Friday, September 10, 2010

It's Not Over

9 years ago... the most tragic and vile thing happened to our great nation in a very long time.  We were attacked at our very soul... our ego shattered... and through our blackened eye.. we grieved for the loss of so many. 
All of us lost something that day... regardless of who you are.  Our country suffered and mourned together, joined by those of many other nations.  We all hurt... and with recent news.. our wounds have not yet healed, our scars are stil fresh.
That infamous day.. your Military mobilized rapidly... to protect our nation... to prevent any further attacks.. to bring to justice those responsible.  Mostly.. to make sure you could sleep at night... knowing they were there to stop those who wish evil upon us in their tracks.
9 years... and the troops are still there... still guarding... protecting... rebuilding...
The news has made a big deal about "The End of Combat Operations In Iraq"......

....all fine and dandy.....

Let me tell you... from eyes on the ground.... the fighting still continues... there is death every day.... Iraq is not magically a quiet, peaceful oasis.... there are still 50 thousand troops on the ground here... and they all carry weapons.  There are still Mortars and Rockets being launched into US bases daily.  There are still suicide bombers and IED's.... there are still car bombs... daily.. Iraqi civilians, Police, Soldiers, religious leaders... children... dying here.

Is it sad ?  Yes.. without a doubt...  My point is...

On this upcoming day... please remember... there are still thousands of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan... still pushing forward with the fight against the same terrorists that aimed to destroy our nation at it's foundations... They are still there... they are still in grave danger.. they are still fighting to rebuild nations... to provide the chance for a brighter future for people who have never had that glimmer of hope.

There are thousands of American civilians.. many who, like me, were prior military, serving yet again to protect and provide for those who protect us.

This is not over... far from it.... but it is getting better.... All I ask on this important day is...

Keep those who are still serving, regardless of capacity, in your thoughts...
Remember they are still there
regardless of what the news says

This fight is not over... and the one in Afghanistan is growing...

They will be here.... until it is
Sunset in Iraq... on the evening before Sept 11.... also the eve of the end of Ramadan

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Question of the Day #9

Time to reach for the stars... or at least get to the upper floors......

Here's your next Fire Trivia Question....

Who had the longest (Example: 50 ft, 100ft) snorkel manufactured in the US?

A. Seagrave's Firebird

B. American LaFrance Aero Chief

C. Pierce Snorkel

D. Pirsch Snorkel

Friday, August 13, 2010

Question of the Day #8

Some people are blabbermouths... others never give enough info... but people like to talk....

Communication is essential in our line of work... be it Fire or EMS... the flow of information is vital to a life being saved....

With all that said... here is you Trivia Question of the day....

In what year was the walkie-talkie introduced in the fire service?

A. 1923

B. 1933

C. 1940

D. 1945
  Answer Posted Below.....


In what year was the walkie-talkie introduced in the fire service?

C. 1940

  In 1940 is when FDNY introduce the first fireground radios known as “Walkie-talkies.” They operated in the ultra-high frequency, 2-meter band, weighted approximately 15 pound, measured 9 by 5 by 13 inches and were carried in a backpack. The “Walkie-talkie” received its first actually test under real conditions in July 1940 at the Algonquin fire. The radio did not get much fame until 1945, when they used Motorola’s handie talkie at the site of the B-25 crash into the Empire State Building, when pictures of their firefighter were taken using the radio at the incident.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Question of the Day #7

Think you're the schnizzle when it comes to fire-buff trivia ?   Sink your chops into this all-to-important blast from the past !

Take a guess... leave a comment.... but don't cheat yourself buy checking Google......

When the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health investigated this fire, they issued 12 recommendations- many of which involved preplanning- for similar firefighting situations:

A. Worcester Warehouse Fire

B. Hackensack Ford Dealership Fire

C. 23rd Street Fire

D. The Triangle Shirt Waist Fire


Most comments yet..... @leatherheadff and Eric were correct..

When the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health investigated this fire, they issued 12 recommendations- many of which involved preplanning- for similar firefighting situations:

A. Worcester Warehouse Fire

On December 3, 1999, The Worchester Fie Department received a call at approximately 1800 hours for a possible fire at the former Worchester Cold Storage and Warehouse. When the Fire Department arrived on scene, there were reports of 2 homeless people trapped inside and 2 firefighters entered the structure to search for the people. While searching, the 2 firefighters became disoriented and started to run out of air. When they realize that they were in trouble they called in a “Mayday!” Four firefighters heard their “Mayday” and rushed into the structure. All 6 firefighters died as the result of the conditions inside the structure during the 6 Alarm blazed that burned for 24 hours. During the investigation, NIOSH issued 12 recommendations.....

1. Conducting pre-fire planning on vacant buildings

2. Marking dangerous, vacant buildings

3. Implementing an Incident Command System at fire scenes

4. Using a separate Incident Safety Officer at Fire scenes

5. Using adequate equipment and adhering to standard operating procedure

6. Incident Command must account for personnel at scene

7. Using ropes, lines, and lights

8. Ensuring a Rapid Intervention Team is in place

9. Implementing a health and safety program

10. Using a marking system during searches

11. Enforcing mask rules

12. Using thermal imaging cameras
This fire was a catylst to changing the way we do business on the fireground. It kills me a little more each time a Firefighter falls... 6 Brothers lost, but, in my humble opinion, hundreds and more have been saved because of the implimentation of changes made after this tragedy.
Rest in Peace, my Brothers

The Worcester 6
Pictured top-Botom, Left to right:
Lt. Thomas Spencer, James Lyons,Paul Brotherton
Timothy Jackson, Jeremiah Lucey, Joseph McGuirk

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Question of the Day #6

American History is rittled with violence. . .  and fires.. lots of fires... even from the very beginning... here's a chance to check your american history knowledge coupled with your knowledge of the fire service.....

as always... no oogling Google  :-) and leave some comments....

During what war was the White House set on fire by the invading army?

A. The American Civil War

B. The War of 1812

C. The Spanish-American War

D. The Mexican-American War of 1846-1848


During what war was the White House set on fire by the invading army?

B. The War of 1812

During the War of 1812, The British burned Washington, DC. On, August 24, 1814, the British reached Washington, and found the city largely deserted, with the only resistance being ineffective sniper fire from one house. The first order of business for the British was to attack the Navy yard... which they burned. British troops next arrived at the US Capitol, which was still unfinished. According to later accounts, the British were impressed by the fine architecture of the building, and some of the officers had qualms about burning it. According to legend, British Admiral Cockburn sat in the chair belonging to the Speaker of the House and asked, "Shall this harbor of Yankee democracy be burned?" The British Marines with him yelled "Aye!" Orders were given to torch the building. The British troops worked diligently to set fires inside the Capitol, destroying years of work by artisans brought from Europe. With the burning Capitol lighting the sky, troops also marched to burn an armory. At about 10:30 pm, approximately 150 Royal Marines formed up in columns and began marching westward on Pennsylvania Avenue, following the route used in modern times for inauguration day parades. The British troops moved quickly, with a particular destination in mind, The White House, which they in turn set ablaze as well. The British troops then turned their attention to the adjacent Treasury Department building, which was also set on fire. The fires burned so brightly that observers many miles away recalled seeing a glow in the night sky.

“Capture and Burning of Washington by the British, in 1814,” an 1876 wood engraving.

Is that a tornado ?

Driving back from lunch today in the Engine, the whole crew talking about how surpisingly not horrible the meal was, I looked out into the Desert (ok.. not a very far look) and something odd caught my eye.  Is that smoke ?  Looks like it... but that's a hell of a column... and a little light... light enough it was almost impossible to see without good sun-glasses on.
Dust Devil at Ramadi
Drove on, a little further, and it became aparent what we were looking at..... Does Iraq have Tornados ?

Yes.. I saw my first "REAL" dust devil today.... was quite amazing to see a small twister of sand stretch about 200' into the sky. It actually crossed the road right in front of us (sand-blasting the Tahoe that chose to drive through) LOL. Yes.. I'm easily amused... but this was pretty cool to be that close to it.... watched it trek and grow for about a mile ... unfortunately.. now there's a ton of sand thrown up in the aire that has to come back down.... and I just swept my floor this morning...
...aaaand, of course... I didn't have my Camera with me... but, I'm sure it won't be the last... just the first (big one). 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Question of the Day #5

Ok Fire Buffs.... put you're thinkin caps on.... Here Comes the QOD #5

Who was considered to be the first fire chief in US history?

A. Jacobus Stoutenburgh

B. Benjamin Franklin

C. Jacobus Turck

D. Thomas Atkins

Answer Posted Below.....

Who was considered to be the first fire chief in US history?

A. Jacobus Stoutenburgh

During 1761, Jacobus Stoutenburgh became the head of the volunteer fire department for New York City. His title was “Overseer of Fire Engines The department was reorganized I 1762 and Stoutenburgh's title was changed to "Engineer," then to "Chief Engineer" in later that year and finally in 1763, "Chief." (This was the first time any firefighter in the U.S. was officially known by the rank of chief.) The rank of chief soon became popular with fire departments throughout the country, and the association of the speaking trumpet and a fire officer was starting. The earliest mention of trumpets in New York City was in 1752, when Jacobus Turck, who was in charge of the department at that time, was authorized "to purchase six small speaking-trumpets for the use of the Corporation." The first trumpets were made of tin and were painted. The officers called cadence through the trumpets to keep the men on the hand pumpers in time on the noisy fireground. The trumpets soon were being made from brass and were being presented as gifts to members of the department. Chief Officers used them for overall command at the scene of working fires. They also became part of the elaborate uniforms of the volunteer firemen. The speaking trumpet was in use for many years as a communication device. It has carried on to this day in a small way as an insignia of rank in most departments - one trumpet for lieutenant, two for a captain, and crossed gold trumpets up to five in number to signify chief of department.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Question of the Day #4

Happy Sunday to All !!!   In the spirit of Public Assembly fires of historical note... today, we'll add a neat trivia fact from the Cocoanut Grove fire...

but not what you think......

During the Cocoanut Grove Fire, this was used for the first time on burn victims:

A.  Burn Blanket

B.  Vaseline

C.  Morphine

D.  Saline Solution

Answer Posted Below......

Whoever post anon was correct!

During the Cocoanut Grove Fire, this was used for the first time on burn victims:

B. Vaseline

The Cocoanut Grove fire victims were treated by two hospitals: Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston City Hospital. While at these hospitals they were treated by doctors using medical advancements such as new drugs, procedures and a blood bank. Doctors Daniels Moore and Oliver Cope treated them at Massachusetts General Hospital in a process involving gauze smeared with Vaseline. It was the first major use of the hospital’s new blood bank- one of the areas’s first established by Dr. Lamar Soutter. The Cocoanut Grove victim was amongst the first to be treated with a new drug called penicillin as well.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Question of the Day #3

Ok fire trivia junkies... let's get to it... hopefully we start getting a little more interaction going here soon

Here is your Fire Trivia Question of the Day......remember.. no Google, no Cheating :-)

This was the Deadliest Public Assembly Fire in US History:

A. Dance Hall, Via Platt, LA

B. Rhythm Club, Natchez, MS

C. Iroquois Theater

D. Beverly Hills Supper Club, Southgate, KY

Answer Posted Below.....

Bi-Paula and @scribbles412 were right!  (...and who says movies aren't educational ?  LOL)

The Deadliest Public Assembly Fire in US History was:

C. Iroquois Theater

 Ever wonder why Fire Inspections and Code Enforcement are so important ? Read on........

The Iroquois Theater fire occurred on December 30, 1903, in Chicago, Illinois. It is the deadliest Public Assembly fire in United States history. A total of 602 people died as a result of the fire. Despite being billed as "Absolutely Fireproof" in advertisements and playbills, numerous deficiencies in fire readiness were apparent. An editor of Fireproof Magazine had toured the building during construction and had noted "the absence of an intake, or stage draft shaft; the exposed reinforcement of the (proscenium) arch; the presence of wood trim on everything and the inadequate provision of exits.” A Chicago Fire Department captain who made an unofficial tour of the theater days before the official opening noted that there were no extinguishers, sprinklers, alarms, telephones, or water connections; the only firefighting equipment available were six canisters of a dry chemical called "Kilfyre", which was normally used to douse residential chimney fires. There were also structural deficiencies. Large iron gates blocked off the stairways during performances to prevent patrons from moving down from the gallery to the dress circle or orchestra. Many of the exit routes were confusing; patrons seated in the front of the gallery had to turn left, climb four stairs, turn right, climb down a number of stairs, then turn and descend another staircase simply in order to reach the dress circle level, then descend another stairway to reach the foyer. The gallery stairways also converged on one point, making it more likely that the exits would become bottlenecks. Within the theater, curtains covered the main fire exits located on the north side of each level. The exits themselves were secured with bascule locks, a form of lock in which bolts run vertically out of the top and bottom of the door and which were almost unheard of outside of Europe at the time. The fire escapes that led from the north exits each served three doors and were too narrow to carry the number that could exit if all doors opened. Moreover, the last rungs of the emergency stairs were frozen in place and could not be moved. Many doors opened inwards, including the main stage door. The roof ventilation system was either nailed down or wired down, but in any event was not functional. At about 3:15 P.M., late in the second act, a dance number was in progress when an arc light shorted and ignited a muslin curtain. A stage hand attempted to douse the fire with the Kilfyre canisters provided but it quickly spread to the fly gallery high above the stage where thousands of square feet of highly flammable painted canvas scenery flats were hung. While the actors were fleeing through the back door, it was reported when they open the door a back draft was created. As the cold winter air rushed into the building, the fire created a bellows like effect that shot tongues of fire out across the audience. It took the Chicago Fire Department 13 minutes to get the initial call of the fire because of the lack of pull boxes in the area, and it took them only 2 minutes to arrived on scene after receiving the call. By that time when they arrived on scene, it was to an eerily quiet blaze with 572 people already dead before their arrival.

After the fire, it was alleged that fire inspectors had been bribed with free tickets to overlook code violations. The mayor ordered all theaters in Chicago closed for six weeks after the fire. The Iroquois fire prompted widespread implementation of the panic bar. A second result of the fire was that it was required that a fireproof asbestos curtain (or sheet metal screen) be raised before each performance and lowered afterward to separate the audience from the stage. The third result was that fire codes limited the maximum number of seats between aisles to six or eight for faster evacuation. The fourth result was that all doors in public buildings must open "outward" to prevent more death, but that practice didn't became a national effect until the Collinwood School Fire of 1908 were 172 children and 2 teachers had died in this fire.

Some great links to this fire I found :

Friday, July 23, 2010

Question of the Day #2

Ok Fire Buffs... no cheating... leave Google alone.... time to test your fire history knowledge....

Take your time... think about it  :)

The Deadliest fire in American History was:

A. The Great Chicago Fire

B. The Peshtigo Fire

C. The San Francisco Fire

D. The Great Baltimore Fire


Shell is Correct !!

The Deadliest fire in American History was:

B. The Peshtigo Fire

On October 8th, 1871, the same time and day as the Great Chicago Fire, 3 other fires, The Port Huron Fire, the Great Michigan Fire, and the Peshtigo Fire. However, only one of these fires is recorded as the most deadly fire in US History and that is The Peshtigo Fire. Reports have been said that the Fire Storm was so intense it jumped several miles over Green Bay and burned parts of the Door of the Peninsula. By the time the fire was over, 1,875 square miles burned, with 12 communities destroy in the fire. As a result of this, an accurate death toll has not been determined since local population records were destroys by fire. Reports have said 1,200-2,500 people had lost their life in the fire, however, the Wisconsin State Legislature listed on 1,182 names in an 1873 report. For years, these 3 fires have been mostly forgotten because of the Great Chicago Fire and the folk lore of it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Question of the Day #1

Here is the first in your series of Fire Trivia Question of the Day.  So without further ado....

Let's start easy, shall we ? .........

The Oakland Firestorm of 1991 ended up costing?

A.  $500 million

B.  $1 Billion

C.  $1.25 Billion

D.  $1.5 Billion

           .....Answer Posted below

 RescueMonkey is correct...

The Oakland Firestorm of 1991 ended up costing

D. $1.5 Billion

The Oakland Firestorm of 1991 was a large urban fire that occurred on the hillsides of northern Oakland, California and southeastern Berkeley on Sunday October 20, 1991, almost 2 years after the Loma Prieta Earthquake. The fire has also been called the Oakland Hills Firestorm, the East Bay Hills Fire, and the Tunnel Fire (because of its origin above the west portal of the Caldecott Tunnel) in Oakland. The fire ultimately killed 25 people and injured 150 others. The 1,520 acres destroyed included 3,354 single-family dwellings and 437 apartment and condominium units. The economic loss has been estimated at $1.5- $2 Billion. Developments of this fire was Fire-resistant building codes, Homeowners are mandated to clear vegetation, Neighborhoods access to firefighting equipment and water, and Firefighters given forest fire training and equipment, such as thermal imaging devices and portable hydrant systems.

Fire Trivia

Figured I would try something a little different with the blog... What's this you say ?  How about a little somethin somethin in fire trivia questions ?  Maybe a little fun can be had, maybe a little history can be learned... and just maybe... you can earn a free drink or two at the club LOL.

Each day or so.. I will post a multiple choice Fire Trivia Question... PLEASE!!! Fell free to comment and tweet what you think the answeres are....only fun if there is participation.... the next day, I will post the answer and the explanation of the answer in the blog and send it out.  

always good to learn the history of the job we love so much....

Today I saw a Soldier Cry

   O-Dark-early in the morning.  Cuddled in bed, dreaming of home.  Know that soon the day will begin and will have to leave my comfy sanctuary.  Had been a crazy shift the day before... a couple of which we still have no clue what was burning...and a minor trauma from a fall.  Hot and so bright your eyes would hurt if you forgot your shades.  The Air Conditioner was a welcome sleep-buddy.  Still wished I was home... 
    BANG! BANG! BANG!  Torn from slumber by the Chief hitting the door... jumped outta bed, just as if the tones had sounded... "Hey Cap! We've got some sort of an emergency at such and such location... and radios are down..."  Well, that's a hell of an ecouraginf wake-up....  "I'm on it, Chief"
   Threw my uniform on... picture Clark Kent in the phone booth... meet my driver at the truck... que dramatic chase scene music.... ok.. maybe just the scream of the siren tearing through the quiet as the sun is just peaking over the horizon... (sure there were some people that were not so  enthused about that).  No clue what the situation was.. just headed that way.. hoping we'd get some intel... still no sign of smoke.. hmmmm...
    As we round the corner.. Chief is hollerin an the radio to get the medics en-route.. CPR is in progress...  Well.. I guess no need for Coffee this morning to get my jump-start.
    Arriving on scene... doing my scene size up and safety check... the only thing I notice is the streak of what I assume to be yellow bunker pants screamin across the sand.... why yes.. bunker pants.. I was right...  My youngest firefighter with jump kit on the shoulder and AED in hand.... where the heck is he going ?  Finally.. for the first time of the morning... my driver.. who until this point I assumed was still asleep... spoke up "Hey cap.. this doesn't look so good... you might wanna get up there..."
  As soon as the blast of air from the paring break sounds.. I'm gloved up and gone... trying not to look rushed.. I'm the Cap.. gotta stay cool, right... at least until I get the full picture as to what is going on...
    Man down in a confined area... got 2 firefighters, or pretzels, not sure which yet, in this area with him, AED Hooked up.. compressions looking good.... then I notice this piece of equipment they are in is a giant metal box... with what appears to be an extremelt heavy "lid" being held jus above their heads buy nothing more than a small jack-stand... "Um.. guys... you're doing a great job... but... can we get him moved outside BEFORE you shock... oh ya.. and before this falls on your noggins ?"  It's amazing how quickly a patient can be boarded and moved to safety without ever missing a compression....
   CPR continued.. and I began my assessment.. this is gonna be a long day.  2 sharing compressions, 2 of us on airway... this battle was not going to be given up any time soon... we owed it to this soldier... we owed it to his family... we owed it to his men.  Still no shockable rythm.....
   I was relieved on airway... and began to look around at the warriors watching us... the fear... the hope on their faces.  These were his men... men who held each others lives in their hands daily... I needed to know what happened... Pretty sure this was not a heart attack.. had to be more going on... hoping what I had noticed with the equipment earlier had nothing to do with it...
   I see a soldier.. on his knee... obviously asking for a little help... help we'd greatly welcome... I asked this soldier.. who obviously needed to be part of the solution... what had happened...
    He looked at me, tears in his eyes... and simply said.. My Sergeant saved my life.... from his story, it appeared to me that the man we were so determined to save... had leaped in harms was to push this young soldier from the jeaws of peril, taking the full blow to himself.  Obviously respected by his men.. he gave everything for them...
    He watched as he explained the events.. watched the fight to save his leader... then " Shock Advised" and the wonderful sound of the box as it charges... shock was delivered.. and CPR resumed as his men watched and prayed.
   We brought that sergeant back that morning... I'm sure there was more to it than just our determination.  As we pulled in to the ER, he had a rythm and pulses, was fighting the tube and trying to breathe on his own...

For as long as I live.. I will never forget the tears in that warriors eyes.... the hardened look of battle gone... and just the hope and prayers for the Sergeant who saved his life...

Sometimes people forget.. our soldiers are no different than any of us... they have families, they have friends, they love and are loved.   Our soldiers just give a little more... to protect us and our nation.... and each other.

Today I saw a Soldier cry.... and I will never forget why I'm here

Friday, July 9, 2010

Serenade Me to Sleep

Press Play and Listen as you read... recorded this the other only

Imagine trying to live, work and save lives in a place where everyone just wants you dead.  Responding to a call for help, yet ever vigilant, ever cautious, watching for any indication the road might explode right in front of you.  The looks of hatred, the looks of fear, the looks of a people who are just plain tired.  The look of relief when you simply just give a smile or a bottle of water.
Soldiers, Airmen, Marines... working together... dedicated as one team to a common goal.... but also.... worn and tired.
These are the people I am here to protect, this is my world.  No matter what time, no matter what temperature... the risk will be taken... the call will be answered....
I am a Combat Firefighter
We are here but for one purpose
Protecting Those Who Protect Peace
Regardless of uniform... we are but one team.... we share but one goal... but even the bravest and most hardened must sleep.... sometimes
So serenade me to sleep... sing me the sweet 50 cal lullaby
the rythmic melodies of the M-4 and 60
The screech and bass of the mortars above
This is the music that lulls us to dreamland
The concert that never ends
Mostly.. the sound of men fighting for what is right and just
Sleep well, my friends.....Never you fret
The boys are on the job

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dubai Mall

.....Also known as Day 1-part one :-)

So... Most of us going on about 3 hours sleep... Decided it would be a good idea to venture in the inferno and take in the local sites... Now, I already told you how to imagine driving in the middle east is... Remember class ? Bumper cars--A.D.D.--and Mountain Dew ring a bell?

Our cabbie was a sweet, quiet soul named O-shit.. Because that was what the six of us in the van said the most! "O-shit! Watch out for...". "O-shit! Don't hit that!"
First stop... Dubai mall. One word... WOW! Ya, that's right.. All caps AND an exclamation point.
First thing you see at the entrances are the massive water features of men eternally swan-diving...

Very impressive... These were definately cool. What a way to start off our aimless wander-fest? And really... That all we were doing is wandering....

We were really surprised as we rounded the corner to see a massive sea-quarium in the mall...

Holy Stingrays Batman! This was just too cool.

Now what mall would be complete without a little advertising? See all the pretty bright lights? Those are all one giant led screen..

All over the mall! Tells people about sales... Specials and even prayer time...

Starting to get a little hungry from all the walking around ? No worries, mate... We got ya covered.

Can you say 5 lbs of chocolate in that bar ? Want a little syrup to go with it?

Maybe it just time to cool off at your friendly desert ice rink?

And yes... Even in the middle east... The golden arches still rule

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Flood of reality

Finally.. Another long flight is over. Emirates is definately a nice airline to fly on. I am here,

back in the middle east, and the reality of it all has begun to set in.

As we began our final descent to land in Dubai, a quick glance out the window showed the unmistakable layout of golden lit streets an highways. At that point, an eerie flood of emotions came like a tidal wave. Memories, some good, some not-so-much, of every single time I have been in this portion of the world filled my head. It's been a few years sice I've been here... And honestly never really expected to come back since I have retired.... But, alas.. Here I am.
We get off the plane, and there is all the traditional

clothing... The familiar Arabic language being spoke... And what most would not expect to hear....the welcoming smiles from all of them.
I would say as we were landing, the most resounding thought going through my brain... Did I really want to do this again? Did I really want to live it what sometimes feels like another planet, did I feel like dealing with mortars, snipers, rockets and of course.. The drivers ?

A little late for that line of thinking now...genius !

We collect our bags and jump on a little bus to take us to our hotel... Now.. If you have never driven in the middle

east...imagine a massive bumper car track with about 200 kids hyped up on a case of Mt Dew each... It's always an adventure.

Now we are at our hotel.. Just got here.. It's 2 am local time....

Over 17 hours of flying and a few hours of layover time. Guess where we are ? In another meeting! Hahaha... And this meeting is literally to schedule a meeting for tomorrow! LOL
We now know we will be here at least until tomorrow night... Beyond that? Who knows...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The adventure begins

This has definately been a long week. Briefings about safety, briefings about treating people nice, briefings about the heat, the San, the sun... Ugh... Pretty sure there was a briefing in there about briefings!
I did get to meet some great people... Firefighters from every immagimable background ( full time, volunteer, ARFF, Structural, civilian, Army, Air Force, Navy and even a Marine). A few Medics... With almost as diverse a sampling.... And tons of other people.. Many of whom I'm sure were found just wandering around the city haha.
I think there were some more briefings.....
Got new uniforms issued, took some tests...
Maybe attended a briefing...
Had a meeting to schedule a meeting..
Got invaded by an army of over-caffeinated tween cheerleaders
Moved hotels
Might have had a briefing

......... Ugh

Now, as I look out the window of my boeing 777 as it slowly climbs to the sky, watching the city shrink and the road begin to look more like rivers roaming through the wild, my mind begins to wander toward the adventure that has just begun.
The reality of this journey has finally hit.
Oh, I've known for quite some time that I was going, but until now, it hall been quite surreal. However, the uncertainty of the near and distant future abounds. Yes, there are certain things I know... Such as, once again, I am a firefighter, I am a captain, and I am headed to Iraq... Outside of this... I know that my first stop is London...which is where this will probably be posted from... Then on to Dubai. Other than that, there is very little.
I do know that it will be hot.... But I do not know "where" it will be hot... In a less broad sence.
As to which city in Iraq I will be, which base I will be assigned to, how many men I will have, and the inherent risk I am about to accept... To these questions.. I have no clue.
So... If a clue is what I don't have... Then I shall focus my attention to a little less broad spectrum...what I do know.
London, unfortunately, won't be much fun since we only have a few hours between flights. So the next logical step is Dubai. Which there still is not much info. Don't know how long I'll be there, but at least I do know which hotel... And I've been to Dubai before.. So I won't be completely lost hahaha. Hopefully we will be there Lon enough to do some exploring... The new mall... The HardRock cafe..
From Dubai, it's off to Bagdhad. Another fun-filled exciting week absolute good times.... Not. Will be another week of training, briefings, equipment issue and acclimation. Toward the end o the week... In theory... We will get our assignments and prepare to head out to wherever......

Take care... Stay safe

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Why the Heck Would I Go Back ?

As most already know, in just a matter of days, I will be headed back to the Middle-East... More affectionately known as "The Sandbox". Just as many...if not more... know that I just, as of the first of last month, retired from the United States Air Force after 20 years of serving my country. Yes, folks, the ultimate parole...freedom...finally allowed to think for myself, choose my own clothes...and (oh my God) say "No" when I don't want to do something (like back to back long distance transfers in the middle of the night when it's not my turn in the rotation).
During my tour in the military I've been to England, Germany, The United Arab Emirates, Dahran Saudi Arabia, Prince Sultan Air Base Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan... Among others... Pretty much... Been there-Done that. I've been part of two wars, Operation Southern Watch, the war on drugs and the war on terror.. I've seen my bases attacked..seen my base blown up (Khobar Towers) and seen some of the most senseless acts in the name of martyrism. I seen miracles and acts of heroism.. I've seen death and sacrifice for a nation. 19 soldiers who gave their lives for our nation were personally carried from aircraft by the Elite team I lead and me. I have lived the fear of being solemnly removed from a plane, draped in the colors of our mighty nation.

So... After having lived through and seen all of this... Why on God's green Earth would I choose, after no longer having that obligation, willingly go back ??? It's actually a quite simple answer ( In a couple of parts).
This is who I am, this is what I believe in. Going back, as a civilian contractor, relieves some of the burden of military firefighters who have been on constant deployment rotations for 20 years now. This aids in giving my brothers a break to enjoy their families.
Second, yes.. I will be paid extremely well, which is definitely nice... But not the dominate factor. I am a specialized firefighter. Along with everything else, I am also an Airport Firefighter. I am highly trained in the nuances of air raft firefighting and both civilian and military air raft and weapons systems. A commodity in high demand in an environment such as Iraq. I am military trained and tested... Less of a liability for the troops trying to get the job done...1 less person they have to worry about.
The biggest reason for going back ? Simple... This is my chance to give something back to my brothers and sisters in uniform... To protect those who protect us... To support those who place their lives on the line every day to ensure our way of life... To still be a productive part of the people who are trying their damnedest to right this upside down world.
Patriotism, Duty, Compassion... Call it what you will. I just call it the right thing to do (and no...the money doesn't hurt either lol)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cardiology---Twitter Style


Going through Medic School, cardiology was one of the hardest things for me to wrap my mind around. To me.. Most of the time.. EKG strips looked more like somebody having a seizure while trying to color....
After losing much hair, and having damaged many walls with my of my Medic partners sat down with me while we were waiting for breakfast at Country Kitchen, grabbed a napkin and a pen...and spent 5 minutes clearing some up for me.

Then late one night while cruising through my Twitter timeline...I noticed some odd tweets coming from someone who would soon become someone I would look to for advice and become somewhat of a mentor to me in my struggles to one day finally become a licensed Paramedic.

Sean Fitz (@seanhfitz) was tweeting shear genius!!! He was tweeting out all the different cardiac rhythms!! I could hardly believe what I was seeing... and to top it made sense to me.

I like to call this cardiology class alla Sean...

TWEET-K-G for the Twitter addict

Sinus rhythm:


Sinus bradycardia:


Sinus tachycardia:


Ventricular tachycardia:


Supraventricular Tachycardia




Then you give Adenocard for PSVT:


Multifocal Premature Ventricular Complexes:


Unifocal Premature Ventricular Comlplexes:


Ventricular Bigeminy:


Premature Atrial Complexes:


Atrial Fibrilation:


Atrial Flutter (3:1 conduction):


1st degree heart block:


2nd degree heart block, type 1 (Wenkebach):

---~V~--~-V~-~--V~~---V~~-----------~V ---~V~--~-V~-~--V~~---V~~-----------~V

2nd degree heart block, Type 2


3rd degree heart block:


Pacer rhythm w/ capture:


Ventricular fibrillation:


Defibrillation w/ conversion:


Synchronized cardioversion:








SInus pause:


A-fib with RVR:




Torsades des pointes (French accent mandatory):


via @McNellie926:


via @McNellie926:

-~V\~-~V\~-~V\~-~V\~-~V\~- (WPW)

and my attempt :

fine V-Fib: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

On the Lighter Side

...And now for something completely different.....

How come I never get stuck behind this guy ? Seems it's always the slow tractor.. especially when I'm in a hurry. Wouldn't life be sooo much easier if they all were like this ?

I've had a night or two like this at the station... usually, it's Tones go off, and I forget which side of the bed the wall is on.....

Live Well.... Laugh Often

Monday, April 26, 2010

Final Alarm

Was dismayed last night to learn that a fellow Firefighter, Airman and Friend of mine had unexpectedly (as if it ever is expected) passed away.  WHAT ???  Seems I had just talked to him on the phone not long ago... all was going good, he was upbeat and positive about the future (as he always was).  Even without a leg, he still rode, and just this last weekend was trekking through the mountains in his jeep with the top off.  Nothing seemed to be out of place, everything appeared to be going well.
I am still unsure as to what happened, all I have been told is that it was complications from a Motorcycle accident he had last year.  Even that, I am unsure of.  Mike was well ahead of schedule in his recovery and refused to let anything set him back.
Mike has been an inspiration to many young firefighters (and some of us old dogs too) over the years.  He knew what it meant to be a firefighter... he knew what it meant to be an Airman.
I am proud to have served with such a man, both in the Military and Fire Service.  I am better for having known him.  This is the man who stood beside me during all the late nights of running cables and wires... building a state of the art dispatch center from the ground up... he kept me going during this.
Mike's loss leaves a large hole in the Fire Community as well as for the Air Force.... but there is nothing that will ever fill that hole for his family.  My thoughts and Heart go out to his Wife and Daughters...

Rest in peace my friend... your loss will be felt throughout the world.

Signal 5-5-5 has been transmitted
TSgt Mike Gambill's assignment is complete
and he has returned to quarters

The Following is an article done in Dec 2009 by the Air Force Times... this shows the kind of man Mike was

Erik Holmes / Staff   Tech. Sgt. Mike Gambill does rehabilitation exercises with physical therapist Dawn Thompson. Gambill lost his leg June 29 in a motorcycle accident and is ahead of schedule in his rehab.




Leg lost, but not his will to be a firefighter

By Erik Holmes - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Dec 6, 2009 8:36:49 EST
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Tech. Sgt. Mike Gambill has 19 years with the Air Force as a firefighter. He wants to make it 20.
Whether the Air Force lets Gambill mark two decades of service, though, depends on whether he can still do the job after losing his left leg in a motorcycle crash.
But the 40-year-old husband and father of three has a new artificial limb — so high-tech that it costs $60,000 and is one of only 60 like it in the country — and faith that the service he loves will let him support it the way it has supported him, first when he donated a kidney to his father and now through the loss of his leg.
Gambill said he thinks of the Air Force — particularly the firefighting community — as his second family, and he wants nothing more than to go back to duty, even if it’s as a firefighting instructor or supervisor.
“My goal is to go back somehow, some way as a firefighter,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to stay with the Air Force and do it that way.”

A son’s act of love

Gambill has firefighting in his blood.
His father, Jerry Gambill, spent 21 years in the Navy as a P-3 and C-130 flight engineer, then racked up 23 years with the Bakersfield Fire Department. His uncle retired from the fire department, too.
Gambill worked for the city as a reservist firefighter before he joined the Air Force in 1991. In basic training, a personnelist handed out a form that asked the recruits what they wanted to do in the service.
“I listed firefighting, firefighting, firefighting, firefighting and gave it back,” Gambill said.
Two years ago, on leave from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Gambill saved a life that had nothing to do with firefighting. He gave one of his kidneys to his dad, whose kidneys were destroyed by diabetes and high blood pressure.
Before his kidney transplant, the older Gambill was hooked up to a dialysis machine for 12 hours a week.
“Michael came home and he went to dialysis with me a couple of times, and he didn’t like it any more than I did,” said Jerry Gambill, 62. “So he stepped up to the plate and volunteered to donate a kidney. … I’m doing really good, thanks to him.”
Despite a painful two-month recovery and the reality that he now has only one kidney, Gambill said he doesn’t regret his decision.
“I would do it again tomorrow morning if they asked me to,” he said. “Never a second thought.”

Another life-changing moment

Almost six months ago, while serving a special assignment as an unaccompanied housing manager at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Gambill learned he and his family would be moving to Kadena Air Base, Japan.
He didn’t want to take his beloved Harley-Davidson Road King overseas so he decided to drive it back to his parents’ house in Bakersfield. He left Colorado on June 26 and — after a brief stop at the casino tables in Las Vegas — rejoined his wife, Michele, in California on June 29. Michele Gambill and their three daughters had traveled to Bakersfield a few days earlier to get ready for the move.
About 10 p.m. that Monday night, on his way to his parents’ house, Gambill was hit by a GMC Yukon making an illegal U-turn. The force of the crash threw him about 60 feet, the bike 120 feet.
“I remember rolling and rolling and then I came to a stop,” Gambill recalled. “I wasn’t in a lot of pain.”
Gambill had broken ribs and a collapsed lung. His lower left leg was a piece of raw meat bristling with splintered bones. It’s quite possible he is alive today only because a doctor in a restaurant across the street ran out and put a tourniquet on his badly bleeding leg.
Michele Gambill arrived at the hospital about the same time as the ambulance. She sat in the waiting room, frantic for any news about her husband.
“It seemed like an eternity before I got to see him,” she said. “And then when I saw him … he was all bloodied up. … I could see the fear in his eyes. I could tell he was hurting and scared.”
Gambill talked briefly to his wife.
“I told her three things,” he said. “ ‘I love [you], goodbye, and call the base and get a hold of somebody.’ I thought I was getting ready to die.”
Then, everything went black.

The long road back

The doctors had induced a coma to help stabilize Gambill. He remained unconscious for seven days.
Almost immediately after learning doctors had to amputate his leg, Gambill said he focused his energy on recovery and rehabilitation.
“Forty-eight hours after waking up, I put myself in the right mindset and I haven’t veered off,” he said. “What’s really been driving me forward is my family.”
Michele Gambill admits she didn’t have the same confidence as her husband at first. She worried about his state of mind. She said she worried about how their children — Elizabeth, 13; Melissa, 11; and Hannah, 8 — would react to their father’s disability. She worried about herself.
“I didn’t know how life would be,” said Michele Gambill, who is attending school to become a medical assistant. “I didn’t know at that moment how I was going to handle having my husband missing a leg, how he was going to handle not having a leg and going through the entire recovery process.”
But the Gambills, buoyed by fellow airmen, friends and their extended family in Bakersfield, pulled together and cheered each other on.
By early August, Gambill left the hospital and returned with his wife and daughters to his parents’ home. Another two months passed before Gambill received his prosthetic leg, a Rheo microprocessor knee that reacts automatically to a user’s walking style. The high-tech limb, which cost $60,000, is better for active people but also harder to learn to use.
“Microprocessor knees are the most advanced technology we have in the field … right now,” said Trevor Townsend, Gambill’s prosthetist. “It’s state of the art.”
Just five months out of the hospital, Gambill can already walk on his prosthetic leg — the carbon-fiber thigh is decorated with his ABU blouse, rank and unit patch — without a cane.
Now, Gambill is setting his sights on jogging and fighting fires again.
“The inspirational thing about Mike is he’s not afraid of falling, and he gets right back up and keeps going,” said Dawn Thompson, his physical therapist. “I have other patients who fall and that stops them in their progress.”
Gambill is quick to point out that he, too, has his moments.
“Sometimes you get down … but those are the times you just say, ‘I can’t live in this pity mode,’ ” he said. “I’ll play with my daughters or the dog, and it brings me right back up.”     

An uncertain future

A medical evaluation board of doctors will convene early next year to determine Gambill’s fate. The doctors must assess his prospects of once again being a productive airman.
The Air Force Personnel Center, which oversees the disability evaluation process, would not discuss Gambill but outlined the medical evaluation process.
“They review the member’s physical and/or mental condition to see if the medical condition could disqualify him … from continued military service,” AFPC said in a statement. “During the medical review, the MEB is looking for any medical or mental condition that may prevent the service member from deploying; performing the job for which he was assigned; or meeting minimum Air Force medical and/or fitness standards.”
The medical evaluation board will either return Gambill to duty or refer him to a physical evaluation board, which would decide whether he is fit for duty.
If Gambill is ruled unfit, he could appeal the decision to the Secretary of the Air Force Personnel Council.
Gambill won’t guess how the process will turn out, but he said he believes it’s his duty to remain an airman.
He said the Air Force supported him through the kidney operation and the loss of his leg, and he wants to show his appreciation.
“The military has been phenomenal to me,” Gambill said. “They’ve been very much of a supporter. I want to give it back.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Headline News

I don't know how true the actual story is, didn't bother to check it on snopes or anything, but cool none the less...


The Sailor Pictured Below Is,
Navy Petty Officer,
(Petty Officer, Second Class)

(Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Second Class)


April 5th, 1981 ~ September 29th, 2009

Mike Monsoor,

Was Awarded "The Congressional Medal Of Honor" Last Week,

For Giving His Life In Iraq , As He Jumped On, And Covered With His Body, A Live Hand Grenade,

Saving The Lives Of A Large Group Of Navy Seals That Was Passing By!


During Mike Monsoor's Funeral,

At Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery , In San Diego , California ..

The Six Pallbearers Removed The Rosewood Casket From The Hearse,

And Lined Up On Each Side Of Mike Monsoor's Casket,

Were His Family Members, Friends, Fellow Sailors, And Well-wishers.

The Column Of People Continued From The Hearse, All The Way To The Grave Site.

What The Group Didn't Know At The Time Was,

Every Navy Seal

(45 To Be Exact)

That Mike Monsoor Saved That Day Was Scattered Through-Out The Column!


As The Pallbearers Carried The Rosewood Casket

Down The Column Of People To The Grave Side.

The Column Would Collapse..

Which Formed A Group Of People That Followed Behind.


Every Time The Rosewood Casket Passed A Navy Seal,

He Would Remove His Gold Trident Pin From His Uniform,

And Slap It Down Hard,

Causing The Gold Trident Pin To Embed Itself

Into The Top Of The Wooden Casket!

Then The Navy Seal Would Step Back From The Column, And Salute!


Now For Those,

Who Don't Know What A Trident Pin Is,
Here Is The Definition!


After One Completes The Basic Navy Seals Program Which Lasts For Three Weeks,

And Is Followed By Seal Qualification Training,

Which Is 15 More Weeks Of Training,

Necessary To Continue Improving Basic Skills And To Learn New Tactics And Techniques,

Required For An Assignment To A Navy Seal Platoon.

After successful completion,

Trainees Are Given Their Naval Enlisted Code,

And Are Awarded The Navy Seal Trident Pin.

With This Gold Pin They Are Now Officially Navy Seals!

It Was Said,

That You Could Hear Each Of The 45 Slaps From Across The Cemetery!

By The Time The Rosewood Casket Reached The Grave Site,

It Looked As Though It Had A Gold Inlay From The 45 Trident Pins That Lined The Top!

This Was A Fitting End To An Eternal Send-Off For A Warrior Hero!

This Should Be Front-Page News!

Instead Of The Garbage We Listen To And See Every Day.

Here's A Good Idea!

Since The Main Stream Media Won't Make This News.

Then We Choose To Make It News By Forwarding It.

I Am Proud Of All The Branches Of Our Military..


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Medical Symbol

To prepare for the new healthcare reform package, we felt it necessary to develop a new medical symbol that accurately depicts the Health Care Plan
you will be getting.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

How fights start

A little laughter to start the weekend off on the right foot...

How Fights Start

My wife sat down on the settee next to me as I was flipping channels. She
asked, 'What's on TV?'

I said, 'Dust.'

And then the fight started...


My wife and I were watching "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" while we were in
bed. I turned to her and said, "Do you want to have sex?"

"No," she answered.

I then said, "Is that your final answer?"

She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying, "Yes."

So I said, "Then I'd like to phone a friend."

And then the fight started....


Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch, and slipped
quietly into the garage. I hooked up the boat up to the van, and proceeded
to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was blowing 50 mph, so I
pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the
weather would be bad all day.

I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed. I
cuddled up to my wife's back, now with a different anticipation, and
whispered, "The weather out there is terrible."

My loving wife of 5 years replied, "Can you believe my stupid husband is out
fishing in that?"

And that's how the fight started...


I rear-ended a car this morning. So, there we were alongside the road and
slowly the other driver got out of his car. You know how sometimes you just
get soooo stressed and little things just seem funny? Yeah, well I couldn't
believe it.... He was a DWARF!!! He stormed over to my car, looked up at me,
and shouted, "I AM NOT HAPPY!!!"

So, I looked down at him and said, "Well, then which one are you?"

And then the fight started.....


My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary. She
said, 'I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds.'

I bought her a bathroom scale.

And then the fight started...


When I got home last night, my wife demanded that I take her some place
expensive... so, I took her to a petrol station.

And then the fight started...


After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social
Security. The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's License to
verify my age. I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at
home. I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home
and come back later.

The woman said, 'Unbutton your shirt'. So I opened my shirt revealing my
curly silver hair. She said, 'That silver hair on your chest is proof enough
for me' and she processed my Social Security application.

When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at the Social
Security office.

She said, 'You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten
disability, too.'

And then the fight started...


My wife and I were sitting at a table at my school reunion, and I kept
staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby

My wife asked, 'Do you know her?'

'Yes,' I sighed, 'She's my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking
right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn't been
sober since.'

'My God!' says my wife, 'who would think a person could go on celebrating
that long?'

And then the fight started...


I took my wife to a restaurant. The waiter, for some reason took my order
first. "I'll have the steak, medium rare, please."

He said, "Aren't you worried about the mad cow?""

Nah, she can order for herself."

And then the fight started...


A woman was standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror. She was not happy
with what she saw and said to her husband, "I feel horrible; I look old, fat
and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment.'

The husband replied, 'Your eyesight's damn near perfect.'

And then the fight started.....


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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Womens's heart attacks different than men's ?

I know I haven't posted in a while... Got a little wrapped up in retirement, the job search and clinical rotations at the University Hospital.
Spending a week in the ICU's has really opened my eyes a little more ( figuratively speaking)...cause really all I wanted to do was sleep aftewards lol.
This is a nurse's story of her experience with an AMI.......



I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best description I've ever read..

Women and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction). Did you know that women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart attack.. you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. Here is the story of one woman's experience with a heart attack.

'I had a heart attack at about 10:30PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, 'A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.

A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you've been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you've swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn't have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation--the only trouble was that I hadn't taken a bite of anything since about 5:00p.m.

After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR).

This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. 'AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening -- we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven't we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I think I'm having a heart attack!

I lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart attack, I shouldn't be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else... but, on the other hand, if I don't, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a moment.

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics... I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn't feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to un-bolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.

I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don't remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like 'Have you taken any medications?') but I couldn't make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.

I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St. Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stints.
Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned firsthand.

1 . Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not the usual men's symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn't know they were having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed, hoping they'll feel better in the morning when they wake up... which doesn't happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you've not felt before. It is better to have a 'false alarm' visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

2. Note that I said 'Call the Paramedics .' And if you can take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!
Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER - you are a hazard to others on the road.
Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what's happening with you instead of the road.
Do NOT call your doctor -- he doesn't know where you live and if it's at night you won't reach him anyway, and if it's daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn't carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr will be notified later.

3. Don't assume it couldn't be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it's unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could survive.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people, you can be sure that we'll save at least one life.
*Please be a true friend and send this article to all your friends (male & female) who you care about!*

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