What’s the Opposite of Clinical Depression?

The last month and a half or so have been surprisingly good.  I mentioned some time ago that I’m doing okay emotionally speaking.  It’s weird for me.  I’m used to being dissatisfied and unhappy about the way things are.  I’m used to this underlying current of…. well…  depression.  That’s what it is, so why am I looking for another word to convey it?

I am, by no means, implying that I’m “cured”, and I am afraid that it’s not going to last, but, something has changed.  Things are different now.  I’m not quite sure what did it.  Maybe it’s not having the secret of my sexuality hanging over my head.  Maybe it’s the fact that I finished my book and I’m taking the next steps in that process.  Maybe it’s just that 36 1/2 years was long enough and those depressive neural pathways have shorted out.  Somehow I doubt that it’s that last one.

Admittedly, it was easier to feel good about life when I was on vacation and therefore could sleep late and do whatever I wanted with my day while still having the guarantee of a pay check every other Friday.  Now I’m back at work and really nothing has changed about work.  I’m finding it really hard to go there.  Not because I’m dreading going to work specifically, just because it’s really hard to get up and get moving in the mornings.  And my brain seems to want to believe that I’m still on vacation even though I know it’s not true.  I’ve been staying up way too late, which makes getting up early for work very difficult.  I’ve got to change that behavior, post-haste.

That is not to say that I don’t dread coming to work… Or more specifically, it’s not to say that I look forward to coming to work.  But I’ve really begun to see what an easy gig I’ve got, and how little is required of me for the money I make.  In that respect, at least, I’m really, very lucky.

As I mentioned before, I’m very much aware of how little value I add to the operation around the office and knowing that leaves me unfulfilled.  I want to do a job that I feel like matters and/or that leaves me fulfilled with the outcome.  It seems like that would be one and the same, but I’m not sure.

I’ve been dragging my feet a bit on the EMT thing and if most people asked me why, I would tell them it’s because there aren’t really any jobs to be had, and that’s true.  And I’d tell them that I haven’t figured out a way to do that job and still make a living wage, and that’s also true… though my definition of “a living wage” may or may not be accurate in most peoples eyes.

The reality is, though, I’m scared.  I’m scared of taking a huge risk and finding out that I’m not happy doing that job.  I’m scared of finding that I’m not really very good at it.  I’m questioning whether it’s really right for me.  And I don’t know if that questioning is because my spirit is trying to tell me something my brain doesn’t want to know, or if that questioning is my fear trying to hold me back.  We’ve all heard the old saying, “…those who can’t, teach.”  What if that’s all I am is a teacher?  (And before anyone says it, I can’t be a teacher either, not before I have some practical experience to fall back on.)

So it’s true that I’m dragging my feet for practical concerns but that’s not the only reason.  Still, I put a lot of effort and energy into that training and there’s a part of me that feels like to give up on it would be wasting something valuable.  What I’ve been thinking about for the last several months, though, is that I can’t make enough money to support my current lifestyle working full-time as an EMT.  And then I realized, I’ve fallen back into an all-or-nothing way of thinking.  IF I can find a part-time job as an EMT, I have the option to go part-time in my current job as well.  I’d still take a cut in pay, but not nearly as much.

A recent comment on my blog reminded me of something that, oddly enough, I’ve forgotten:  I love to write and would really like to get paid to do it.  Actually, for some reason it seems important to make the distinction that, more so than wanting to be paid to write, I want to be paid for my writing.  I see a difference between the two and for me that difference is this: when a person get’s paid to write, they are compensated for the act of writing.  When a person is paid for their writing someone has purchased the words, placed value on the information or opinion or story that is created and ideally it’s a residual income for the product rather than a one time check for your time.  I suppose I’m splitting hairs and I certainly wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to be paid to write, but I’d really like to be paid for my writing.

Yesterday, I discussed my position with Deb: Ten years in a job I don’t love with no idea of where to go from here, but knowing there will be no more advancement in my current position.  A desire to make use of my training.  A desire to write for profit.  We talked about figuring out what it is I want to do and then how to pursue it.  I told her, “That’s kind of my problem.  I want three things: 1) to make use of my EMT Training, 2) to write and 3) to make at least $XX,XXX a year.” (Obviously, those X’s were real numbers, but I’m wondering if it’s tacky to talk dollar amounts here…)

Deb said, “But don’t you make pretty close to $XX,XXX already?”

“Including my bonus, I made $XX,XXX and change last year,” I told her.  (those first two X’s were the same numbers in all three instances.)

She said, “Okay!  So you’ve already achieved one of those things.”

Part of what I’ve been struggling with is the money.  I think we know by now that I grew up in a poor family and I suffered a lot of lack.  The pain of that manifest itself in my own relationship with money and how I handled it when I started earning my own.  It took me a long time to understand that and learn to be more responsible, and I would by no means say that I’ve learned everything I need to in that regard but for the first time I feel financially secure.  I make a nice income and can afford all my bills.  Recently, I’ve even been able to afford a little bit of a social life, though admittedly that’s due, at least in part, to the insurance reimbursement for my therapy bills.  Still, I’m understandably hesitant to make a change that will reduce my income.

So it’s difficult for me to not see things in a limited capacity.  Either I accept that what I have here and now is the only way for me to make a livable income and I stay here for thirteen more years (the company has some odd equation having to do with your age and the number of years of service for when you can retire with benefits), or I quit and pursue some of my other interests which will, at least in the short-term, leave me extremely lacking.  It might be noble to “do what you love, even for less money”, but for me, the money is part of the equation.  If I’m not making a satisfactory income, I doubt that I’ll be happy doing what I’m doing…  I know that’s not all there is, it’s just that, for now, I can’t see anything else.

Deb said, “You’ve already accomplished one of those things.  You already make $XX,XXX a year.”

I told her, “Yes, but I didn’t say I want to work as an EMT, get paid to write OR make $XX,XXX.  I said I want to work as an EMT, get paid to write AND make $XX,XXX, or more.  The problem is, I haven’t figure out a way to make those three things happen.”

There was a brief pause and just as Deb opened her mouth to say something, I said, “And yes, I realized the end of all of those sentences is, ‘At least not yet.'”

Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better

I had a really shitty day yesterday.  It wasn’t supposed to be.  I took the day off work to take care of some EMT related business and then I was going to have the rest of the day to do with as I pleased.  I went to my doctor to get a physical of sorts.  The state of California requires a Medical Examiners Certificate (which sounds like I ought to be able to perform autopsies after but is actually a Medical professional Examining me and Certifying that I am physically fit to drive a commercial vehicle.  And then once I have this certification of fitness I can get my ambulance driver license.  My appointment was at 10:00 and was supposed to be a fairly quick experience.  Because my health care provider believes in an assembly line method of delivering healthcare I knew I would have to make another stop on the campus to provide a specimen for the Urinalysis that I saw was called for on the form.  I knew the results would not be instantaneous and so I knew this would not be completely resolved in one day, but at least that part would be quick.

I have a like/hate relationship with my doctor.  I really do like him.  He’s a nice man who takes good care of me, and seems genuine in his interest and concern for his patients.  I also dread going to see him because I know there will be a discussion of weight.  The fact is, my healthcare provider, which for those of you who are keeping track at home, is also my employer, requires all of the physicians to have a discussion with every one of their patients about weight, smoking, diet and exercise… in addition to finding out and treating whatever the patient is there for (all of which is supposed to be done in under 15 minutes), so I know my doctor is just doing his job.  But my doctor is about 6’3 and weighs about 160 pounds.  As a rule of thumb, this is a condition people like him come by naturally, so I’m really not sure he can understand what a struggle this is for me.  I knew I had to see him.  I knew I had to get this certification from him, but I kept putting it off, because I knew I had gained back some of the weight I had lost.  I knew I weighed more than the last time I saw him and I was dreading having to discuss it with him.

I went to my appointment.  Went through the usual torture of having the assistant take my temperature and my blood pressure (which is always high at first and lower when he checks it again later) and have me step on the filthy, lying whore of a scale that always adds five pounds to what ever my scale at home says; as if the insult on my own scale weren’t bad enough.  Then she took me into the exam room and asked me what I was there for.  I handed her the paperwork that I needed the doctor to fill out and sign and she told me that she didn’t think he would be able to do it.  “I think you have to take this to the medical secretaries to get this filled out and then he can sign it.”  My healthcare provider uses a computerized medical records system so the medical secretaries will just pull whatever information my doctor put in the system to fill out the form…  The fact that my doctor will be writing it all on paper before it gets into the system and therefore could just as easily write it on the paperwork is, apparently, irrelevant and won’t become a real problem until later.

“That’s fine,” I told her, “I just need to get the exam.”

The doctor came in and discussed the form with me and did the exam which was pretty simple stuff. He asked me about my sleep habits.  “How quickly do you fall asleep?”  Fat people always have sleep apnea, you know.

“Usually really quickly,’ I told him.

“And when you wake up do you usually feel well rested?”

“Almost never,” I replied.

“Do you snore?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I answered, “I’m asleep.”  We established that I live – and sleep – alone.  And if I’m snoring, or stopping breathing, Mischa’s not telling.

My blood pressure was excellent, as usual, and so he ruled out sleep apnea because people with sleep apnea generally have high blood pressure.  I only get about six hours of sleep most nights and so I’m chronically sleep deprived.  I’m sure glad I have insurance and only had to pay $10.00 for him to tell me this thing that I already know.

I need to get more sleep.  I also need there be another six hours in the day.

For the first time in ten years, he asked me my sexual orientation, which I thought was kind of odd and it tripped me up for a second, but I didn’t mind answering honestly, (if “gay” is on my medical record, does that make it official?)  Based on my answer there were some additional things he wanted to discuss with me.  Having established that I sleep alone, I couldn’t help laughing when he asked me how often I used condoms and if I had been vaccinated against Hepatitis A.  Um.  I SLEEP ALONE!!!

In a theoretical world, yes, condoms 100% of the time.  I was vaccinated against one of the Hepatitises (Hepatiti?) last year before starting my EMT training.  It was Hep B.  They strongly encourage the Hep A vaccination for “men who sleep with men.”  Um.  I’m a man who sleeps with NOBODY, but OK, sure.  I only pay $10.00 to come here.  Whatever you want.

That’s another stop on the assembly line.

“When did you get your last tetanus shot?”

“No idea.”  Tetanus booster, with the Pertussis (whooping cough) element is recommended for healthcare workers.  Sure why not.  Make me a pin cushion.  I’m already going to the injection room anyway.

In addition to sleep apnea, fat people always have diabetes.  “When did you eat last?” he asks me.

“Last night.”

“Good.”  Every year he sends me to the lab to have blood drawn to check my blood sugar.  (It’s always in the high normal range.)

“As long as I’m having my blood let, anyway,” I ask him, “can you order an HIV test?  I mean, I don’t really need it, but I’ve never had one and as long as I’m there…  I asked them to do it last time but they said they couldn’t do it unless you ordered it.” (Stupid)

“It’s always a good idea,” he agreed.  (Results were negative, in case I had you worried.)

As an afterthought, I asked him to take a look at a little 3-dimensional spot on my left cheek that didn’t use to be there.  “Welcome to getting older,” he told me.  “Its nothing to worry about.”

After 45 minutes in the doctor’s office, I went across the hall to the “adult injection clinic”.  I’m not kidding.  I check in there and literally take a number.  I’m number 84.  They’re on number 67.  They stay on number 67 for more than 10 minutes.  I waited almost 30 minutes to get into the injection room and then when I did get in I waited another 5 minutes.  Two jabs in the arm, one of which hurts a lot today (I assume it’s the tetanus booster) and I was on my way to the next stop.

Since the Medical Secretaries were moved to the new building across the main street on the other side of the hospital, I choose to go to the lab in that building and so I walk around the perimeter of the hospital to get there.  I haven’t eaten in twelve hours.  My head is starting to hurt (hunger, or something in one of the shots?) and now I need to pee.  I get to the lab take another number and then check in.  I ask the clerk, “If it’s possible for me to do the Urinalysis first, that would be awesome.”  She gives me the plastic cup and I take care of business.

Then I wait another 20 minutes to have my blood drawn.  I never really understood why some people have issues with finding veins.  You can spot mine at twenty paces.  I’m glad I have good veins and for the first time in my life I watch as the Phlebotomist inserts the needle and my blood flows into the ampules…  quickly.

Finally, I go to the Medical Secretaries office.  It is noon.  My head is splitting, my shoulder throbbing, my opposite arm is tender and has a self clinging bandage wrapped around my elbow and they close at 12:30 for lunch.  I arrive at the office to find a crowd of people and yet ANOTHER take a number machine at the door.  I’m number 88.  She (and I do me that as a singular pronoun) she is on number 72 and everyone is arguing with her.  I’m NOT leaving before I’m seen so I’m sorry you’re all alone and going to be late going to lunch.  I listen as one person after another argues with the Medical Secretary about how “so and so told me that I could sign this on behalf of my legal age, mentally competent family member, so why are you telling me that I can’t?” when it’s just her job to know and, duh! why would you think you could sign on behalf of the legal age, mentally competent family member?  I turn to the lady next to me and say, “Why is everyone arguing with her?  It’s her job to know these things.”

FINALLY, she calls number 88.  I hand her my forms.  “I was told to come here to have this filled out based on the physical I just had.”

“What is this?” she asks me.

I sort of assumed that she would know, because this is something they do.  “It’s a Medical Examiners Certification for the DMV.” I tell her as I point at the size 72 font DMV logo in the corner of the form.

“Oh.  They changed the form,” she says in a tone that suggests it’s a problem.  “I don’t have an old one to show you.”

I didn’t question you. “I printed it from their website, yesterday.  Obviously, it’s the right form.”

“Well, there’ll be $30.00 fee,” she tells me and I’m certain it was a joke.

After a long pause where I just stare at her, I finally say, loudly, “Excuse me?”  She repeats the absurdity.  “There’s a $30.00 fee for you to fill out a form that the doctor could have filled out WHILE HE WAS DOING THE ACTUAL EXAM?  There’s a $30.00 fee to FILL OUT A FORM???  Give me a pin.  I’ll do it!”

This, in case you’re wondering, was not the bombshell.

“Oh, wait,” she says suddenly.  “We can’t do this anyway.  You have to take this down the hall to Occupational Medicine.”

Seriously?  I’ve waited here for 30 minutes and now you’re telling me I have to go somewhere else, even though both my doctor and his assistant said to come here?

“Sorry,” she says unconvincingly.

I snatch my forms from her and say, “No you’re not,” and stomp off.  I’m not even out of the small office before I hear her call number 89, like everything is fine.

At the other end of the hall, I walk up to the sprawling desk with six stations for clerks in Occupational Medicine.  There is only one person at the desk and as I walk up, she says, “Oh, sir, I’m closed for lunch, and my sign should have been up.”  Mid-speech she reaches for her closed sign and slaps it down in front of me.  “She’ll help you,” she says gesturing to the woman who had been standing there talking to her and is now sauntering to the far end of the counter.  I give the first woman the stink eye as I stomp off.

I hand the form to the woman and tell her what the Medical Secretary told me.  “Well, we can’t do that!” she exclaims and she has the nerve to actually sound put out.

“Excuse me?” I ask, all pretense of cordiality has drained out of my voice.  This is getting ridiculous.

“The doctor’s not going to sign for another doctor,” she says as if this explains everything.


“So they can’t do this.”  Now you get it, right?

“I don’t understand what you’re telling me,” I say.  I’m fairly certain there is steam coming from my ears now.

“If your doctor did the exam, our doctors aren’t going to sign the paperwork.”

Now I get it.  “No one is asking for that.  My doctor is prepared to sign it, but he sent me to the Medical Secretaries to have it filled out and they sent me to you.”

“Well, this is for the DMV, for a commercial driver license,” she says, as if I hadn’t already established that fact, “your doctor can’t do the physical.”

I stare blankly at her.

“Our doctors have to do it.”

More staring.

“It costs $70.00 and it’s not covered by your membership.”

You know that sound that they used to (or maybe still do) use at factories and mills to indicate the start and end of shifts.  The old steam whistle sound?  Yeah, that.  Coming from my ears.  “What. Do. You. Mean. It’s not covered?”  Surprisingly she understood me through my clenched teeth.

“You have to pay for this.”

“Let me get this straight,” I said loudly.  “Not only am I a member of this health care organization, but I’m also an employee.  I pay my premiums every month out of my paycheck.  I have full medical coverage.  I just paid my $10.00 co-pay to see MY DOCTOR who conducted my physical for this form, because the man on the phone WHEN I MADE MY APPOINTMENT said I DID NOT have to come to Occupational Medicine.  I’ve been here for three hours because of this form and because the man on the phone said I DID NOT have to come to Occupational Medicine.  The woman down the hall tells me I have to pay $30.00 TO WRITE ON A PIECE OF PAPER THAT I PROVIDED and now you’re telling me that I have to see A DIFFERENT DOCTOR and pay another $70.00 OUT OF MY POCKET?  You’re telling me that even though I have worked here for ten years and been a member the ENTIRE TIME, and even though I have complete coverage, I HAVE TO PAY $100.00 OUT OF MY POCKET for something I’ve already paid for?  EVEN THOUGH THE APPOINTMENT CENTER GUY SAID I DIDN’T HAVE TO COME HERE?  IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE TELLING ME?

“I’m sorry.  He was wrong.  And you don’t have to pay to have the form filled out.”  There was nothing apologetic about her tone or demeanor.

When I called to make the appointment, the man said “I think you have to do this with Occupational Medicine.”  I explained that I was not doing it for my employer and was he sure?  He put me on hold and then came back and said I did not have to go to Occupational Medicine.  So not only was he wrong but the person he went and asked was wrong too?

“Would you like to make an appointment?” she asked me as if I hadn’t just had a tantrum.

I did my best to stare death into her soul.  Apparently I do no wield that much power, despite what the Mormons think.  Dammit.  “I don’t guess I have any choice now do I?”

She turns to her computer.  “Would you like to do it today?”

“I CAN’T DO IT TODAY,” I tell her.

I have $37.00 in the bank until midnight.  I didn’t have the money to pay the $30.00 TO WRITE ON PAPER and pay the quickly mounting parking fee I’m amassing, I sure as hell don’t have the $70.00 to pay for the physical, I’ve already paid for AND already had.

Now I’m going back on Tuesday.  I will be telling this strange doctor I do not know that he can use my blood pressure from Thursday’s physical, BECAUSE IT’S BOUND TO BE ELEVATED ON TUESDAY.  He also damn well better use the results of Thursday’s urinalysis and they better have me in and out of there lightning quick!

The good news is my appointment is at 8:30 in the morning and I am taking the entire day off work again so maybe this day off work will actually be a nice one.

In my office building we frequently have various propaganda banners hanging in the lobby, touting our organization as being “First in service” or “Best Healthcare whatever whatever” or “Ranked number one among, something or other.”  I suppose if I actually read this crap anymore I could be more specific.

Something my company needs to think about:  Being the biggest healthcare provider in the area does not make us “the best”.

Baby Steps

I keep clicking on the Firefox tab with WordPress on it thinking, I should post something here and then I click on the Microsoft Skydrive tab thinking, I really want to work on my book.  And then I click on the facebook tab to see if I can fish yet.  And I just keep bouncing around between the three tabs trying to figure out what to do now, while effectively doing nothing at all…

I’ve done a little bit of work this morning, which is, of course, what I should be doing.  But I either don’t have a lot to do right now, or I’ve forgotten something terribly important…  Honestly?  Either one is possible.

I’m not sure why I’m not more enthusiastically following through…  Well, maybe it’s more accurate to say that my enthusiasm for the two writing options is equal and one seems to cancel out the other.  But the truth is, I’m also aware that I set out to write something very different the other day when I was here, and I’m… not really embarrassed, just reluctant, I guess, to make another stab and having something like that be the end result again.

Finally, though, I just decided that I needed to get this out of my system and then I can go back to the book and so here I am.  You’re welcome!

There have been a few, relatively small, but relevant and significant developments recently that seemed worth sharing.

After the Spring EMT class ended, I had some idea of the path I wanted to follow.  My end goal in this Emergency Medicine business would be to work part-time as a Paramedic (with a good salary) and part-time in some sort of Community Outreach/Education role.  (OK, if I’m being completely honest my ideal scenario would be to do something along those lines with a Fire Department, where I could make a Fire Department salary and work Fire Department hours, without having to be a Fire Fighter.)  I mentioned all this to Mr. Williams on the way out of the building on the last night of class and he told me they have positions like that in the San Francisco Fire Department and when I was ready he could put in a word for me.  Great!  So now I just have to get ready…

But in order to be ready, of course, I need to go to Paramedic school.  One of the prerequisites for paramedic school is between five hundred and a thousand hours of practical experience in Emergency Medicine.  But how could I get those hours and still support myself?

A few days later I had a conversation with my boss about the possibility of me working part-time in my current role, fully expecting him to be negative about it.  Much to my surprise he immediately, and without hesitation said, “sure.”  Of course, almost immediately he started to backtrack.  He wasn’t so sure it would work in my current position, but he was happy to help me find a place within the organization where it would work.  He promised to make some calls.

Some time passed and nothing really happened.  He told me periodically that he was trying to touch bases with a specific someone in a specific department that he thought I might fit into with my skills but of course the specific someone was never around when he went to see her.  They played a lot of phone tag and missed e-mails and finally, just as I felt nothing was ever going to come of it he copied me on an e-mail with the woman and her assistant, with a suggestion that she and I should talk directly.  I was of course open to that and she wanted to set up an informational interview… in five weeks.  Beggars can’t be choosers.

A few weeks ago, John asked me if I had met with this woman yet.  I told him I had not but that I had an appointment scheduled with her.  He suddenly had the “brainstorm” that I might be a good fit in the department in charge of disaster recovery and business continuity and he promised to contact the person in charge of that group.  I don’t think that ever happened.

I had sort of given up the hope that things would work out for me to work part-time for my current employer when the time finally rolled around for my informational interview.  As expected, the person I met with didn’t really have much to offer in terms of possible positions within the company under her direction.  She agreed that disaster recovery/business continuity might be a good fit for me and lo and behold, she works with those people.

While the informational interview itself, didn’t garner much result, I came away with some good advice about my resume, and her promise to send a note to a gentleman in Southern California who oversees disaster recovery/business continuity for the entire state for the company as well as reaching out to some of her counterparts in the medical centers to find out if they have anything that would fit the bill.

Later that day, I was CC’d on a couple of e-mails between the two and as it turns out the SoCal man will be here in Oakland next Monday for meetings and agreed to meet me for lunch to discuss my situation.  Later still, that day, I had a meeting with John (my individual Monthly Meeting which happens about once a quarter, whether I need it or not).  He informed me that he had discussed the idea of reducing my hours with his boss and his boss was open to the idea.  Suddenly I find myself with a realistic option to work for my current employer reduced hours (part-time) and work part-time as an EMT, if I can find a job.  I would keep my hourly wage, though I’d no longer be salary.  I’d keep my benefits with only a slight increase in the cost of the premiums and with the addition of the pay I’d earn as an EMT I’d only be making slightly less money than I do now.

Now I just need to find a Part-Time EMT job.

In November, the contract for Emergency Medical Services in my county changes hands.  At the end of May, I submitted my application to the new company, on-line, just for the hell of it.  I really didn’t expect anything to come of it.  There are about to be a lot of much more qualified, experienced people looking for jobs in this field and I’m just fresh out of school.  I took all the preliminary steps and e-mailed the recruiter to make sure he was aware of my interest and background…  I may have mentioned I was the top of my class…  maybe.  The recruiter did acknowledge my e-mail and then I didn’t hear anything else.  I can’t say I was surprised.

The same day as my informational interview and my discussion with John about me working part-time, I got an e-mail from the new Emergency Medical Services provider.  It was a questionnaire they called “the next step in our hiring process” designed to get a feel for my personality and whether I’m really built for this type of job.  One of those “there are no right or wrong answers” kind of questionnaires, but with questions like, “are you better able to identify dangerous or risky situations, than others.”  I think I have the right temperament for the job.

The process is slow.  They take over in November and I know they’ve already hired the first round of people; the people who have to ready to work on day one.  But it is my understanding that they are also hiring a second wave of people and that they did reserve a block of jobs specifically for people who live in town and who are new graduates.  It may take a while still but it’s not at all beyond the realm of possibility that I will get hired with this company.

I’m not, by any means putting all my eggs in one basket either.  There are other companies that I have applied to and still more that I should/will but things are looking up.


In other news, it turns out that I know somebody who knows somebody who might know somebody.  My friend Karin had a brainstorm the other day that might turn into something good.  She has a friend who has lots of connections in lots of different industries and places and as it turns out Karin’s friend knows someone who “has connections in the publishing industry”.  Karin sent the first two chapters of my book to this friend who will read and comment on them and send information about publishing.  Certainly, this is a far cry from the success that I fear, but it’s a step in the right direction and a lot further than I was yesterday.

Now I just need to hurry up and finish the book.

I Suppose I Should Write Something Pretty Quickly

… or you guys are going to give up on me and just assume I’ve lost my mind.

That may not be all that far from the truth.

I just don’t really know what to say anymore.


One day last week after class, Mr. Williams and I were talking about some of the students.  Many of these “kids” are not doing as well as they should be, and for the first time, I’m beginning to see a little bit of wisdom in the way Mr. Williams approached things with my class.  I don’t think he needed to be quite so much of an asshole as he was, but he has been super easy on this class and now they’re paying the price.  They didn’t have all the pressure on them that we had, because he wasn’t so demanding and because he only did two chapters a week instead of three and now they are scrambling, on their own time, to get through the rest of the reading before their final which is this Wednesday.

We spent the last three class sessions doing skills tests.  Since I am a certified EMT I can do the testing and I have done all of the Trauma Assessment tests thus far.  Not everyone has tested, but most of them have and of the ones that tested, most of them failed.  Even the class brainiacs who I expected to do well, failed the test.  In some cases, it was on a technicality.  Judy failed because she didn’t initiate high-flow oxygen for her patient (well, pretend to anyway.)  She said that she didn’t feel that her patient needed oxygen since he was not showing signs of respiratory distress, and technically she’s right, but, it’s right on the testing sheet that “failed to initiate high-flow oxygen for the patient” is an automatic fail and we’ve been stressing this with the students all semester.  She gets a second chance to take the test and she’ll do just fine, but she should have passed the first time.

We lost half the class at the midterm because they didn’t pass the test, I’m not sure that all of the rest of them will pass the final and all their skills tests.  Last Wednesday, they were all afraid to come to me for their Trauma Assessment test because everyone who took it on Monday failed.  That wasn’t my doing, it was theirs, but of course I have the reputation of being the guy who fails everybody.  I was very glad that most of the people who did take in on Wednesday passed so now they know it wasn’t me.

Tonight, I am conducting a review for the final and they take the final on Wednesday.  Next week we will finish skills testing and then this class will be over.  It feels like it went so fast; much faster than my class.

I’m kind of glad it’s ending.  I’m tired of having to run from work to school two nights a week.  I’ve given up a lot of my personal time to meet with students and help them practice skills.  Most of the one’s I have helped, have passed the skills and so it makes me unhappy that the rest of them didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that were presented.  But I’ll be glad to have my time back.  On the other hand, it makes me kind of sad because I don’t know when I’ll get the opportunity to make use of my knowledge and skills and I don’t want it to fade away.

I’m working on my resume, something I’m not skilled at and I’m waiting for some feedback from some people on it.  Once that’s done, I’ll start applying to jobs and see what comes of it.  I still don’t know how I’m going to support myself working in this field, but maybe if I just try it’ll work out.

I want to try to make a “teaching” resume as well, and I’d like to see if I can’t work part-time as a safety trainer; maybe with the company my employer uses, maybe with the Red Cross, maybe with another entity I don’t yet know about, I don’t know.  I just know that I need to make a change.


I took another big step today.

I’ve been putting something off that I shouldn’t have, I just was reluctant to deal with it.

Today, I took as much of the necessary paperwork as I could gather, along with my Cashiers Check for $110.00 to the Alameda County EMS Agency to apply for my State EMT Certificate.

I got my National Registry of EMTs Certification in February, but I can’t work until I have my state certificate which really only amounts to submitting copies of my national stuff, my course completion certificate, a copy of my CPR card and drivers license, a copy of my Life Scan form and paying the fee.  Life Scan is a Department of Justice and FBI back ground check.  I did the finger printing and paid the fee, last week and the results will be sent directly to the AlCo EMS.

I hadn’t actually filled out the request form until I was at the bank to get the Cashiers Check.  I had glanced over it and knew that it asked if I had ever been arrested or convicted of any infraction, including misdemeanors.  What I hadn’t read was what it says on the back about providing a copy of the final disposition of my case from the court and a written explanation of the events.

I ran back home to search my files for the “final disposition” only to realize that I don’t think I ever got anything from the court.

For anyone who is unaware of what I’m talking about, on January 18, 2004, I was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.  I was given a hefty, hefty fine and additional punishment.  I did everything that I was supposed to do.  I paid my fine, did my community service and attended the ridiculous excuse for “alcohol education” classes and I put the whole thing behind me… until now.  When I went to court for my trial, I was given a date, in February, 2007 when I was to return to court to have my case closed out, but I was given written instructions to call a few days ahead to find out if I really even had to go.  Because I had fulfilled everything I was supposed to, I was told I did not have to return to court, but I do not believe I ever received anything further from the court.

I wrote my simple, unapologetic, matter-of-fact account of the situation and the outcome and made a photo copy of my form from my original court date which showed my “sentence” and I took those to the AlCo EMS Agency with the rest of my paperwork.  They accepted my packet and my money and told me that someone would be in touch if they wanted additional information.  Honestly, I’m assuming the Life Scan will bring back all the information they require, but I don’t really know.  Before I left I asked, “So I’ll either get a phone call, a letter, or my card.  Right?”  The receptionist confirmed that to be correct.

I’ve been putting this off, because honestly, if I don’t have the state certification, I can’t work as an EMT, and I guess on some level, if I can’t work as an EMT then I have an excuse not to be.  Also, there is a chance that I will be denied state certification, because of my DUI and if I am, then that means I will have done all that I have done, for nothing…

Well, not nothing.  I did start this whole adventure simply because I wanted to know more and now I do.  But I also became very invested in it and I think I want to pursue it.  Now that I’m invested, if I find out I can’t do it because the state won’t give me certification because of this stupid thing I did seven years ago, that will really disappoint me, to say the least.

On May 1st the fee goes up from $110.00 to $135.00, so I dragged my feet long enough.  I dropped it all off, and now it’s just a waiting game…