Poem: Withdrawing


Startle me

awake

from this drowsy dreaming 

half life 

shuffle 

My feet been stumbling

along

head crazed 

with jacked up 

thoughts 

Time to climb down 

open up

and

lift off

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Monkey On Our BackĀ 


There are times we all feel the monkey on our back. Maybe we put it there, flipping it up as we were too busy with life. It became more and more burdensome, weighing us down as we carried it around. Tried as we might, we couldn’t pry it off because it clung with a mighty grip and our back became the perfect ride.

There were days we knew it was there even though looking over our shoulder it was impossible to see. But we could feel it’s little fingers scratching at our skin making it crawl. It would make weird monkey noises close to our ear so only we could hear and we would think: I must be crazy.

For years it rode like this, perched on top of us, hitching this endless ride. Until one day we realize it’s a burden to drag along this nuisance, this unwanted tag along. We think maybe we can ditch it, throw it off somewhere and let it find its own way. 

Reaching around isn’t easy, and getting it to let go is no simple task. The monkey hangs on for dear life. But finally we can grab it by the tail and rip it off. It’s easy to fling it into the forest somewhere, hoping it will find a monkey family. 

And now, for the first time in a long time we can stand up. Our back feels light. We walk down the road now, unencumbered and free. But we are ever diligent for primate hitch hikers. 

So How Do You Like Me Now?


As many of my readers know, I’ve been a paramedic for over 13 years. I’ve had my ups and downs with my career. Some days I couldn’t be more proud to say I’m a medic and totally love going to my job. But more and more it has become a grind. Many feel it’s a burn out job due to the high stress of the ‘blood and guts’, but they are very wrong about that being the reason.

It has recently hit the local news that a nearby Fire Station had one of their ‘premiere’ paramedics caught diverting narcotics for his own use. This actually isn’t very hard to do and sadly, in our business, happens more than it should. This particular medic was the lead guy, so had even more control than most, so got away with it for a long time.

Since EMS (emergency medical services) in my state is such a small community, many of us knew what was going on long before he got arrested and it showed up on the news. I worked at that fire station years ago, and in fact, was their first paramedic. I parted ways with them because they didn’t feel I complied with their rules well enough when I wouldn’t remove a tiny nose ring that I had worn previously for five years. This was after a long list of harassing things they had done to chase me away because I wasn’t a ‘yes’ person.

This particular department moved on to medics they deemed bigger and better. To them that meant slicker, smarter, fancier talking. The guy that was arrested was just the guy they were looking for to put in place a program to bring them lots of new money with a non-emergent transfer program. What they didn’t see at the time was that it also positioned him in the perfect place to support his habit.

But sadly in this business in these small towns, they look no farther than either the all mighty dollar or the big city talk. They look no further than surface. But sometimes karma gets them in the end! And so it did with this department.

When I was there, I put in countless hours on calls that weren’t only paramedic calls because no-one else would go. I had close to 600 calls under my belt. While I always do the skills I need to do, my style has always been more about being kind. Holding a hand if I need to, or talking to someone, hugging someone or giving a kiss! I have even given someone money for taking a taxi home from the hospital. But somehow many places I’ve worked never could see these as positive attributes because they aren’t financially measurable. It would take a special manager to see their worth! And most ‘Chiefs’ aren’t much for real managers.

It is so tempting to march into that ambulance service now and say: that’s right dudes, I work with a nose ring, and I wouldn’t kiss your butts all the time! Those things are true for sure! But I never stole narcotics or smeared your name in the news and I’ve always been kind to my patients. So how do you like me now?