Sunday, 28 August 2011

Nights in a northern town

You learn over time to carry an extra bag with you when you do medevacs. Just a little one, big enough to carry a shaving kit, socks, underwear and a t shirt. Simply because you never know when you may "time out" away from base. It happened recently when I was separated from my electric razor ... and needed to use a blade. It had been many years since I used a blade. The results were satisfactory, but enough to make me decide to get an extra bag.

In any event, I had to run out to the hangar in order to retrieve my extra bag from the aircraft. On the way back to my crew house, I looked up.

I was dazzled by the brilliance of the stars, despite the airport lights. They're still brighter than what we see in the city. There are so many more. The black is incredible, the stars dazzle, and it makes me wonder where exactly Earth is in all of this. Where are the other intelligent forms of life, and how far away? It all makes you feel so incredibly small, and somehow yet so important. Every creature plays a part on this planet, if even for a short time in relation to the rest of the universe.

Working Sundays

Even though I'm away from home for a week at a time, Sundays are usually a more casual pace and a bit of a blessing.

(You'll note I purposely avoided that "Q" word. It's a superstition thing. Say that word, and it no longer will be.)

Time can be spent watching TV, catching up on email or FaceBook, reading, blogging or catching a nap. I've also tried to make better use of free time lately with push ups, sit ups, stretching and using my resistance band.

It also leaves you with time to think.

I wonder if I've done all that I could with my life up to now, and I wonder about the mistakes I've made. Those two I try to remind myself of a Tim McGraw lyric:

Well you do what you do and you pay for your sins,
And there’s no such thing as what might’ve
Been, that’s a waste of time; drive you outta your mind

As much as you'd like to go back in time and do things differently, you can't, and there's no guarantee things would  work out any better. I'm not religious by any stretch, but I am spiritual. Things are happening for a reason, they're unfolding exactly as they should. We don't have to understand them, we don't have to like them, we do need to respect them though. I do try to look for clues as to what the universe is trying to tell me ... and work karma as best I can. A good word, a good deed, no anger, no violence. Just doesn't seem worth it.

That how I try to look to the future now. Do more good than what I see, try to get people to pay things forward. And when I do look to the past, I try to remember the things I've done wrong, the hurt I've created ... and not do it again. But if for some reason, I've made someone angry or sad, I try to figure out what the issue was, and honestly and sincerely apologize. Things just seem to be a whole lot better that way.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Ya know ...

... if I can't look after a patient, and I call for you to back me up? Just get in and fly, okay?

Don't try to second guess me, don't try to lessen what I'm seeing. If I'm calling you, I've already run the variables and weighed the risks. I appreciate you think you're helping, but you're wasting my patient's time.

I can appreciate we get our "sleepy days" ... we all do. But you also agreed to do a job.


There ... all better now.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Amongst the Clouds

Flight has held a certain fascination for me since I was a child. I was hooked at my first airshow as a youth.

There is a particular quality to the rumble the engine of a high performance bi plane makes, or the piercing sound a jet fighter makes as it slices its way through the sky at sub sonic speed.

These days it's not about aerial acrobatics or subsonic speed, it's about turbo prop aircraft, cabin altitudes and making people comfortable for the short time I have them.

I'm a flight paramedic doing medevac work in northern Canada. Because Aboriginal Canadians are so far from tertiary care, they are looked after by nurses in nursing stations until such time as we can arrive, assume care and transport them to definitive care. 

For me, its a combination of two passions - working as a paramedic and being able to fly.

There is a particular quality to the smell burned aviation fuel (Jet A1) has. For those that fly, dare I call it an aroma. It has a pungent yet sweet smell. It's somewhat concerning, but my daughter has taken to identifying it when we're at the airport. "Mmmm ... Dad! We're close - av gas!"

But nothing compares to when the pilots I fly with are required to 'hand fly' around large, dense clouds. It is a pleasure to watch them work, sliding around and underneath these clouds, feeling gravity pull you, but seeing the smiles creep across their faces. This isn't work to them at this point. It's being paid to experience the Earth.

Technology - The Reprise


I woke this morning to enjoy a cuppa coffee, and lo and behold ... it was the Internet provider.

Hello Internet. How I missed thee <3


Twice this month, I've experienced the sharp drop off the edge of the technology cliff.

Once was when my CrackBerry charger decided it had enough and packed it in, leaving me very few choices on how to recharge it. Thankfully I had the USB cable.

Last night I arrived up north only to find the Internet down.

What the hell did we do before that?!

At least I had a couch to crush and the TV remote.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

So what about me

Well, carrying on as promised during "In The Beginning", I said I'd fill you in on me.

It seemed a good idea at the time. I must have gotten caught up in the rapture of writing. Now, not so much.

Ah well. A man is judged by his word, and if he cannot hold his word, he's not much of a man now, is he?

So. I am a son, and will consider myself to be one, despite having lost both my parents. I am a brother, youngest of three ... and yes, the best was saved to last. I am an uncle. I am a best friend to two best friends a guy could ever ask for. Both would drop everything they were doing to help me - and have. One that would take a bullet for me - because that's what he's paid to do, and I would for him. Partners and ex-partners share that bond, and it doesn't die when work is done. And lastly, I'm a paramedic ... right now a flight paramedic to be exact. But there was a time if you'd asked me who I was, I'd have answered that first.

Very typically North American, we seem to judge each other by what we do and make it "who we are". It's not who we are, it's what we do. I struggled with it a very long time, and it wasn't until I had nothing left, or as Chris Young sings, when I was "down on my knees because it was the last place left to fall" did I finally appreciate that fact. As an occupation, it can leave you very fulfilled. However it is a fickle beast that when you believe the lies it tells you, becomes an insatiable omnivore that will devour you whole and leave looking for its next prey.

Over the history of my career, I was educated and self educated reading reams of literature to stay on the bleeding edge. Over time, I slowly became deluded by my own propaganda that would have made you believe I could alternate between parting and walking on water. Then single handed, tried to fight progress my employer was trying to make, running around being the thumb in their eye, yet wondering why on Earth I wasn't promoted.

And now, I am a flight paramedic, through a long and meandering road I've traveled and experienced, and at times endured. Those travels I will relay in time.

Safe to say, the realization I'm just a guy, came through the assistance of my daughter. Not that she realized she was doing anything at all. But that now is my true labour of love ... being the best dad I can be is my true calling as she is my legacy, and beyond that, my teacher, to make me see things differently, look inward, question and grow.

As much as work is something I enjoy and as much as it provides us with a comfortable style of living ... it's just work. It's what I do in between my days off. It's easier that way - and better.

In the beginning ...

I'm trying this out at the suggestion of more than a few friends.

I've been told that I have an ability to write. Odd, really. I disliked writing in school. Nor did I appreciate reading. Only now have I had a desire to move beyond the daily local paper or a required text.

What I have had for as long as I can remember is a love of lyrics and how the most simple of words can evoke such strong emotion. Similar, yet different.

So I'll begin. Perhaps not at *the* beginning ... 'Once upon a time' won't cut it either. But like most of my things I do, I'll dive headlong into it and figure it out as I go along. Somehow already, I'm finding this cathartic.

My grammar may leave a lot to be desired, as will my punctuation. I may not be terribly politically correct at times, either. Profanity may sneak in from time to time, so you've been forewarned. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here :)

Work needs to get done around home before I go to back to work tomorrow ... more to follow. Maybe I'll catch up with more about me. 
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