home is where we start but not where were it ends the pathway from birth to death is littered with choices collected, used, stored, discarded some stones sparkle and tempt others lie cracked, damaged, exposed by life's harsh realities yet there is value in these damaged stones and then, one day, I will die somewhere against my will or another’s but not today
“First do no harm” – Primum non nocere
responsibility and the cost thereof who bears responsibility who carries the burden when others do not what price is paid in blood or stress? they pay in blood, but not their own sooner or later the piper calls hippocratic or hypocrite? to do no harm one must, at least be able to do I came to save not bury the greater the responsibility the greater the cost what is the price of keeping others alive?
© 2020 michael d emmerich
© 2020 mikesnexus.com
the sun is behind the clouds can it rain for a lifetime? a gray-black morass hangs over all this damocles sword denying all of happiness who reside amongst this, constant apprehension this novel storm that rages cuts all to the quick while remaining an affirmation of life despite the suffering
© 2020 michael d emmerich
© 2020 mikesnexus.com
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….
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.
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.”
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”
I am writing all this to you
who will be born someday in the future
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
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
“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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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
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!
I suppose I should have posted this yesterday …
but here are my top 10 Fav Dylan Love songs …
Enjoy and I would love to hear yours ….
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
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