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_thoracic's profile
_thoracic




ER tech/EMT/nursing student.

Climber/hiker/BC skier.

When not taking care of people who just got themselves hurt, I'm out in the woods getting myself hurt.


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Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.

“This is what it’s like” says your instructor, watching you carefully for mistakes

        Training you on bandages, splints, and the cruel rhythm of chest compressions

Teaching you what kills right away, and what takes a while longer.

Telling you that sometimes all you can do is hold a hand and say something kind.

And you listen, wide-eyed.

“This is what it’s like” says your crew chief, pulling you up into the ambulance.

        Showing you streets, the bad stretches of interstates, the homes of frequent fliers. 

Reminding you to check pockets for knives and arms for track marks.

Relaying experience’s thousand little lessons, unteachable in the classroom.

And you listen, working hard to show your worth.

“This is what it’s like” say your patients, pointing to where it hurts.

        Screaming with pain, clutching an extremity turned the wrong way. 

Groaning and sweating, grabbing at their chest saying it’s just like the last one.

Lying still and silent, unknowingly trusting a stranger with everything.

And you listen, replying with soothing words.

“This is what it’s like” says your gear, speaking in clicks, beeps and error messages.

        The defibrillator whines its way up to 300 joules, saying it’ll try but no promises. 

The ambulance growls, bouncing and rattling over potholes as you try to start an IV

The BVM whooshes, fighting to push breath into a ruined airway.

And you listen, hoping that together it’ll make a difference.

“This is what it’s like” says the notch in your shears, bearing witness.

        Reminding you of that one, the one no one could have saved. 

Pulling you back into the dirt and blood of the scene, unbidden.

Making you feel old, far older than you should be by now.

And you listen, wishing you didn’t have to.

“This is what it’s like” says the calendar, slowly passing time

        Marking out your shifts, 12-hour gambles on what’ll come your way. 

Quietly telling you it’s almost time to renew your license again.

Studded with anniversaries you’d prefer not to remember, but can’t quite forget.

And you listen, stunned that it’s been this long.

“This is what it’s like” you say to the newbies, watching them carefully for mistakes

        Training them on bandages, splints, and the cruel rhythm of chest compressions

Teaching them what kills right away, and what takes a while longer.

Telling them that sometimes all you can do is hold a hand and say something kind.

And they listen, wide-eyed.

If you aren't one of the people that Trump-ism threatens, then no, there's probably no tangible benefit to following his moves in detail.

But you should still do it.

I'm also tempted to greet the next four years with cynicism, and to reject the political game as worthless. That really doesn't cut it though. The Trump presidency presents an affront to so many ideals I hold dear that to ignore it out of fatigue would be to pretend I didn't hold those values in the first place. Given your reaction above, I'm assuming that Trump somewhat irritates you as well. Good. Don't let go of that. Don't ignore that.

Beyond doing it for yourself, there's also a duty to it. There's a duty we owe to the country; that we care for the institutions we've benefitted from all our lives, and that we pay attention so as to keep them honest and doing their jobs. Ignoring the news shirks that. Theres's a duty to other citizens, especially those who may be targeted or abused under a Trump administration. By choosing disgust over determination, we give up our power in the system and abandon them to whatever fate Steve Bannon thinks befits them. Lastly, there's a duty to keep others awake. To remind people that this isn't normal, and to keep making noise, even if it's screaming into a void. Because if you silence yourself, then you've done Trump and his kind's work for them.

So, at a bare minimum, please keep following the news blackbootz. Because it's not about any one of us anymore. Not to be too melodramatic, but the future of the country(possibly the world) could change drastically in the next four years. That's too important to tune out.

_thoracic  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Sci-fi club no. 11

I agree with you. To me, the basis of being a person is being able to choose and not being a slave to instinct. Further, I think life is a whole lot easier to deal with when you get to make your own choices and forge your own purpose.

That being said, people are far from ideal and some will choose poorly. But I still think they shouldn't be forced to choose better, because who can objectively say what 'better' is?

_thoracic  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Sci-fi club no. 11

Thanks, glad it made an impression!

_thoracic  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Sci-fi club no. 11

Copy and pasting my misplaced reply from the last post.

About The Giving Plague:

Reading between the lines of his unreliable narration, you can see Forry getting more and more altruistic throughout the piece, matching/exceeding the infected. But it's clear this behavior arises from a very conflicted inner process, in sharp contrast to the biological imperative that ALAS places on its hosts. This is underscored by Forry's final line, that suffering for others is what he chooses to do.

This presents a neat dichotomy between conflicted, cynical and extremely reluctant altruism, and altruism that's born of an unquestioned dogmatic drive. It seems to me that Brin's asking us which is better. If the behavior is the same, does it matter whether it arises by choice or by default?

By setting Forry up as a savior, it seems that Brin's saying choice is the better option. Then again, Forry is only a hero due to circumstance. If CAPUC hadn't cropped up, his choices would have instead led him to being a murderer and a thief. In contrast, the ALAS carriers contribute to civilization reliably and unfailingly, rain or shine, for years. So perhaps the message is that you need to have both. Dogmatic altruism can keep society slowly improving for years, but when shit hits the fan, you need the determination and drive brought by those who have CHOSEN to fight for their fellow humans.

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts! If you had the choice to keep ALAS contained or help it grow to a pandemic, which do you think you'd choose?

_thoracic  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Seattle's $20 Epipen replacement

Devac, b_b, you're both right. Prepping an IM Epi injection isn't super difficult, and some AlS(AEMT and paramedic)providers I know say basics should already have it. Five minutes to mastery is low-balling it though.

Where the difficulty would likely arise is in training a state's worth of basics on a new skill that involves sharps and one of the more powerful meds we keep on the truck. Given the potential complications like Devac mentioned, you want to be well practiced at it. Lots of my state is covered by volunteer EMS services that don't get a ton of calls, and even fewer anaphylaxis calls. Staying sharp with your sharps can be a little difficult in that kind of situation, but it will probably be ultimately doable.

_thoracic  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Seattle's $20 Epipen replacement

The cost of epipens really is hitting some ambulance services hard. In my state, advanced EMTs and Paramedics can draw up and administer Epi from ampules like this, but basic EMTs only have epipens.

There's some rumors floating around that our state protocols may change to let basics do it, mostly because an amp of Epi + an IM needle is ludicrously cheaper than an epipen.

I'm a basic and I'll welcome it if it goes through, but it's sad to see our protocols change based on med prices and not research.

_thoracic  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Scifi club No. 10

Ah, my bad. I'll get into the next thread when it shows up.

Good point on the 'true altruism' thing. That may have been what the author was going for. Funny what different people can get out of the same text.

_thoracic  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Scifi club No. 10

Just got through The Giving Plague, I'll take a crack at Allamagoosa tomorrow.

Warning, some spoilers for TGP follow

Reading between the lines of his unreliable narration, you can see Forry getting more and more altruistic throughout the piece, matching/exceeding the infected. But it's clear this behavior arises from a very conflicted inner process, in sharp contrast to the biological imperative that ALAS places on its hosts. This is underscored by Forry's final line, that suffering for others is what he chooses to do.

This presents a neat dichotomy between conflicted, cynical and extremely reluctant altruism, and altruism that's born of an unquestioned dogmatic drive. It seems to me that Brin's asking us which is better. If the behavior is the same, does it matter whether it arises by choice or by default?

By setting Forry up as a savior, it seems that Brin's saying choice is the better option. Then again, Forry is only a hero due to circumstance. If CAPUC hadn't cropped up, his choices would have instead led him to being a murderer and a thief. In contrast, the ALAS carriers contribute to civilization reliably and unfailingly, rain or shine, for years. So perhaps the message is that you need to have both. Dogmatic altruism can keep society slowly improving for years, but when shit hits the fan, you need the determination and drive brought by those who have CHOSEN to fight for their fellow humans.

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts! If you had the choice to keep ALAS contained or help it grow to a pandemic, which do you think you'd choose?

_thoracic  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Rekindling the scifi club

Late to the party, but could you add me in? I have fond memories of reading my dad's collection of old Heinlein, Dick and Asimov paperbacks and would love to join this club.

I was wrestling with this question a few years ago after tangling with depression for a couple months and nearly attempting suicide. When I came out the other side, I was struck by how thin the barrier between my existing and not existing became for a while there. It occurred to me that all the pain I felt, all my suffering, wouldn't have been a blip on the universe's radar.

I realized that my individual life was very small, and that there were many others like it. I felt this sickening surge of meaninglessness. Individual glory and self-aggrandizing seemed pathetic before an overpowering wave of anonymity. What was the point of trying to achieve, why should I struggle and strive, if eventually all I am and was would be subsumed and worn away by a dull gray sea of fellow humanity?

Well, that kind of thinking would just get me back to suicide again. Eventually I decided that effort, pain and struggle was worth it if it was directed at lifting the whole rest of the sea up with me. I decided that resisting my commonality with my fellow humans was a lie, and that true meaning lay in embracing it.

To get to the point: If you want a direction to grow in, look to other people. If you want transcendency, go care for a stranger. If you want meaningful connections, then give a shit without a thought for yourself. If you want pride, or greatness, find it in well-earned gratitude. If you want to feel alive, to be daring, to not be boring, take all of the above and go do it where the need is greatest and the challenges are largest.

Pardon the dramatics, this truly is what lends meaning to my life and I'm more than a little passionate about it. If it sounds like it might fit you, then go give it a try. Not sure what kind of engineer you are, but I've heard that Engineers Without Borders does good work.

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