Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spring Forward

I've spent the last 13 years living in the Midwest and East Coast, and to be honest, I've never much looked forward to spring.  I can remember that very first fall in Wisconsin;  breathing in the wonder of it all.  Seasons.  You don't get those much in Southern California.  There's dry and there's wet.  That's about it.

But, in Wisconsin it went from a warm summer to a crisp fall.  I started headily anticipating winter... my first snowfall.  Then it came.  I ran around taking pictures of the light dusting.  It all disappeared by the next morning, but for me, it was all so amazing.  Of course, driving in it became another issue, and by February I was really looking forward to seeing some sunshine.  That's when it started raining and the white piles of snow became brown piles of mush and mud.  Then it would freeze, then it would snow, then it would thaw, then it would rain and the cycle would repeat.

Then one day... somewhere around late April the landscape suddenly went from brown to green, then the heat and humidity of summer fired up.  Seriously, when was fall coming back?  Wash, rinse, repeat.  Given the choice, I preferred fall and winter.  None of this yucky brown-white mess for me.

This year, we're on the West Coast.  Can't really say there's seasons, but what I can deduce so far is that for the first time in many years, I am looking forward to spring.  We moved here at the beginning of fall, and all of the hills were changing to a golden brown.  The trees had mostly lost their leaves.  Now, there's lambs appearing in the fields.  The rain seems to be slowing down.  The days are getting longer.  There always seem to be calves around, but I think the hillsides show a sign of promise of green waving grasses and a covering of foliage.  I can see the bulb plants pushing their way up toward the sky.  I see hope all around me.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Random Thoughts #1 of 2011

I've been very lax about writing recently. Funny thing is, I keep thinking of all these great blog postings, then I get distracted, then I get busy, and I never write them down. So I thought I would take a moment to write about a few things that have popped into my brain over the last week or so... caution, this may go long.

I love to travel, and I love taking photographs.  One of my colleagues asked what I liked to take pictures of, and I said, "Everything!"  My mom got used to pulling over to the side of the road frequently during road trips so that I could take a picture of something I saw that looked interesting.  My husband is slowly learning the same thing... My photographic life has been just that more interesting with the advent of camera phones.  I carry my phone everywhere, so instantly I can point and shoot.  In fact, my entire cross-country trip was shot with my iPhone... yeah....

We started eating "raw" again this year.  After finding that I gained a bunch of weight back following finishing residency and getting settled in a new place, it was time.  Time to get back that energy I had before.  Time to start fighting against the aging tide.  Time to get back into my old clothes.  And, time to truly test my self-discipline.  While not 100% raw, what can you say about the healthiness of self-made veggie patties, in a lettuce wrap with pinto bean chips?  My DH said, "Yum!"

I work in the emergency department.  While in residency, I worked in a trauma center which I sometimes referred to as the "drama" center since I enjoyed the back story of patients to the actual medicine.  I find that while I am not seeing the amount of trauma that I trained under, the drama certainly hasn't diminished in the least.

A few nights ago I found myself counseling a just-20-something patient who is pregnant and living with her almost-30 year old "baby daddy" in his parents' home.  The "he should understand what I'm going through because he's already got two other kids from when he was married," comment started a tightness in my shoulders that lasted throughout the entire 20 minute conversation.  I let her talk despite having several more patients to see because, literally, she has no one else.  She was a foster kid who was finally placed in a home at age 11.  She left this home in another state due to frictions between her and her foster parents.  I didn't ask how she ended up pregnant and alone several hundred miles away, but here she is, and I am sure it will not be the last time I see her in the E.D. during her pregnancy.

Did you know there's actually a "Squirrel Appreciation Day?"  I celebrated it this year by taking a nap since I am on the night shift over the weekend.  Had I known earlier, I might have done something a little more festive around my blog.... 

As, you can see... I am the tail-end of my blogpost..... Until next time!

Friday, January 14, 2011

An Extraordinary Life

Most people remember the TV show in the early 70's called "Emergency!"  It's where paramedic firefighters were showcased for the first time.  What I didn't know is that the character of Johnny Gage was based on a real-life firefighter named James O. Page.  Not only is he recognized as one of the forefathers of EMS, he is generally considered a gifted writer, teacher, and historian.

Today at our NAEMSP conference, the Memorial lecture was dedicated to him, and the speaker talked about his life.  Wow.  It got me to thinking about how you learn about these amazing people and hear about the extraordinary things they do and wonder how they did it.  How does someone live the extraordinary life?

It made me start thinking about the movie "Dead Poet's Society" and how influential that movie was to me at the time... about to start college... thinking of challenging what I felt to be my parents' ideas of what my life should be like.... wondering how I was going to lead my own extraordinary life.  This scene is my favorite:

The lecture ended with a quote which was found in the wallet of James O. Page when he died suddenly. Given that it's a brand new year, I felt it appropriate to think of this as a mantra for the upcoming year... what will you do to make your life extraordinary?

‎"I want to appreciate the time when moments were made into memories. I want to embrace them, cherish them, and never forget that they come so few and far between. I know that wherever life takes me, these memories will always follow. They remind me of what's truly important. It's not just life, but living. It's the journey, the destination, and all the little points in between. And I must admit, I like what I see." - author unknown

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Saving Lives

You might wonder what a SWAT vehicle would have to do with saving lives.  Or what an E.D. doc would have to do with a SWAT vehicle.  That's what I'm learning about here in Florida this week.  That plus a lot of other information during the weeklong National Association of Emergency Medical Services Physicians Conference.

Many of you know I am interested in EMS (Emergency Medical Services) which, most of the time, has to do with ambulances, firetrucks, helicopters, etc. and the prehospital care of patients.  Well, there's a branch of EMS known as Tactical EMS that has to do with the care and support of police officers, SWAT team members, federal agents, etc.  I am here at this conference primarily to attend a Medical Director's course for this group.

Now, I don't plan to be running into buildings like a medic, grabbing people and then jumping on helicopters flying them out of dangerous situations, but a part of our training today did discuss those kinds of situations.  For the most part, it's taking care of the people who perform these dangerous duties and helping them stay fit and active so that they can do their jobs.

And, of course, sometimes, we do get involved in the actual "live" part of the job.... but, that's training for a another day... for now, I'll content myself with knowing the basics.  Crawl, walk, run....

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