Aug 122015

Inhabiting my current world is a cadre of emergency care providers who are often less than half my age. I feel humbly grateful to have the health and well-being to remain in their midst, and to feel accepted as one of them despite our generational differences.

It occurs to me, though, that as an elder in this crazy, wonderful world of providing assistance to those who call for help, I have perspective that they cannot. Although history sometimes seems irrelevant to those who have not lived it, perhaps it doesn’t hurt to be reminded, now and then, that today’s status quo didn’t come without someone proving it could be done. Continue reading »

Join Up!

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Mar 172015

As I was driving home along the quiet streets of the middle of the night from a medical call at 0330 (that’s 3:30 a.m.) recently, that old Army pitch came to mind: “Join the Army, See the World.”

We had been summoned to the bedside of an older man newly-confronted by a cardiac situation which has involved being cardioverted (shocked) two times in the past couple of weeks. When he awakened with that sense of a racing heart again, it was understandably freaky–especially in the wee hours of the night. I’m glad they called; it was reassuring to the family for our trained eyes to come as first responders and help him and his wife cope until the ambulance with its paramedics arrived. Continue reading »

Feb 032015

My mom used to let up on the brakes at a stoplight while it was still red, but (like magic, to a seven-year-old) it always turned green just as she did that.

“How do you know the light is about to turn green?” I asked from my vantage point in the back seat one day.

“I watch for the amber on the light for the people going the other way,” she said, “and that way I can tell it’s just about our turn.”

That memory is so vivid, I think, because I learned two things. First: my mom observed things beyond the obvious. I’d never thought to do that. Second: she somehow knew exactly what I was getting at with my question. This led me to ponder the power of a well-asked question—a concept which followed me into my work both as a journalist and as a paramedic. Journalists and paramedics must gather extensive information, often quickly, in order to do their jobs. I like to joke that by now I can ask darn near anyone darn near anything. It’s what I do.


From the Chomolhari Trek, Bhutan, 2005

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