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.

Img 2191 2
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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Grand Rounds & Change of Shift Host—Yes Both!

He all, I am indeed hosting Grand Rounds on 10 November and Change of Shift of 12 November!

So please, get me your submissions ASAP….and help a girl out? Please put the corresponding Carnival in the subject line!

Submit to me—

emily at crzegrl dot net

Will let you know deadlines soon!

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I am sick of pink

I am sick of pink.

Pink runs, pink toothpaste packages, pink yogurt.

I am sick of pink articles, pink signs, pink nail polish.

Every time I see pink it reminds me that my mom has cancer.

It reminds me that the first time an “expert” saw her breast mass two years ago they said it was nothing.

You bastard.

You fucker.

You may have taken my mother away from me. If you would have done your job she may not be going through chemo. She may have had no lymph node involvement.






You should wake up for the rest of your life and explain to her grandchildren about why their first lesson in death wasn’t their dog, it was their Beama.

Please nurses, doctors, techs at Mayo Clinic.

Please, Please take care of my mom.

Please make up for the mistakes of another.

Please give her more Christmas mornings, more afternoons of knitting, more time to teach her grandchildren all of the things she has taught me.

I cannot fathom a day without my mom. My teacher, my guide, my wisdom, my strength.

Not yet.

Not now.

The pink that is so empowering, that gives hope.

Please be my hope too.

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Becoming a Flight Nurse Update

Many, MANY of you have sent me emails and posted comments asking for more information about becoming a flight nurse.

I have read every single one of them, and have realized how important it is for me to finish my “Becoming a Flight Nurse” venture.  Your questions are adding a new level of depth to the content, so please keep asking!  I promise it will not be for naught.

As I keep plugging away at that part of my blog, and resume a more regular blogging schedule, (if ever I had one), please be patient as I work to respond.

If you are interested in getting email updates from me when I do update “Becoming a Flight Nurse” please leave me your email addy in the comment section and I will put you on the list!

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Her Words

Her footsteps echo rhythmically, the first two hesitant, the rest intentionally systematic so as to not seem rushed.  The lights glaring should be the source of her perspiration, but the cold air vent blowing from the ceiling chill her bare arms against the nerves causing her sweat soaked blouse.

Although she braces herself for the echo, her voice startles her as she speaks into the microphone.  She was told they were waiting patiently for her, but she was unsure.

She hoped there was at least one left to hear her words.

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“Save the Tatas” Breast Cancer Fundraiser—Skydiver Style!

I want to thank everyone for the well wishes and support. As with everything else in my world, after my mother’s diagnosis it has been insane. With her permission, I will be writing more about her journey from the eyes of her eldest daughter.

While I am working through just how to do that, I am participating in the 3rd annual “Save the Tatas” breast cancer fund raiser at Premier Skydiving this weekend. It is not only giving me a way to do something productive, it has opened my eyes to the thousands of people breast cancer affects.

emily tata pics 019

Although I am looking for donations, (SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!–please go read the page on the event) I am just as interested in seeing how many comments in support of my mom and or the cause you all can generate.

For everyone who leaves a comment by Saturday night at midnight, I will add your name or Twitter name on a flag I am sponsoring in honor of my mom’s fight. Please retweet this and help it go viral!

Thank you all for helping me make “Save the Tatas” a success!

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