From the ER

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while. That last entry sort of took it out of me, if you will. It's hard to write something that has that sort of emotion and then just go back to "regular" stuff.

Also, my campus has decided that it is time for us residential students to be royally screwed re-installing the needed software on our computers. Until we do so, the internet doesn't work. Every. Single. Year, I get screwed by this. I don't change anything, and they're like OH GOD OH GOD UPDATE YOUR ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE! I use a Macintosh, n00b, I don't need your antivirus...

Okay, I'm done with my nerdy little rant. Case in point, until the unhelpdesk decides to show up at my door to complete my work order (which may not be until Friday), I've got nothing. And it just so happens to be my few days off. So I'm left wanting to cry.

In any event, I bring you some recent happenings from the ER.

Me: "Hello, sir, my name is Sam, I've come to get some blood from you for labwork."
Man (veritably covered in tattoos and piercings): "Oh, hi. This isn't going to hurt, is it?"
Me (kidding with him): "Maybe a little, but you look like an old pro!"
Man: *chuckles*
Me (after setting up and finding a beautiful vein): "Alright, quick pinch."
Me (removing needle): "All done."
Man: "That wasn't so bad."

Man: "Oh, hell, you've come to get blood from me, huh?"
Me: "Yes, sir, but it won't hurt nearly as bad as that IV they started in the ambulance did."
Man: "This? Naw, this didn't hurt."
Me: "Well good, then!"
Man: "Alright, do whatcha gotta do."
Me: "Little pinch."
Man: "OH, SHIT!"
ED Tech I love: "Watch your language, there's a lady present."
Man: "I don't give a SHIT! Oh shit oh shit that hurts that hurts."
Me: "All done."
Man: "About friggin time."
ED Tech I love: *eyes man angrily*

Me: "Hi, ma'am? My name is Sam, I'm here to start an IV on you."
Lady (about 85, tiny as can be, little spider-like veins): "Okay, sweetheart, you just do whatever you need to do."
Me: "Now, since they want to take you back to CT and put some contrast in your veins, I have to start an 18 gauge IV in the crook of your arm. It's a little bit bigger than the one I'd like to start, but they really need it to be that big for the contrast."
Lady (smiling happily): "No problem. I understand."
Me: *selects biggest of the tiny veins*
Lady: "I have really small veins, I'm so sorry."
Me: "Don't even worry about it, I can get one right here."
Lady (after I stick her): "Oh, you're so good! I barely felt that at all."
Me: "Good, after the people I've stuck today, I was beginning to think it was me."

Repeat that last scenario with a little 8 year old boy.

Tell me, what is up with manly men wimping out with teeny tiny needles. I draw blood with a 22, usually. If they're crying about it, or have small veins, I'll use a 23 (butterfly). I mean, really, people. After that 12ga in your ear that you worked to stretch, my 22 should be no big shake.

Me: "Hello, my name is Sam I'm here to get some blood from you."
Lady: "Oh, Sam, what a beautiful name. You have beautiful skin. You're just so beautiful!"
Me: *blushes* "Oh, well thank you very much, you just made my day."
Lady: "I used to do what you're doing. It's fun for a while, but don't do it for life."
Me: "Oh, I don't plan to."
Lady: "Good." *stage whisper* "Get out while you still can! Go...be a model or something!"
Me: *laughs* "I have something a little more exciting planned."
Lady: "What?"
Me: "Finish school, get my master's in Emergency Management, become a firefighter and a paramedic, do that for a while, bridge to RN, become a flight nurse, and eventually try to fix what's wrong with EMS."
Lady: "Can I come with?"
Me: "Absolutely."

Me (with a paramedic student in tow): "Hi, ma'am, how are you doing today?"
Lady: "Just fine, thanks."
Me: "Great! I'm Sam, I'm from the lab, and this is Barnaby" (side note: his real name is quite ridiculous, so he gets a ridiculous name for the blog) "who is a paramedic student here."
Lady: "Very nice. Are you two married?"
Me: I...uh...whaaa?
Barnaby: *turns red, tries to hold in laughter*
Lady: "You two just look so perfect together! Are you dating?"
Me: "No."
Lady: "Well, you should be. Barnaby, you should really get your priorities straight. You need to ask her out before you lose a good one."
Barnaby: "Will do, ma'am."
Lady: "And you, missy. You need to make sure that you don't marry a bad one. You're too pretty to marry a bad one. You should marry Barnaby."
Me: "I'll keep that in mind. Now, let me see this arm."

Working in the ER has certainly been an experience. From gunshot wounds to stubbed toes, STEMIS to pimples, I've seen a lot in the month I've been there. I've been grabbed to hold chest tubes during insertion, do compressions, and assist in foleys. I've also cleaned up vomit, blood, and done bed-changes. I've done a lot, and it's only been a few weeks! I really can't wait to see what is going to happen the longer I stay.

I have another post in the back of my mind, but it's kind of tragic as well. I'll keep working on it, and when I have internet, I'll post it. Also, I'm going to be working on a writing project with my favorite blogger and another with a good local friend.

Take care out there,


Falling Softly

The rain always seems to fall harder when you're in the ambulance than when you're outside. Maybe it's just because there's little noise when it hits your skin, compared to when it hits the hood. It's falling harder now. The heavy stacatto of the rain beats in time with my heart, which is going crazy.

"Assault, possible rape," the radio had murmured in the dark. I swear my pulse spiked before I even awoke.

"Sam, we need you." Drew's face is only barely visible through the fog in my mind and the darkness of the room.
"I don't want to go."
"We need you. You're the only woman on duty in a 20 mile radius. Let's go."
"I'm scared," I had whispered in the dark.
"Me too."

But here we were now, waiting for the police to clear us to go on scene. It's the first thing you learn; if the scene isn't safe, neither are you. If you aren't safe, what can you possibly do for your patient? The scene isn't safe. There's a criminal somewhere in Clearview, and he might still be around. I shudder as I think of a girl huddling in the corner of this dark alley, wondering why the ambulance hasn't come for her.

After what feels like an eternity, we get the go-ahead to approach. What I had pictured is almost the exact reality.

She's tiny. Five-foot-four with sopping wet hair, she holds her knees in close to her chest, shaking from the cold. Her sobs shake her, too, and as I come closer, she raises her head. Big blue eyes stare up at me, horrified and confused. I want to cry right then, but I push it away.

I am stoic, I am calm. I cannot let emotion overcome me when this girl needs me the most.

Handprint bruises are forming on her arms. I see marks on her face, and her clothing is torn. Her lip is bleeding onto the knee of her jeans, and the water is running out of her blond hair onto the shoulders of her green shirt.

Her name is Vicki, the police tell me as I get nearer. The rain falls softly on my arms, and I shiver from the cold, or so I tell myself.

"Vicki? Hi, Vicki, my name is Sam, I'm with the rescue squad."
"Hi Sam," she says as she manages a little smile. She's trying to be brave, and this display grabs my heart a little tighter, wrenching it a little more.
"Vicki, can you tell me what happened? I know it's difficult, but I need to know if he--er, how he hurt you." I catch myself, feeling stupid. Obviously, he hurt her. Obviously she isn't the same girl she was earlier.

She tells me what happened, and I nod and say stupid things like "uh huh," and "okay." I don't quite know what I feel. I'm angry, nauseated, sad, and hurt. I see Drew standing a few feet back, his eyes lowered to the ground. I feel so stupid and insignificant when I ask her more questions. She's going to have to answer questions for a lot of people soon, and I hate being one of them.

"How old are you, Vicki?"
"I'm sixteen," she says as she fiddles with her high school class ring. In big, bold numbers it proudly proclaims "2010." I fight the nausea a little harder as I look at my own ring.
"Yeah, Vicki?"
"How old are you?"
"I'm nineteen," I say.
"Can I see your ring?"
"Of course."

She takes it from me gingerly and examines it.
"2006," she says softly, "I was in eighth grade."
Innocence flashes in her eyes, followed quickly by maturity. I don't know which makes me feel better. She hands me my ring back, and I slip it on my finger quickly.

I don't realize it's happening, but she's crawled into my lap. I don't stop her, I don't make any noise, I just let her find her fit in my arms. We sit there for a while under the dim light in the alley. The officers have turned their backs on us, not wanting to interfere in this. Drew and Eric face away as well, and answer the radio when dispatch checks to see if we're okay.

I hold her as she cries, her tears mixing with rain on my shoulder. Her fingers grip me tightly and I rock her softly as I hold her head with my hand.

After a little while of this, I pick her up and carry her to the ambulance. Drew wraps us in a blanket and squeezes some water out of my hair.

"Do you want me up front with Eric," he asks.
"That'd be fine."

Together as one, immovable, we ride to the hospital. I have strapped myself onto the stretcher with her, and asked Drew to call in the report. Her breathing slows, and her heart beats in synch with mine.

"Vicki," I whisper to her.
"Yeah, Sam?"
"I have to go now." I've placed her on the cold exam table in our SANE room. The forensic nurse is standing next to me, ready to go.
"Okay, it's okay." She forces that little smile again. I feel awkard saying goodbye. What do you say? "Feel better," or maybe "take care?" She speaks instead.
"Thank you, Sam."
"You're welcome."
"I mean, thank you for like...you know, just being there."
"I'm glad I could help some."
"I think you're the most helpful person I've ever met." She squeezes my hand as the forensic nurse pushes me out of the way. I take the hint and leave, my heart sinking.

We drive back in silence, save the rain falling heavy on our ambulance.
"So what happened?"
"He beat her, raped her, and left." I'm a little short with them, but if I go into any detail, I'll break down.
"Oh. Wow."


The sound of the rain is replaced by the shower water. Steam rises up, disappearing as it makes its way further into the bathroom.
"I'm going to take a shower," I announce to no one in particular.
"10-4," is the generic response I get.

I make my way into the humid room and carefully take off my clothes, folding them neatly in the corner. I step into the hot water and slide the curtain closed behind me. The hot water replaces the cold water that had made its way into my bones, and I seem to melt right onto the floor of the shower. The teal tiles wash my already-pale skin out even further, making me look like some sort of living ghost. I remind myself of Vicki.

I'm not sure how much time has passed. I'm not sure if they could hear my sobs or feel my pain from the other room. I'm not sure if they could picture the way my teeth were bared tragically in some sort of twisted smile as I bawled. All I know is that the water has become tepid, and I am shivering. I think I've stopped crying, but I can't be too sure.

The water stops running, and I raise my eyes to see why. Drew is standing over me with a towel. He covers me, and gently picks me up off of the shower floor. My fetal position remains the same as he carries me to my bunk. He wraps another towel around my body, and puts one in my hair.

"I..." My attempts at verbal expression fail, and I don't try again.
"Sam, I don't know what she said to you. I don't know what happened in the SANE room. I don't know anything, really. But what I do know is that you're hurting, and I want to do whatever I can to help ease that pain. You don't have to explain anything or tell me what happened. All you have to do is tell me how I can help."

And staring into those big, blue eyes of his, I put my head in his lap as the rain falls softly at the window.

Stolen Meme

Stolen from Epi, Bernice, and Kim. So sue me, I've got nothing better to write about, so I'll answer questions. Got any questions of your own for me? Leave them in the comments and I'll see if I can answer them :P

Sort of? My middle name is after someone for sure, but my first name is a...conglomeration of namings-after?

A few weeks ago? I can't really remember.

My cursive is okay, but my print sucks.

Turkey or salami. Salami's a lunch meat, right?

Nope, but hopefully in the future.

Man, I hope so!

Have you met me?

Yeah, but they give me far too much grief!

Yes, please!

Frosted flakes, or perhaps Crispix. I do enjoy Honey Nut Cheerios, though, as well as Lucky Charms...

Workboots, yes. Tennis Shoes, no.

I'm a little stronger-than-average for someone of my height/weight, but I'm not very strong in the grand scheme of things.

Phish Food (Ben and Jerry's), Cinnamon Buns (Ben and Jerry's), or any of that Dove ice cream in a pint with solid chocolate across the top. Yum.

Usually their eyes, but if they have a nice smile, I see that first.

Red. If you had asked me 13 years ago, while I was sitting in my pink room, though...

Insecurity about decisions. That, or spreading myself too thin on a constant basis.


Purple pajama pants right now, and no shoes.

A Shorti from Wawa. It was seriously amazing.

An HP commercial.

Burnt Sienna.

Fresh air, ambulance, post-shower smell, and new (or really old) book. Oh, and saddle soap.


Football (go Redskins!), college football (hooray CNU, CU, USC!), and basketball (:D Spurs!)

Red. I mean, naturally brown, but I (obviously) dye it.


No, I love my glasses!

Sushi? I'm not sure. I love a lot of food.

If the happy ending isn't cliché, then I'll take that. But I'll take a poorly done horror over a sappy ending any day!

The Dark Knight. Now I'm dying to see it in IMAX!

Purple...it matches my pajama pants.


I'll take a good hug over a good kiss any day.

Brownies? I'm not sure, but it's not any sort of dairy product.

Well, I'm not tagging anyone (unless you want to be tagged!)

Well, I finished the Twilight series (that is, until 8/2/08, because Breaking Dawn is coming out!), I'm working on Bringing Out The Dead, and I have about 5 other books staring at me from the bookshelf that need to be read.

Nothing. I have a track-pad.

I fell asleep to a repeat of "Reality Bites Back" on comedy central.

Drummers absent-mindedly tapping out rhythms with their fingers, the sirens as we go under a bridge, genuine laughter

Depends on my mood, but most likely The Beatles

New Zealand, I believe.

Umm, I'm really good at calming children and animals down, and people open up to me regardless of how long I've known them.

Houston, Texas :)

Okay, so anyway, hope you tolerated that diversion. I don't really have much to write about as of this moment, but when I go to the station tonight, I'll try to think of something!

Take care out there,



In just a few days, I will have been blogging for a year (a year!?). I want to do something to mark this momentous occasion, as well as thank you, dear readers, for your loyalty and support. You all keep me sane.

So I was thinking that I could do a contest sort of thing like TS. I mean, his was for 100,000 visits, but you know, still a milestone sort of thing.

Would you be interested in this, or is it super dumb? If so, what kind of contest should it be (the first visitor on the blog-oversary, a submission contest, etc.)? And, what should the prize be?

Just some thoughts, but I know you guys will tell me if it sounds too stupid.

Hope things are well with you all! Tell me, what made you smile today?

Take care out there,


Bleed, Everyone's Doing It

This is an entry for Normal Sinus Rhythm. Go check out this week's entries and leave some comments if you have the time!

I'm trying to be nice. His constant stream of expletives makes it hard, but I'm trying. Calmly, I ask him what's wrong. The deputy standing at the foot of the stretcher answers for him, since he won't answer for himself.
"He's hearing voices again, but that's no surprise since he hasn't taken his meds in a few weeks."
"Oh. Any idea what the voices want him to do?"
"Unsure, but they're certainly causing him distress."
"Not as of now. Just...angry." She pauses, staring down at our patient, looking as if she's trying to predict the future.
"I don't think he'll be any trouble for you, just loud," she says nodding towards him, "but I'll be more than happy to ride with if you want."
Drew lifts his head up from taking our patient's pulse.
"I think we're good, Deputy," he says with that ridiculous smile of his that causes most everyone to forget their train of thought.
"Y...yeah, okay," she stammers. I giggle to myself as she leaves, obviously still thinking about that smile. I'm immune now, but boy I remember when...

"FUCK YOU!" interrupts my train of thought and--SMACK!
I don't really know what's going on, but Drew is on him in an instant, and I follow his lead. My eyes are stinging, and my nose is throbbing, but I haven't put it together yet.
Eric is in the back in seconds flat, and he sits on a shoulder as he calls for ALS. We need something to put this guy out, but we can't do it.
The deputy runs back to the medic, jumping in with handcuffs ready in hand. She restrains him somehow, but I'm not really paying attention.
I look down at our patient. He's bleeding. I don't know where from, but there's blood on his face.
"Drew, he's bleeding."
"Look at his face, he's bleeding."
"Sam," he pauses, "Sam, that's your blood." His eyes flash with intense hatred as he pushes his elbow harder into our patient. It looks like he could spit, he's so angry.
"What?" I touch my hand to my face and it feels warm. I pull it away and my hand is covered in deep red. My lips start to taste like metal, and the smell of iron makes me dizzy.
"Who the hell do you think you are, hitting a woman, hitting my partner!?" Drew's voice cracks from anger.
"Fuck you," is all the response he gets.
Eric is off the radio now, joining the party more fully.
"ALS is in route," he says as he gently pushes our patient's head to the side.

Suddenly he goes limp beneath us. He's unconscious, but he's...not. I look at him a little puzzled, and tell Eric to move. My bloodied hand picks up his arm, holds it in front of his face, and lets it go. It falls down awkwardly, avoiding the inevitable smack to the face. Drew catches on.
"Oh, wow, he's unconscious," he says heavily.
"Yeah, I wonder what happened," Eric echoes.
"Wow, poor thing, we should really get going. At least he's not dangerous anymore." It's a little muffled through the gauze I've got coddling my nose, but I chime in as well.
I think I see a self satisfied smirk flash across his face as 500 collective pounds of human rise off of him, only to be replaced by some new silver bracelets.

The deputy rides with us all the way to the hospital, asking me every few seconds if I'm okay, and if I want to press charges. I'm too tired to think about legality, so instead I just tell her that I'll think about it.

When we leave the patient's room, Drew and Eric turn around simultaneously. They tell the deputy thanks and goodnight, and then shoot a look that could kill at the man in the bed. He spits their way, and Drew puts a protective arm around my shoulder.

"Asshole," he says as he squeezes my arm.



It's been forever and a day since I've written. So sorry, guys, but this "work" thing has consumed my life.

So, yesterday, I broke my thumb. Well, let's be honest here, I didn't break it, my partner did. We're taking a man from the doctor's office back to his house. He's a pretty big guy--"husky," as he says. Partner pushes the stretcher up to the lip of the ambulance, but it doesn't latch.
"Whoa, whoa, wait a second it hasn't--OWWWW!"
Yeah, partner didn't hear me and lifted the stretcher while pushing it over my poor little thumb.
Then ensues the obligatory "oh god, oh god," from my partner and the, "geez man, way to ruin your girl here," from our patient.
"Nope, it's all good," I say as partner cracks open an ice pack and grabs a band-aid for me, "let's just go and we can deal with this later."
So we buy a finger splint at rite aide, and I've been looking ridiculous ever since :)

Like the shirt, by the way?

I've been moving between my old place and my new one, so that's been eating up all my time, too. Luckily, though, I won't have to commute so far to and from my jobs, nor will I have to deal with the heinous tunnel traffic.

Work is good. I love my hospital job a whole lot; it's always new and exciting, and it definitely keeps me on my toes. I don't like the sad parts of the job, but who does?

Well, in any event, I have two stories in mind. Hopefully I'll be able to write one soon!

And, not giving anything away, but you know how I talked about wanting to see Sam, not just read/write about her? That might be happening in the near future. I'll keep you posted...

Take care out there!



We did a transfer from a hospital to nursing home rehab. This is a hospital with nuns, for context. Each room has a picture of Jesus mounted on the wall right next to the "Good Morning, today is _________. Your nurse is _________." sign.

While we were in our patient's room, waiting for the nurse, I could hear the conversation taking place in the room across the hall.

Nurse: "Mr. Smith?"
Mr. Smith: "Hrmmm?"
Nurse: "I need to check your pupils."
Mr. Smith: "Hrmmm."
Nurse: "Can you look at Jesus for me? Come on, look at Jesus."

In my line of work, if my patients start seeing Jesus, I tend to discourage it. Just sayin' ;)

Busy couple of days here, but we have another Normal Sinus Rhythm coming up tomorrow and I have a few more ideas for what to do with Janice. She's not gone, I promise!

Take care out there,


How You Know

This post is for Normal Sinus Rhythm, a collection of blog entries from EMS bloggers from all over. This week's theme was "You know you're a _____ if..." Everyone did an amazing job with their entries, go check them out!

I was going to write a list of things like my fellow NSR bloggers did. I had some in mind.
"You know you're in EMS when you can't decide between 'oh, shit' and 'hell yes' on the way to a call."
Whatever, no one said I was going to write a GOOD list.

In any event, I'm not going to write a list anymore. I'm going to be different, because it seems I can't ever be happy satisfying the norm. I'm sure you've come to know that trait in me. Oh, and also, my list sucked so I figured I'd do something else.

So, I present to you, "how you know."

She died. Right there on the floor, no warning, she just fell over, dead. That was her final act, really--falling. Maybe she clutched her chest, and maybe she made a noise, but her last act was falling.

Those around her panicked, calling 911 as they screamed for help, their sobs sticking in their throats desperately.

And then we showed up. And very calmly, we did our job.
"Hey Matt, could you pass me that epi over there?"
"Sure thing."
"Could someone take over compressions?"
"I've got you."
We smiled at one another with compassion, taking time to say "please," and "thank you." And I hummed "Sweetness" in my head as I pushed on her chest again and again, the sweat forming on my brow, the glasses slipping down my nose. I thought of the beat of the song matching the beating of her heart that my hands were creating as I watched the flat line on the monitor move with me.

"Well-oiled machine" is what I hear a lot, but that's not really it. We're just a few people who know what to do, and act. We're just a few people who don't let our emotions get in the way of our jobs.

And when we're done, away from patient and family, that's when I think. That's when the emotions hit me, the thoughts of my parents and my friends. That's when I sigh deeply and get a little misty eyed and I'm silent; that's when it hits me, fully sinking in.

And all of that? That's how I know. That's how I know I'm an EMS provider--and a good one at that. That's how I know I'm meant for this job. That's how I know that I'm still human, still normal, even though throngs of people would beg to disagree; any person who willingly signs up for a stressful, taxing, vomit and death-filled job must be certifiable, or cold and unfeeling, right?

So I go home from another call both questioning and confirming my desire to do this again. And that's how I know.


NSR and the suchlike

NSR Week 3 is up. Go check it out!

I haven't written my post yet. I just got off a shift at the ED that made me want to cry. A guy un-sedatable with 15 of Haldol and some Ativan, an unresponsive lady, a couple of AMS, and about a billion and a half "I don't want to go to work on Monday" patients.

I learned a ton, but my feet hurt more than anything. I can't even see straight, so putting together that NSR post was sort of interesting. I'll have mine up just as soon as I can...I have a day off tomorrow :D

And thanks for all the exciting comments on my last post! You all are the best :)



Guess who started her first IV today...

Okay, to all you ALS people...don't laugh. Be excited for me.
And to all you non-EMS people...be very, very impressed.

So I'm kidding on that last bit. There's nothing impressive about it. But holy hell I did it! And then I went on to do blood culture after blood culture, INT draws, assist in a foley, and be hit on by a 15 year old and a married guy.

Okay, so the last two don't take skill, just fiesty people. But I'll add it to my list of accomplishments for the day.

In any event, I didn't get to put up today's post for Normal Sinus because I ended up working 11-7:30, going for dinner, and then coming home. It'll be up tomorrow, I promise. In the meantime, go check out the following bloggers' posts if you haven't already (links in my sidebar):
Peter Canning (Streetwatch: Notes of a Paramedic)
Gertrude (Ridin' the Bus)
Witness (ALS Not Available)
Epi (Pink, Warm, Dry)
Stretcher Jockey (Confessions of a Stretcher Jockey)
Lucid (LucidResq)

If I've forgotten any, I seriously apologize...it's been a long couple of days.

Until tomorrow,


Help Needed

I don't ask for stuff like this a lot. In fact, I don't think I ever have. But your help is needed, and it won't take but a few moments of your time; no money, I promise.

If you're from Virginia, or even if you're from elsewhere in the world, it would mean a lot to me and a lot of people locally if you could take a few minutes to read this and respond if you are so inclined.

An email from my mother regarding the changes:
Dear [Sam],

Please read the proposed revisions to the state regulations for the gifted. If you are so inclined, post a comment. From my perspective, if passed, they will be incredibly damaging to the progress that has been made on behalf of gifted students. It will be like going back in time.

There is a link below where you can post a comment. You can read the others that have been written. Sadly, the last time there was a public forum regarding the gifted, less than 50 people statewide, responded. The government took that as a "go ahead" to do what they wanted, as there was no outcry to the contrary. The same will be true with this, as well. I'm trying to get a grass-roots movement of folks to respond so the state will have to listen to our concerns.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could pass this on any other students or people you think might be pro-active.

And when I think pro-active, I think of my readers ;) Moving on...

Here are the specifics:
8VAC20-40-70. Funding

Department of Education officials have informed us that the funding portion of the regulations, 8VAC20-40-70, was repealed because the language was redundant and gifted funding is covered in the Appropriations Act. How many of us know where to find the specific language in the Appropriations Act? Why not have this same language repeated in the regulations where parents and educators can more easily find the information? If we don't know it exists, how can we monitor it? We still believe the funding language should be included in the regulations.

8VAC20-40-60. Local plan, local advisory committee, and annual report

The repeal of the language stating "Each school division shall submit to the Department of Education for approval a plan for the education of gifted students" would result in a loss of the peer review process which is likely to result in more discrepancy of gifted program services across the Commonwealth. Educators will lose a valuable learning process. Parents will no longer be able to check with the Department to see if their local school division's plan for education of gifted students officially complies with the state regulations.

Essentially, the changes (if approved) would put the control of the Gifted Program (which helps teach advanced students in the public school system) with the School Board. As a teacher within this program, my mom has worked hard to keep this from happening. The school board is made up of good people, but these people are not educators, and it would remove the peer review process that my mom relies on so heavily.

Please, if you could please take a look and post a comment, it would mean the world to me and my mom. As a graduate of this program, I would hate to see anything negative happen to it. And no, you don't have to live in VA to comment on this...in fact, input from those who aren't directly affected by it would probably mean more.

If our gifted students don't get the challenge, education and attention that they need to excel, we may never see their potential realized.

Thanks again,


Of Hospital Things

I really want to write something of consequence, but I'm a bit too drained to think correctly.

Things that get me through sitting in a hospital room all day:
A journal where I write little phrases, sentences, or story ideas
The Twilight Series (Seriously amazing. Read them if you haven't already.)
Amazing people who visit and bring me dinner and such
Amazing people who keep checking on me from afar
Getting out to see some fireworks with my mom

And so I leave you with something non-depressing. This is from my aforementioned journal. It's a paragraph that is from a story I want to write:
It was strange, living across from a building where people were born and people died every day. It was like the circle of life, nicely encapsulated within a few walls. My own private microcosm, tucked neatly in my backyard. I loved it, but I knew it would drive any ordinary person insane if they thought about it the way I did. Too many ghosts--too many stories.

H'anyway, I'll be heading back to my other home Saturday night so I can make it to work at the ED for Sunday. Thanks again for everything, you guys.

And happy Independence Day :)


Thank You, Again

And, once again, you all never cease to amaze me. Thank you for the comments, the IMs, the emails, and phone calls.

I have to make a pretty urgent trip home tomorrow morning, so I'm not sure when I'll be back. But, as you all remind me, I need to make sure that me and mine are okay before I worry about the rest of you all (who are all very near and dear to my heart).

To those of you that I speak to regularly, thank you once again for all your love and support, and I'll keep you updated the best that I can.

I know I keep saying this, but thank you. The support is incredible, and it means more than you can know.

Witness, Epi, etc: You mean the world to me.



Tell me something happy, something that made you smile today, or something you're looking forward to.

I could use some good, happy thoughts right now.

Thanks guys,


Nursing Homes

I used to walk through nursing homes with a smile on my face. I'd look all the residents in the eyes, grin a little wider and say hello cheerfully. I'd flirt with the old men playfully and chat up the nurses while getting some signatures.

"Help me, please, somebody help me," I heard from room 23. I imagine a little old lady who has fallen and hurt herself, or perhaps needs help getting to the bathroom. A nurse stands outside the door, looking at a chart as she picks her nails. I hear the woman again, begging for someone to help her.

"What can I do for you," I ask as I peek my head in the room. She's straining to reach her cup of water that's just out of her reach.
"Oh, I just want some of that water from the cup right there." I step outside and ask the nurse if she's allowed to have the water--I just want to make sure she's not NPO. I get the go ahead, so I step back inside.
"Let me get that for you," I say as I fill it up a bit before giving it to her.
"Oh thank you so much," she says, "thank you, thank you."

I walk back out of the room and stare at the CNA with disgust.
"She just wanted water," I say as I leave, although I'm not sure she cares.

My partner finds me and we start to head out. A man in a walker approaches me and reaches his hand out for my face.
"Molly? Molly I've missed you so much."
"Oh, I'm..."
"Oh Molly, I'm so glad you're here."

I evade his touch as I try to keep up with the gurney, my stomach twisting in knots. My partner makes a joke about what just happen, but I don't laugh--I just keep walking.

We get in the ambulance and he asks me what's bugging me.
"Water," I say curtly.
"Water. All she wanted was a fucking cup of water."
"Oh. Well I'm sure her nurse was getting to it."
"You don't understand. She just wanted some fucking water." I spit the words out with disgust, the t's and f's hitting harshly as they escape my mouth.
"Yeah. I hate nursing homes."

I don't smile anymore. I don't look at the patients, their mouths hanging open and their eyes staring at nothing. I don't talk to the nurses except to get a signature or two. I just stare at my feet as I walk by. I breathe through my mouth to escape the smell and I think about the books I want to read or the movies I want to see.

I don't think about my mom or my dad in one of those beds in a room occupied by a vacant stranger. I don't think about the families that never visit. I don't think about my children saying, "Mom, we just can't take care of you anymore. We want to put you in a home."

I think about writing my book, about where I'd like to go on a date, about my junior year in college. I think young thoughts and it hurts me inside.

"I could never do it," I say to my partner the next day.
"Do what?"
"Be in a home."
"Well, you probably won't have much say in it if you lose your mind."
"Nope. I'm offing myself. If I'm ever enough of a burden to someone that they would put me in a home, I just want someone to put a gun in my hand, point it at my temple and say, 'shoot.'"
"I made my wife promise me that a long time ago."
"Are we sick?"
"No. We just see it every day and we know it a little bit," he pauses, "differently."
"I guess."

My first patient in the ER is groaning as the nurse keeps him on his side.
"That's the biggest decube I've ever seen," my preceptor whispers to me.
"Where did that come from?" She looks at the chart and nods.
"Nursing home neglect. They left the temporary foley in for two-ish weeks."
"And the decube...they didn't turn him?"

I want to vomit. I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to drive to the nursing home, find his "nurse," and beat the shit out of her. I want her to feel the pain that he feels every day, but I know it won't be the same. She can take care of herself, even beaten all to hell. He can't even turn himself in bed, let alone tend to his wounds.

And so I swallow back another set of feelings as I go off to find my next patient.


Well, it's true, I'm a real-live-hospital-employee! I wear colorful scrubs and have an ID with a goofy picture on it, and I run around saving the world drawing blood and starting IVs.


Yesterday was my first day, and it was terribly boring. I kept saying the q-word in an effort to try and tempt the ER-Gods into sending us something to do, but no, the ER-Gods saw through my rouse.

So, I work again tomorrow...maybe we'll actually get to do something. We did get to do a heel-stick on a baby in an attempt to get a bili, but the little bugger wouldn't bleed.

I also saw the most blatant case of nursing home neglect. Gigantic decubital ulcer on his bottom (tunneling, black/purple/green, etc.), thrush in his mouth (tongue was hard as a rock), and a temporary foley left in for 2+ weeks. That's the closest I've ever come to wanting to legitimately hurt someone, I think.

As a side note...why can't I work with the Monkey Girls and Guitar Girls of the world!? I mean, my coworkers are great but...we spent the day talking about how girls with small breasts get mammograms. *sigh*


p.s.--Thanks for all the comments on my last post (you too, Mom and Dad). They sort of helped remind me why I'm writing in the first place. Sam is coming back soon...but perhaps now as an ED Tech...? Hehe, take care out there!