Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mental

Many of you know that I have recently relocated to a new city. One of the facility contracts we have is a hospital, on the local Army base. Yesterday I was dispatched out to transfer a patient to the other VA Hospital, which from my understanding, is primarily a inpatient psychiatric facility with a few primary care offices.

I arrived on the floor to get report from the nurse to find out that our patient was a 24 year old male, who was hospitalized for a suicide attempt. He returned from the Middle East with both his legs amputated, one just above the knee the other nearly to his hip. He "survived" an explosion, I assumed a buried bomb, landmine, or direct heavy fire. I didn't want to ask. The blast not only took his legs, but shattered his pelvis, which took months of surgeries and physical therapy to "recover" from.

This last November he was discharged under disability. Since then he has been unable to cope with all the fallout of not only his injuries, his new "quality" of life, but PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Think about it, when you survive an explosion, manage to drag your bleeding and disfigured body to cover, just to spend months and months enduring even more torture at the hands of VA "doctors" and "nurses"... you'd have PTSD too. And one hell of a case of it!!!

I gathered up all the forced smiles, professionalism, and pleasantness I could to go in and introduce myself and my partner, and help him onto the stretcher. Lucky for me, it was my partner's turn to ride in back. He's former military. I'm not. I would have no idea what to say. Do you thank him for his sacrifice? Is that like acid in a wound? Do you make small talk about the weather? Do you ask about his wife and kids? Just what do you say to not make him hurt, or make him uncomfortable?

I wanted to just cry FOR him. My sadness for him will ebb away in a while, his sadness will follow him for the rest of his life, barring further suicide attempts. And there will be more, I'm sure of it. At this point who are we to say his suicide attempts are unjustified. We - as cushy and comfortable Americans, sitting at home watching our TIVO'd entertainment, shuffling to our air conditioned jobs, going out with friends, taking vacations, and living a posh life in comparison to how our soldiers are living - stole this man's life... and for what?

I don't even want to get into the political debate on the validity of why this war has drug on and on. All I know is that is has stolen the lives of far too many soldiers. Death or trauma (physical and mental) is too high a price! And for his sacrifice... I FEEL GUILTY. And I don't even support this war. But I DO support these soldiers for the "job" they do. It's even more than a job, really.

Last winter, when I was continuing to establish my Reiki practice, I received a call from an Army Sgt who was searching for alternative healing practices. He didn't specifically mention PTSD, but I could hear the desperation in his voice. Whatever he was utilizing just wasn't working for him. Although I was unable to schedule him around my EMS schedule, I was able to refer him to a colleague. But right then and there I decided that I have to give back. I decided that I would offer my Reiki services to returning military personnel.

I left this soldier my card, neatly tucked into his belongings.
I hope I hear from him.

And on a side note... This VA facility is about the size of Floyd Hospital (for my friends back home) or Atlanta Medical Center (for my Grady Peeps). So that should give you some perspective on how many inpatient (significant case) mental health patients are being cared for here in the surrounding Augusta area. About 95% of those are returning from the Middle East... (sigh)

Thanks y'all - for letting me vent......

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hello out there...

Most of you all have e-mailed me asking about my hiatus from blogging. I've had so much going on lately that I have just simply not been able to sit down in front of the computer and compose anything. Packing and moving twice, job searches, apprenticeship, and chauffeuring friends keeps one busy. I wake up at 8 and don't go to bed until midnight or later. Nowhere in there do I have time to blog right now. I promise I will be back soon. And with an all new blog about the adventures of the new job.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Because I Laughed...

I was happy to see that they finally enabled the embedding codes for this video. So happy happy happy I can share it. All my Atlanta friends and colleagues will laugh their asses off. It's a great spoof of Atlanta history and landmarks. Check it out.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Life goes on... FINALLY!

I am delighted to report that I have been extended a job offer. This includes a significant relocation bonus, competitive pay, and decent benefits. I even have a second part time job in the works. It's a posh one too! Fantastic hourly pay with travel and lodging reimbursement. By my estimates, I will have fully recovered financially from the fall out of this last year within just a couple of months.

The downside is that I will be moving to a city where I know absolutely no one. Considering the last year, this may actually be a good thing. But the most wonderful thing is that I accomplished all of this 100% alone. No help from "friends", or ex's. So I start new with a feeling of accomplishment, and no obligations to repay any debts.

I will be starting a new blog, yielding the dish on my new journey and of course including all the anecdotes I anticipate to collect providing EMS in a new city. If you guys want the link, just e-mail me your request through the link on my profile.

Friday, February 13, 2009

ADOPT A SOLDIER!!!


From Dragon's blog:

Many deployed service personnel are without letters from home. This is a pen-pal organization that promotes letter writing through the adoption of a US soldier.

I JOINED!

I am wiggling in my seat to start up a pen-pal again. And this time around, my efforts will have depth and meaning! The last pen-pal I had was in highschool, through my German classes. It didn't last long, but neither did many other short lived phases I went through.

Here's the link to the website:
ADOPT A US SOLDIER (dot) ORG

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Paying It Forward... (or) Repaying a Priceless Debt...


I worked the streets as a Paramedic in the inner-city for almost 8 years. I have been shot at, cut, beaten, cursed at daily... and for that I gained an appreciation of what our service men and women face overseas, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. My own experience has only been a tiny fraction in comparison to the terrors and violence these brave souls face -- DAILY.

Most regular every day folks don't realize how truly traumatic this war, and past wars, have been on our military personnel. Many come home with pent up emotions, anger, stress, hidden fear, panic attacks, nightmares, chronic and acute depression, suicidal ideations... even worse... violent outbursts and blackouts. This is all from a very real response called POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER. In some it is very subtle. In others it can be very obvious. Either way, it can be crippling to their daily lives, and damning to marriages and families.

PTSD had not even really been recognized, much less be diagnosed as a very real issue relating to mental health, until after Vietnam. Before then, many families whispered quietly about their older veterans who would panic or freak out when a car backfired or fireworks went off at a holiday celebration. They once called this response "shell shock", and sometimes these older veterans would have very real flashbacks that instantly put them back into a combat scenario, and they would go off on tangents about enemies close by, or run and dive for cover.
Even the everyday person can suffer PTSD from such common causes as near death experiences, surviving rape or incest, surviving a violent attack, surviving domestic or child abuse, etc.

Today's service men and women are given debriefings aimed at reducing the likely hood of this response. I am on the Georgia CISD team that does the same for cops, firemen, and EMS providers. However, many military personnel are in denial about their needs in this field. They think that because they are "Army Strong" or "Proud Marines" that they don't need counseling, or that wanting or needing counseling is a sign of weakness or inferiority. Or even when they recognize the warning signs, they won't reach out... because debriefings and counseling will significantly delay them from going home to their loved ones when their tour is done. I can understand this. The same stigma exists in public safety.

For returning military personnel I will extend my services as an secondary means of stress management. I am in no way advocating the refusal of professional psychiatric services offered by the military.

All returning military personnel (with proper ID and documentation) will receive their first reiki appointment, including a one-on-one consultation and review of medical history - FREE!!! Subsequent sessions will be HALF-OFF.

I am also extending this same benefit to public safety personnel to reduce job stress or manage diagnosed PTSD... AND to the everyday person who has been diagnosed with PTSD.
THIS IS MY OWN WAY OF SAYING "THANK YOU" FOR PUTTING YOU ASS ON THE LINE, EVERY DAY... FOR MY FREEDOM, MY RIGHTS AS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, AND FOR KEEPING AMERICA A SAFER PLACE TO LIVE.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I was reminded...

Out of sheer boredom for the slow nights... it can be really fun to fuck with dispatch. Most of them don't even realize it either. That's even funnier.

Ambulance Driver had such an exchange last night apparently:
Ambulance Driver: Radio Traffic From Last Night

Dispatcher: "Borg Unit Four, you have an assault/rape at Masquerade, 1384 Waterfront. 23-year-old male at the rear entrance."

Temporary Partner: "What's Masquerade?"

Ambulance Driver: "Local gay bar. They have an awesome drag show on Wednesday nights."

Temporary Partner [on radio]: "Dispatch, where did you say the patient was again?"

Dispatcher: "Unit Four, your injury is going to be at the rear entrance."

TP: "Ummmm, okay."


Back in the old days, when Fulton County Communications handled Grady EMS's dispatching, one of our primary posts was in Buckhead. On Friday and Saturday nights we would move from our usual post at AFD Sta 21 over to the middle of the old bar district.

Much better eye candy!!!

One bar even had a huge clear glass picture window with scantily clad "window girls" who would take turns sitting precariously in a sex-swing and swinging all night, much to the delight of passers by, the foot-patrol cops, and us pervy EMS folk.

Every weekend there were the typical bar brawls. APD would respond, and request EMS to patch up the arrested party's boo-boos before hauling them to jail. Our favorite was Club Uranus!! Our self-claimed Friday and Saturday night post was in eye-shot of Uranus, and the "window girls". It made working the night shift every weekend so worth it. But nothing beat asking Fulton County Dispatch repeatedly for the name of the bar:

Fulton Co: 7916 prepare to copy. You're responding to a 23 yo male, assaulted in Uranus, APD on scene.

Grady 196: Sorry radio, can you re advise your traffic, we have a lot of crowd noise here at post...

Fulton Co: 196, you are responding to an assault in Uranus.

Grady 196: Are you advising there's an assault in Uranus?

Fulton Co: 10-4, male assaulted in Uranus. APD is on scene. Your clear to enter.

Grady 196: Clear, APD has ok'd entry to Uranus. Show us at scene... In Uranus.

That exchange could have gone on all night and never lost a single ounce of funny!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Great Quote

Be who you are.
Say how you feel.
Those who mind don't matter.
Those who matter won't mind.

I stole this from Dragon's blog today.
Damn good piece of plagerism if I do say so myself.

The Airway Continuum - Kelly Grayson

Looks like the embedded player isn't working.
Sorry! Yell at the folks over at EMS1.com!

Try this link:
EMS Blogger Kelly Grayson discusses The Airway Continuum at EMStock 2008.


The Airway Continuum is a conceptual tool that provides EMS professionals a template for providing the appropriate level of airway management for a given patient. In this brief video clip, Kelly discusses with EMS1.com Director, Kris Kaull, the current paradigms in EMS airway management, and how current research is driving a shift in the was EMS providers view airway management.

ORIGINAL POST LINK:
Ambulance Driver: For All You EMS Types...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

さようなら, arrivederci, adiós... y'all!!!


(because a foreign catch phrase makes me feel intellectually superior, damn it!)

Recovering Grady Addict will remain a totally EMS related blog, which was it's original intended purpose. The new blog will hold all the pearls relating to the more personal side of life and the folks I choose to include in it.

I have redirected my personal blogging to a new site, which those of you who know about, know about. Those of you who don't... it's for a good reason.

I have just posted an archive of personal blogs (removed from here), a reference for those of you who have expressed interest in following me on my new blogging journey.

There are those who have given drama a new definition, and for them this was fun for a while. But for me, it's just time to move on. Some of us are simply more upfront about it than others who would rather keep up appearances, play both sides of the chase, and deny to each side the truth about what they do with the other.

As for the professed misery of others and their choices in life...
It is true that you can certainly pick your friends and acquaintances. But, you still have to choose. We can only hide behind indecision for so long in life. There is never a choice between our friends and our family, only how we choose to interact and balance between the two.

Thanks, all! Hope you enjoy the new blog!
E-mail me for the new link.