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!

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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.