The Queen of Heaven

On this Monday after Easter, sung at Compline in many religious communities and monasteries under the auspices of the Catholic Church…


Regina cæli, lætare, alleluia.
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia, 
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
Gaude et lætare, Virgo Maria, alleluia. 
Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi,
mundum lætificare dignatus es:
præsta, quæsumus, ut per eius Genitricem Virginem Mariam,
perpetuæ capiamus gaudia vitæ.
Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen

In English:
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
The Son whom you merited to bear, alleluia.
Has risen, as He said, alleluia.Pray for us to God, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray.
O God, who through the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
gave rejoicing to the world,
grant, we pray, that through his Mother, the Virgin Mary,
we may obtain the joy of everlasting life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Queen of Heaven

Snow In March

Late March, at that.

The first day of spring, officially, was yesterday. You wouldn’t know it by today’s weather, though. Last night and early this morning the area where I live received probably three inches of snow. While that by itself isn’t a big deal, apparently there was a short tremor near me with the epicenter near Hopkinton, New Hampshire. I wasn’t aware of it until a few minutes before I started writing this, and apparently it lasted for 20-30 seconds.

Considering we’re talking about New England weather, this isn’t terribly aberrant. Just the same, it is a little bit annoying.

I was actually intending to go to work early today so that I could attend clinical rounds. Just as I was leaving my house, notification arrived by email that rounds were being cancelled. When this happens, the level of frustration is a little bit high. But it happens. So we wait for the next one. And we hope that the next one isn’t cancelled.

I am out of some of my prescription medications. The refills are waiting to be picked up, but I have to have time to get them. Lately, because of my work schedule, I haven’t had time to do much of anything. As a result, I’m starting to withdraw from one medication in particular, and I am starting to feel it. Not like opiate withdrawal; I can’t even imagine that. But I am dealing with increased fatigue and a headache that no amount of caffeine or ibuprofen will knock down. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick them up tonight. We’ll see.

This was the view from my yard this morning.


With luck, it will melt over the next couple of days. I am definitely ready for spring to set in.

Snow In March

A Vicious Cycle

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santyana

The violence this past Friday night in Chicago underscores how nasty this political cycle has become. It also shows, pretty blatantly, I think, how out of control things are.

This morning, Donald Trump accused Bernie Sanders of being responsible for the protesters starting trouble at the site where the debate was to be held. Frankly, I thought that was pretty absurd;  like much of what Trump says, his words are not based on anything factual. Rather, as usual, he says things that are intended to cause people to not think, but to act in ways that are contrary to any logic.

I can’t help but compare what is happening now to what happened in Germany in the late 1920’s and 1930’s. And I hate to make this comparison, but instinctively it is the only one that makes any sense.

Adolf Hitler had the ability to generate a similar sort of feeling among people. He had a sort of cult of personality that grew rapidly. His ability to get others to buy into his vision of what turned into barbarism at its worst, which led to the deaths of so many innocent victims of that most heinous type of brutality.

It’s not to say that Trump and Hitler are similar people; I can’t make that comparison. But the feelings that his rhetoric generates among people is staggering. And the way his supporters act looks suspiciously similar to how Hitler’s followers acted nearly ninety years ago.

Just the same, I’m not scared yet. That won’t happen unless his followers start to wear brown shirts and sing rowdy songs.

A Vicious Cycle


Working in different places can be unsettling, especially if you are in a place for the first time and aren’t used to the lay of the land. For the next few hours, at least, I am finding myself in that place.

My employer – the one I work for full-time – in addition to covering a number of communities in the Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts, also covers six towns in southeastern New Hampshire. By virtue of being licensed in New Hampshire as well as carrying certification in Massachusetts, I have the opportunity to work in both coverage areas. As I write this I am posted at the Hampstead Fire Department’s quarters. Hampstead is located in southeastern New Hampshire, roughly halfway between the towns of Salem and Exeter. In addition to Hampstead, we also cover Atkinson, Danville, Newton, Plaistow, and Sandown. There is a second ambulance up here located in Plaistow. Between the two trucks the area is reasonably well covered. If it gets out of control, one of the two free range trucks out of Haverhill, Massachusetts, will post on the state line until everyone is back in service.

I am usually always on one of those Haverhill trucks.

Like yesterday. I took care of a patient who needed to be brought into Boston. Increasing difficulty breathing. Came from one of the hospitals in our area. This was a pretty tough guy; his history included multiple organ transplants. Performed in the same surgery. He was sent to Boston because he is followed by the transplant team there. Plus he had some indicators that required him to be brought there. A low hemoglobin level, which in itself isn’t a necessarily alarming issue, but he additionally had an elevated D-Dimer level.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, it is defined as follows:

D-dimer: A fragment produced during the degradation of a clot. The D here stands for domain. Dimer indicates two identical units, in this case two identical domains. D-dimer result from complete breakdown of the clot. Monoclonal antibody to the D-dimer fragment provide the basis for the main methods of detecting it. The presence of D-dimers in the blood is a reliable clue that clotting has begun. Sometimes used as a clinical marker for pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) or deep venous thrombosis (DVT) (blood clot in the leg) Sometimes written d-dimer or D-Dimer


Considering his history, it made sense to send him down. Plus, he knew the routine as he had done this multiple times in the past. And he was an easy patient, which made a big difference.

For now, I sit and wait. Trying to relax is key, but more often than not it is a challenge to do because you never know what’s going to happen. And in a few hours I will be heading to Haverhill from here as I am covering for the Paramedic normally on this truck at this time.

Here is to sitting and thinking.



Sitting in the room that functions as a library listening to the chatter in the room. It is actually pretty interesting and a little freaky; there were multiple conversations going on but now there is only one, and the topic keeps changing. It’s like listening to a room full of people who all have Attention Deficit Disorder.

Almost funny, but not quite.

Right now the thread is related to the busy nature of Friday overnights, the hair stylings of one of our supervisors, and the different vehicles that the Massachusetts State Police utilizes for operations statewide. Now two of the folks working are playing with a tape measure. They want to see how far they can extend it before it snaps.

Utter silliness. It is a great way to relieve stress.


This is the view of the door. I didn’t want to show the whole room because there are people in the room who I don’t want to offend or violate their privacy. The conversation is continuing while I write. Now the topic is registering automobiles in Massachusetts. I am not contributing to the conversation because it keeps changing; now the topic is ECG’s and cardiac rhythms. And Social Security. And criminal background checks…..

It is a hallmark of being an EMS provider. Being able to sort out multiple threads of conversation is important to some people. To others, being able to concentrate on one thread is critical.  I am inclined to think that this is more important, even though I have the ability to separate threads.

Today I transported a person from an area rehab center to a facility just outside of Portland, Maine. A gentleman who had fallen down a flight of stairs and broke numerous bones, including his neck. He is a quadriplegic as a result. In spite of his injuries he has a good attitude. That said, I don’t know what his quality of life will be. In addition to the neck, he has a number of other fractures, most of which were repaired surgically.

One of the things that is a problem with people who have neurological injuries is that regulating body temperature is a problem. This was no different. The heat in the patient compartment went on and off multiple times. Aside from that, he was actually an easy patient to take care of. And he was a really nice person.

I hope things work out for him.


The Parking Lot


I don’t want to be indoors today. This is in spite of the light drizzle that is falling as I write this. So my partner and I are sitting in the truck, listening to music, waiting. I ate some of my lunch a little while ago as well. We are both doing our own thing while we wait. She’s on her phone, presumably texting or surfing, and I am doing this.

Last night Martha and I watched the Oscars. With all of the publicity surrounding this year’s proceedings, I was expecting the experience to be a lot more tense. Actually, it wasn’t that at all; it was reasonably well done. At least I thought so. Parts of it were funny. Other parts were poignant. Most of it was, as it usually is, tinged with political overtones. But overall it was a good show. I was personally gratified to see Spotlight, the movie about the coverage of Catholic church sex abuse by the Boston Globe, win the award for Best Picture. That whole episode left me, and my faith, deeply shaken. However, the Globe’s coverage made dealing with it less difficult. Their coverage was thorough, professional, and most of all, courageous. At least in my opinion it was. If you consider the hurdles the team had to negotiate while they were doing their job, courage is an understatement.

While I’m writing this, one of the city trucks was dispatched for an unresponsive person. Most of these calls end up either being for overdoses or alcohol intoxication, the former being more likely. But in this case, it was neither.

All I will say is that it was not a good outcome.

So I will continue to sit. And I will await being dispatched. Since I don’t know what we will get, all we can do is wait.

The Parking Lot

No Absolute Time

I haven’t written in this blog for a long time. It has been a lot longer than I had originally planned, in fact. I have simply been busy, and stressed, and otherwise occupied.

That means that I have no excuses for not writing. It’s just that I have excuses for not writing, if that makes sense.

In fact, it is where the title of this entry gets its inspiration. “No Absolute Time” is the title of an album by jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. The underlying theme of the music on this album is about the concept of time, which he gets from the great physicist Albert Einstein. The latter’s premise, when talking about time, is that it is not real. And that is true; time is a construct that human beings need to have. It gives us the ability to quantify events in our lives and the ability to refer back to them based on our memory, as well as this man-made construct. If we did not have it, we wouldn’t be able to put our memories into perspective. And we would likely end up like other of God’s creatures that may or may not have memory as we humans know it. If they do, they are trapped because they have no ability to express their memories. If they don’t, then they probably only live moment to moment.

Sometimes you have to wonder if that isn’t better.

Recently I went on a call involving a 94 year-old female who is a long-term resident in a nursing home located in Massachusetts’s Merrimack Valley. Like many nursing home residents, this woman is doing nothing more than existing. What is sadder for me is that I have dealt with her when she was living at home, on her own. She had a sharp memory then. These days I’m not so sure; it has appeared that she has lost her will to live. And while her body is not dead, her mind has to be declining. She remembered me, which I was surprised at, but she couldn’t remember why she remembered me, if that makes sense. On top of that, she was really sick. It was suspected that she had what is known as an ileus, which in its most simple terms, is a bowel obstruction caused by no movement of the smooth muscle in the small intestine as opposed to being caused by matter. She also had a fever; this usually means infection is present. Between those, and that she had been vomiting over the course of the day, we were somewhat concerned.

This lady was sick.

After we got to the hospital but before I left her in the care of the nursing staff of the Emergency Department, she said to me, “you know, I just want to be left alone. I’m ninety-four years old. I’ve lived my life. It’s time for me to go.”

I couldn’t say anything; on one hand, she is right. She should have the ability to make her own choices and decisions. On the other hand, I won’t lie; it made me really sad to hear her say that, mainly because I knew what she said was true in her case, and she was being made to make decisions that really weren’t hers.

Is that fair?

No Absolute Time