Lost and Found in the Time of Covid

At times I am not sure if I am stuck in Dante’s first circle of Hell; Limbo, or one of Poe’s 7 rooms in “The Masque of the Red Death” or in some strange sick way stuck with just the 7 dwarfs, or one of them, on any given day….

7 of something

Covid has kept me trapped or should I say locked in and locked out – locked in Saudi Arabia and locked out of South Africa; the irony is that they are both abbreviated to SA. Stuck in SA, whilst trying to get to SA – a perpetual state of limbo. The pandemic is so representative of Poe’s writings – representing the typical attributes of human life and mortality, which would imply that Covid could be an allegory about man’s futile attempts to stave off the inevitable, death. Yet, as we might expect, there is no locking out or blotting out death. By the end of the outbreak, it will have broken down the walls of each castle, despite our best efforts to hold it at bay.

But this is no allegory, this is real life, and its effects on so many; the infected, the cured, the healthy, the untouched, the medical teams; is significant, life changing and life ending.

I have been on the road these past 9 months, starting in Iraq and ending in Saudi. Arrived in Saudi in early January and still here, with no end in sight. Home awaits, when flights and countries unlock, until then its working in a Covid rich country. I have been on 2 different projects, and exposed to the ways of Covid, from overseeing an outbreak from afar due to lockdown and curfews and then to being at the coalface of one, albeit a small outbreak. Been in lock down and then isolation, been on the road and in camps with outbreaks. The pressure has been continuous and relentless, what with all of the above and then also at times, wearing full medical PPE, double gloved, double masked with a face shield in 40 deg heat testing and monitoring people. Yes, you can breathe quiet well in a double mask (surgical and N95) with a face shield in 40˚ C heat for a few hours. Rather that, than to be intubated and ventilated.

mike in full ppe

Quantum_Conundrum_cover

One of the issues at the forefront of one’s mind is when do I get to detach from this dystopian nightmare and get to go home and rest. Working 6 to 7 days a week, week in and week out, some days are quiet while others drag into 18- or 20-hour marathons. The answer is the same as “how long is a piece of string” conundrum.

Compared to running a race with no defined finish line, you have no way to know how to pace yourself and what must be kept in reserve for the last lap and sprint across the line.

So now that I have spoken about being lost, what have I found/witnessed/seen during this time? I have found friends in places I never thought I would, have tapped the reserves of resilience I never  knew I had, seen (once again) the banality of corporate deceit and greed (which is not a new experience for me, but just depressing to witness in times of need and in a disaster), seen the compassion and care of dedicated medical professionals working with limited resources in difficult environments.

Personally, and professionally I have had to stretch the boundaries of my knowledge, patience, and energy levels; to keep pace with the ever-changing environments, locations, working hours and unimaginable stress from unexpected quarters. I have had to rely on my tried and trusted coping mechanisms. The journey has dragged me to revisit and explore new and old coping processes to get through the long grind away from home and my safe place.

No matter how bitter, maudlin, depressing this journey has been I must focus on the good that has come out of it, and that will be my guiding star.

“Midway along the journey of our life
I woke to find myself in a dark wood,
for I had wandered off from the straight path.

How hard it is to tell what it was like,
this wood of wilderness, savage and stubborn
(the thought of it brings back all my old fears),

a bitter place! Death could scarce be bitterer.
But if I would show the good that came of it
I must talk about things other than the good.”

Dante Alighieri

or in the words of Eros Ramazzotti from his song, Lettera al future/Letter to the future – loosely based around “The Masque of the Red Death”

Eros Ramazzotti Lettera al future/Letter to the future

I am writing all this to you

who will be born someday in the future

be kind

and who knows how things will be

if this wind will have left the cities…

I don’t know the world you’ll find

I just hope you’ll be

the son of a new

and more fair humanity

Thoughts on Blake’s “Marriage of Heaven & Hell”

William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, a composition of brief texts and accompanying engravings – the “book” ends with the Song of Liberty, a prose poem where Blake uses apocalyptic imagery to incite his readers to embrace change.

Rather apt for our current predicament in which we find ourselves …

Food for thought – Enjoy

mikesnexus

“evil is the active springing from energy”

William Blake (28 Nov 1757 – 12 Aug 1827) English poet, painter, and printmaker

For those who have not dived into the 27 pages of William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, a composition of brief texts and accompanying engravings (done by Blake himself). I would highly recommend that you embark on this very interesting journey as Blake takes the reader on a guided tour of Hell, in which he sets out to correct some of our incorrect notions. Blake was considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic and at times iconoclastic views on religion and politics, in as much he drew inspiration from the French and American revolutions. A more recent (and very short) study, William Blake: Visionary Anarchist by Peter Marshall (1988), classified Blake and his contemporary William Godwin as forerunners of modern anarchism. In later years after his death he…

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My Top 10 Bob Dylan Songs

With Bob Dylan dropping a new 17 min song last night – “what is truth and where did it go” goosebump lyrics … reminds me of the power of “Masters of War” ..

 

I thought it would be apt to share my post of my top 10 fav Dylan songs – enjoy – you’re welcome 🙂

via My Top 10 Bob Dylan Songs

Ambulance Today – Spring Edition 2020

Jam-packed as usual with informative topics on Global Warming, Pharmacology, the return of Tourniquets …and much more

This Africa Quarterly explores Trauma Care – and as per usual we will put the microscope on the African continent, in the search for and the challenge of definitive care. Were we offer an interesting perspective on trauma care within Africa and the true cost of what happens when a shocking 90% of Global injury-related mortality is concentrated within low and medical income.

Click on the link below to download and read the entire magazine (you’re welcome) and of course my article on page 40 & 41

From the Africa Desk of Ambulance Today – Trauma Care in Africa – the Challenge of Definitive Care

Ambulance Today Spring Ed 2020

To all the followers of this page, if you want to see an article written about any specific aspect of Emergency Care on the African continent, or get me to interview a key role player, drop me a mail. Equally, if you have any news items you would like us to run either in our magazine or on our daily-updated global ambulance news website please make contact.

For the readers from Africa, if you wish to advertise or have a free advertorial written up in the magazine, make contact and lets see how I can assist …

To my fellow passionate EMS friends across the world, I trust you are enjoying this journey, as we continue to explore this fascinating continent. Till then be safe out there and stay passionate – Enjoy!

Ambulance Today Spring 2020 cover

 

My Top 10 Bob Dylan Love Songs

I suppose I should have posted this yesterday …

but here are my top 10 Fav Dylan Love songs …

via My Top 10 Bob Dylan Love Songs 

Enjoy and I would love to hear yours ….

Who Shall Mourn?

if I pass away in some foreign field

sun burnt white back bones

the brittle stations of the cross

civilisations like bones

… turn to dust



who will know to come and mourn?

if they knew, would they?

eulogy or legacy

what remains

.. other than another day



as the worlds falls apart

the strings are pulled

it all unravels, at the end

I can’t leave, but eventually I will

just passing through

 

© 2020 Michael D Emmerich
© 2020 mikesnexus.com

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The Great Leveller

all paths eventually arrive

at the same destination

whatever one’s station

be it the cross or another



unity at the end

playing fields are levelled

for in death

all are equal



paths of glory or despair

all lead to death

none can transcend or escape

the level playing field
© 2020 Michael D Emmerich
© 2020 mikesnexus.com

What is this Life?

who the fuck are you?

who tells you who you are?

the world or your inner voice?



what is this life

what’s the reason or purpose?

born, exist, die



passion before action

affirming what is before

yes, suffering is real



for a season

choose one, fall into discontent

only one time for each season



let your inner voice scream

into the chasm

even if fuck all happens
© 2020 Michael D Emmerich
© 2020 mikesnexus.com

 

The Sunsets and Rises across the Middle East

Been flitting between 3 countries across the Middle East the past 2 months – Iraq, UAE and Saudi Arabia. The scenery has been vast, breathtaking, desolate and beautiful. Going for evening runs across the barren plains, running in the absolute stillness of the desert air has been amazing. Here are some of the photo’s I have taken … maybe more to follow … 🙂 … as i am still here for a few more months …

The moon during the day has been awesome ….

Had to include a cigar sunset pic .. 🙂

 

All pictures taken by me, using my trusty camera phone …

© 2020 Michael D Emmerich
© 2020 mikesnexus.com

Ambulance Today – Winter Edition 2019

The Winter Edition for 2019, has hit the shelves, it’s live now on Ambulance Today.

This main theme of this editions focus, is on voluntary EMS; to give an idea of its many forms and origins around the world and to celebrate those who devote so much of their time to EMS out of nothing more than a heartfelt passion and a deep-seated need to help their fellow man.

As Editor Joe says,with respect to our Africa correspondent: “Michael Emmerich holds a mirror up to the caregiver-patient relationship and offers a deeply interesting and thought-provoking look at how this can affect implicit bias within medical treatment. No matter how perfect your people skills are or how open your mind is, this one is sure to give you some highly useful food for thought.”

Click on the link below to download and read the entire magazine (you’re welcome) and of course my article on page 48 & 49

From the Africa Desk of Ambulance Today: Overcoming Perceived Biases in Treating the Sick and Injured

Ambulance Today Winter Ed 2019

To all the followers of this page, if you want to see an article written about any specific aspect of Emergency Care on the African continent, or get me to interview a key role player, drop me a mail. Equally, if you have any news items you would like us to run either in our magazine or on our daily-updated global ambulance news website please make contact.

For the readers from Africa, if you wish to advertise or have a free advertorial written up in the magazine, make contact and lets see how I can assist …

To my fellow passionate EMS friends across the world, I trust you are enjoying this journey, as we continue to explore this fascinating continent. Till then be safe out there and stay passionate – Enjoy!

Ambulance Today Winter 2019 cover