Tuesday, April 28, 2009

*&$#%@!!!!!!

The Boy's case was continued. Because the court system is completely jacked up. As always.

I am, however, proud to know I am no more tolerant of the complete destruction of personal responsibility through plea deals, loopholes and crafty defense attorneys when it is my own son at the defense table.

I am even more proud of his indignation that he was not allowed to plead guilty today and accept his punishment.

Perhaps a few steps along that path have been right.

on being a parent

My house is surrounded by really tall trees that are full of birds this time of the year. Apparently, all the ones who like to sing really loudly are nocturnal.

This can be maddening while you are lying there trying to sleep, your mind racing a thousand miles a minute as you pray incessantly, "Please God, help me through these next few moments. Allow me the knowledge and strength to do the right thing. Instill in me the grace to be humble and accepting, even if the right thing is hard to do or gets me hurt." You replay every step you've already taken, questioning whether each of them has been in the right direction. You incessantly plead forgiveness of every misstep.

You think all these thoughts in a single second. You repeat them every 60 seconds.

Then, just when you think you have a moment of quiet, a moment of still — those birds start singing.

Soon it will grow late, and the singing will silence. The heart will still be burdened with worry and longing and fear. But the eyelids and soul will rest under the heavy blanket of faith and acceptance.

Then that blasted alarm clock will blare some music, reminding you that tomorrow is court day for The Boy. The same boy who set the trash can on fire at school. The same boy, who very much like his father, believes he is smarter than everyone else, the rules don't apply to him and to hell with the consequences, even if it means he or someone else gets hurt.

Moments like these I really miss his father. I miss not being able to say, "he's YOUR son, YOU make him understand!"

And I pray, "Please God, help me through these next few moments. He's YOUR son, allow him the knowledge and strength to do the right thing. Instill in him the grace to be humble and accepting, even if the right thing is hard to do. Allow me the knowledge and strength to do the right thing by him. Please God, help me to know I'm stepping in the right direction to help him along the right path." You replay every step you've already taken, questioning whether each of them has been in the right direction. You incessantly plead forgiveness of every misstep.

You think all these thoughts in a single second. You repeat them every 60 seconds.

For nine months, for 13 years, for his entire life.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

compassion, laughter and tact

I really like the medics I'm riding with. They have great senses of humor and are really good at the job, but seeing them in action reinforces my belief that not only do I have what it takes to be a good medic, but I have what it takes to be a KIND medic.

Don't get me wrong, they care about their patients and weren't nearly as heartless as a lot of the medics I've run across, but there were a few things that made me raise my eyebrows - things I would've done differently, things I hope I would never do.

Our first call was an intentional overdose, a middle-aged woman with a history of depression. Because of the nature of the call, by the time we arrive, the scene is crawling with volunteer first responders and law enforcement not to mention several nosy neighbors. The patient was conscious and, for the most part, alert. We walked her out of the house to the stretcher.

Eye raise #1: The woman's condition was stable so there was no real rush to transport. When we arrived she was wearing a flimsy, strappy night gown that fell about mid-thigh. The straps kept falling off her thin shoulders as we helped her to the front door of her trailer and the stretcher just outside. It was warm outside, but my instinct was to wrap a sheet around her shoulders or something before we paraded her outside.

Eye raise #2: As we walked through the trailer with her, one of the medics questioned her about why she took so many pills. She tearfully admitted that she had done it on purpose because "they had taken her grandbabies away from her." The medic responded that this wasn't the way to handle things and that doing things like this would ensure that she never saw her grandbabies again, at which the woman howled that she "was never going to see them again anyway." Once we got her into the ambulance, the medic reminded her several times that her attempted suicide was not the way to handle things, that she had to be strong and couldn't be "pulling stunts like this." He was never really ugly about it, but was extremely firm in his tone. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the woman. Here she was, obviously feeling as though there was no hope, to the point she tried to take her own life, and the entire ride to the hospital she had to listen to a medic telling her how she'd fucked up. I understand what he was trying to do, I really do, but the way I see it, this woman was about to be swarmed by doctors, nurses, psychiatrists and law enforcement once she got to the hospital - all of whom would be telling her how she'd fucked up. Seems to me, she needed at least one person who wasn't judging her. Maybe I'm looking at it all wrong, but we can treat her, transport her and be kind to her without adding to the chorus of people telling her how bad she'd fucked up because she was so miserable she would rather die than live.

Another patient was dispatched out as a breathing difficulty. We arrived on scene to find an elderly man in a nursing home who was a bit beyond "breathing difficulty." The poor man was literally drowning in his own fluid. He was conscious, but didn't seem at all alert or aware of his surroundings, although he did grunt in response to verbal stimuli. The nurses assured us that was his "normal" mental state.

Eye raise #3: As we were wheeling the patient out of the facility, the two medics were laughing and cutting up with each other. I can understand this, they weren't being inappropriate or anything, but they never told the patient where they were taking him or what was going on. I know he was only semi-alert, but just because he was not responding very well to us doesn't mean he wasn't aware of his surroundings - it doesn't mean he wasn't frightened about what was going on and it seems to me that instead of laughing and cutting up, you should be taking a minute to reassure the patient and explaining what's happening.

Eye raise #4: The laughing and cutting up crossed a line as we were leaving the facility though. The smell of carnations was strong in the lobby and one of the medics commented on it, which began a brief conversation between the two medics about how they hated the smell of carnations because it always reminded them of death. It just seemed like an inappropriate conversation to me given the circumstances and I kept hoping our patient couldn't hear them.

I think both medics felt a bit bad about it a couple hours later when we came back through the ER with another patient only to find the elderly gentleman was feeling much better, smiling and talking with two family members. Obviously that had not been his "normal" state, regardless of what the dipshit nurse had told us. It just goes to show that you should ALWAYS watch what you say and assume that the patient can hear you.

I know it's easy to judge from the "outside," but I would hope that as I gain more experience, I would continue to believe patients should be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their state or how they came to be in such a state.

easier than I thought

Alrighty then, yes, I believe I can do this EMS thing.

My first ride went fairly smooth. We weren't incredibly busy, which gave me plenty of time to get acclimated and get over my nerves. We only ran four calls, all of which were pretty straight-forward and routine - an overdose, a breathing difficulty, a fall with a laceration to the face and a transport.

I've learned that no, seeing a stranger's blood and/or private regions doesn't really bother me. I don't get car sick riding backwards in the captain chair and I can keep my balance by planting me feet just right as we run emergency traffic to the hospital. I figured out the fancy monitors and oxygen set up, which are much different than the equipment we use in class. Substandard care in nursing homes has always pissed me off, but it's going to be even more so now that I will see the effects up close and personal.

While it's been pointed out that I must be a bit touched to want to get into this line of work, I managed to finish my 12-hour shift without looking like a complete dumb ass. It was a good night.

I lucked up and will be riding with the same two medics for my second ride next week. Now that I'm familiar with the equipment on the truck and have been broken in, I'll play a much more hand-on roll in patient care.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

do or do not...

I start my ride time tomorrow night and am nervous as hell.

I'm not really worried about screwing up and killing someone because I'll be riding with a medic and another EMT-B and I know they won't let me do anything THAT stupid. I am however, a bit concerned that I'll pull some dipshit move and embarrass the holy hell out of myself.

I suppose my only real fear is finding out that maybe I'm not cut out for this after all. People who should know these things assure me I'll do fine...they tell me I have the right mentality for the job. I know I'm good at keeping my cool in emergency situations and I currently have the highest average in the class. Of course I'm also the only one in class who hasn't done any ride time yet either, because I'm a chicken shit like that.

Knowing what to do and being able to do it in theory is completely different than actually DOING it! I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

how long can I last?

I'm pretty sure my husband and child have forgotten what I look like.

Well, maybe it's not quite that bad, but it's getting pretty damn close. Here's lately most of my evenings have been spent either working at the tavern or in class. This week is a perfect example. I'm in class Monday and Wednesday, doing a 12 hour shift on an ambulance Thursday night for class and working Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. So tonight is the only night I don't have to be anywhere. Of course I won't be home tonight either. I'll be taking my mom out to eat for her birthday since I didn't get to do it last week.

Meanwhile, my days are spent either studying or trying to fulfill my duties as a program manager for the county.

It doesn't look like my schedule is going to get any lighter anytime soon either. Class will not end until the end of May and I have to pull four 12-hour shifts on an ambulance and two 8-hour shifts in the ER before then.

"You can't keep going at this pace," a friend's mom admonished me, when I told her I hoped to keep the program manager job along with my hours at the tavern and work on an ambulance once I finish class.

It occurs to me that she could be right. I'm getting too old for this shit!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

warming up the old brain...me-me-me

It's been a struggle to form a coherent sentence the past few months so in an effort to get my juices flowing, I'm taking a crack at this meme I ran across on another blog, Terroni who blamed Maria.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I'm not at all certain perfect happiness can be achieved in this life. In fact, I'm fairly certain that it can't be. That's not to imply I'm some sort of severely depressed woman who has given up on finding that perfect happiness. Nope, I'm merely a moderately depressed woman who believes perfect happiness can only be found once we enter the Kingdom of God (i.e. once you're dead.)

2. What is your greatest fear?
It probably varies by day and the circumstances invading my life at the moment, but my longest-standing, deepest-rooted fears are that I will not be loved, or that once people really get to know the "real" me they will judge me unworthy of love.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
It's almost impossible to choose only one, but most of them eventually come back to my complete lack of motivation.

4. What is the trait that you most deplore in others?
Again, it's almost impossible to choose only one, but most of them ultimately come back to a lack of compassion.

5. What living person do you most admire?
I admire anyone who can roll with the punches of life without becoming hardened or bitter or losing their faith in God.

6. What is your greatest extravagance?
Food. I spend an obscene amount of money eating out because I enjoy a good meal and think the best meals are the ones I don't have to cook. It used to be pot, but then I had to become a responsible, drug-free adult. Apparently I just have a lot of "munchie" flashbacks. :-)

7. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Patience. Of course, I'm severely lacking this particular virtue which may be why I like to think it's overrated.

8. On what occasion do you lie?
Most often when I'm trying to spare someone's feelings.

9. What do you dislike most about your appearance?

My teeth. I've always had horrible teeth. The alignment is awful and they are extremely weak, which has led to massive cavities in most of them. If I hadn't heard false teeth were so painful, I would have them all pulled and purchase a nice radiant smile for myself.

10. What living person do you most despise?

I most despise cruelty in general. The only person I've ever truly despised was the mother of my first husband. She was cruel and manipulative. I still haven't decided if she was merely insane or downright evil. It's taken me many years to forgive her for the pain she inflicted on him, for the chaos and conflict she created in our lives.

11. What words or phrases do you most overuse?

"certainly," "of course," "what the fuck?"

12. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Marshmallows. Well no, but they're right up there. I've been blessed with several. My son, even though he drives me to the brink of insanity. I did not realize such all-encompassing love was possible until I became pregnant. My son's father, for whom I felt such an innocent, utterly devoted sense of love for. The One, who I met when I was 13 and knew immediately he was my other half. He was the one who completed me. Even after all these years, I only feel complete when he is in my life in some capacity. The Second One, who came along long after I'd lost The One, long after I lost my son's father, right when I had given up on ever being capable of feeling such love again.

13. When and where were you happiest?

Prom night my senior year (spent with The One), for a week at the beach July 1999 with my son and his father

14. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I could muster up more motivation to get more accomplished in my daily life.

15. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The fact that my son has never doubted my love for him. Now if I could just convince him of the need to follow the rules and quit lying to me.

16. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
I would hope it would be a big fat house cat who got to lay around and sleep all day, preferably with a loving owner who would let me curl up in their lap when I felt the need for affection.

17. Where would you like to live?

In a small southern town on the shore. I always feel productive there.

18. What is your most treasured possession?

My photographs and the Bible my mother gave me.

19. What is your favorite occupation?
I truly loved being editor of the newspaper, but I look forward to being able to provide real hands-on help to people in an emergency situation. I would love to become a counselor one day, a grief and Hospice counselor in particular.

20. What is your most marked characteristic?
Most likely my laugh.

21. What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty. I firmly believe honesty is paramount in all healthy relationships.

22. Who are your favorite writers?
Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck, William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe,

23. Who is your favorite hero or heroine of fiction?
Scarlett O'Hara, even though she is a selfish, spoiled bitch throughout most of the book. I love her spunk and determination.

24. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

The ones whose names no one remembers, the every day people who labored and loved and made a quiet impact on their little corner of the world.

25. What is it that you most dislike?

Feet, macaroni and cheese, the smell of cat litter (even clean cat litter) and clumps of dog hair in the floor

25. What is your greatest regret?

not going to college when I was younger

26. How would you like to die?
quick and painless, preferably in my sleep

27. What is your motto?
"The only thing I HAVE to do is stay white and die."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bless you, for it is spring

Spring has officially sprung here in the South, meaning the grass has turned a bright emerald green and everything else is budding and blooming in all shades of pink and yellow. It's absolutely gorgeous.

Of course that also means that everyone mowed their grass yesterday. Add that to the pollen dripping from the trees and ACHHOOOO!!

It's a small price to pay for bright sunny days. We need to enjoy them while we can. By the end of next month it will be hot as Hades and everything that's now bright and splendid will start to wither in the baking sun.

If I wasn't so slack I'd post some pictures.