Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Since all the cool kids are doing it....

You are a

Social Liberal

(65% permissive)

and an...

Economic Moderate

(50% permissive)

You are best described as a:



Saturday, September 27, 2008

Well sum'bitch

There's a hurricane warning for Maine, something that we haven't seen here in 17 years, which means that I was 12 when Hurricane Bob left ten people dead and $2.8 billion dollars in damage. Hurricane Kyle is expected to touch kiss the Downeast coast of Maine tomorrow evening.

Considering I have tomorrow off I think it might be an ideal day to head to the coast, not to swim of course, as the North Atlantic starts to get a bit chilly this time of year and the surf gets pretty nasty when there's a storm a comin' but it does make for quite a show to see the surf and maybe a pretty picture or two if I'm lucky.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Just something to ponder.

I'm turning comments off for this one. Regardless of your political leanings, just bear in mind that perhaps experience isn't a prerequisite for greatness.

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Things Not To Say In Front of a Patient

Prior to leaving my job in Pittsburgh to come back to Maine my coworkers and I started a list of things never to say in front of a patient. This of course has been edited to remove the profoundly foul things that might enter an EMS providers mind. My apologies in advance to the nurses. I'm sure you're a talented, dedicated, capable individual, but it seems that every nurse that shows up on a scene that I'm at just wants to flaunt their vast lack of knowledge of emergency medicine.

1.) You’re going to feel a little prick (followed by) here comes the little prick.
2.) Did you take the whole bottle of pills? Well why not?
3.) Here’s the gun, here are the shells, we’ll be back in five minutes
4.) It’s his first day
5.) I’ve never seen that before
6.) Here’s your sack, ma’am
7.) Do you have a gag reflex?
8.) Does he normally look like this or does he have some kind of disease?
9.) Would you describe your diarrhea as explosive?
10.) We should be okay, there’s a home health nurse here.
11.) So tell me, when was your last bath?
12.) Have you ever been told you suffer from epiglottal turbulence?
13.) That doesn’t look right.
14.) This is my partner Steve, but his nickname is HandJob
15.) Does the guy with teeth know any information?
16.) Oh you’re a nurse? Great, hold this
17.) That’s a goofy looking kid.
18.) Do I really have to touch him?
19.) (without knowing for sure if she's pregnant) How far along are you?
20.) You shouldn’t smoke, you should shoot heroin
21.) There’s shit everywhere!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Avast, me hearties!

Yarr matey, ye best be celebratin' today or you'll be walkin' the plank for forgettin 'bout International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Thursday, September 18, 2008


At my old full time (now part time) employer the director posts little tidbits of news on his page on the company website. Usually these are notices about new policies, or construction updates and the like. He also posts notices when new employees are hired. Now, I'm wondering if he realizes the Judy Garland/queer culture reference contained in his notice given the fact that I'm gay. (And yes, everyone there knows I'm gay)

And, we welcome back MedicMatthew who returns from Pennsylvania with his ruby slippers ('you can go home again') intact.

Just couldn't help but chuckle when I saw that this morning.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Home again.

Well, it appears that my timing was spot on for moving out of Pittsburgh. Apparently the remnants of Hurricane Ike have left many without power. More importantly the move allowed me to attend the wedding of a childhood friend, Jill. When I was a kid Jill's brother BJ was my best friend. We had absolutely nothing at all in common with each other- he was the jock, I was the band geek- yet we were the best of friends. Prior to this weekend the last time I had seen him was in November, just before I moved to Pittsburgh; prior to that it had been years. This wedding weekend was the perfect reminder of why I have moved back to Maine- this is where my (extended) family is. I enjoyed living in Pittsburgh. I had fun, I had a good job and I worked with some great EMS providers but it just wasn't home.

Life in Maine is a bit different from most of the rest of the country. Our winters can he harsh, our landscape is beautiful, our natural resources are amazing. I come from a rural part of the state where farms have remained in single families for generations, where there are mountains named for their residents that have been there since the 19th century. I am a fourteenth generation American and a seventh generation Mainer.

This is home.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Wow, I have been such a slacker about posting lately. With the relocation and all that it entails I've been a bit busy but I promise to have something up soon.


Thursday, September 11, 2008


This morning I awoke at 8am to the sound of a hammer striking a nail, the house being worked on again by my father. I looked out to see blue skies and felt a slight breeze coming through the window just as I had seven years ago. For all of the things that change just as many stay the same. September 11th is a day we must never forget.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Day One

Thursday afternoon Mom arrived and we ran some errands around the city and went to dinner downtown at a restaurant at PNC Park. Today we spent the day packing & cleaning. The U-Haul is loaded up, tomorrow morning we do a final cleaning of the apartment and then we hit the road. I fueled up tonight before checking in to the hotel. We're starting out this trek with 145,600 miles on the Xterra. We're hoping to be home tomorrow evening, but we'll see how the weather holds out as we catch rains from the last remnants of the storms from the south.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A test of what the heart can handle

As a result of a certain chain of events I am moving back to Maine later than I had initially planned and because of this the job that I initially wanted is no longer available. But as with everything fate has a habit of dropping things in our lap and another position has opened up with the company I used to work for at a base in the community that I grew up in. But before I can express my concerns I've got to share a bit of a back story....

Several years ago my parents were on a vacation on a road trip to Florida. I was still living at thier house at the time and I was sitting in the living room browsing the Internet at about 1am. The scanner was on and I heard the tones go off for the local ambulance service, the very one that I happenned to work for. Normally when I'm at home I have the scanner off. I was working as a dispatcher at the time and on my off days I liked to not have to listen to what was going on in the town and in the county, but this particular night it was on and after hearing the tones I wait for the address. I heard it and jumped out of the recliner.

An ambulance had just been dispached to my grandparents house for a female in her 70s who was short of breath. I knew that there was no way in hell my grandmother would have my grandfather call an ambulance unless something was seriously wrong and so I grabbed my personal jump kit, my radio and ran through the neighbors backyard to my grandparents house. I found my grandmother laying on the porch, she had gone outside for some fresh air because she wasn't feeling well, my grandfather had gone to check on her and found her like this. The long & short of it is that my grandmother wasn't feeling well because she was in heart failure. Pink, frothy sputum pouring out of the mouth, look of terror in her eyes when she saw me heart failure. In my heart I knew that it was already too late. When the ambulance pulled up I yelled to them to grab the suction & the oxygen and to just get her on the stretcher and in the truck- no time for dicking around with much else. I left my grandmother in the hands of the crew on duty and went to tend to my grandfather and explained that she needed to go to the closest hospital tonight because she was very, very sick. As the second crew pulled up I sent them to the first ambulance to assist and when they opened the door I saw a glimpse of my colleague doing chest compressions on my grandmother.


I had been in EMS long enough to know that it was over, but I was still in denial. I got my grandfather situated and ran back to my house to get some shoes and to bring my car over to drive my grandfather up to the hospital. I called my sister and I called the hotel my parents were at. The crews left and I pulled the 2nd ambulance into the driveway and locked it up so it would be out of the way & secure and I then drove to the hospital, stopping to pick up my sister. My aunt met us there and when I walked in through the ER doors the medic on duty just came out and said "I'm sorry, Matt" and hugged me. I had to explain to my grandfather that his wife of over 55 years was dead. I made phone calls to my other sister, I called my parents and had to tell my dad that my grandmother had died. I don't remember much about the rest of the night other than I finally wound up at home, sitting alone on the living room floor crying with my guitar in my hands singing a Melissa Etheridge song - Talking to my Angel

Don't be afraid
Close your eyes
Lay it all down
Dont you cry
Cant you see Im going
Where I can see the sun rise
Ive been talking to my angel
And he said that its alright

I don't remember much about the next few days. My parents made it home, my sister drove up from Massachusetts and my aunts were constantly checking on me. My family was concerned that this event might cause me to not want to work in EMS any more but I think that it helped to cement my desire to continue my EMS education.


So now I am returning to Maine and I am applying for a position in the same community that I grew up in. This past winter my grandfather was out snowblowing the driveway, he put the snowblower away in the garage/basement and decided to start a fire in the wood stove while he was down there. He got the fire started and as he was walking away he slipped and fell. He was unable to get up and no where near a phone and so after a few minute he realized that he had to get upstairs to a phone so that he could call for help. My 80 year old grandfather pulled himself across the basement floor, pausing to drink melting snow from the snowblower because he was so incredibly thirsty. He got to the stairs and somehow managed to pull himself up the stairs one step at a time until he got to the top. He then pulled himself across the floor to call my mother. My mother went over but before she left the house she called for an ambulance. Once again my friends and colleagues responded and transported my grandfather to the ED with a fractured hip. Given that he spent so much time on the floor he also developed rhabdomylosis which is not a good thing when you've got some minor kidney disease to begin with.

So, back to my current situation. There was a lot of talk about how it must have been comforting to my grandmother to know I was there with her when she took her last breaths. And now I'm applying for a position in the community that I called home for so long and I can't help but wonder if this turn of events is part of a greater plan. Does this mean that I'm supposed to be there when my grandfather dies too? My grandfather is now 81 years old with renal failure, diabetes, obesity & hypertension working against him. I don't know if I can do it a second time, especially if I am the responding medic.