The Joys of Dispatching

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Somewhere on Broad Street a man finishes his “half,” (street talk for a half pint of cheap vodka) stumbles around for a bit, then falls into the street, striking his head on the pavement. A couple of ladies on their way to their job cleaning houses on the East Side witness the event, and call […]

How do spend your day off?

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I love a cigar on cold Vermont night, a warm woman by my side, friends and family sitting across the dancing flames, some good dogs snoozing at our feet and the Milky Way above us, listening to the laughter. !

The Vomitorium

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I couldn’t believe it. I, the big I am, was diaphoretic. My face plastered to the cool tile floor, one arm draped across the bowl, the other wiping sweat from my forehead, my bowels churning like the Atlantic during the perfect storm; yet I couldn’t stop staring at the near empty toilet paper roll. I […]

Telling stories

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I wrote Rescuing Providence in 2005-06. I took notes during a three shift period, thirty-four hours without a break, more or less. The book focused on the people who call 911 and my reactions to them with a few flashbacks and a lot of interaction by phone with the family that waited at home. It […]

A seat at the table for EMS

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The City of Providence, RI is plagued with homelessness and panhandlers. Recently city leaders, elected and self-proclaimed held meetings which were widely covered by the press to come up with solutions to the problem. Some of the memorable solutions are; -pass a law making it illegal to pass money from car windows -install street donation […]

Enough

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This is from one of my final shifts in Providence. I had had enough. 0130 hrs “Rescue 1 and Engine 14 respond to Bergen Street for an infant injured in a drive by shooting.“ I rolled out of the bunk and was half dressed when the Rescue 6 took the call. I waited to hear […]

Getting through isn’t easy

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  I thought my high blood pressure was hereditary. I used to take a reading whenever I had a chance, and for 23 years it was in the 140/90 range – high enough to make me worry but not high enough to REALLY worry about. Now that I’ve had some time away from the tones […]

It’s for the Malaria, she said

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Somebody had unlocked the door at the street level, two doorknobs and a deadbolt. We walked the stairs, another unlocked door with double locks waited. I knocked, a voice from behind the door welcomed us in.She was on the couch, next to the door, dressed in a coat, wearing gloves. It was freezing in her […]

EMS gets no respect!

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“Itell ya, I don’t get no respect!” If I had a dollar for every time I heard an EMT or paramedic say that one I’d be able to quit this stinking job. The pay stinks, people are idiots, the staff at the hospital doesn’t respect us, and the cops think they are running OUR scene. […]

Can’t take the psych patient’s behavior personally

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“I’m not hurting you, the handcuffs are.” “Then take them off!” “You keep swinging at us.” She had already taken one of us out with a kick to the groin. Three police officers and four firefighters assisted in the take-down. She had been harassing people at a grocery store, then running in traffic prior to […]

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