Tuesday, August 30, 2011

HOWDY FROM KINGMAN / DMAT AND FEMA

No flights so far this shift (24 hours on our Angel 2 helicopter in Kingman) ... but I did finish nine hours of online FEMA classes today.

I've been wanting for awhile now to start doing some kind of volunteer work again.  At different times I've recorded books for the blind, taught CPR classes, been a Kiwanis Club member, and served on the board of an organization helping victims of sexual assaults, among other things -- but it's been several years since I've done any volunteering except at work.  I decided a few months back that using my medical skills and experience to help people in disaster situations would be a good way to do that.

As part of my application to join the Arizona Disaster Medical Assistance Team (AZ1 DMAT), part of the National Disaster Medical System (volunteer medical and support personnel who also become part of the U.S. uniformed services when activated by the federal government), I needed to complete 12 hours of online courses on the Incident Command System (ICS), National Incident Management System (NIMS), and the National Response Framework (NRF).  I'd completed the first three-hour course last shift; today I finished the other three.

For the most part, it was just as mind-numbing as it sounds:  Lots of overlap between the four courses, and lots and lots and lots of bureaucratic-speak, buzzwords and acronyms.

But the system, if it works like it's supposed to, actually sounds pretty good ...

Besides all the terminology and theory, there were some interesting lessons learned from 9/11, Katrina, and other major incidents ... as well as some genuinely scary scenarios that form the current basis for U.S. emergency planning.

I'd better sign off and see if I can get some sleep.  Eight hours left of this shift, then a two-hour drive back to Flag.

Love and hugs, everybody.  Good night.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

BACK AT WORK ... AND BACK IN OUR BASE!

Good morning from Cottonwood, everybody!

Arrived at work this morning to find the flood repairs all finished, all our stuff back in place -- and new carpets in most of the rooms, even (we were told it would be concrete floors for us from here on out).

Also, it appears that I've been AWOL from Twitter / Tumblr / blogger.com for ... ten days now?

Yikes, sorry 'bout that folks.

Super-condensed version of what you've missed:  Work/motel, off a day or two, work/motel, repeat several times.  Unpack / wander around like a zombie / write a little on my day(s) off.  Drive out to California for a nice visit with dad and mom, capped by my first-ever visit to the Mission Inn in Riverside.  Which is pretty amazing:  what I imagine you'd get if you crossed Hearst Castle with Disneyland, and added a dash of aviation history:  They have a wall there with wings autographed by everyone from Orville Wright and Amelia Earhart to Chuck Yeager and Neil Armstrong.  On the way back from CA I stopped by Tucson, hung out with Sam a bit (we finally saw "Cowboys & Aliens", which turned out to be pretty enjoyable).

Love and hugs / more soon ...







Wednesday, August 17, 2011

HOWDY FROM TUCSON AGAIN

Down at Sam's new place for a quick visit.  Just got in about an hour ago.   After some sleep (which will be commencing as soon as I finish this post!), we're going to hit Wal-Mart, the college bookstore, and the movies (we're thinking "Cowboys versus Aliens") before I head back up to Flagstaff and get ready for another 24-hour shift on Thursday.

Love and hugs, everybody.  Yawwwwwwwwwn!  'Night.

Monday, August 15, 2011

HOUSTON, WE HAVE INTERNET

After a busy couple of weeks, this weekend was gloriously low-key. 

Only left the apartment twice, last night for a quick trip to Wal-Mart, and this evening to grab a few things from storage.  It rained off and on all day today, with the brightest double rainbow I've ever seen just before sunset.

Besides laundry, unpacking, and general settling in, I watched DVDs, listened to CDs, records, and YouTube music videos (Buddy Holly, Loretta Lynn, Mozart, and Roger Miller, mostly), and read.  Hooked up the phone (the first time I've had a landline in years; I'd actually forgotten about dialing a 1 before the area code), and tonight even found my router and got it to play nice with the new modem ...

... so I officially have internet again!

Work again in the morning.  Yikes -- just realized how late it's getting.  Better sleep fast.

Love and hugs, everybody.

G'night.


Friday, August 12, 2011

FOUR FLIGHTS SO FAR ...

... and the shift is only half over.  It's a full moon.  It's a payday.  It's a Friday night.  It's near the end of summer.

We could very well do some more flying tonight.

But it's been a good shift so far:  Lots of flying over beautiful Northern Arizona, lots of people who really needed helicopters, lots of little fun moments with patients and coworkers.  Even the staff at the local trauma center were kidding when they said they'd lock the doors if we tried to bring them any more patients tonight. 

I think.

I hope we don't test that theory.  But just in case we do, I'm gonna attempt sleep now and finish charting and everything else in the morning.  Good night, everybody.  Love and hugs from our temporary air ambulance base, aka the Quality Inn.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

HELLO FROM WORK ... -ISH

I think I mentioned last week that our base flooded?  Well, apparently it did it again last Friday, only worse.  Like, an inches-deep river flowing down the hallway worse.

So today they’re tearing the carpets out and cutting away the bottom foot or so of drywall.  We’re at the motel down the street.  So, internet, which is good, but no common area, and several minutes from the helicopter, which is … odd.

Today’s also my first 24-hour shift, so at least it’ll only be odd for half as long as I’m used to.
In other news:  Found Sam and AJ a cool apartment in Tucson over the weekend.  Intubated people in the OR most of yesterday.  Tomorrow and Thursday I’ll be helping pack up Sam’s stuff, trucking it down to Tucson, unloading it, then racing back up the hill in time for another 24 on Friday.

Oh!  And!  I should have actual, real-live, non-persnickety internet access by then also.

Miss you guys.  Hope all’s well with you.  Really looking forward to catching up with you soon.  In the meantime, great big enormous hugs!

Love and (more) hugs from your friendly neighborhood motel-based flight medic.  :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

HOWDY FROM TUCSON

Sam, his best friend / soon-to-be roommate AJ, and I are here for the weekend scouting out apartments for them for the coming school year.

The new apartment has turned out to be pretty much like the old apartment in terms of mobile internet and cell phone connectivity -- not so good! -- but my new land line and internet are scheduled to start next Thursday, August 11.  In the meantime, I miss you all, and will try to keep in touch as time / connectivity allows.

I have another O.R. clinical (intubating surgical patients) on Monday, then my first 24-hour shift Tuesday.  
As busy as the 48s have been lately, I'm actually looking forward to the change, although I'm going to need a printout of my schedule to have any idea at all when I'm supposed to go to work for awhile:  After each 24-hour shift I'll have from one to five days off; the schedule only repeats every six weeks or so.
Also hoping to get some more work done on the book as soon as we get back to Flag.

Good night everyone!

Love and hugs,

Dan

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

HOUR 37 OF 48: SO FAR, ANOTHER BUSY BUT GOOD SHIFT

So far:  We've been to the Grand Canyon.  We've been to Kingman.  We've landed on the interstate.  We've played show-and-tell with the helicopter at Sedona's National Night Out.  Our base has flooded in an afternoon downpour, and mostly dried out again.

Still finishing up the paperwork.

Good night everybody.  Love and hugs!