Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's goodbye again

As of very early Wendsday morning, I will be headed west to Ft. Irwin for the National Training Center in the Mojave Desert for desert warfare training. I will be gone through the 27th. I'll have the laptop with me, but not so sure how much inter-web access I will have, and I don't think I have a camera going along. We'll see. I'll do my best to try to get updates published.
Hooah! I get to live the Army life once more!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Phase V Supply

I'm in the airport now on my way back from Fayetteville, and although the romance didn't go quite so well as I'd hoped, I did get a chance to stop at a pretty great gun store down here called Phase V supply. The selection was excellent, especially from the perspective to tactical weaponry. In this age of scarcity, M1A's, FN SCAR's and AR's were everywhere. The staff were extremely helpful-one guy spent a good half an hour explaining to me the advantages of several types of tactical slings for my AR. I walked away with a hogue pistol grip and a Viking Tactics mkII with the quick adjust. I was very tempted to grab some Mag-pul P-mags, but I'm pretty sure they're illegal in NY, so I left that alone.

The best part is that the shop is owned, run, and staffed mostly by vets, who've been there, done that, and got the T-shirt. When I mentioned that in the next few months, I was headed to the sandbox, and that most of my AR accessories would be going with me, we spent another hour going over tactical reflex sights, even though he knew flat-out that I was not going to buy that day. I'm pretty much sold on an EOtech and will be arranging a purchase from them online in the near future. They put the gun shops back home to shame.

If you ever make it down there, they're located at 516 Reilly Rd in Fayetteville NC.
Website is here: http://www.phasevsupply.com/

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quote of the day

I went to the indoor range to sight in my new AR-15 today, but it was closed to the public. It was raining or I woulda just gone to the outdoor range a little further up the road. There will be a range report soon, whenever I make it up there.

The range was closed cause a nuclear powerplant security team was training inside. The following exchange was between me, my friend Eddie, and the Gunshop Guy.

Gunshop Guy: Sorry you can't shoot today, but you can come back another time.

Eddie. Well it's good to know they're getting some decent training at least, in case Bagdhad Bob comes around...

BangBangMedic: Nope, *I'm* training to fight Bagdhad Bob, They're training against dumbasses with fertilizer trucks!

I believe the Gunshop Guy might need a new keyboard, courtesy of the coffee he sprayed on it...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chapter One

This is something I started awhile back. If you like it and want more, link it, tell your friends, and I'll try to write more soon. I'm not sure if it translates clearly, but the italics are small flashbacks, and the regular text are the current situation.

“Please save my daddy!”

A five year old girl’s tear filled voice implored me from a shadowy corner in the tiny, filthy living room.Her face seemed to disappear behind the thin pole of a floor lamp that wasn’t plugged in. The silence in the room was deafening as I donned a pair of nitrile gloves,the snapping sound as they slapped against my wrist almost startled me. I approached a limp form lying in the center of the floor. A puddle of blood had already formed beneath him, spreading and mixing with shadows to create the illusion that the entire room was now steeped in red liquid. I swept the beam of my flashlight across the stained and cracking hardwood floor, double checking that the 12 gauge shotgun that had just moments ago been pointed at me was now out of reach, should his collapse have been a clever ruse to lure me in closer. There would have been no need for that-he could have killed me any how-but crazy people weren’t rational and that was a pretty fast rule.

The old Ithaca had indeed fallen far out of reach and for the moment I ignored it, slowly approaching the body of a man who had very nearly just killed me and my partner; the man who had been-and, at least at the moment-still was, the father of the scared little girl in the corner. My partner keyed his radio, his calm voice belying the urgency of our situation. “We need a squad car down here, and have ALS step it up.” He knelt beside me as I opened up our patient’s airway. Shuddering breaths rattled his entire body once every thirty seconds, but it wasn’t enough to sustain life for much longer. Agonal respirations, they were called. They are body’s futile effort to keep the soul on the planet for just a few seconds longer. I already had the BVM in my hands and sealed the mask against his face, breathing for him, keeping him alive.

“I don’t want to die alone!” his voice came back at me. Those were the first words he had said when we stupidly walked into the house alone. The sound of police sirens approaching brought me back to a moment where I had almost died. Oscillating red lights suddenly lit up the house, like a Fourth of July show, and the terror of what had just come to pass rocked me back.

A cardiac arrest, the dispatch had said. The Paramedic crews were all tied up for three towns over. Police, likewise, were busy. They were on the way when we got there, but a long way out, and we were in the middle of nowhere. The house was dark, and it looked foreboding. In EMS, superstitions tend to reign wild-and I could see the grip of death on that house. Partner and I knew the protocols that said to wait for backup. But there was a man dying in that house. And the Barbie Jeep flipped over in the front lawn meant that the man was probably a father. So we went in to do what they paid us to do.

However nobly intentioned that choice had been, I cursed the stupidity of it now, as I rode the foot of the moving stretcher. We were running several races at once now. We raced to the ambulance, to the hospital,to the Paramedic Intercept. And we raced to save this mans life-for though he saw no other alternative than death, there was always life, and it was our job to keep him around long enough to see that choice. My muscles were already sore, pushing down on his chest. His ribs made a creepy crunching noise. Crepetation from cracked cartilage. It always seemed to creep me out no matter how many times I heard it.

There wasn’t a light on in the house, which my partner commented on as we entered. But fuck if it wasn’t 3 in the morning and who has lights on then? Most phones these days had glow in the dark buttons. So I twisted the cap of my Maglite and swung the beam in a slow, uneasy arc down the hallway. “Hello, EMS! Did somebody call for an ambulance? As the hallway opened up, the sound of a shotgun action caused me to freeze up. I raised my hands slowly.
“That’s alright, we’ll be leaving now,” I was speaking down the bore of the gun. A choked sob rang out from behind the wall of darkness. The gun stayed put though, and it was clear that neither of us would be leaving this house anytime soon. Thoughts about that haze of death sank morbidly deep into my brain. At least to my wife I would die a hero. Nobody would have the heart to tell her that I died because I was an idiot who ignored my training.

His arms tied to the stretcher with cravats, I struggled to keep this man alive. The blast had entered underneath his ribs, the way he had dug the barrel deep against his skin ensured damage to his liver, speen, and lungs. In fact, as far as I could tell, there wasn’t a liver left. The shell has been birdshot, from what the police officer had said. That meant something good, from an EMT perspective. With less power and smaller shot, there was likely to be less penetration and damage. But one of his lungs was collapsed. So the breaths I gave only went to one lung. I handed the police officer on the bench next to me tape and an occlusive dressing, running him through how to set it up on top of the exit wound a clump of pellets created through his left lung. It wsn't very efective, he needed decompression and a chest tube.

Behind me I could see the flashing lights of the paramedics and the lurching stop as we pulled to the shoulder nearly threw me across the stretcher and into the drivers compartment. The back door was thrown open and in hopped my medic, Julie. She looked at the body on the stretcher and then at me. "There's way too much damage. Were you able to shock at all?" I shook my head no as she placed the leads on his chest. "He's asystolic, I'm gonna call Med. Control and get permission to call it." The request was granted in just a few moments. I suppose the injuries could be reasonably considered an obvious source of death, but I'd been right there, and had to try.

Instantly, the urgency ofthe situation evaporated, but that couldn’t stop the adrenaline coursing through my veins. As I pushed my body back against the bench of the ambulance, breathing deep, my hands began to shake, then my arms.Within moments my entire body was shuddering, trying to rid itself of that flood of emotions, chemicals and stress that I had just placed on it. My job was over, as soon as the body bag arrived, and the hearse that would take the shell of a man before me over to the big city morgue. My Nextel phone beeped loudly, rescuing me from cascading thoughts of what had almost been. Dispatch. I pressed the button dutifully. “We’re clear from this job,” I noted, trying to keep as teady voice.
“You’re also done for the night Paul,” the dispatcher’stinny, perpetually annoyed voice rang out. There was a hint of sympathy in there as well, something I wasn’t at all used to hearing from that dreadful phone.“You’re a mess. Go home to your wife.”

I thanked her and moved from the patient compartment to the passengers seat up front. We sat in silence, pine trees blowing past us on the lonely road back to headquarters. Rain began to fall steadily, increasing the closer we got to the station, blurring the glow of the headlights on the road. That poor little girl…

My drive home should have been beautiful. The storm that had started above us ended as quickly as it came, leaving droplets to glow off wounded branches as the sun rose, a fireball igniting the sky through the clouds. I didn’t notice that so much, focused solely on the glass window between me and the lonely twin lines on a beaten road. I had done everything possible, and yet I still felt the sting of failure. My job was to help people, to get them through their crises and this man had not gotten through. Up ahead I could see the house and slowed. There was beauty there I could notice. The house sat at the top of a steep hill, the end of a cul-de-sac, but the only house there. Alternating stone and blue vinyl siding,with ivy growing up towards the chimney gave the impression of a cottage on some lonesome country lane. Some mornings, like this one, the sun would catch just right and bathe the house in a warm, cozy radiance that invited me to walk through the doors to the smell of a home cooked breakfast, and back to a zone of comfort. I didn’t have worries there.

As my muddy Chevrolet turned into the driveway I could see my wife, standing on the porch with a cup of coffee in her hands, and another cup beside her on the railing. She smiled as I put the truck into park and stepped out the door. That smile melted my heart since the day we met, and this morning was no different. It lifted the weight of the night’s troubles right off my shoulders. I stumbled my tired, achy body up the three steps to the porch. It was somewhere in the brisk, fifty degree range but she wasn’t shivering as she wrapped her arms gently around me. We stood there rocking for what felt like an eternity. It had been three days since I’d gotten to see her but it may as well have been three years. By the time our arms broke apart and she handed me a steaming cup of java, I was drowning in love. She led me inside after that, flicking on the dim lamps that had illuminated her morning. Dispatch had called her, and she’d gotten out of bed just to fix me breakfast, to make sure I was alright. There were eggs and bacon there, with salt, pepper, ketchup and rolls.I fixed myself a breakfast sandwich. I hadn’t been hungry a few moments ago, but now I was ravenous.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A message...

To the other crew using my Wendsday ambulance...

Yes, my reeves was buckled to the back of the bench, so I didn't need to unload EVERYTHING from underneath the bench to slide it back in. Its easier to unbuckle a seatbelt when you need it. Yes, the Nextel was in the patient compartment. That's because I was using it to call in a run. Yes, the sheets on the cot were slightly discolored-they were, however clean. That's all the hospital gave us to work with. At least it was made.

Since those small transgressions, which happen only once in awhile, were enough to write me up this morning, I will no longer be so lenient with you, when every week, I find our oxygen empty, and the stretcher not made. I will write it up. If the Nextel is dead, I will write it up. If the fuel is a tiny bit under 3/4, I will write it up. Courtesy begets courtesy. Since you have shown me none, you will no longer get any from me.

That is all.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Fishing is my therapy. I don't care if it's raining. I don't care if it's 100 degrees or 40....or less on the rare occasion I get to ice fish. No matter what has happened on call, or in life, it all disappears for the few hours I have my line in the water. I fish for everything-trout, bass, sunnies and crappies, pike and pickerel, catfish, stripers....depending on the season, and my mood. I almost always fish alone.

The reason for this isn't so much that I'm a brooding, burnt-out loner. That may be slightly true, but I don't think so, not yet. Reason is, I never catch anything with somebody else around. It's actually a matter of legend between myself and my friends. Because of the time spent on the water, I'm the best fisherman among us. I almost never get skunked. Unless, that is, I have a partner. Now, I have pictures, evidence that fish are caught-now and again I even bring one home, so I'm not just telling fish stories. I've been in the middle of a bite, catching crappies almost every cast, and when a buddy sees my Jeep and walks over to fish with me, it all dies. No more, the rest of the evening.

Oddly enough, it works the opposite way if I have a female friend along. The Ex used to fish with me often. I've since figured that she was just humoring me, and it was a frustrating excersize that I've learned a few lessons from.(Like don't take the gf fishing, unless she already knows how) I would spend just as much time untangling her line and giving instructions as I did fishing-but I did catch fish. Lots of fish. Enough fish to make her feel really really insecure and become moody about it the rest of the day. So fishing with The Ex(then girlfriend) became a choice between fishing and getting some. Eventually she made the choice for me and I think I got the better end of the deal. Now I can fish in peace.

Time Flies...

Sorry for the lack of posting-I guess thats not a good sign for a new blog, but life caught up with me last month. I'll try to have at least one new post up tomorrow.(Technically, later today)