not as dark. His lips are a sick purple.

Now, I know what cyanosis is. I've studied it, I've seen pictures. I have never seen a blue person before. My three months on the job had been limited to some very uninteresting County runs and a couple of hundred Dialysis transfers. A nurse is working on suctioning the patient while everyone else watches. They have oxygen on him by cannula and a pulse ox that they seem to be especially interested in. You don't need a pulse oximeter to tell you the guy looks like shit.

Pseudo Dad enters the room seconds behind me. I turn to him instantly. "YOUR Patient," I blurt out. I'm immediately ashamed of myself. I stick my shaky hands into my pockets in a pathetic attempt to hide my nervousness.

Pseudo Dad being Pseudo Dad shakes his head. He whispers in my ear, "You wanted to make a difference? Here ya go. You'll do fine."

Another nurse shows up with the signed DNR, thrusting it at my chest. "Suctioning and O2 only," She stresses. "The family wants him to go to Inner City Hospital." Since The Closet was closed to EMS when we left, Inner City Hospital would be an appropriate alternative. I shove the DNR paperwork and the patients file under the head of the cot.

"He's as clear as I can get him," the nurse sighs. She backs away from the patient so we can move him.

With some assistance from TFD we move our patient from his chair over to the cot and begin to wheel him out. His name is Henry, according to his paperwork. The same as my Grandfather.

The suctioning nurse stops me at the door. "Honey, if he dies on the way to the hospital, it's okay." She pats me on the back.

Well, thanks so much. I'll keep that in mind.

Red-Headed Medic escorts us out. I walk at the head end of the cot.

"Henry, my name is Epi. We're going to take you to Inner City Hospital. Your family will meet us there, I'm going to take good care of you." I don't know if he can hear me, but I talk anyway. If he can hear me maybe I'm calming him, if he can't, at least I'm calming myself. He still looks like crap, eyes closed, and not talking. I have him on a NRB on 15L. He's breathing is shallow, but at least he's moving some air.

We reach the truck and load Henry in. I climb in next to him. I catch Pseudo Dad's eye as he's about to close the doors and shake my head.

"You know what you're doing, Epi." He closes the doors and leaves. Now it's just me and Henry.

I realize he's a terminal patient. I realize he has a DNR. It just didn't seem right to me that he should die from choking on dinner. "Just keep breathing, Henry, Please."

Pseudo Dad yells from the front of the truck, "You ready, Grasshopper?"

“Drive fast,” I yell. I push feeling of hopelessness and panic out of my head and flip the switch on the trucks onboard suction unit. It roars to life and I use the suction for all it’s worth. I’m getting all kinds of nastiness out. I suction for another ten seconds and put the O2 back on him and check his pulse.

60-ish. It wasn't regular, it wasn't particularly strong, but it was there, I could feel it. I held his hand. "Henry, if you can hear me, I'd be really grateful if you could try coughing."

Nothing. I leave him on the oxygen for another minute and remove it to try to suction him again. I'm rewarded with more food. I slip a little with the suction tip and get my second reward of the day. Henry coughs. I pull it out and give Henry a chance to clear his own airway.

"How's he doing?" Pseudo Dad yells. I throw the oxygen back on him. He's coughing weakly.

"He's coughing," I yell. "I'll take a patch."

Pseudo Dad gets the receiving hospital online and hands me the mic. I give what can only be described as the worst radio report ever. PD would later tell me all he heard was "Six minutes out... DNR... Suctioning... Non-verbal..." and something about blue feet before I tossed the mic back up at him. The patient would have given a better report.

I decided to try to suction him one more time as it sounded like Henry wasn't going to be able to clear what he was coughing up. One more time, I was rewarded with a hunk of what I can only assume was once roast beef. Almost instantly he started pinking up.

I stroked the back of his hand and took his pulse again. 80-ish, still irregular. He was breathing at a rate of 20 or so. He still wouldn't open his eyes. We were pulling into the hospital when I allowed myself to exhale. I checked the pulse ox that I had all but forgotten about. He was at 86. Still hypoxic, but a hell of a lot better than when we climbed into the back of the truck.

I handed him over to the ER/ED/EC Nurse and gave my verbal report before retreating to the quiet EMS room. I tried to fill out my paperwork but couldn't do much other than shake. So much for the adrenaline junky I thought I was. On one hand I was happy that he was doing better. On the other hand I had to wonder what kind of life I had just prolonged. A Diet Pepsi can appeared next to my shaky hand.

Pseudo Dad put a hand on my shoulder and squeezed. "You did good, Kiddo. You handled yourself well."

"Shush. I think maybe I suck at this."

"Henry's daughter wants to talk to you."

She was standing outside of the EMS room wiping tears from her eyes. She thanked me repeatedly and hugged me. Her father was completely alert and speaking.

"What? Really?"

She nodded and I followed her back to his room where I saw the most beautiful green eyes I had ever laid eyes on.

I couldn't do much other than smile. "Henry, you scared the heck out of me. How are you feeling?" I was choking on my words. I could feel tears forming, I just wanted to get out of that room before my eyes betrayed me.

"Thank you, Young Lady. Thank you." His voice was raspy. He outstretched his hand and I grabbed it. He pulled me into a long hug.

"You're welcome," I whispered. "You take care, Henry."

As we were leaving the ER and heading toward the truck I heard someone yell to us.

"Hey, Little Private Service! How'd our guy turn out?" It was the red-head medic.

Pseudo Dad yelled back, "She saved his life. She's a rockstar!"

"Right on!" He winked at me.

I just smiled and climbed into the truck.

Happy Belated Sweetest Day.

I had no idea. Forgot completely.

Thanks Breda for reminding me:

"Today is Sweetest Day, a holiday celebrated primarily around the Great Lakes region. Originally created in 1921 by candymakers in Cleveland, it meant to serve as an "occasion which offers all of us an opportunity to remember not only the sick, aged and orphaned, but also friends, relatives and associates whose helpfulness and kindness we have enjoyed." The candymakers, of course hoped this holiday would increase the sales of candy. Since that time, Sweetest Day has become somewhat of a mini-Valentine's Day with roses being sold on street corners and couples making plans for an evening out."

I had no idea that it was a local thing. There are entire aisles in Kroger's dedicated to Sweetest Day cards, candy, flowers, etc.

Just another holiday inspired by Hallmark and/or the Cleveland candy industry (which I didn't even know existed until today), I guess.

Have you ever heard of Sweetest Day?

What I Did Not Do Today...

Today, October 19th, 2008...

Today I did not spend any quality time with my son. He was busy doing far more important things to an 8-year-old, playing with his best friend. And I'm okay with that.

Today I didn't have it in me to call my best friend. Or my former partner. Or Sue, or Bri, or Kelly or Jodi or Rebel or Regina or Matt or anyone else.

Today I didn't get to put on a uniform, take a pulse, a blood pressure, or touch a patient in any way. I didn't buy a coffee for a sleepy partner, laugh until Diet Pepsi shot out of my nose, or wipe away anyone's tears. I didn't bitch about STNA's, Dispatchers, Lieutenants or management.

Today I didn't pick up my camera once. I didn't watch football, I didn't scrapbook, I didn't carve a pumpkin or rake leaves, or sleep in, or do anything that a normal person should do on a beautiful Fall Sunday like today.

Today I don't think that I brought a smile to anyone's face.

Days like these are hard.

Today I didn't play out in the sun. I merely walked beneath it.

365 Project with a splash of fall color.

So we came, we saw, we conquered.

And I did it with my damn camera set to the absolute incorrect ISO. But that's another post for another day.

The colors were gorgeous.

If there's one thing that I love about the city of Toledo it's the Metroparks. All free.

So we set out, passing the trailhead and choosing the shortest trail considering the attention spans of a three year old, and eight year old and a nine year old.

Wildwood Metropark is a nature preserve in Toledo near the Toledo - Sylvania border. Previously it was the family estate of the Stranahan's, who created Champion Sparkplug. Apparently they made quite a bit of cash off of that little plug. They were a supplier to Willy's Overland (Jeep) and the Ford plant just up the road in Detroit.

The Metropark is close to 500 acres of ravine and woods, with the Manor house, the Stranahan home for thirty years, located in the middle. The original stables and poolhouse also still stand. The Manor house is a beautiful mansion that is a popular destination for quite a few local photographers shooting engagement and family photos, and the scene for many outdoor weddings. As a matter of fact, I shot my baby brother's engagement photos here last year.

Baby Brother, The Responsible One, and his fiancee at the time (now obviously my SIL)

And one more. They were so stinkin' cute. Yes, I'm available for work. Any work. I'll check bags at the door of the local Walmart, in fact.

Clearly this is a popular spot for photographers. The kiddies, however... were getting restless.

They weren't interested in posing for pictures. It was all about the leaves.

And finally I surrender my camera. I guess sometimes even the photographer needs to be on the other side of the lens.

"Hey, Epi?"


"Smile like I'm a guy in a flightsuit under some turnout gear!"

And then we saw it. That's a nice sized hive, and I don't have an EpiPen handy. (Aren't all the bees dead yet????) We decided it was time to head out.

But the colors... They were amazing.

Just amazing.