4/365 Vacation ala Stinky Steve

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Peanut Butter Fudge and Tradition

We would fight to scrape the pan and eat the melt-in-your-mouth fudge bits left after mom was done.  After it cooled, the fudge squares were dumped over a huge bowl of popcorn which four small children devoured during the annual playing of “The Wizard of Oz,” on television in the days before VCRs or streaming video.

As an adult, who moved back home against all odds, my life is now more about reliving the traditions created for my siblings and I by my mother.

This winter, I spent countless hours with Ben trying to remember the names of the birds which swarmed our feeders.  With my mother’s cancer treatment wrecking her body this summer, I took the time to sit with her and relearn to knit.  Time normally spent writing or engrossed in social media, I spent remembering why small things are important.

I helped plant a garden, canned pickles, and visited 93 year old Grandma Millie and her live-in boyfriend Chuck.  I worked on my quilt, finished knitting a stocking cap and a scarf.  I baked bread.  I relearned how to bobber fish, caught my first salmon down rigger fishing, and cut my first hole to ice fish.  I watched Meteor Showers with Ben while floating on Lake Michigan.

I went skydiving, read books, and simply sat.  Sat and enjoyed sunsets.  Sat and enjoyed the Scottville Clown Band.  Learned to play a C Major scale on my guitar.  I cleaned out closets, decorated our first Christmas tree, learned to play Marbles, and enjoyed hundreds of cups of coffee.

As I look forward to the imminent spring frog symphony, and celebrate the first song of the Red Winged Black Bird, I know that a summer of insanity awaits.  I also know that before summer comes the first green shoots of flowers my mom would call me outside to witness.

Mom still calls me to announce the first Robin sighting of Spring.  It never fails.  She is always the first to see one.

As I cut the peanut butter fudge into little squares and share the first piece with Ben, I acknowledge that life is about the small, ever important moments in which you take the time to appreciate the song of a bird, the sweetness of a homemade treat, or the beauty of a sunset.

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3/365 Flips, Farmers’ Almanac and the Ides of March

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Many months ago, my blog came into question. It didn’t come into question because of something I wrote, or someone I offended. It was, however, under scrutiny by the powers-that-be.

That process, quite frankly, took the wind out of my writing sails. From day one, my writing centered around how much I loved my job, where I worked and the people I work with. It was difficult feeling as thought I needed to defend myself, my writing, and in some ways, who I am.

I am thrilled that after the recent publication of the social media policy, I can now say that I work for Aero Med in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have, as you will notice, added a disclaimer the the side bar as was directed. I will continue to talk about how much I love my niche profession of Flight Nursing, how much I enjoy where I work, and those I work with.

Please take note that I DO NOT speak for the US Army (which recently also changed its stance on social media), the hospital, or Aero Med.

My blog is my opinion only.

The stories I tell are either written with permission or changed to be HIPAA compliant. Everyone likes a good story, but I am aware of how visible my patients are both in the news and in the community. They will never have to worry that I am doing or saying what I shouldn’t.

News organizations do not contact me for a scoop. I will simply direct you to the hospital communications department and give you the phone number you already have memorized.

Everyone else, call or email away. I would LOVE to talk to you about flight medicine! (side note: if you have emailed me, I am working on getting back to you)

Lastly, I am still the person dubbed crzegrl, and no, I am not turning in my hypothalamus. *pointed look at the boys* I will continue to post about my life in a fairly uncensored format. I drink beer, cuss on occasion, and do everything humanly possible to wring every bit of love, laughter, and passion out of this life. My blog is not a representation of Emily J. McGee as a professional entity, it is me Emily and my life as I live it.

So as I have the next four days away from the insanity, I have a lot of catching up to do. I’ve missed you all!

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1/365 Just Another Day at the DZ

Emergency Procedures Skydiving Style
Emergency Procedures Skydiving Style
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The Lost Edition: Change of Shift Vol. No.

Once upon a time, an over ambitious blogger had a dream. A goal really. To achieve the blogging version of a hat trick. She did the easy first, calling into the Dr. Anonymous Show. Bragging about doing the blogging trinity. His show, Grand Rounds and Change of Shift.

The show was a riot as usual.

Grand Rounds was a bit late.

Change of Shift?

Volunteering at the last minute was an opportunity I couldn’t resist. It fell near Veterans Day. A day near and dear to my heart as, most of you know, I continue to proudly serve. It came shortly after one of the most horrible tragedies in Army history.

It also fell on my blogging anniversary.

And the edition was almost lost to the depths of my failure.

Almost, but not quite.
As I reread the submissions for the edition, I was struck by the solemn nature of the posts. They were very unlike the majority of posts submitted to me in the past. The bulk submissions were absolutely non-existant. Instead, the posts are thick with introspection, contemplation and raw emotion.

I am confident in saying that this is one of the best collections of Change of Shift ever.

I would like to close with a few personal notes.

Thank you all for your support of not only myself, but all who are serving, and who have served. Sacrificing for the freedoms we all enjoy is much easier when it is done for a grateful nation.

I received permission from one of my dearest friends who served as an Army Medic and who currently serves as a civilian medic in Iraq to post the following, which he wrote.

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Unknown “DUSTOFF” soldier
Viet Nam Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C.
photo by E. McGee

. . . to my brothers that are no longer with me, those that still serve and work with me and those that are still in harms way, your forever on my mind.

If I ever

If I ever
heard the sound
stillness in the moment of the news
The silent heart that lays
the quite of the men as I walk

If I ever
felt the warmth leave, the hand that lays
held on tight, nothing I can do to save the warmth
the warmth leaves, coldness comes..

If I ever
had to wash away the tears
clean the faces, clear the pockets
close the eyes

If I ever
witnessed life so true and bright
carried on by others in red white and blue
the eagle flies the heads bow

If I ever
looked into the face of mothers
eyes of warmth and tears
looked in the face of fathers
eyes of warmth and tears

If I ever
had to stand at the side
hands on brass, covered in white
felt the tightness of the tie
the weight of ribbons and names

If I ever
once stood with them
laughed with them
drank with them
sweat with them
cried with them

If I ever
had to look into the face of their children
held their hands
told them stories

If I ever
folded the flag
passed it over
raised my hand high, lowered it once more
held my tears back as I say goodbye

If I ever
walked behind the trees
shed my tears
remembered the faces
remembered their family

If I ever
looked to the sky
prayed for them
talked to them
as that sun fades

If I ever
placed the ribbons around the trees
placed the flags in front of white stones
read the names in rows and rows
found the few names that made me cry

If I ever
walked amongst white crosses
names of past names of present
the the union jack draped head high
surrounded by six
headed by one

if I ever
heard the 21 rounds
in honor of my friend
the drizzle of the rain
the sobbing of mothers

If I ever
could bring them back
take them home
bring them peace
know they are safe

If I ever
could make sure
not another one
goes in vain
but are held in peace and warmth
for everything they gave
for everything they left

If I ever
could open deaf ears
there are men here
they give and gave their lives
so others did not

If I ever
could make sure
the rich paid their debt
took care of their families
gave full honors to their name

If I ever let them forget
it is time for someone to take my place
I am VET

God be with my brothers and sisters
that are already gone before me
those that I knew
those that I never knew

Its time to open deaf ears, all of us together
open up deaf ears
warriors in charge to open up deaf ears
I am a vet

God take care of them If I ever…….

—-Kip Bradley

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Grand Rounds Vol 6. No. 7

Hello and welcome to this edition of Grand Rounds!

As I contemplated the possibilities for a cheeky theme and racked my brains for something pithy or unique, my thoughts consistently fell on the fact that tomorrow is Veterans Day in the United States. Veterans Day is simply a day off for some. For others it is a day in which we take the opportunity to show those, who sacrificed greatly for the freedoms we enjoy, appreciation.

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Tomb of the Unknowns
Arlington National Cemetery
Photo Credit: Emily McGee

What does this have to do with an international edition of a medical carnival?

Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.

—Benjamin Franklin

Freedom of thought, and freedom of speech is what blogging is all about. I am not only proud of my Army service, but am grateful to those who wore the uniform before me, making sacrifices so I can spend my evening writing my own words without fear of reprisal or censorship.

I am honored to present to you every entry I received. Please enjoy this edition, and take the time, either publicly or privately, to reflect on the freedoms you have, and what it took for you to possess them.

Bongi—you couldn’t have given me a better transition if we planned it! On his blog “other things amanzi” he shares a time in which the freedom of his speech helped solidify his legendary status. Yes, even more legendary then he is to us!

Freedom of speech doesn’t end with sentences and paragraphs. Apparently, a few of my favorite bloggers embarked on a Haiku quest this past week. My two favorites? So glad you asked!

The first is from Ramona over at “Suture for a Living.”

Haiku #2

Too big , too small, sad

Cut, sew, reduce, augment, lift

Happy, happy girls

The second is from Laika at “Laika’s MedLibLog.”

Haiku #8

Wishing he was dead,

Paralyzed from neck down,

Nothing he can do.

Apparently Dr. Rob was in the middle of the Haiku insanity, but who does that surprise?

Having the nerve to discuss mistakes, many times, is difficult to come by. Dr. Joseph Kim tackles not one, but two tough topics his post, Doctors and mistakes: big and small on the blog “Medicine and Technology.”

Healthcare lawyer David Harlow, on “Healthblawg,” digs a bit more into free speech, taking on the subject of Twitter spam, and the use of social networking by drug companies to promote off-label uses of medications to the lay person.

The US healthcare system and insurance debate were tackled as well.

One of the best submissions for this edition came from “Insureblog.” Sandi’s plight highlights how our current medical insurance system was successful, but how it could also fail. Follow that entry up with Dr. Rich’s post, New Jersey, What Were You Thinking? and you will have both a system and an individual view of the debate.

To round out the submissions covering the US healthcare/insurance debate, we have two posts. The first, a podcast and transcript in which David Williams interviewed Peter Lee who is co-chair of the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project. Why does the system perpetually seem doomed to failure? IMHO, lawsuits have a huge chunk of the blame. In the second post “ACP Internist” has a great entry covering the basics related to lawsuits in the post, “Which patients sue for malpractice?

How else does the system lose money? Errors. Error Prevention Strategies: It’s not “Sophie’s Choice” folks is up over at Florence dot com. The situation isn’t helped, however, when things like counterfeit versions of the flu vaccine are being sold, further degrading trust in the system. Go read the post “Drug Wholesaler Found Peddling Mystery Medicine as Flue Vaccine (Pharmacy Liability),” and you will be even more concerned.

Some of my favorite posts were related to the clinical side of medicine. Medication For Pain Series 2009: Antidepressants is part of a series over at the blog “How to Cope with Pain.” The post Baby it hurts: birth practices and postpartum pain on the blog, “Science and Sensibility” keeps the same theme, but proves what a wide topic pain can be.

Have you ever been grossed out by something you see another practitioner do? Next time you cringe when you see a man’s tie dangle over a patient, consider the possibility that it could be germ resistant! “ACP Hospitalist,” in the post Ties that bind, and make you gag talks about this new option for neckties, and also covers an even more scary side of ties—-the perpetuation of tacky prints!

The post which I would give my “Favorite Clinically Based Post” award (if there was such a thing!) to is from Paul Auerbach, M.D. who highlighted a published case study about Recombinant Factor VIIa for Rattlesnake Envenomation. As far fetched as this happening twice seems, about the time that crosses my mind, I will be flying the anti-venom, the Factor VIIa AND the patient to the big hospital in my area!

Rounding out the submissions are posts covering a wide range of subjects. Resources for Sexual Minority Youth made me realize I wouldn’t have even known where to begin looking for information about the topic had a patient asked. I also didn’t realize that those old school fitness tests may have been all for naught! Find out more in the post Fitness Tests – Do They Do What They Claim? And, from our friends to my immediate north, the blog “Canadian Medicine,” in the post Canada is looking out for your health, brings a collection of short topics covering topics such as Solubilize, nebulize, die, and Consumable entertainment.

When I host Change of Shift, I usually save my favorite post for last. Most times it is the post which had the most emotional impact. This edition did not disappoint.

“Notes of an Anesthesioboist”
Glimpse Into a Marriage

Thanks for heading my way for this edition and thanks to Colin for giving me the opportunity to tackle this last minute edition!

Grand Rounds Vol. 6 No. 8 will be @ Health Insurance Colorado on 17 November 2009.

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