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

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

 

Lacefully Ensnared

delicate filigree entwining

enticing, ensnaring

woven webs capturing



beauty created by the unknown

what lies in the voids

the spaces between threads



what could be isn’t there

or is it

the mystery of the unknown

……

just imagine
© 2019 michael d emmerich
© 2019 mikesnexus.com

A beautifully dried leaf isolated on black depicts nature's beauty.

Medic’s Epitaph

looking back, I gaze

at a red and broken past

around my feet lies the present

an uncertain yet clear future lies before



surrounded by pain

time spent with the dead and dying

understanding death at times

comes easier than conversing with the living



contemplation brings a deeper appreciation of life

all I want my epitaph to be

is not confusion, but

…..

“just trying to leave someone alive”
© 2019 michael d emmerich
© 2019 mikesnexus.com

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Wish on the Wind?

it’s a mystery to me how it commences

only the wind remembers

from whence it came and where it goes

yet we wish on it

with dandelions in bloom



will the wind ever remember

that wish it blows on its way

for at the end of the day

all for that we yearn

is to be remembered by name



at days end when the clouds lift

light will breakthrough

yet the wind will not look back

but ….

what of us, should we
© 2019 michael d emmerich
© 2019 mikesnexus.com