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

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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Ambulance Today – Autumn Edition 2019

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

This edition is focused upon technology and education. In so far as technology goes, we take a look at some of the newest innovations currently being introduced to EMS. Specifically here, I would like to mention WoundClot, which is rightly being lauded as one of the most significant life saving advancements in emergency trauma care.

As Editor Joe says: “We hope that you have as much fun delving into this issue as we had in creating it, and that you come away as enriched from the thought-provoking articles inside as we have been in researching and overseeing them.”

Click on the link below to download and read the entire magazine (you’re welcome) and of course my article on page 34 & 35

From the Africa Desk of Ambulance Today: The Challenge of Critical Thinking in EMS

Ambulance Today Autumn 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 Autumn 2019 cover

Ambulance Today – Autumn Edition 2018

The Autumn Edition for 2018, has hit the shelves, its live now on Ambulance Today. Click on the link below to download and read the magazine and my article on page 41 & 42.

Clinical innovation and technology in medicine and its challenges in Africa

Ambulance Today Autumn Ed 2018 .pdf

Ambulance Today Autumn Ed 2018 – Flip Digital

The magazine’s focus is on technology in medicine:

CLINICAL INNOVATION SPECIAL: Are you getting the Right Dose of cutting-edge technology needed to improve your patient-care?

Within this Clinical Innovation Special you will find a special report from Nashville-based EMS Healthcare Solutions. One of their leading products, RightDose, offers a unique solution that takes the guesswork and calculation out of medication administration. Also well worth reading is the feature on renowned UK ambulance manufacturer, Cartwright Conversions, which highlights their continued commitment to clinical innovation within ambulance design with their very rapidly-growing and impressive range of clinically-based ambulance modifications. The article on “The use of Mechanical CPR Devices in a Pre-Hospital Setting” is a fascinating read .. amongst so many others in this edition.

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.

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-today1_zpszzgqa0zv

Ambulance Today – Summer Edition 2018

The Summer Edition for 2018, has hit the shelves, its live now in Ambulance Today. Click on the link below to download and read the magazine and my article on page 46 & 47, where I ask more questions than provide answers.

The Cost Of Service

Ambulance Today – Summer Edition 2018

Besides the above article, the magazine is littered with so many other good reads – the article on the wound clotting product – WoundClot is very interesting, and the expansion of EMS in South America looks exciting, and there is so much more … enjoy the read.

The article I penned on The Cost of Service is very close to my heart and mind, after 34 years in EMS. For those who would love to chat further about the cost of service, PTSD and depression, please feel free to chat to me via my e-mail address or in the thread beneath this post.

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.

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!

Image © 2011-2017 DanSun PhotoArt – www.dansunphotos.com

EMS – The Cost ……

An EMS colleague of mine posted this picture the other day ….

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All I can can say … is that losing a patient takes away apart of you, you can never get back. I wrote an article on this entitled:

EMS – You Can Never Leave

For those who ask this question, to those of us who work in EMS … take a read … and ponder awhile, at the of the cost of care. To my colleagues who keep going back to do the same … thank you ….

Cover image courtesy of:  © 2011-2017 DanSun PhotoArt

 

All a ’Quiver

bend that bow

draw that string

pluck that apple

aim straight and true

no telling what may happen



as the apple balances

precariously on that head

lived vicariously

pierced deliciously

desirous of heaven’s gate?



pierced to the core

bitten off more

than one should swallow

all a quiver

as eden’s gate beckons

© 2017 michael d emmerich

Ambulance Today 1st Article

My first article is now live in Ambulance Today in their Summer 2017 edition. Click on the link below to download and read the magazine and my article on page 57. It will be a quarterly article – ‘From the Africa Desk’ by the new Africa Editor, Michael Emmerich.

Ambulance Today Summer Edition 2017

P57. From the Africa Desk of Ambulance Today Ambulance Today introduces our new segment ‘From the Africa Desk’ by our Africa Editor, Michael Emmerich.

To all the medical people who follow this page, if you have any ideas for special feature articles on ambulance and emergency care care in any part of Africa 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. I am already busy on my next article outline … so stay in touch to follow our journey across this amazing continent.

To my fellow passionate EMS friends across the world, I trust you will walk this continent with me as we delve deeper into the respective regions in future articles. Till then be safe out there and stay passionate.

Feeling Proud

Feeling very proud at present, I am embarking on another new writing adventure, I have been appointed as the Africa editor for the UK based EMS publication – Ambulance Today, circulation includes, Europe, Canada, the Pacific Rim and now Africa.

At Ambulance Today we are always looking to expand our ambulance news coverage to different parts of the globe, which is why we are proud to launch our new segment ‘From the Africa Desk’ and introduce our Africa Editor, Michael Emmerich.

The Africa Quarterly editorial, that I will be writing, will cover the main regions in Africa, with opinion pieces from various regional role players. Our focus will be on the key regions across the continent; East, West, Central, Sub Sahara and North Africa. I will explore key and relevant NGO’s and the vital role that they play in bringing medicine and emergency medicine to the continent. The first article will be in the Summer Edition (UK Summer), which is in the next week 🙂

To all the medical people who follow this page, if you have any ideas for special feature articles on ambulance care in any part of Africa 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 make contact.

To my fellow passionate EMS friends across the world, I trust you will walk this continent with me as we delve deeper into the respective regions in future articles. Till then be safe out there and stay passionate.