Thursday, September 10, 2015

Moving Day

This blog is moving.

Actually, moving day was yesterday. I had a long hiatus that I hadn't planned on. And I did some thinking. Basically, what I realized was that I needed to change my writing venue. If I wanted to start again I had to do it in another place with a different focus and a different intent.

My new place to post at is here.

I look forward to reading your commentary there. And thanks for reading what I've written over the past 10 years. I really, truly appreciate it.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Blast of Winter

It is incredibly cold outside.

Over the past week this part of the world has had considerable snow. I believe the totals in the New England area vary between 36 and 40 inches since last Tuesday. Not only has it been incredibly cold and snowy but there have been periods of high winds as well.

If you think about it, there has been very little snow this winter until now. And the predictions have been consistent that this is supposed to be a high quantity winter as far as the snow is concerned. I would say that the weather over the past week has more than made up for any shortfalls that there would be.

As I sit writing this I am at work. Waiting for the phone to ring. Expecting nothing more than a busy day when all is said and done. And I don't feel especially well; I am tired and I'm dealing with some mild to moderate nausea. The only thing I can think is causing the nausea is the possibility that I picked up a stomach bug from my grand-daughter. She has been sick since Sunday. I am hoping, however, that she is starting to come around and feel better. At the moment she is either with her father or well enough to have gone to school. I don't know which.

There are some things that are better than winter. Actually there are many things that are better than winter. Like summer. And warm days. And the feel of the sun on your face in the morning. Also, there is nothing like a good glass of lemonade on ice when it is hot. Or a cookout. Or being in the stands at a baseball game. These are all good things.

I miss the summer, especially when the weather is a cold as it is now. I do know, however, that spring will come first. The best part is that pitchers and catchers report in a little over 2 weeks.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Oral Station

I imagine that some people, when they read the title of this post,  will maybe have unsavory thoughts cross their mind.  If you do, shame on you. But I will admit that the title can be somewhat misleading.

The past two Sundays I've worked as an ALS skills evaluator at different testing sites. Both are always well-run, and the group of cadre that work as evaluators are a dedicated bunch of people. Not to mention interesting and always somewhat dysfunctional. This exam is skills - based as opposed to written; there is one of those as well, and as exams go it is among the most challenging exam I had ever taken. All things being equal, however, the skills exam is just as daunting. Twelve stations total for Paramedics: a trauma assessment, two cardiology stations, two IV and a pharmacology station, a random skills station, a spinal immobilization station (yes - even though many states are getting away from long board immobilization the National Registry still requires proficiency, at least for now), and two oral board stations.

My station of choice is the oral board, hence the title of this post. I do it for a couple of reasons. The main reason is because it gives me a good idea how people think and whether or not they indeed think critically. It is disappointing how many don't. The other reason is somewhat selfish on my part; it is much easier to set up and break down.

There are usually two evaluators, one to handle "A" and the other to handle "B". I was on both sides of this in each place I worked at. Plus when there were retests I got to do this in different stations. This is pretty normal; doing the retesting can either be good or bad, depending on the state of mind of the individual  candidates.

I try to keep in mind that there is stress no matter what. All of us who do this have been there ourselves, and most of us do our best to not add stress to the load. But it is stressful, even for people who have experience but need National certification.

So when they come up again I'll likely be there.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Statue of St. Benedict of Nursia
Photo by W. Trachim 

I have always liked photography. There is something to be said about artistry when talking about photographs as opposed to painting, writing, music, or any other artistic medium. I have never, ever considered myself an artist of any sort, even when I was working as a musician. And while many people would say that music is indeed an artistic medium (I would never argue that point, by the way), I think I've always considered music to be more technical. And I suspect I have this view because I have always believed that numbers and music are intimately intertwined.

Photography is a whole other matter. And I don't know how to describe it. Maybe it's because there are no numbers involved. I think it's all about what you see. Interpretation. Viewpoint. Those things that make how you translate a picture into words.

Martha gave me a camera for Christmas. A Canon EOS Rebel. Plus a 300mm zoom lens in addition to the standard 35mm lens that came with the camera. I really think that this is one of the best gifts I've been given. It has given me the ability to look at things from a different perspective. And I have only just started playing with it.

Some of the photographs I have taken over the past few days are on social media. I'm putting some of them here as well. I know I'm not unique, as far as taking photos, A number of my friends are phenomenal photographers, in fact. Those folks are incredibly good at it. I'm just getting started. It's funny; I feel like I graduated from a smartphone. It's not to say I won't use my phone to take photos anymore, but I can definitely tell the difference.

Jasmine and Belle
Photo by W. Trachim
California Pine Cones and a Coloring Book
Photo by W. Trachim
I think I will be putting more of these up as I go on. Let's see if I can get better at this over time.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The 2014 Holidays

I often find myself reflecting on this subject - at least once a year. And it only happens because of the difficulty that seems to be present. When it does, I am fully aware of the weight it adds to me. Figuratively, of course. And I am certainly not the only person who has trouble during the holiday season. It's a hard time of year for many people.

Two days ago - Tuesday - was an especially difficult day for no apparent reason. I got up, went to work, and proceeded to find myself feeling as though I'd been grated by sand paper. I don't know another way of describing the feeling, but there it is. Plus, I was feeling depressed. Really sad. It occurred to me that part of the reason for this was that I have had a tough time during the holidays. Between working a lot of hours, the stress that comes with the schedule I keep, and the needs of my family, it had added up. Not to mention the weather; really wet and gloomy.

Fortunately, I have good friends. I commented on my state of mind on social media, and a number of people responded with words of encouragement and support. I am grateful for that. And I certainly won't forget it. Yesterday was a much better day, and right now I am entering the home stretch - two hours left of a ten hour shift in the Emergency Department. The night watch. Little bursts of activity on a given overnight, but not so much this past overnight. I have had much, much worse.

Today? I am working tonight at the firehouse. After I get through with this shift I am going to go home and try to sleep for a while. Friday I am working the second of two 24 hour shifts for the week. And I am off for the weekend. Hopefully I will be able to get whatever stuff that needs to be done completed. The only thing that will be challenging will be Monday, December 22. That would have been my mother's eighty-third birthday. But I will get through that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Searching For A Subject

I've been working on this post off and on for about a week. I have not been writing at all lately, or even infrequently at best. It's not because I've lost interest, but I seem to have run out of steam.

Part of the reason that I write infrequently or sporadically is because of the difficulty I have in finding things to write about. It's not that subjects aren't available; certainly there are. My problem seems to be that there is simply too much to consider. At least I think that is what's going on, but I can't be sure. With that in mind, I have some things percolating in my head that I may actually be able to put in a post.

Over the past week my my work life has undergone a phase shift. A couple of weeks ago I was offered a position with Lifeline Ambulance, which I accepted and started at the beginning of this week. They are an EMS transport provider based out of Woburn, Massachusetts. That also happens to be where I will be working the two 24 hour shifts, Tuesdays and Fridays. I was happy with that schedule but I am having to shift everything else around because I accepted this job, and I may end up with some of my work going away. Or maybe not; I have had to make changes which, for the most part, have been reasonably  successful. But like anything else, it is always interesting when change is effected; other things are usually always impacted. So you adjust. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. Always do your best.

The weather here has fluctuated over the past couple of weeks. A lot. And my body is feeling it. We are supposed to be getting a considerable amount of rain over the next two days. I certainly can tell that this is happening due to the joint soreness,  especially in my shoulders, my hips, and the back of my left calf. Plus I have picked up a dry cough. I'm not certain where it comes from but I don't appreciate its presence. It has to be due to dry air in buildings. But I'm likely wrong about that;  there has been a lot of illness around. And I'm sure I picked up something I shouldn't be fighting.

As I write this I am watching the sky continue to be dark. At 6:00AM.  Over the past 6 hours the Spice Fairy has visited. Multiple patients in with issues related to it. I'm glad I haven't had to deal with most of the associated nonsense, but I hear about it from other staff. In addition, I have no doubt it will continue. I expect nothing less.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Weekend's Early Start

Saturday morning and it's growing light.
I look out my window and remember the night.
The story is starting and this story ends
And I feel like I need you again.

Time used to mose softly when I was at home.
It went on without me, and left me alone.
Now it's sits at my shoulder and claws at my hand
And I feel like I need you again.

Well, I recall September, and leaves turned brown
Remember October, left leaves on the ground.
And here comes December like an elderly friend.
And I feel like I need you again.

-- Tom Chapin

It is nice to have weekends off, for the most part. I get to spend time with my family, which is something that was denied to me for years due to the demands of the job. And most of the time I can sleep in. Except for this morning;  I was awake at 4:30. For no reason. But I've been relaxing and watching Peyton exercise her incredible imagination. Later on I think Martha and I are going to go to the beach. Even if we don't go, just being able to spend time together is enough.

There is enough to do here that I wouldn't necessarily have to leave, either. That's true enough. However,  it is a nice enough day today (and tomorrow is supposed to be nice also) that I may get nothing done. Not a problem, though; sometimes it's perfectly fine to do nothing.

And I'm fine with that.