Fun And Games Off Duty · Pre Planning Your Scene

Sleigh Bells Jingling, etcetera

So, TINS, TIWFDASL something like 60 northern Un-Named Flyover State miles from home. This was several years ago, of course, when we still had snowfalls (…he said, snarkily!) One night, I got out of work after 12 hours in our windowless ED, to find it had SIFAO. (Snowed….). AND, for bonus points, was still SIFAO. My daily driver was a 2008 FWD Hyundai Sonata.

So, it turns out that, at 45 mph, my typical 1 hour drive approaches 2 hours. Particularly when, SIFAO as it was, I followed the exit ramp, thinking I was still on the expressway.

You start to wonder about that, once the stop sign appears.

I re entered the highway, and plowed my way home, white knuckling it the whole way. I got home safely, the car gave me STELLAR gas mileage that trip, TDW-Mark II worried, and I galumped my crabby ass, along with considerable snow, into the house, unbruised.

Thanks Be To Chthulu.

More thoughtful observers, than I apparently am, might wonder why I simply did not obtain a motel room, and sleep my happy ass away, in the town that I was already in, and thereby allow the unsung heroes of the road commission and the state highway department, to work their magic and clear the roads?

Well, to be honest, that would require more foresight than, evidently, I possessed at that time. One might wonder if I had contemplated the McFee Four Stages of Snow Emergency. I had not.

To review, here are The McFee “Four Stages of Snow Emergency” Scale.

Level 4: wear your damn boots
Level 3: bring a coat, bring a shovel and a scraper
Level 2: do the s#!t you have to do and go the hell home
Level 1: Ermagerd! French toast by candlelight!

Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Partners. Or, Not.

So, TINS, TIWFDASL, and it was approaching the end of my shift. The other midlevel was a locum (think: rent-a-clinician), and since I was busy with my side, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to her.

One of my patients was pretty sick. As in, “Where is my ambulance”, sick. I also had a couple of other folks, who had to wait while I dealt with Mr.-or-Mrs.-pretty-sick.

Once the ambulance had departed, I tended to my other patients, and noted that the floor staff appeared pretty, well, relaxed. I asked them, “Doesn’t Little Mary Sunshine have any patients left?”

They looked at me. “Uh, no. She beat feet out the door while you were in with your emergency. Oh, and one of her patients did not get their antibiotic. The pharmacy called, and would like you to fix that.”

I did a literal double take. “Say what?”

The MA repeated herself. There was still 10 minutes in the shift.

They tell me, several months later, that I got very, very quiet at that. Concerningly quiet.

Duty · Fun And Games Off Duty · Fun With Suits! · Gratitude · Life in Da City!

Snippets Part III

I have a flexible spending account at work, so as to be able to pay my copays, deductibles, and suchlike with pre tax dollars. Late last year, I noticed that the card by which such expenditures were paid for, was getting declined. I assumed that I had spent all the money and thought no further of it.

Then, I began to get messages from the administrators of the account. Finally rousing myself to speak to them, I learned that the card had been frozen, because, I was informed, they required hard copy receipts for 3 or 4 of my expenditures. This included purchases from my optometrist for, oh, gosh, GLASSES, as well as at the podiatrist, for TDW-Mark II’s ingrown toenail.

It puzzled me, Visa, nor Mastercard never had such issues. I assumed that, just like the commercial banks, that the electronic billing that led to the vendor of, say, my gasoline, getting paid, had all the information required, kind of like a grocery store receipt.

Perhaps I was wrong. Or, perhaps, somewhere in this favoured land, folks go to their podiatrist, or their optometrist, when they feel the need for hookers and blow. (I wouldn’t know, myself, and Hunter Biden was not available to comment on that possibility) So, I guess, I will have to remain puzzled.


Occasionally, I am humbled. Just the other day, I had such an opportunity. The lady bringing the pre school aged children in for whatever their complaint that day, was approximately my age (and, I am by no means of child rearing age. Hell, my youngest grandchild is already in primary school!) She reported, in the course of the conversation, that “My husband and I both got them when they were very, very young.”

Just, matter of fact. No inflection, dry fact.

As I was charting later, I noted that the parent was identified as the grandparent.

So, let’s contemplate that. Some of us are anticipating retirement, with few responsibilities, plenty of free time, and no pressing concerns.

Others, around us, are raising a SECOND family, at our ages, and not flinching.

Some of us are facing demands of duty, and stepping up to those demands, and in doing so are protecting, and nurturing, the most vulnerable among us.


So This Is No Shit (TINS), There I was Fighting Disease And Saving Lives (FDASL), long, long ago and far, far away.

Well, okay. REEEAAALLLLYYYY!, I was shopping in Farmer Jack, in Da City, on one of my off duty from EMS days. I was pushing my shopping cart down one aisle or another, occasionally consulting my shopping list, and a fellow approached me.

He greeted me. “Hey! I know you!”

I did not just recently develop my aversion to Humanity. I spent years perfecting it. “Uh, no, you don’t, sir.”

He, on the other hand, was undeterred. “No, I know you! You work for the fire department!”

“You have the wrong guy!”

“No, really! I remember you  You saved my brother’s life!”

“Yep! That’s me! That’s how I spend my days! How is your brother?”

Duty · Fun And Games Off Duty

A New Episode, Wherein I Get The Rona

So, This Happened: Overnight, the other night, I awakened feeling overheated. My go-to assessment in that sort of scenario is that The Darling Wife had turned the thermostat up, and so, of course, I arose to investigate this possibility. I noted that the thermostat remained where it had been the previous day, which pushed that explanation way, way down my differential of why I felt hot.

I returned to bed, awakened, and went through my usual pre fighting disease and saving lives routine. I then drove my happy self to work, completing the pre work checklist which “screens” us for (shudder!) Da Rona!.

On this day, I acknowledged that I had felt sort of feverish the preceding night, and had a worsening of my baseline, Live in The Un Named Fly Over State In Winter, cough. Being a diligent doobie, I phoned my supervising physician, and appraised her of these data points.

Reasonably, I next was the object of a rapid coronavirus test.

Now, y’all get where I work, right? So, it is no surprise that I have, indeed, been exposed to Da Rona, every working day of my life, since Rona first began to get “popular”. Therefore, it was not a surprise that the test read positive for Da Rona. The only surprising element was how trivially ill I felt.

My explanation of THAT , was that either I had already contracted Da Rona, and my residual immunity served to attenuate the effects of the virus upon me, or that the solitary shot I received of the J & J vax, protected me from getting more ill than I otherwise might have gotten, or that I contracted the omicron variant (or, whatever greek letter presently is up-to-bat) and that, not to put too professional a point on it, it ain’t shit.

Or, some combination of the above. Who knows?

Bad news? I missed two days of work, burning up 2 days of PTO. Good news? TDW-Mark II and I spent a lovely week bonding together. Kind of a dry run for retirement. Bad News, Part II? Staying home is not particularly central to my vision of retirement. Yeah, that’s nice and all that, but, once retired, I anticipate more camping and less screen time than this past week featured.

Good News, Part II? I was about as ill as any other cold that I have had, with more “Ermagerd! Der Roner!” as seasoning.

Never lost my taste (jokes about my plebeian penchant in, well, everything aside…), fever was a kinda-sorta-maybe, nothing fever. No breathlessness, not really much of anything. So, my assessment, 6 days in, is a resounding “Meh?”.

May you all have a similarly underwhelming experience, yourselves!