Posts Tagged ‘EMS’

THE LAW, THE CONSEQUENCES, AND ENTITLEMENTS

 

Oh hell, cherries on the car behind me.  He can’t be after me, can he?

Yes, he can… and is.  He’s definitely coming after me.

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Last February, and for the first time in sixteen years, I got a speeding ticket.  A deputy for the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department pegged me doing 51 in a 35 MPH zone while I was delivering pizzas.  He pulled me over and wrote me a citation.  Bummer.

I was guilty, no bones about it.  I was speeding and deserved to be punished in whatever fashion my community deemed necessary.  In this case, the community demanded $119 and 4 points.  Fair enough.  Most communities would want more.  I paid the ticket two weeks later — well before the due date — and withheld any rights I might have about fighting it or getting my punishment reduced.

As a long-time member of our local fire department, I have almost daily contact with the police in my local village.  Although I would consider a couple of them as friends of mine, I have no expectations about what might happen should I get pulled over by one of them.  I would never ask any of these officers to let me off just because of my job… even as I would be hoping upon hope that they would do so without any asking (begging) or prompting by me.

Sometimes, while responding to ambulance calls that are outside of my village, I have contact with county deputies who respond to the scene to assist EMS.  I know quite a few deputies by name because of this.  I don’t claim to know any of them well.

I had never before met Deputy M_______ before he pulled me over last February.  If I had, perhaps he would have recognized me, told me to slow down, and let me off with a verbal warning.  Deputy M_______ was professional, kind, and polite even as he was explaining that he was giving me a citation. He wrote me up and I drove back to the pizza store, ready to continue in my quest to deliver hot, fresh food to hungry customers.

I would have (nearly) forgotten about this whole episode by now, and I certainly would have no reason to blog about it, if something unusual hadn’t occurred just four days after my contact with the deputy.

I ran into him on an EMS call.

We went about our business, doing what each of us was expected to do.  Ten minutes later, I approached him.

“Hello Deputy M______,” I said.  “I’ll bet ya didn’t expect to see me again so soon.”

This sentence was carefully calculated.  I was testing him on whether or not he’d remember the pizza guy in a different environment.  Shamed as I am to admit, I wanted to knock him off-kilter.  As much as I respect cops, it was still “too soon,” I guess, and when I sensed his discomfort in not remembering me, I felt smug.  *Smirk*

“So soon?” he asked, “I haven’t assisted (your department) in a long time.”

I stared at him for a moment, pretending to be in a state of disbelief.  Then I said, “You wrote me up for speeding a few days ago.  You remember… the pizza guy…”

What I wanted to say was, “You haven’t tested for detective yet, have you?”  I was hoping that my face was conveying that very question to him at that exact moment.  Shameful, I know.  If I had been in his place, and he in mine, I wouldn’t have remembered me either.  Still, it was in my blood that day to be bitter.  I bit my tongue.

“Oh, sure,” said Deputy M_______.  “You didn’t tell me you were on the fire department.”

Pause the story right here.

You know how you have moments in your life that you re-live over and over, brainstorming on all of the things that you might have said, could have said, should have said, but you didn’t say them because you didn’t have enough time to think things through?

“You didn’t tell me you were on the fire department.”

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This is a “MATRIX” moment, where everything stops and I have an infinite amount of time to dwell upon everything that is wrong with that statement and then an equal amount of time to set Deputy M______ straight in how he sees the world.

 Instead, I said, “Would it have made a difference?”  Shit.  Lame.

“Maybe,” he said.

Last I checked, he and I didn’t know each other.  I was completely annoyed.  How many things were running through my head at that moment?  Not nearly as many as I would have liked.

Why didn’t it make a difference that I was delivering pizzas instead of running EMS?  Did it make a difference that I went 16 years without a traffic violation?  Would it have made a difference if I’d have told him that I have two girls at home that I’m trying to feed and clothe and put college money away for?  Would it have made a difference if I said the rent was a month late because we’re trying to put $7,200 toward a Disney World trip later this year?

“I’ll pay the damn ticket,” I said.

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Do all writers lose their minds?  Surely not, but if such a high number of the famous ones go mad, I’m guessing that an even higher percentage of the lesser known writers tinker in madness.

Way before I even dreamed of writing professionally I had a certain fascination with the lunacy of the world’s great writers.  Talents like Petronius, Pound, Hemingway, and Nietzsche, who, for valid reasons or not, descended into madness, shortening their lives and their portfolios, forever robbing the world of what might have been.

Woolf.  Mayakofsky, Pavese.  Berryman.

It’s no secret that writers are susceptible to severe depression.  There are even surveys and studies that say so –

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/dec/13/writers-depression-top-10-risk

http://www.elizabethmoon.com/writing-depression.html

Hans Christian Andersen. Truman Capote. Charles Dickens. Henry James.

Does one need to be depressed to be a writer, or does writing merely lead one into depression?

Celan.  Sexton.  Plath.  Brautigan.

In the publishing world of today, writer’s often find themselves spending more time in selling themselves to the public than they do in producing written material.  Blogging, queries, synopses, bios, blogging, queries, synopses, bios. Rejection, rejection, rejection.  All of this leads to more self-evaluation than is necessary for most people.  It is easy to see how one’s self-image gets tanked through the 21st century publishing process.

This leads me to believe that the problem writers face with depression may be greater than ever before.  Writers of past centuries were not nearly as exposed to criticism and rejection as the writers of today.

Gray.  Wallace.  Thompson.  Kane.

It is important to keep your perspective as a writer.  It is important to keep your perspective as a human being.  You are just one tiny element in a grandiose world of mortal objects.  We want to feel important, yet what we do is really not all that important, except to those that are closest to us while we’re here.

Sometimes, for perspective, I like to stop what I’m doing and spend a moment with one of my pets.

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Ashes, the EMS Cat, at age one.

Ashes doesn’t care if I get published.  She doesn’t care what I say as long as I’m not yelling at her.  She just wants me to feed her and stroke her fur once in a while… and she wants to be able to crap in a clean box of litter, too.

Sigh.

I’m still sane, at least for the moment.

Stay sane, writers.

LAST CALL FOR A BROTHER, A FRIEND, A MENTOR, A LEGEND

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service.  I acted and behold! Service was joy!” – Rabindranath Tagore

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 We buried a brother yesterday and it was a hard day, indeed.  A great man, Captain Gerry Spina, passed away at his home last week.  And while it is so very difficult to say goodbye to a friend, a loved one, a brother, a mentor… there is so much more than grief and anguish in our hearts today.  As we continue to express our deepest sympathy to those closest to Gerry — his wife, his children, his grandchildren — collectively, we feel pride, respect, joy, and gratitude in knowing that Gerry did his best for his family, his community, his students, and his patients.

Gerry Spina dedicated his life to service.  A former Navy man, Gerry was a trauma RN, a flight nurse, a firefighter, a paramedic, and a consultant in infusion therapy.  Additionally, he had served as a paramedic instructor, fire instructor, and as an instructor in phlebotomy for Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  For the last several years, Gerry was a Captain in charge of training for the Bark River Fire and EMS Training Consortium — serving as an EMS refresher trainer for the Lisbon Fire Department and the Hartland Fire Department, where it has been my good fortune to have been mentored by him.  While in this position, he continued to serve as a firefighter/paramedic for the Lisbon Fire Department.

 A man with the passion and talents that Captain Spina possessed will be missed by more than just those who knew him by name and face.  The effort that a man like Gerry puts into those he mentors is carried far and away and is utilized by those he has taught on a daily basis.  Lives have been saved — and will continue to be saved — because of Gerry Spina’s commitment and appetite for excellence in his work.

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Gerry Spina

So it is with heavy hearts and misty eyes that we re-dedicate ourselves to the job, holding Gerry as the example of courage, dignity, merit, and duty.  As such, he is the ultimate precedent.

Goodbye, Gerry.  Thank you.  Few have done more for others… fewer have been so loved.  *RESPECT*

God be with you.

“This is the last call for Gerry Spina, Captain, 2600.  May he rest in peace.”