Monday, October 29, 2007

Thoughts from a year ago

Note, this was written in November of 2006 while making a road trip to Pittsburgh, PA to attend a three week long class with a good friend. This was the first time I returned to Pennsylvania after moving back home to Maine in the summer of 2003.

Friday, November 3, 2007 - Somewhere in Pennsylvania
In preparation for this trip I've spent the past few days running around getting things done so that all would be in order to leave on time at 0800 Friday morning from Ryan's house. As usual, that didn't happen, I was running a wee bit late, however, he had some errands to run in the morning so it was a combined effort that put us on the road by 10am. Eh, so we were a little late. But back to my preparation; as I've run around to get things ready for this trip it's been an odd feeling that I've had. It hasn't felt so much like I was preparing for a trip and to get ready for this class, but rather its felt like I've been getting ready to go home after a long time away. Lately I've been thinking a lot about moving back to Pittsburgh and so this trip serves a dual purpose, one being to take the CCEMTP course, the other to help me decide if I want to move back there. It's been about three and a half years since I moved out of Pittsburgh to return to Maine, and for three and a half years I've been saying that I want to move back. This is going to be the first visit since I moved out of Pittsburgh and I can't wait to get there.

The plan was to make this trip in two days, but even though we got a late start we're making great time so as of right now it looks like we're going to drive all the way through and we'll be in the city tonight. I'm thrilled. The closer we get the more it feels like I'm going home, back to the city where I could be myself. Living in Pittsburgh was the first time I lived on my own, free from the confines of the small town that I grew up in, free to have my own place, free to be myself, free to be out, completely out, and not give a damn about what anyone thinks. It really was a time of freedom for me, I learned a lot about myself there and perhaps that's the reason why I want to move back, to discover more about myself, to find that freedom once again that I found there in a city where everyone was a stranger. I realize it won't be the same this time around if I move back there because I already have a few friends there. So in a way it will be a bit easier. Its time for me to get out of Maine again. After talking with my dear friend Kalem about this I know its time. I have to move. He moved back to the Mid-Atlantic region a few months ago after spending a few years back in Maine and after being in Maine for a while he realized that even though his family is there, there is a lot that is lacking. It's Maine, it's rural and the dating pool is pretty shallow whether you're straight or gay, but being gay in a rural setting makes it harder. Another thing that Kalem and I talked about at length was the fact that there is little to no room for career advancement. It is time for me to move, I know this, I was able to move before and be away from my family, but what I fear leaving now are bonds that are as strong as family. I fear leaving my close friends. Though we don't share blood they are family. There's a quote from David Bergman that I absolutely love - "Gay friendships often create an alternative to family, a link more compelling than blood." This is, without a doubt the truest thing one can say about my friendships. So I guess the question is; can I move away and leave my friends behind?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A loud American

She screamed at me. She screamed at everyone. "I am a loud American! And he, he, he is the one who has done the things that she does not like, she being her, her being the one whom he who is him has harmed. I, I, I am not at fault. How am I going to do my homework? Is my homework not due in the morning of this night of which I am trapped in this nightMARE being caused by you, you you, are the authority figures, you four men and one woman who are here to silence me, a loud American!"

The nurse on duty tonight has been working in this ER for decades, her soft voice and compassionate approach are lost on this patient "Here, this will help you relax and sleep for the ride." says the nurse as she slips the needle into the woman's flesh in the hopes that the sedative will make the 40 minute trip to the psych facility easier for everyone.

"Ow! How could you do that to me your fellow woman?" she screams as she begins to sob "We are women, we are women and they are men. They are 'the man' the authority but now you are one of them, you are no longer woman you are a man now because you are just like them you are. You have a penis now" she says very matter of factly before she begins to cry; her thoughts and statements nothing more than a series of babbling run-on sentences.

She remains indignant, the medication not touching her and so we wait. We watch the camera monitors as she sits on the edge of the bed talking to people who we cannot see. Is there someone there with her? Who does she talk to? She has been here in the ER for a couple of hours now and after being evaluated by the ER doc, the crisis clinician and finally the psychologist she has been "blue papered." A judge has decided that it is in the best interest of her safety and society for her to be involuntarily committed. I had been sitting in the ER for most of this time and when she was deemed ready for transport I went back over to the base next door to the hospital and picked up my partner. Rather than my regular partner I picked up the probie. My regular partner had just returned from maternity leave and was looking forward to what could potentially be the longest nap she has had since the baby was born. I offerred the trip to the probie and he readily accepted. He accepted before this fiasco in the ER and so now that she has been medicated it is my job to tend to her for this transport. She does not go quietly. The fact is she goes violently; kicking, screaming, digging me with her fingernails. She is having an acute psychotic episode and she honestly has no idea of what she is doing. I have never met her before but I know that this is not the person who she is on a daily basis. She is a college student, brought in by the college police after becoming disruptive and out of control during a meeting on campus.

We give her another dose of Haldol and some Ativan and it still does nothing to her and so it is decided taht we will transport her in restraints. She struggles, she cries but she eventually submits. She is restrained and she is pissed off. The transport is uneventful, she stares at me every now and then and attempts to bore holes through my head with here eyes. I know that this is not her, I do not let it bother me. We arrive at our destination and wheel her inside. We arrive at her floor and begin to remove her restraints, she stands, she paces, she sits on the edge of the bed she tries to walk to the door which is blocked by the police officer who accompanied us and the staff at the hospital. We explain that she cannot go back to school right now that she must stay here, she asks to use the bathroom and so the staff let her in to a bathroom adjacent to the small locked room which she will occupy for the night. She sobs uncontrollably in the bathroom as we leave the floor and as we step in to the elevator the probie looks at me wide eyed and amazed and simply utters "wow."

As the doors close I simply turn to him and say "Welcome to mental health."

Friday, October 26, 2007

So I Procrastinate

So, apparently I suck at writing a blog. I had great intentions back in May when I started this endeavor but now here I sit with only one entry under my belt and five months have passed. I suppose an update is in order. I've found a job, one that actually pays well and meets my needs so I'll be heading back to Pittsburgh in just a few weeks. I'm not going to discuss the details of my new job here, but I will say that it will be fun to work in a new atmosphere.

I've managed to cross a few things off my To Do List, I *may* have an apartment by the end of the day (one bedroom, walk in closets, spacious, in a good neighborhood) and I may have the opportunity to supplement my income as well. So, I'll try to keep everyone posted on what's going on in my life and maybe start this blog out as a running commentary on Hey-Look-At-What-I'm-Doing.

Anyhow, thanks to those who have posted comments on here, I'm going to work harder on keeping this thing up and running.

much love,

~Paramedical Matt