Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Death Writer: Working with Death Wednesday: A Writer and an EMT

This story made the Devil himself cry...the entire population of Portland, Oregon cried like babies - I cried writing it...the roughest, toughest, orneriest hombre's on the face of the planet have read this story and didn't realize until it was too late...they cried like puppies...made them wanna beat the crap outta me.

I'd like to thank The Death Writer for posting my essay on her blog and giving me the opportunity to make more people cry.  GOT TISSUE?

The Death Writer: Working with Death Wednesday: A Writer and an EMT: Today I am so excited to post an essay written by Mike Cyra right here on my blog.  Mike found this blog when I posted an interview with my ...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Are you prepared for a drinking water emergency?

Don't be caught with your scrubs around your ankles and no emergency water.
With Flint, Michigan fresh in our minds, do you have an adequate supply of water stored for an emergency? It's an easy thing to forget about...until the unexpected happens.
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you should know that we are overdue for an earthquake. If you live anywhere else, you should know how easy it is to have your water supply compromised.
Here's what you need to know:
You need one gallon of water, per day, per person in your house.
You should have at least 7 days of water stored in your home.
That means if there are two people in your house, you need 6 of those 2.5 gallon jugs of water.
Add a gallon per day for your PETS.

BOTTOM LINE: Every time you go to the store buy a 2.5 gallon jug of water. At the very least buy a gallon of water.

Here are links for what you need to know about storing water.

Here is a good table for purifying water with bleach.

Monday, June 23, 2014

DowngradeDowngrade by Jacqueline Patricks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I read, "You don't read a Jacqueline Patricks story, you experience it!" I thought, "Yea right, OK." I was skeptically three paragraphs into this story when I'll be damned if I wasn't experiencing it! As I got further into the story, my mind was experiencing two things; the accuracy and realism of the story being told to me, and the recollection of a number of very similar calls that I had been on during my twenty-years working in emergency medicine.
Not only was I sucked into the story by the exceptional writing, but also because...that's exactly the way it is. I was breathing through my mouth and waiting to look right behind Jacqueline Patricks fictionalized medic. If anyone wants to, as the author put it, "experience what a paramedic feels," step no further-Downgrade is as real as it gets. The language used in this story...sorry grandma...but it's the language of EMS exactly as I remember it.
Having never heard of Jacqueline Patricks prior to this, I found her here, to be as professional and well trained with the written word, as she is as a paramedic. I will recommend Downgrade all day long. Nice job Patricks!

View all my reviews

Friday, March 14, 2014

Brothers Behaving Badly

I was asked recently, "What story had the biggest impact on me when I was a child."
My response was:
My older brothers made me read a story when I was in second or third grade, about how when Nuns become Nuns, they had to have their boobs chopped off. This horrified me. All my teachers were Nuns.

The more I thought about this, the more it started to make sense. None of the Nuns I ever saw looked like they had boobs. It also explained why they had such short tempers and smacked little boys around all the time.
If someone chopped my boobs off, I'd be an angry little penguin too; and I'd smack the hell out of little boys...just because.

I spent the next two days at school staring at their habits, you know, where their boobs should be. My brothers were right, none of them had any boobs.
Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I walked up to Sister Mary Elizabeth Francis Cassius Clay (that's not her real name) and asked,"Sister?"
"What is it Michael?"
"Did it hurt?"
"Did what hurt?"
"You know, Sister, when you started being a Nun...chop, chop...didn't it hurt?
"What are you talking about Michael?"
"You know, when you became a Nun and they chopped your boobs off..."

I've never been hit in the head so quickly, so many times and for so long, in my entire life.

What impact did it have on me?

It taught me that truth is stranger than fiction, and sometimes it hurts more.
Think before you speak.
Never underestimate how fast a 70-year-old Nun can move.
Don't believe everything you read.
Keep your friends close and keep your older brothers closer.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Don't be stingy with your organs!

Let's be honest.

When you die, you don't need your organs anymore. You're not going to miss a little bone, or your heart, or even your corneas. YOU DON'T NEED IT ANYMORE!

But a lot of people do. Desperately, because it's a matter of life or death.

I've been on both ends of the scalpel with tissue donations. I've worked on surgical teams harvesting organs, tissue and bone. Two years ago I had a large benign bone tumor removed from my left femur. I received allograft bone from the local tissue bank.

Without that bone, taken from another Human Being soon after they died, the outcome of my surgery and my recovery could have been drastically different.

Organ donors make a huge difference for thousands of patients every day. Please, make a difference and save a life. Let it be known in your will, on your drivers license and to your loved ones, that you want to help the living when you die.

It's a miraculous gift.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Is Cottage Cheese part of your New Year's Weight loss program? Not Anymore!

Is cottage cheese part of your weight-loss New Year’s resolution? Not anymore.

Every once in a while, something happens to you that changes the way you think, feel and eat for the rest of your life.

My life-changing event happened when I worked on an ambulance.  We were called to a nursing home to pick up a cute little old lady and take her to the hospital.

When we arrived, she was just finishing her lunch and was pushing a huge spoonful of cottage cheese into her mouth. The nurse mentioned she was deaf so I yelled, “Are you ready to go to the hospital?”

She looked up, squinted at the empty space next to my head, and went back to finding the large curds of cottage cheese she had spilled on her shirt and getting each one in her mouth.

On the way to the hospital I couldn’t help but notice that her mouth was in perpetual motion. Something was stuck in a tooth or behind her dentures.

When we arrived at the hospital, my partner and I pulled the gurney out of the back of the ambulance and set it on the ground. I bent down and asked her, “How are you doing?” Then I remembered she was deaf so I put my face directly in front of hers. I took a deep breath, opened my mouth wide and started to shout, “HOW …” That’s as far as I got.

At times like this, you have to marvel at what an amazing organ the brain is. Sensing imminent danger, my brain went into emergency mode. Time and space was now an ultra-slow motion movie.

I saw her mouth suddenly stop moving. Whatever she had been hunting for with her tongue, she had found it. She stuck the tip of her tongue out between her dry, crusty lips. Then her cheeks puffed out as the air pressure inside her mouth increased.

She looked up and squinted at the empty space next to my head. And then…then a huge curd of cottage cheese exploded from her mouth.

In slow motion the curd came at me, like a huge asteroid tumbling through space, throwing off little balls of spit in all directions. Slowly, tumbling, towards my open mouth.

I could hear my brain trying to warn me. In a deep, slurred, drug induced dream –like voice, it screamed, “Mike cloooose yourrrrrr mouuuuth! Ohhhh NOOOOO! Close youurrrr mouuuth!”

Time raced back to normal as the cottage cheese asteroid entered my mouth’s atmosphere, became a cottage cheese meteor and slammed directly into the back of my throat.

I immediately made the international sign for choking. I stumbled backwards and dropped to my knees, gagging and coughing, trying to dislodge the curd from the back of my throat.

There are seven different types of shock. I was in five of them. This was the grossest thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life. 

My partner saw this and turned the color of a thick bank of fog. He involuntarily made the international sign for choking around his neck, and he too began gagging. This is known as, “Sympathetic Choking.”

 I performed the Heimlich maneuver on myself by throwing my body against the side of the gurney. This dislodged the curd from the back of my throat and moved it into my mouth. I could feel the texture of the curd with my tongue.

This was the second grossest thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life. I instantly spit every molecule of moisture out of my mouth, but not before I reminded myself that this curd of cottage cheese had just been in that ladies 90-year-old mouth.

I began to dry heave. My partner saw this and immediately started dry heaving. That would be, “Sympathetic Dry Heaving.”

A crowd had now formed around us. Between heaves I sputtered, “Everything’s fine, shows over, move along.” I got to my feet and tried to pretend nothing had happened. This was difficult since I was retching loudly every few seconds. I wanted to rinse my mouth out with gasoline.

I looked at Grandma Spitty-Poo. She was oblivious to the near death experience she had just caused. She just laid there on the gurney searching the front of her shirt for more of her lunch.

I haven’t eaten cottage cheese in over five years now. It took me two years and a lot of therapy before I would even walk down the dairy isle at the supermarket.

I used to like cottage cheese. I used to like a lot of things; milk, spitting watermelon seeds, talking to people without flinching and holding my hand over my mouth, white chocolate-covered raisins and little old ladies.