Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Now that I’ve recovered from my food coma, I can finally post for the evening.


Today was an awesome day. I made dinner with the help of everyone at the station. We had a true Thanksgiving meal. Even though I couldn’t be with my blood relatives, I was surrounded by my EMS family, which I am forever grateful for.


The things I’m thankful for this year are too numerous to count.  Hawkeye passed his CPAT test, which now gives him an opportunity to get a job with BigCity Fire and EMS.  I’m so happy and proud of him; he worked so very hard to pass and it definately paid off.   I also got to reconnect with some very close friends and family and I wouldn’t give them up for all the riches in the world.  All of my friends and family make my life complete. Without them, I would be nothing. I am working with wonderful people in an area where, even though some days the politics suck and people act like they don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, I still love it. 


So to those I didn’t talk to today, I love you guys.  I am grateful and thankful for everyone who supports me and my blog. I couldn’t ask for anything more.  To my favorite crew; Hawkeye, Fluffy, Georgia Boy, Lt. Smurf, and Susie, I couldn’t get through this insanity without you and SmallTown will never be the same any time we ride together. I love you guys like you wouldn’t believe.

Love ya’ll!


I’m still here.


I realize I’ve been gone for a very long time. I got an e-mail today asking me if the blog had been retired. Here’s the answer.


This summer was a study in disaster. Lots of stuff happened to just keep me away from the keyboard and Facebook. I am not going to go into the nitty gritty, but lets just say I plan on putting the last few months behind me and never think about them again.

I’ll be back. I have been working on some great new content that I think everyone will enjoy.

Have fun and be safe!

The Language Project

Hello, My name is Shao, I’m a Paramedic and I’m here to help.

It’s amazing just how often I took that phrase for granted.  Every patient I’ve ever walked up to, I’ve said nearly that same greeting.  Hundreds, if not bordering on a thousand patients have heard that, understood, and we were able to carry on a conversation.

Then, you have the moments where you can’t.  I worked in an area where we didn’t have a high immigrant population, but we had a high rate of foreign visitors. Rarely, though, did I have to worry about it.  There was always someone around who spoke Polish, Italian, Spanish, or whatever.  Recently though, I had to go it alone.

Walking into a house for an unresponsive, it became very apparent that no one spoke English.  I took Latin in school and I can muddle my way through Spanish if I really set my mind to it.  I tried my normal, “Yo soy un paramedico…” and I got looked at like I had seventeen heads.  For an entire call, I played charades, trying to convey to the patient and the patients’ family that I wasn’t going to kill them, that what I was doing was in the best interest of them. 

After that call, I had a few others where I had to use exaggerated motions and the stereotypical speaking English louder and slower than I should’ve.  I then made it up in my mind that I would never go into another call without having something to say to any and all patients.

Thus was born ‘The Language Project’.

Talking on Facebook to one of my favorite EMT’s, Brandi, I fleshed out the idea to her; a collection of handy-dandy EMS phrases in as many languages as physically possible with easy to pronounce guides and a print out of a male/female body where they can point to show where they hurt.

In a few weeks, with the help of Brandi and her wonderful friends, we have gotten Hebrew, Spanish, and Italian.  They are very rough drafts; we are always looking to add things.  Anyone who has ANY experience speaking ANY foreign language is asked to help.  Please don’t hesitate to e-mail me with any additions, subtractions, changes, anything you can think of.  We would like to make this a joint effort from the entire EMS community.

The lists will be posted on this site under their own tabs.  They are available to be printed out and used at will at your services.

More to come on the project!

One Of Those Nights…

Yesterday sucked…big time. (Seems like I’ve had a lot of those days recently…actually.)

I spent a good amount of time just going over things in my head, trying to sort out my thoughts.  If you’ve ever been subject to what goes on in my mind, it probably looks like a three ring circus on LSD.

What am I going to do with the rest of my life? Who knows.  I’m slowly getting my things together to go back to school.  I’m itching to do what I set out to do seven years ago; become a Doctor.  Sure, the path getting there has been fun.  I’ve become a Medic, (check another item off my Bucket List), met some amazingly wonderful people that I never would’ve met if I had gone to JHU, U of Pgh, Columbia University, or LSU like I had planned, and have had experiences that I will be able to look back on for the rest of my life.

Where do I go from here? No. Freaking. Clue.

What I do know is this: I’m going to have fun doing it.  No more putting pressure on myself to be perfect, no more struggling with trying to do what I think people want me to do mixing it with what I want to do.  I’m living my life the way I want to live it these days.  No more “toning down” my personality.  I can be loud, abrasive, off-color, and just overall a little shit if I put my mind to it.  I’ve realized I’ve spent too much time focused on what others think of me.

Yet, in the end, I still always come back to my favorite phrase: “I’m just me.”

So, in the coming weeks, expect new content.  I’ll be focusing on the EMS world as a whole, but I’ll still be writing out my better EMS stories. 

Have Fun, and Be safe, my friends.


My Last Night

I’m leaving to go back to where my belongings are in the next twenty-four hours.  A few set backs kept me home longer than I expected, but it felt good to be here.  I had told my family my plans on leaving and of course, my mother went into her normal, ‘I-can’t-wait-till-you-get-back!’ mode while my dad sat quietly.  Today, I found him making dinner and dessert in the kitchen.  Quietly, I assumed my place next to him and we began cooking together, a symphony of noises and smells that didn’t seem out of place in the house.

We cooked in relative silence, but my mind was going a million times a minute.  The simple actions of chopping onions and peeling potatoes were so natural, it was as if I never left.  I forgot how much I missed being home.

Coming home is the best thing that could happen to me.  I haven’t had much time to sit and think about my future until I was home and away from everything that was going on.  I made my decision to come back while watching onions slowly turn golden brown in a hot cast iron skillet.

So I am coming back.  It’s the best thing for me and I can’t wait to see what happens.

Have Fun and Be Safe.

Change Of Pace

For those who don’t follow me on Facebook, I had a family emergency that needed my immediate attention, also known as, I had to run home as quickly as possible.  I wasn’t home for more than twelve hours when I received a phone call.

“I heard you were in town.  Are you coming back?”

I’ve had not less than ten phone calls asking the same thing.

I guess that’s what happens when you hang out in St. SomeCatholicDude, which is one of the major trauma centers in the city and when you left Reallybigcity almost a year prior, your leaving was indicated by a phone call saying, “Oh? That party? Yeah, can’t make it, I’m moving to Godawfulsmallcity.” As someone said, “Seeing you is like seing a ghost.”

I didn’t think much of it until I slowly realized just how much I missed being here.  The sights and sounds of ReallyBigCity, my home for twenty-some years brought back a flood of emotions and memories.  I also got job offers…lots of job offers to do what I love; Paramedicine.  Being on a wait-list for one of the few city jobs they have in GodAwfulSmallCity and playing Paramedic at ReallySmallCity EMS just isn’t cutting it the way I thought it would.  Especially with the way EMS works there, I don’t get the same action that I got back here…

…at home.

ReallySmallCity never felt like home.  I always felt like it was missing something.  I don’t think my heart was ever really in it, but I gave it my best shot, trying to fall in love with a place that never wanted me as a lover in the first place but went through the motions anyways.  Each day, I felt more and more like a jilted lover too dumb to call it quits, thinking, tomorrow things will change. Tomorrow, my fairytale will come true. Yeah.  Tomorrow never came.

Being home was the best thing that could ever happen to me.

It truly looks like in the next few weeks or months, I’ll be heading back home.  Who knows what is going to happen then.   I’ve been thinking a lot since I’ve been home about life, love, and everything in between.  I have a lot of decisions to make.

All I know is, I’m glad to be home.


Awesomeness and MOI…A Love Story.

It’s pure awesomeness when you find out a respected blogger, *coughRogueMediccough*, enjoyed a post so much that he went and wrote an answer to it.  It is quite humbling and awesome all at the same time.  Thank you, RM.

Here’s the link to the article.


So, I was sitting at the EMS Base getting some paperwork done when I heard a car accident dispatched.  At the end of the list of Engines, Rescue Trucks, and Ambulances, I heard something very peculiar that I hadn’t heard before…or just hadn’t paid attention to.

“A Helicopter has also been dispatched and is enroute.  Company 99 for a LZ at SmallTown Elementary, approximately 10-15 minutes until HEMS reaches the LZ.”

I scratched my head, very confused.  It was almost routine back home, for accidents that happened out in Farm Country, for a Helicopter to be put on standby if it sounded bad, i.e; “Medic 234, your being dispatched for a 18 year old male, leg ripped off by a Combine.  XYZ Helicopter is on standby, flight time of 20 minutes after activation.” Out there, the nearest Level 3 hospital could be easily an hour if not more away from the scene, let alone the nearest Trauma Center.  Here, we may not have the best hospital in the world, but we sure as anything have a hospital within 30 minutes from anywhere in the county to a Lvl 2 a bit over an hour away.

When the first unit got on scene, it was discovered that, while there were injuries, they were easily handled by the ambulances that were arriving.  There was no need for the helicopter, but it sat probably no more than a quarter mile from the accident scene just to take off again and return to quarters.

When one of the units that responded returned to the barn, I asked about when HEMS started getting dispatched from the start.

“Oh…it’s all about the Mechanism of Injury. If the accident looks or sounds bad, that means the patients are probably hurt real bad.”

I wanted to cringe, shudder, and cry all at the same time.  Coming in as a Medic, I get to see what many young-in-the-field providers are learning as they leave EMT school versus what they pick up along the way.  The trend is leaning towards MOI.  I can remember sitting in EMT class, learning about MOI and I will always remember my instructor preaching:

“It’s not how crumpled the vehicle looks, it’s about how crumpled the patient looks.”

All too often, I hear providers on the radio screeching for extra medical units prior to even getting on scene.  Yes…rollover accidents can be devastating, but I personally know more people who have walked away from a rollover crash with barely a scratch on them than have had serious injuries.  The flip side to this argument is that I also know several people who have been in comparatively minor accidents but have broken multiple bones and required long term stays in the hospital versus not.

MOI is a relatively small part of the grand trauma picture.  It can give you an idea of what to look for, but it can only be a very rough guide as to what’s going on under the surface.  When I get the chance to teach, I liken MOI to frosting on a cake.  You know by glancing at it if the frosting itself is vanilla, chocolate, or another flavor, but just like MOI, it doesn’t tell you what is going on under the frosting.

The preaching of MOI as a deciding factor in treating Trauma Patients seems to be most prevalant in areas where a Trauma Hospital isn’t within driving distance.  Unfortunately, instead of teaching new providers the difference between a legitimate trauma and something a local hospital could take care of, they teach them to look at the vehicles for intrusion into the passenger compartment, ‘starring’ on the windshield, deformed dash/steering wheel, or total vehicle body damage.  Watching a bunch of EMTs getting their panties in a bunch over seeing some inside a car with a torn up fiber glass fender and suddenly the patient is being boarded and collared for a several thousand dollar helicopter ride to the local Trauma Center, only to be released an hour later with a Snoopy Bandaid on their forhead covering a small cut from a piece of glass.

It can’t be completely blamed on the provider, though.  You also run into the situation where the local hospital does what they can to discourage “bad” patients.  Some of the local hospitals acted like they never saw a broken arm before.  The other “signal” is how the hospital staff interract with the crews.  To a young EMT or Medic, a nurse/doctor/tech who blasts the provider for bringing a sick patient in…even if the hospital staff is just having a bad day…is a deterent.

In the end, education is what is needed to change the mentality of MOI is the deciding factor in treating patients.  We as providers need to be proactive in teaching that MOI is part of the problem, but not the whole thing.

Happy Teaching,


Long Day

Warning: Pretty emotional with racial slurs.  Giving you pretty advanced warning.

“Medic 390, come back to base…”

“That’s received. Thank you dispatch…”

I smiled and winked at my partner, Beth. “And this is how you get to sit in the relative comfort of the station on Saturday, answering county calls instead of sitting out on the side of the road waiting for a nursing home call.” She pulled the ambulance onto the highway and she smiled over at me.

 “Teach me, Master.” We laughed, turning up the music in the truck as we made our way to the station. Beth was the first female partner I had ever worked with that I had gotten along with. From the moment we were partnered together, it was perfect harmony. It was my first time working at a For-Profit ambulance company and the company didn’t do anything to dissuade my opinion of For-Profits’; the equipment was at best sub par. The trucks barely made it through a shift and we wondered just how they passed inspection. The unit we were in by far was the best; it was a Type Three that could haul balls when needed. We affectionately called her Betsy as we trolled the streets shift after shift.

 She had a working heater in both the back and front and her windows for the most part worked. We treated her well, and she returned the favor in kind. As we pulled into the back parking lot, I gathered my things. Among them was several large containers of diet Iced Tea, the local variety. It was my gift to the dispatcher. I learned early in the new company that simple bribes of coffee, food, and drinks could keep me in the comfort of the station running emergency calls instead of doing non-emergency transports. I had a running deal with the Saturday dispatcher; my partner and I banged out all four dialysis transfers, both dropping them off by 0600 and picking them up and having them back at their respective nursing homes by 1230, and we picked up her daily Iced Tea and cigarettes on our way back in to the station, and we’d get to cover the 911 calls while the other two units covered the nursing homes.

 It worked out in everyone’s’ favor. Too many times, dialysis patients were dropped off late and picked up late, and both the dialysis centers and nursing homes were getting angry. Saturdays afforded the company only three crews and one had to be available at all times to cover the city. In one weekend, when we were down to just ourselves and one other crew, we did all the dialysis transfers in record time. In one moment, we made the dispatcher happy and in turn, she did the same.

 As I gave up my offering to the dispatch deity, I checked the scheduled transport board. It was double scheduled as usual; there were four pick-ups scheduled at the exact same time. I didn’t want to do any of them, but I turned and said with a half hearted smile.

 “Hey…Beth and I can bang out the two transports that are just right over the bridge if we can pick up the one at SMC fifteen to twenty minutes early. Traffic isn’t that bad, so we should be able to drop the one off and get the other one with a minute to spare.”

 Lisa, the dispatcher, shook her head, “Sorry. Per Chris you cover the city. After last week when you two helped to clear up the drama that was Saturday, he’s mandated that the three crews that were on Saturday do nothing but cover the city when they’re on. Looks like you get a break.”

 Who says busting your ass doesn’t get you anywhere.

 We sat in the main room and I went through my drug box. The lull that I was graciously afforded allowed me to go through my drug box with a fine tooth comb. There had been a rash of thefts from the communal drug boxes stored on the trucks so everyone was issued their own personal box. The drugs were handed out with care when it came to the narcotics, but I had noticed some of the others were missing one or two that were supposed to be there. I had backups in my main bag, but I wanted to make sure I had the perfect number in my drug box.

 Beth was planning on going to Medic Class, so we sat together and I gave her a run down on the drugs, explaining how they were used. She started to take notes, but I gently reminded her that, while it was flattering, I would trust what her teacher explained over myself; she was going to a different school and I did not want her to memorize my explanation when she was given another. As we sat, I heard the Bat-Phone ring. The Bat-Phone was the line that came directly from 911. I heard Lisa begin to take information. Suddenly, her voice rose a bit and she began to ask all the important questions pertaining to a shooting. We hurriedly packed up the box and I grabbed the dispatch sheet while Lisa input the information into the computer.

 “I got the address. Cops there?”

 “Yeah, go!”

 I nodded quickly and disappeared. As I locked my seat belt into place, I heard the radio crackle.

“Medic 390, respond emergency to the corner of Oxford and Richmond for the shooting. Police on scene, scene is secured.”

 We took off and it didn’t take us long to get to our destination. Our entrance was halted by nearly 12 squad cars. We grabbed the necessary equipment and the Reeves’ stretcher, and we took off at a run. I could see the victim laying face down on the concrete and my heart sank in my chest and I slowed down. His white shirt was bright red, and the puddle of congealed blood around him was huge. People with any chance of survival didn’t look like that. As we got to his side, I shook my head; half of his head was gone. I took a three lead to show the Asystole, but it was quite obvious that there was nothing I could do even if I wanted to. I took the sheet from the Reeves’ pack, and I laid it over him. I shook my head, looking up at the cops.

 “I’m callin’ it at 1456, but let me get on the horn with Command and I’ll get you a Doc’s name and authorization.” I got on the phone and within moments, we got the authorization to call it officially. As we cleaned up, one of the cops motioned for me. He pointed to a woman who was being stopped by a group of officers.

 “That’s his mom. Can you get her into the truck so we can tell her?” I nodded and helped them escort her to the ambulance. Once inside, they told her the bad news. I sat in the front, trying to distract myself from hearing them break the news. The primal howl of sheer sadness emulated from the truck. I felt uncomfortable, vulnerable, and voyeuristic. I got out of the ambulance and leaned against it, my head hanging. When asked what part of the job gets to me, I reference this moment, the moment of giving bad news.

 Beth and I stood around near the back of the truck, waiting to be told what to do. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone come running from a house, then I heard her. We immediately moved into the middle of the street, and we watched a woman run screaming up the street, right into the arms of the cop.

 “Let me see him!”

 “Ma’am…we can’t, we just can’t…it’s a crime scene…” More and more people poured from their houses, watching the scene unfold before them. We moved to the growing cluster of cops as the woman started screaming and crying.

 “What happened?!” The cop explained that he had been shot. She looked at him, then at the growing crowd of locals, then to me. She stood on her own two feet, and she began ranting. Her words were like venom as she poured out her heart, screaming her promise of vengeance upon those who did this to her family member. She then looked at me. I was easily identifiable as Medical. She came to me, her face inches from mine. I stood, my face taking on a look of compassion.

 “And you…” she growled, “You didn’t help him…”

 “Ma’am…there was nothing I could do…” She growled again, putting her index finger in my chest. My temper rose a bit.

 “No, you didn’t help him, because you don’t like white people, you stupid, ignorant, nigger…”

 She then spit in my face.

 My clipboard fell from my hands. I turned my head, looking at Beth. Her eyes were wide. Everyone waited for me to do something, anything.

 “Beth. You have any of those 4 by 4’s we grabbed on the way here?”

 She nodded. I held out my hand to her. She tore open one of the packages and placed the white cotton square in my hand. I took it and I folded it around my index finger. I slowly wiped the spit off my face, looking dead at the woman. No one moved. I had a reputation as being a hardcore hard ass; you mess with myself or my crew in any physical way, it wouldn’t be long before we were all jumping in on the dog pile. I had been spit on once before with disastrous results for the person who did as such.

 You could see the officers rest their hands near their tasers. I looked at the woman again, my eyes narrow, and I pocketed the 4×4.

 “Beth…” I started, never taking my eyes off the woman, “Let’s run back to the station. I need to organize myself for a moment, get paperwork started.” She nodded quickly and began walking back to the truck. Me asking to organize myself and to do paperwork was our code for, ‘We need to get the hell out of Dodge.’ I motioned to one of the cops and told him we would be back in a few moments. We both hopped into the ambulance and we rode back to the station in silence. As we arrived, pulling up to the dispatch office, I walked inside and directly to the supply closet. I pulled out a new uniform shirt and I hurriedly pulled it over my shoulders.  I needed to collect myself.  I pulled a cigarette from the pack and I sat outside, taking slow, deep breaths.  I was tired.

 The Bat Phone rang again, and Lisa grabbed it. I listened to her talk with the person on the other end and she began shaking her head. She wrote some information down on a sheet of scrap paper, and she handed it off.

“Hand Injury, not too far from your scene. PD will be there if you need them; they’re body-sitting until the ME and Detectives get there.”

 I pulled out the map-book and I looked at the address. We were no more than a block away from the original scene. If I scream loud enough, I’m sure someone will get there…I slammed the map-book shut, throwing my stethoscope around my neck. I looked at Lisa and Beth, my face filled with determination.

“Let’s do this.”

“Dispatch from Medic 390.”

 “Go ahead.”

 “Any word on the ME and Dectectives?”

“None…will advise when they are on scene.”

As we pulled up, one of the cops walked up to me, his hands in his pockets, shuffling his feet, making him look even younger than the 23 he was.

“Hey, um…some guy in that house is asking for medical. He punched a wall and we think he broke his hand.”

 I nodded. “You coming with me?” He looked even more sheepish as he dug his toe into the concrete and nodded. “We all are. That’s the loco puta’s house. She’s tearing the house apart from the inside, and we figured you didn’t want to go it alone, especially because of her last performance.”

 I nodded and grabbed our Jump Bag. I handed the clipboard to Beth and we walked towards the house, picking up straggling cops as we went. By the time we got to the door, we had almost a dozen cops with us. We walked inside, and I saw the same woman who had spit on me, laying on the ground, sobbing. She stopped as she heard us come in and she keyed in on me.

 “Why is that…that…that thing here!?” She screeched, pointing at me. “Get out! Out out out!”

 I had enough.

 “LOOK!” I shouted. The woman stopped her mantra, staring at me. “I am the Paramedic on duty. I am here to help your brother. He asked for help, you didn’t. I don’t care what you have to say. As far as I’m concerned, you can leave the room, or I can have the police escort you out. Your choice.”

 “I don’ want no niggers in my house!” She stood up and stormed up the steps. I grit my teeth, nearly giving myself a headache in the process. The womans’ mother came around the corner with her surviving son, who’s hand was severely broken. We sat him down in the kitchen so I could get a better look at his hand.

 “She’s not like this…” The Mother began. “I swear, she’s a good girl, she’s just very upset right now.” I nodded as I wrapped the kids’ hand. He didn’t want to go to the ER until the situation was sorted out with his brother. I understood completely. I continued to wrap his hand, cracking an ice pack for him to use.

 “I get that.” I started with a calm voice. “Which is why I kept my calm. Grief does nasty things to you. It doesn’t give her the right to do some of the things she has done today, but it makes it understandable, at least from my side of things.” I got on the phone and with both mother and son promising to go to the ED the minute things were sorted out, and explaining the situation to the command doctor. He granted the refusal. I sat there, and I gave mom the once over, checking vitals to make sure she was medically okay as well. As I did so, I heard footsteps coming down the steps. We all turned to see the woman standing on the steps, her eyes burning holes into my chest.

 “I want those…” She pointed to a bunch of bananas sitting in the middle of the table. “I don’ want that Georgia Porch Monkey to eat ’em!” I sat there for a moment, then I picked up the bananas and handed them to the nearest cop. She recoiled in horror from them, as if I had left the scent of a demon on them that would possess her if she touched them. She smacked the bananas’ from the hand of the cop and stormed back up the steps. I closed my eyes and I shook my head. Standing, I bid my good-byes to the family. As I put the gear back on the truck, Beth watched as I closed the doors and hopped into the passenger seat. She got in, putting the truck into drive, and we headed back for the station.

 “Why…do people still act like that, Shao? We’re in the 2000’s now, not the 1900’s.” I leaned my head back against the seat, closing my eyes.

 “For as long as I live and breathe, in the eyes of a small minority of people, I will always be seen as a second class citizen because of the color of my skin. Even now, in this era, it’ll always be the same way it was less than a hundred years ago. No matter where I work, I will always come up on one person who can’t get their head out of the past. In the end, I do my job and continue on. There is nothing I can do, or would be able to do, to change their minds. It is how it is. The best thing you and I can do is continue on, doing what we do best, and that is to help our fellow man, no matter what they look like or who they are.”

 I adjusted in my chair, “I could’ve not gone in and helped that kid in that house, I had every right to deem it unsafe and that we weren’t going in. That was my right. But what type of people would we be, if we punished that kid for something stupid his sister did in the heat of the moment. I take my job as a Paramedic seriously, Beth. Someone calls for help, I answer it, no matter what color you are, what Deity you pray to, or what gender you decide to share your bed with. I am a firm believer in that, everyone has a bit of good inside them. Does that make me naive? yeah, probably, but it makes bitter pills like that girl back there easier to swallow.”

 I smiled at Beth, pushing the feelings of insecurity and self doubt down. I acted like those words didn’t mean anything to me, like water off a ducks’ back, when in reality, each time she used a slur against me, it hurt more than any bullet, knife, or can of mace she could’ve used against me.  It was a while before I felt completely normal again.

Best. Week. Ever. (The Finale)


Day 5.

Day 5 was the hardest day.  We had packed up the night before so that we could get to the convention center when it opened to maximize our time on the floor.  There were a few different vendors I wanted to make sure I got contact information for to take back to my home service, but most of all, I had some people that I had to say Adios to.  It had been a long but fun week; it was amazing just how much I realized I was going to miss everyone.

As I moved through the various vendors for the last time, I caught up with many my newfound friends.  We laughed and smiled, reminiscing about the last week and making plans to see each other soon.  The last place I stopped was the Zoll Booth where I got to see Justin Schorr and Sam Bradley once more.  I started grabbing pictures with some of the various bloggers that started gathering, then, as if by divine intervention, an idea came to us; Group Photo.

I have never gone to one of those in-store, insert your SD card and print out a photo places, but when I got home from Baltimore, it was my first trip.  I printed out a few photos to frame and have on my wall at home.

Blogger Family Reunion. 😉


This is my favorite shot.  I think I started blubbering like a fool about 20 minutes after this picture was taken.  It was amazing how much I realized I’d miss everyone in this picture. 

I hope I get to see everyone again in August at EMS Expo in Las Vegas and at other, various events through the year.  I miss you guys!

This is where I’m leaving this post. 

Love you guys!

Have fun and be safe.


I Love You Too, Dad.

My dad had heart surgery at 0600 yesterday morning.

I’m approximately 300 miles away from his bedside.

Helpless and scared didn’t come close to describing how I felt yesterday.  To say I felt helpless, alone, scared, worried, terrified, panicked, and absolutely insane still doesn’t come close to describing how I felt and still feel.  I put on a brave face; I’m Medic Shao Trommashere, nothing ruffles my feathers.  In the face of turmoil, I am the one who keeps a smile on her face and a light word on her lips.  I consoled my mother, grandmother, and uncle; answering all their questions, making lighthearted jokes at what was going on.

Every time I hung up the phone or closed my laptop, I grabbed my ragged Mickey Mouse, a present my father gave to me the day they brought me home from my foster family 23 years ago, held it close and bawled my eyes out.  I wanted nothing more than to be next to my father, holding his hand, and telling him how much I love him.  I felt such a fear that I would never see him again, talk to him again that it was a visceral pain.  I didn’t know who to talk to; everyone seemed to be having such a good day which is such a rarity these days that I didn’t want to bring anyone down, so I played Paramedic; I put all my emotions in a nice, neat little box wrapped in ribbon until I had time to deal with it.  Forgive me if this post is disjointed, but crying and typing usually doesn’t work out very well.

My father and I have a very…unusual father-daughter relationship.  Like most only children, I had him wrapped around my finger from the moment he saw me.  I was adopted just before I turned a year and a half old.  One of the first pictures of my father and I is of us sitting on the couch, watching a football game.  In one shot, he’s holding me in his arms, both of us smiling.  The next, I am reaching up for his hat.  The last, I am now wearing his hat and he’s looking at me the way a father looks at his child, the apple of his eye.

We never had mushy gushy moments.  Well…we did, but in the Trommashere sense of the words mushy gushy. My father taking me fishing and us talking about how to catch fish, how best to tie a hook, which lures to use in the water, then how to clean and cook our catch was our code for, “I Love You.”  Talking Football, Baseball, Cooking, and work were also our ways of communicating.  We may not come right out and say it, but we know what each other is trying to say.

Years prior, my father collapsed in our kitchen.  I was 14.  I had just taken my first CPR class not even three weeks prior.  He wasn’t breathing well enough to be effective and he barely had a pulse.  At 14, I did what I could.  At the time, my father weighed in at just under 300lbs; I barely tipped the scales at 120.  The 911 dispatcher hung up on me, saying, “The medics’ will be there soon…”

I did CPR on my dad, in my kitchen at 0230 in the morning with my mum bawling her eyes out.  It was discovered that the pharmacy made an error when filling his prescription.  They added a zero where they shouldn’tve and he received nearly quadruple the dose of a medication.  When he came to, the first words out of his mouth were, “My fucking chest hurts…”  Sheepishly, I stood up and told him I did CPR on him and I broke a rib in the process.  His response, “Good on ya…” and he fell asleep.  Three days later, the morning after they let him out of the hospital, he made Chocolate Chip Pancakes, fresh squeezed Orange Juice, and Bacon for me.  I sat at the kitchen table and we ate in silence.  As we cleaned up, he patted me on the shoulder and said, “Thanks for the broken rib.”

In Dad-speak, he was telling me he loved me.

My father was always there for me.  I can’t count how many times I’d come home from school bawling my eyes out because the boy of my dreams (for that week) kissed another girl, or I got a bad score on a test I tried really hard to study for, or I didn’t get asked to the dance, and my dad would be there for me, telling me that it was no big deal; the boy of my dreams would never make me cry and if he did, my father would make him cry, one bad score wouldn’t ruin an entire year of good scores, and the music they played at school dances was crappy anyways.  He worked hard to make sure I could do anything and everything I wanted, yet he still found time to be there for every Track Meet, Fencing Match, Cheerleading Competition, and Science Fair. 

It’s hard to think about my father being ill.  He’s always been unnaturally healthy for as long as I can remember.  Even after serving as a Marine in Vietnam, jumping out of a third story window to escape a house fire, a near fatal accidental overdose, and having me as a daughter, he has always been healthy.

I have also always been there.

I never once thought there wouldn’t be a next time…

…I had to think about it now.

I went through today, focusing on the craziness in Japan, calling my friends over there to do my own PAR check.  I worked the dog, trying to put my heart in it.  We had just moved onto a big portion of training and I was just so frazzled that I was kind of glad when TWP started showing signs of being tired.  I gave him the ‘All Done’ signal and we were done.  I thought of everything that I had never said to my dad; each time I could’ve said ‘I Love You’. I also feared for the only two big things left in my life that I know my father is looking forward to; giving me away at my wedding and meeting his grandchild or grandchildren.  I look forward to the day when I can walk down the aisle on my fathers’ arm so he can ‘give me away’ to the man of my dreams.  I look forward to the day when he gets to be called ‘Granddad’.

Around 7 or 8 this evening, I honestly can’t remember, my mum called me.  She said my dad pulled through just fine; he’s more upset at the fact that they shaved his chest and gave him a Foley than anything else.  I got to speak with him for a few minutes.  His voice was hoarse from chewing on plastic, but he sounded fine.  He asked about my Fire Fighting class, (“Fine…got to break some shit today…”), how Baltimore was, (“It was fun.  I didn’t get to go on the boats this year, but maybe next time…”), and when I was coming home, (“Not sure.  Have lots of classes and stuff…”). 

There was a long pause on the other end of the line.  I had tears streaming down my face and I was trying not to sniffle too loudly in the phone.  I heard him yawn and move around, muttering angrily at the ECG Stickies.  He then said, “So.  I…uhm…I have a new bottle of wine and a new recipe…oh yeah, I got some more Miles Davis, Prince, and that Temptations CD you were raving about.  Can’t wait until you come home so we can cook together.  I miss that.  We cooked every holiday together for the last how many years.  So…can’t wait to cook with you again. I got a new set of knives that I think you’d like…”

I stopped him, laughing through my tears, “I love you too, Dad. Now, go to bed.”

He sighed, then hung up.


PS, Dad.  I love you.