Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mechanism of Injury

I saw this video on Motor Cop's blog "If you got stopped you deserved it". 

Although it appears to have a slightly copcentric point of view, I found it pretty damn funny. Apparently, it was produced by Officer Joe Snuffy, who has his own YouTube channel with several videos posted on it.

I often wonder what the Po Po really thinks of the games that we play, now I know! I only wish I had the technical skills to produce a rebuttal video.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, September 27, 2010

It felt good...

...to get out of the house over the weekend, even though I couldn't really do anything really fun. I did get to use my camera a little. I worked on some night scape stuff, mediocre results, I won't bore you with those.

I did manage to get a few shots of a helicopter doing some work not too far away and was able to get pretty close without getting in the way. I have actually flown in this helicopter several times, long ago in a place far away, back in my pilot days. A friend of mine worked for the owners of this Hughes 500, and he took me up a few times in it. It was a well used machine then and that was probably 15 years ago.

That's one thing I miss about not working at the airport on my days off. I met some great people and was able to fly in some nice aircraft - stuff that I would have never been able to do had I not worked there.

Of course, I don't miss laying flat on my back underneath a filthy airplane scrubbing the oil off of the belly. The sensation of solvent running down my arms into my shirt is one I would rather forget.

I was glad to see this ship still in the air though, it is apparently still going strong. I'll bet it's still flying 15 years from now.

Thanks for reading,

P.S. I am trying to get released to return to work on Saturday, we'll see how that goes.
Thanks again.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Camera Lens Diplomacy

I had been happily snapping pictures for half an hour or so when I saw the Chief came over the hill. He did not appear to be smiling, in fact he appeared to be scowling. This did not bode well for me, as I did not know anyone at this scene and had no real right to be there.

I should have been paying more attention so I could have repositioned before he reached where I was, but it was too late for that so I continued shooting.

I was surprised to see, when he came into my viewfinder, that he was smiling. Maybe he thought I was from the media or maybe he just knew I was taking his picture and didn't want to be caught frowning. Regardless, I thought it amusing.

I was equally surprised when I snapped this picture a short while later.

He was taking pictures of his crews as they mopped up their portion of the fire. Later, I spoke with him for several minutes and explained to him who I was. It turned out that we had several acquaintances in common and I ended up sending him some of the better images.

It was a good opportunity for some camera lens diplomacy, hopefully he'll let me shoot one of his scenes again if the opportunity arises.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, September 24, 2010


 I got up early this morning and took The Saint I am Married To and #1 son to the airport. They are headed off to Louisville Ky, where my niece is getting married tomorrow. The original plan was for me, The Saint and #2 son to take a few weeks and drive back (shooting thousands of pictures along the way, of course) then fly #1 son out to meet us.

Recent developments prevented that from happening. #2 son and I are stuck at home, the other two are gone.

Tomorrow is the big day, I can't tell you how unhappy I am that I will not be there. We really like our future nephew and feel that he is a good match for our niece.

 Here's to Jessica and Bradley, wishing them a long and happy marriage. God Bless them and keep them.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I know a guy. He's a cop in one of those communities that could easily become a ghetto if the po-po weren't there to keep the hoodlums on the run. Pro-active police work has confined most of the problem children into their traditional areas and have kept the surrounding neighborhoods fairly safe.

This guy told me that one of the tools that he uses is Raiders Stickers.

He told me if he is on the prowl, he will usually pull behind a car displaying a sticker representing the silver and black. It's not that he hates the Raiders, it's just the local "Raider Nation" thugs that he's not too fond of.

Typically, a reason to pull the car over will arise and usually, a cite will result. Not too rarely, a cause to search the car will be presented to him and quite often, the local representative of the Raider Nation will end up missing the game, as they took most of the T.V.s out of the jail.  

I am sure that there was some exaggerating going on as he told me this method of police work. Knowing  the area where he works, I am even more sure that there was an element of truth to it, likely a large element.

I guess I am cool with it, I just hope I don't run into a deputy that hates Packers fans.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, September 20, 2010

Night Ops

A friend of mine is a Rope Ranger (rescue specialist) for a regional heavy rescue team. Every so often, they have to practice dangling from ropes, drilling holes in bizarre objects, making little rocks out of big rocks or just taking out and putting away their toys.

As Carlos is a nice guy, he occasionally lets me tag along and take some pictures. As always, nothing in life is free, so I have to take pictures of him while he is performing his duties. Carlos briefing his squad; Carlos dangling on the rope; Carlos in the hole etc etc. Carlos takes the files I send him down to Ritz Camera and gets 10x14 prints made. He then takes them to the Picture Palace and gets them matted and framed for display. The hallway in his house is full of "hero shots", most of which I have taken so I know what was really going on when they were taken. He always has good beer at his house and he lets me photograph his drills so I can't say too much.

These pictures were taken early last spring, so my little camera was used. Carlos' team was doing a "breaching" drill, so it wasn't very exciting plus it was freaking cold. Once I took 10 images of Carlos being in charge, I donned a hard-hat that I keep in my truck and took a few pics.

The drill participants showed up at the scene and were briefed by the local agency I.C. who told them that search dogs had gone through and had "hit" at various locations on the site. The teams then had to determine if there were live victims in the rubble.

Here, a search team is drilling a series of holes into a void. They are working above grade, it is late and cold and most of them have been on shift since 0800.  The drill didn't start until dark and they have to do this evolution several times in several locations. A sharp safety officer is essential to monitor performance and procedures to ensure someone doesn't get hurt.

Once the hole(s) are drilled, a search cam is inserted through the hole and the operator looks on the LCD screen to see what he can see. The cam has an LED light on the end of it so the image is visible in the dark. Here, the search team is looking ae the screen after inserting the camera into the void. Apparently, they saw something that indicated they would have to enlarge the hole big enough to enter, then drill through another wall into another void. Ye Haw.

As the above team was requesting more equipment, I knew that it was going to get crowded on the platform. I opted to leave before I became a nuisance. Plus, I was cold and it was threatening to rain. Actually, I was afraid that Carlos would need more "hero" shots and I would rather be home with The Saint enjoying a beer.

Regardless, I left. Carlos later told me that two of the squads were at the site until just after midnight. Strong work boyos.

Thanks to Carlos and his team for letting me shoot their drill.

Thanks to you for reading,

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's a Disease


 Hello, my name is Schmoe. I have a camera problem...

Hello, my name is Schmoe. I may have a camera problem...

Hello, my name is Schmoe. I may enjoy my camera too much...

Hello, my name is Schmoe. I enjoy photography.

Photography may be a disease, but denial is the cure!

Thanks for reading,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pull Hose

When I started working for the K.B.F.P.D, I was surprised how crappy we were at wildland hose lays. For the uninitiated, a wildland or progressive hose lay is the evolution that stretches a hoseline from the engine to the fire, when the fire is farther than a pre-connected hoseline can reach.

Previously, I had worked for a small city department and was a On Call firefighter with the County F.D. Both agencies were equipped and trained for wildland firefighting, so it was a shock to me that Kinda Big was still in the dark ages.We didn't use hose packs or wildland nozzles and a Hebert hose clamp was used to shut the water off when adding a length of hose. It was absurd.

Fortunately, enough people with wildland experience were hired at the K.B.F.P.D. and things began to improve. Now, we're still not the authority at punching in 5000 foot hoselays, that honor will have to go to the U.S. Forest Service or the Schedule B firefighters that work for Cal-Fire. I'm just sayin' that we have made significant progress.

The hose is packed in,  usually 200 ft per person. Notice the captain has already off-loaded his hose, that is one of the basic rules of laying hose. The captain dumps first.

Now, before anyone gets their panties in a knot, these guys are basically mopping up on a cool high humidity day, that's why they are not totally buttoned up for these pics.

After the flames have been extinguished as far as the stream can reach, the hose is clamped and the water is shut off. In this shot, the clamp is visible on the hose just behind the firefighter's leg. The nozzleman disconnects the nozzle and hands the male hose coupling to the person who just unrolled the new length of hose. That person hands the  male coupling from the new length of hose to the nozzleman, then both connections are made. The first person to complete the connection hollers "water one!"  the second yells "water two!" Once the clamp man hears water two, he releases the clamp and hollers "water coming!" If done properly, the nozzleman waits until he has a secure flow of water and takes off with the rest of the team pulling hose behind him.

As there were only two guys on this crew, it wasn't done by the book. I really enjoyed photographing the evolution from the shade of this tree. When they run out of hose, the process is repeated until the objective is obtained.

Keep your dime and pull hose, bitches!

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Someone told me (it might have been a comment on this blog) that they had seen dogs climb ladders, but had never seen one descend a ladder.

Well, here ya go:
That's Mocha, one of my favorite working dogs. He's pretty compact and is pretty bad-ass for his size. By bad-ass I mean fearless.

It is a tough thing for a dog to enter through the rear ramp of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter while the blades are turning. It's loud, it's hot - the exhaust from the turbines gets pushed down by the rotor wash, it smells of burning jet fuel and it's very windy from the rotor wash. Plus, the helicopter is trying to shake itself to bits while on the ground. Mocha never batted an eye, he is mission focused. The other dogs do pretty good as well.

I realize that the climbing angle of that ladder is not very steep, I have another shot of Mocha descending a ladder, that one is a little steeper. I just can't find it.

I can also tell you that wiener dogs suck at climbing ladders. I'm just sayin'

Thanks for reading,

Laid up

I went to the doc for a sore and swollen leg and found that I have a DVT. Thus, I will be off of work for at least several weeks and am not allowed to do much. Not that I feel like doing much anyway, the only position of comfort is on my back with my leg elevated.

As a result, my posts might be a little weak or off topic for a while. I just hope this clears up soon and I can get back to work. That and get back to shooting pictures.

Thanks for your patience,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bad Boys

I believe that most people should get a second chance. Depending, of course, on the severity of the offense. It's what happens when the second chance goes awry, that defines the organization's values and ethical standards.

Does the organization have a moral responsibility to take disciplinary action, including termination, against a member who was given a second chance? Especially when the second chance was predicated upon a complete and total avoidance of the offending behavior?

I submit to you that it does. We all know that bad judgment can randomly strike almost anyone at a moment of weakness. Most of us have seen someone make a decision that we would  have never made or were surprised that THEY made that choice. Some of us have even made decisions that when reviewed later, were recognized as poor choices.

However, when someone knows that even a slight transgression will cost them their career and will have a very negative impact on their family, its time for them to completely avoid the behavior and the situations which foster it. Failure to do so implies an inability to control that aspect of their lives and places undue risk to their colleagues and the public.

The situation is compounded when the criminal justice system is involved, as it increases the odds of public scrutiny. The whole situation reeks.

If the organization has any hope for credibility, it is imperative that they follow through with the agreed upon sanctions. Failure to do so is a recipe for disaster.

I'm just sayin'

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I always wonderd: "Is that Smart?"

We have been seeing more of these Smart Cars zipping around town. I always wondered how well they would hold up in an accident.  We finally had the opportunity to look a little closer, this is what we found.

This car rear-ended a mini-van. The driver said she was going about 25-30 mph at impact.

Granted, we are not talking about a real high speed accident, but it does appear that the energy was absorbed where it was designed to be. I could find no deformity past the "A" pillar.

No intrusion or deformity to the interior, the driver's injuries were limited to a minor skin tear on her left elbow. Obviously, the front air bag deployed and she was wearing her seat belt.

Actually, it would appear that the car held up about as well as any other compact car. As it is by far the smallest car out there right now, I would have to say that it performed well for the impact that it suffered.

I am still curious how it would perform in a real world high speed collision. Hopefully, I will never get to find out.


As soon as he saw my camera, he started fumbling around.

He laughed when I told him the shot was going on the net, he thought I was kidding!

Have a great week, it's awesome to see fall peeking around the corner! We will be leaving on a road trip n a few days, hopefully my laptop will be back from the computer doctor's and I will be able to post from the road.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, September 13, 2010

Human Shields

"Kinda Big Engine 226, County Engine 14, we are on scene, it's ours and we can handle. Can you block the number one lane for us while we load these patients?"

"County 14, we copy, we'll take the number one lane."

I watch several cars whiz by in excess of eighty miles per hour as we make the move to block the lane at a forty degree angle. We get positioned and I can feel my gut start to churn.

It's 3:20 A.M, it's dark on the grade and we are the initial barrier between County 14 and the multitude of drunks that are out at that hour.

I know County 14 will hurry, hopefully the State Troopers will hurry as well. I absolutely hate this stretch of highway, a County engine was clobbered in this area earlier this year. Had our response time been a little quicker or theirs a little slower, it would have been us, not them.

Now, as we sit exposed in the number one lane, I tighten my seat belt and make sure my camera is secured so that it won't go flying through the front windshield should we get hit. The crew is tense as well, they know how I feel about our position, it is one that they share.

I am grateful in an add way, that I can't see the traffic coming at us in the rear view mirror. The angle of the engine in relation to the traffic lane means that should an impact occur it would either be to the tailboard or to a point on on my side of the engine. Either way, there is nothing I can do but pray that we don't get hit.

After a while, I can see the second patient being loaded onto the gurney and wheeled to the ambulance. It won't be long now. At about this time, a state trooper walks past my rig after parking behind us. At least now there is something between the drunks and us, though I would prefer something a little larger.

Another few minutes pass and the patients are safely loaded into the ambulance.  County 14s  repositions their own engine to provide protection for the troopers and the tow truck drivers who are still working the scene. They cut us loose, it takes us a few minutes before we can safely get moving.

We all breathe a little easier, the role of human shield is one that no one likes. I hear County 14's clear the scene a few minutes later. They, as we, dodged yet another bullet.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Airbag Safety

Lets face it, we have to work around airbags all of the time. I'm not talking about captains, chiefs or district commanders either.

We respond to accidents every day where our patients are still seated in the car and one or more airbags have not deployed. If you take the proper precautions, the threat of unintentional deployment is greatly reduced, almost eliminated in most cases.

That's why I found this video most shocking.

We work hard to avoid airbag deployment, these guys worked hard to ensure airbag deployment.

It would appear that alcohol may have been involved.

I can think of two good opportunities for spinal injuries in this video, one from the acceleration of the launch and another from hitting his head on the ceiling. The landing didn't look to safe either. It was obvious that the subject of the video was extremely dazed immediately after the event and my have been injured. I'll bet he doesn't do that again.

Have another shot of vodka Ivan!

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Like Many Fields

Like many fields, this one once held the broken bodies of reluctant warriors. Warriors who were ordinary people, full of fear and apprehension yet filled with a sense of purpose and the will to attack their enemy despite their fears Though they lost their lives, they succeeded keeping their enemy from completing their mission. They emerged victorious. They emerged as heroes.

The battle of Shanksville was fought and won before the participants arrived at the final battle site. The opening stages of the battle were fought many miles from Shanksville, the enemy victorious over unsuspecting participants.

As the stakes of the battle became known, the warriors of Flight 93 assessed the situation, recognized the need and developed a plan. They drew from the depths of their souls and implemented their plan. Their plan succeeded, those of their enemy failed. Their enemy underestimated the resolve of the Heroes of Flight 93.

Today, the field is closed to the public, except to those who lost loved ones on flight 93. I am told a flag and a monument mark the spot. A permanent memorial is being built by the National Park Service, Phase one is to be completed by the tenth anniversary of the battle.

Tomorrow, I will pin a commemorative badge on my uniform and I will remember the heroes and victims of Flight 93, just as I will the heroes and victims of the World Trade Center and of the Pentagon. It will be a normal day at the healing place, though there will be moments of somber reflection as we ponder the events that occurred on that day, nine years ago.

It won't be too many more years that people will start showing up at the Kinda Big Fire Protection District who weren't yet born on that dark day. I hope that someone explains to them how true heroes were created on that day and how they sacrificed all for the greater good..

Thanks for reading,
A somber and humble Schmoe

Friday, September 10, 2010

Two Jobs I Would Rather Not Do

While on an excursion to the big city, I observed some people performing jobs which would not be my first pick.

Window washer - First there's the heights thing, although that's a training issue and can be overcome. Then there's the issue of dropping your squeegee or your I-pod. Knowing my luck, my squeegee would fall and impale Larry H. Parker and the resulting litigation would force me to sell my jeep, camera and two of three wiener dogs. That's a price too high for me.

Crane Rigger - Again there's the heights thing and the tool thing and now there's the swaying in the breeze thing.  The construction super told me that when the wind blows above a certain speed, the crane will sway. He could have been bullshitting me, but he really had no reason to. This gentleman is preparing to run cable out to the end of the arm, part of the assembly process.

The above shot was taken directly overhead, about 200 above me. I really should not have been standing there, but stupid me, I wanted the shot.

I guess this rigger has a pretty cush job. His feet were hanging out of the cab the whole time I was there. He is probably waiting on the other guy to finish running the cable. If I had to be a crane rigger, this assignment probably wouldn't be too bad.

Thanks to the construction super for not throwing me off of the job site until after I took the photos. Thanks to the guy running cable for not dropping his I-pod on me.

Thanks to you for reading.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Deepest Apologies

To all of my dispatcher friends, I want to profusely apologize for the week-ass performance of my colleague, Captain Suave.

I happened to be at my desk listening to the radio and I heard him respond on that call. I heard the artificially deep "radio" voice, done in a low volume. Although the intonation sounded cool, I couldn't understand a word that he said. I also heard him cut himself off at both ends of the transmission, making it even harder for him to be understood.

I must admit that I found it amusing when he advised you of the same information that you had just given him a few minutes earlier.Even more amusing was that he had acknowledged your original transmission and had repeated it back to you.

As for your performance, it sounded good to me. Although I could sense a tiny bit of frustration in your voice, it didn't show up until you had to have him repeat a transmission three times because of the "suave" voice and the clipped transmissions.

That Capt. Suave didn't catch on and change his radio procedure until after the urgency had passed was funny in an ironic, maybe moronic sort of way. Had the call gone as it had originally seemed like it would, clear, concise communication would have been critical for all parties involved. Sadly, Suave was too busy being "cool" for this to occur.

Since I am never one to hold back criticism when one of you performs in a less than stellar manner, I thought it only appropriate that I bust Suave's  nuts in this instance. Also, you need to know that he frustrates us too. We, like you, tell him where to go, except that we are not as professional.

Thanks for your efforts and please note that if we could improve Suave's comm skills, we would. Some dogs are just too slow to hunt.

Thanks for reading,

Mutual Aid

Ya know, we're kinda big. We can get a few units staffed and out the door for mutual aid strike team assignments. We have sent units throughout the state over the years. Once, we sent an engine to Yellowstone National park way up in Wyoming.

As I get older, strike team assignments have less appeal to me. Actively working for 24 hours, then having to sleep on a cot in an open field isn't as fun as it used to be. Especially when the open field is under a blazing sun and rigs are constantly driving by. Let the young pups do that, I'll stay home and back-fill.

There is however, one department that I would be happy to drive several hours to assist.

Should things ever become so dire at Tom's Place that the services of K.B.F.P.D. E226 were truly needed, count me in.

First, you have to understand a few things about Tom's Place. Tom's is a fishing camp located on Hwy 395, up in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I have never stayed there, but I have gone there every time I have camped in the Sierras.

Tom's has a lodge, cabins, a store, a restaurant and a bar. It is popular with the anglers who fish nearby Crowley lake and Rock creek. Campers and off-roaders stop by there as well. In the afternoon, the bar and restaurant are usually busy, with both tourists and locals sating their hunger and quenching their thirst. It's a friendly place, one with a sense of humor.

As they have their own engine, I might not even need to bring mine.

Much like me, it's '60s vintage, a little rough around the edges and lights up when it has to go to work.

With a little luck, I might be able to figure out how to get it into pump! Note the engine number - Engine 5150. 5150 is the section of the California Welfare and Institutions Code that allows somebody to be placed on an involuntary  72 hr. hold for evaluation and treatment. The term has been bastardized by EMS and LE personnel to mean crazy. It is the perfect number for the Tom's Place engine.

In hopes that my services will some day be needed up at Tom's place, I have purchased the appropriate vehicle identification symbol and placed it on my truck.

Not only does it look cool, but I'm hoping it will get me out of a ticket or two.

They have had some significant fires at Tom's place over the years. The original lodge burned down in 1947 and there was a large forest fire that burned within a mile or so several years ago. Their engine is the perfect tool to kill dragons when they're small.

Hopefully, Tom's place will never again be threatened by the ravages of fire. Should it happen, I'm ready to respond. I won't even mind sleeping on a cot.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Amazing Sourdough Saloon Omni-Mug

We stood atop the high plateau looking to the west. The vast expanse of Death Valley was spread before us, nearly 4500 feet below. Some of the areas that we had explored in the week prior to this gray morning were visible, the mineral tinted hues presenting us a wonderful palette of earth-toned color.

A large storm was visible across the valley, the dark clouds and heavy precipitation warning me that the good roads we had enjoyed up to the remains of Chloride City might soon be gone. We had driven through several snow flurries on our trip up, some of it sticking enough to make the rocky, mid-slope road slippery. I had put the truck in four wheel drive as I didn't want to start sliding as we climbed the trail. Looking at the approaching storm, I decided that he had better start down, rather than spend a cold night in the Chloride cliffs.

Looking at the map, determined that if we dropped into the canyon then turned east, rather than west, several dirt roads would lead us to Beatty Nevada. We had never been to Beatty, so that is the path I chose. Little did I know, that decision would change my recreational life.

An hour or two later, we rolled into Beatty. Beatty is a small town, about 1100 people call it home. It is a typical desert small town, built to support an industry no longer around - surviving in hopes that a new one will spring up. After checking our culinary options, we decided on a place called the Sourdough Saloon.

I wish I could tell you that we decided on the Sourdough because of the unique exterior of the place or the several cars in the lot despite it being mid-afternoon. Though those might have been factors, it was the sign that read "PIZZA" that sealed the deal.

We entered the saloon and found a charming bar with the usual suspects enjoying a brew at the bar. As we had kids, we were required to go to the "restaurant" at the back of the place. We were served promptly, ate a great pie and enjoyed the warmth of place. Of course, I enjoyed a cold frosty adult beverage along with my meal. I didn't pay too much attention to the container it was served in, though it did it's job well.

It wasn't until we had paid the tab and were leaving the place that I saw the sign. "Sourdough Saloon mugs for sale - $6". Suddenly, I had an epiphany. That WAS a damn fine mug. Only six bucks, I'll buy two.

The rest is history, my camping life was dramatically improved.

My Sourdough Saloon mug is such a handy and versatile device that I have renamed it the "Omni-Mug"

I use it throughout the day while camping, it's mere presence makes my recreational experience so much better.

Who would have thought a container designed to hold beer would
be such a fantastic coffee cup. It holds lots and it enhances the
flavor and texture of the fire - brewed coffee.

I know the original designer of the Omni-Mug would likely not 
approve of lowly water being used in a vessel made for beer.
 I must say however, that each glass tastes as if was pulled from a 
mountain stream.

Another use for the Omni-Mug is for eating cheerios. It holds slightly over a single serving, and it easily transitions from a coffee drinking device to a cereal eating device. Remarkable. I apologize, I neglected to photographically document this handy use of the Omni-Mug. My bad.

The versatile Omni-Mug really shines when used for what it was
designed. It is nearly ergonomically perfect and enhances the
complex flavors and textures of finely brewed beverages. I think
it photographs well too!

If you ever get to Beatty Nevada, stop in and purchase one of these fine camping implements . It is equally as handy around the house and almost as handy at work. If you have the time, give it a test run while at the Sourdough. You will be pleasantly surprised. 

A word of  caution however. If you do test-drive the Omni-Mug at the Sourdough, be careful not to sit in front of the Mercedes Benz front end that hangs on the wall to the right of the bar. It's haunted or something.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


We were requested for a person ill, the dispatcher keeping the information to a minimum. It wasn't until I was in the rig and looking at the MDC that I read further details of our patient's illness.

We arrived on scene and the patient's wife met us at the door. She told us what her husband was suffering from, the mere mention of it filled my heart with sadness. We walked through the door, a familiar look was present. The look of a household disrupted by the ravages of a terminal disease, a formerly orderly environment now disheveled due to more important things to handle, exhaustion and illness.

Our patient was laying in a hospital bed, one that was placed in a room where beds are not normally found. Though I had never met our patient before, I was familiar with his scars, his swollen face and the pain in his eyes.

I recognized the weakness in his voice and his searching for words, words that he knew, but  that were no longer available for him to remember.

As I took down the patients history and information from his wife, I recognized the words of a wife who was somehow holding it all together despite her living on the edge of tragedy. She explained the many medications that our patient was taking, one to do this, one to counteract that. The causes and effects were all too familiar to me, I had heard of these before.

The ambulance arrived, our patient was soon loaded onto the gurney. We talked with the patient's wife as the ambulance crew prepared to depart. She told us about how their lives had changed in the few short months since an unusual symptom had appeared. About how the symptom had quickly evolved into a diagnosis, a course of treatments and surgeries and how the multitude of adverse effects was wearing down on her husband.

She also knew the inevitable outcome, though she still held hope in her heart that some miracle treatment was coming in the next few weeks, one that would somehow save her husband.

As we left the scene, the similarity between this call and the experience of a friend of mine was so close,  It choked me up. It was like watching a scene from a re-run. I know what is in store for our patient and his wife, I have seen this show. I wish I could ensure a different ending, but I know that is not to be.

Thanks for reading,