Those of you who follow the blog may have realized that it’s been almost a month since my last post. I know that I’m not the kind of blogger to have a weekly article or regular posting schedule; I simply write when I feel it’s necessary that I put my thoughts down in ink (or pixels). So please excuse me if I do not always have something witty, gritty, or introspective to say (it’s a rarity if I do in the first place). If you sit at your keyboard with a longing in your hearts, a fire burning deep for more public safety blogging power please feel free to check out some of the greatest minds in EMS today, from the field provider to supervisors over at FRNtv’s Blog Network. I consider myself honored every day to be able to count myself as one of their bloggers.

Let’s shift gears here to working. Part of the reason for my hiatus is that work has gotten to me. Not to say that work has been dull or routine, but rather that at the end of the day the idea of sitting down at a keyboard and pounding out the day’s, week’s, or month’s events is just exhausting. It’s actually funny to me because this would be a long standing personal problem that I’ve been dealing with pretty much my entire life: Procrastination to a fault. Here’s the scenario; you work on a city ambulance, putting in long hours and racking up calls like never before. In your off time, the reports pile up and the last thing you want to do is sit down and actually revisit those calls, but know you have to. As time slips away, you begin to forget details of the calls, the quality of your notes slips, and the idea of sitting down and writing is even less appealing because of the building shame and regret for not having done it earlier. What’s the solution that you come to? Run away and hide. Someplace like New Orleans sounds good right? Maybe hop on a plane, fly to Fort Worth, pick up your girlfriend, drive to New Orleans and have the time of your life. Then you’ll drive to Memphis, because what else is there to do (remember your hiding from yourself). Eventually you know you’ll have to get back to Baltimore, you do have shifts to complete, but it was never the shifts that were the problem in the first place. When you were on the ambulance you had the time of your life. Running calls in the City was the most fun thing you’d ever done. Feeling like you were actually making a difference, or failing that, at least being out there. You were confident out there, more so than ever before. The mantra of “I can fix that” kept rolling in your head and you finally felt like you’d found a place you belonged. All of that changed when you opened your clipboard and saw the stack of reports from the day which would eventually require your attention. More discouraging was coming home to the box which contained the rest of the summer’s reports. You knew in the back of your mind that you couldn’t hide forever.

This isn’t a dream though. This isn’t some hypothetical situation to examine the reasons for being punctual and being thorough with your work. This is the true account of what happened to me last summer in the tail end of my paramedic program. Burnout sets in quickly when you work an 80 hr week. Know though that burnout doesn’t begin with the calls, those are always interesting. It’s the aftermath, the write up which always got me. Eventually in August I was called into the office of my program director and clinical coordinator to discuss where I was going and what my plans were. I had no plan, I had no direction, I wasn’t even sure if EMS was the field I wanted to go into. I knew I was at least competent, but would I be good enough? More importantly would I ever be satisfied with being yet another field provider? There was so much more that I wanted to do… I’d grown up seeing my parents succeed to great heights and had it in my head that if I wasn’t influential in some way that work would be for naught. In the end, the program director and my clinical coordinator sat down with me and we looked through all of the paperwork I had not completed. Their answer was simple, “we can’t accept this”. My answer, “please?”. Clearly we weren’t going to get anywhere with this. Solution: redo your internship. All of it. In one month.

Wow.

First off, in the meeting I realized one thing. I don’t have to be influential on a grand scale, because for that person calling 911 who actually needs us, I am important to them. Ergo being a paramedic was only natural for me. Secondly, this is a lot of work to complete in one month. So lets get started. My preceptor and I sat down and agreed upon a schedule and completed the internship. There I was back on the medic having the time of my life, except this time I was writing everything down.

I only tell you this because the problem of follow-up still plagues me. I will visit the hospital and check on patients, I will swing past their apartments and make sure they’re doing okay, but for some reason writing it all up still is a problem. Weird huh, because I sit here and write to you all at endless lengths. I don’t know, I’m still working through it. All I know is there are consequences out here in the real world that do not compare to what you get in school. I don’t get second chances, I get fired.

Let’s change it up again. #Winning, and no, not Charlie Sheen. My #winning comes from the kind of support I’ve gotten in recent weeks from the FRN crew as well as some other huge people in EMS. I’d like to thank my buddy MedicSBK for giving me the opportunity to appear on EMS Garage in recent weeks. Podcasting feels like my wheelhouse, I’ve always been much more confident speaking than writing and I think that podcasting gives me that happy medium. The accessibility of blogging, but the ease of speaking. Additionally thanks to @geekymedic for having me back as a return panelist on the Garage, I’ve been having an absolute blast and I can’t wait to come back. Also I’d be remiss if I did not mention @imagemedic for letting me stink up First Few Moments. Also, seeing as we’re talking about big news, I’ve been afforded the honor of being the Maryland State EMS Advocacy Coordinator through the NAEMT. Which is something I really am truly honored to have been chosen for. I cannot wait to begin working with the many jurisdictions within Maryland as well as with my fellow State Advocacy Coordinators on plans for the future. As we’d discussed on twitter, the #Thunder will keep on rolling.
I’ll be brief on this point, but, EMS Expo 2011 is right around the corner and it’s in Las Vegas! As of this posting I’ll be there in 17 days. I cannot possibly wait that long to see all of my EMS 2.0 people again. We’re going to be making waves there this year. There are big things on the way.

So that’s where I’ve been as of late. Once again my apologies for leaving you all for so long.

Be safe, keep the rubber side down.

P.S. – advice for paramedic students. If you aren’t allowed to be on clinical beyond midnight, don’t check in on foursquare at the hospital at 0200.