Chag Sameach!

I may be working for New Years, but I have spent the day reflecting on how fortunate I have been in 2017.  I have gotten to do some spectacular things while continue to work in my field.

My year started off in Ladysmith, BC.  There no secret there was and continues to be an opioid crisis on the Island. I couldn’t sit back, I contacted a few great people who invited me to come on board to fight the fight. There was a little trailer set up at city hall in Nanaimo, controversial but it saved many lives. We were there to educate, support and listen. These individuals needed to feel wanted and not like another number. We were able to do that for many and they became like family to me.  I was also explained what “Netflix and Chill” meant and seriously I needed to stop saying it immediately LOL ” Smashing genitals”  was not what I thought it meant … Naive Meg.

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The pop up site was successful in a sense, a clinic with regular hour opened which lead to us closing up a permanent location.

I made my way down to Victoria and re-certed my industrial training and also helped by being a patient which was so much fun! I am a shy person unless I am in my element than watch out… non stop dork talk. I met some great people in the class that are coming up in the ranks IMG_6218

Now during my time in Victoria my home was broken into and my whole word came crashing down in my mind for a few minutes. A lot was stolen including a large sum of money which was hard to deal with but I needed to battle on. Someone needed the things more than me. I had to remember that I still have my baby girls and my health so we were good.

From VictoriaIMG_7830.JPG I made my way to Leduc, Alberta to work for the prospects as their Team Medic and lead medic for the stadium. I am no way a baseball fan! I find it boring, and just cant seem to focus my attention long enough to follow the game. I did get to treat a pretty nasty injury after a brawl and I am happy to say they recovered nicely.

Just before the playoffs for Baseball I was called to join IMG_7559the fire control efforts in BC and had 24 hrs to deploy. I was stationed in Nazco, BC which is approx 100km NW of Quesnel. It had already been under an evacuation order which was being enforced when I arrived. I was part of one of the first teams to join the efforts for this area. We went from a team of 50 on site to several hundred very quickly.

 

We were a little United Nations tent village all there to try to tame the beast. There were scary moments, but all and all I wouldn’t hesitate to go back for one second.  After 60+ days on the ground I needed a little road trip back to the island and no better road partner than Jay!

 

IMG_8393As you can see here Im trying to duck so you can see the mountains from the ferry.. SMRT. He was headed to the island for a wedding and I needed to get some things from home and reboot a bit since it was already end of August.  After 5 days of relaxing in the woods I made my way back to Alberta and Jay headed back to Ontario 😦

I wasn’t home long when I got a call to head to a mining project. I couldn’t say no! What an experience ..So I packed up my bags once again and headed to the airport.

I ended up 20 km east of Wrangell for one of the best adventures I have ever experienced. Yes I got to be a paramedic, but I also was a miner, cook and mechanic. We slept in canvas tents and were off the grid completely. It was so incredibly refreshing and amazing fun.

Now this bring me to the last few months of the year where life started to settle down for this chick. I have been placed on a drilling rig with some of the most talented and wonderful people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I feel as if we have become family in such a short time. It is an honour that they chose me to have their back in a time of need. I look forward to ringing in the new year with this amazing crew from our worksite in the patch.

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2017 had me all over the map meeting great acquaintances and friends. It has taught me to slow down and seek life balance and to stop worrying about everything. Give my time and energy to what matters.

I don’t make resolutions, but I do hope 2018 continues where 2017 left off … and I continue to grow as a person and keep life a bit more balanced.

This was a brief review of my year!

Happy New Years!

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The Emotional Journey

I have been a self proclaimed advocate for prisoner rights for several years. I have written several short articles on addiction, parole and institualization which were shared by the New Brunswick chapter of the John Howard Society. I have also spent a lot of one on one time getting to know parolees and ex-offenders through my volunteer work.

The journey to Burwash was a personal one, I had been in a long term relationship with someone who grew up in the system. The personal stories and emotions that went along with their time only made me want to help more. I had visited many institutions but was never able to truly experience my thoughts while there. I had done a bit of research and found Burwash and decided to make the journey.

Once I reached the coordinates for the old Burwash road, I started my trek in. Initially there were no signs indicating that it was a private property but, I was greeted by a gentlemen who let me know that I could obtain a pass for 20$ should I choose.He warned that if I didn’t obtain the pass I could face trespassing charges but, I could proceed at my own risk.

If you hike at a good pace you can get into prison ground in roughly 1.5 hrs. The terrain is soft and uneven however, certainly hike-able with a good pair of shoes.

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Hike in on Old Burwash Road.

As I hiked into the woods the emotions started to take over, I wasn’t sure how I was going to process this experience. I have been in many institutions but, never an institution that I have been able to sit and truly process the building, emotions and my surroundings.

The building is decaying and there has been a lot of vandalism that had occurred over the past 40 years.

The Burwash Prison, also know as the Bison Industrial Farm was in operation from 1914-1975 at which point they deemed the prison too costly to maintain. The prison was in fact self sufficient. They farmed the land and made their own food that supplied not only the institution but the local market.

If you have been any institution at all they all have that same “make up” reception, security “the bubble” and typically into a visitation or common area. The structures are all still in place and left little to the imagination.

As I walked down towards the bubble I remembered some of the times I had to enter active institutions and be subject to extensive searches and very unpleasant staff. There is never a time that, that process becomes less invasive or familiar.

The provincial Jail had a capacity for 186 inmates, and all the cells are still present. In some cases the doors still remain intact.

The first two floors contained primarily the minimum security cells which were approximately 8×10 and still has the sinks and toilets intact. I took the time to sit and process how it must have felt to spend up to 2 years within these walls. Federal can go up to life with as little as 1 hr a day outside alone.

This institution was by no means as rigid as the Federal Max institutions I was familiar with but, I am sure the emotions were just as raw. The emotions came rushing over me. I was angry, sad, lonely and most of all disgusted by the things these walls must have seen.

It always shocks me the complete lack of human rights behind these steel bars and the general lack of respect for your fellow human no matter their past.

Once I took some time to work through some feelings and emotions I carried on to the second and third floors. The third floor housed the showers, what appeared to be medium and/or solitary confinement cells. The second floor had a mix of cells the mess hall and the gym/auditorium. When I made my way through the stairwells to the basement

 

I came across the kitchen which still had the “bake o Matic” and stoves fully intact as they would have been all those years ago. The pantry was bare but, I could still imagine the work that went on before each meal in this small space.  I could imagine the amount of fresh bread that was baked at Burwash and sold at the local general store. IMG_6827.JPG

After my time inside the institution I made my way to the outside facilities on the property. The water treatment, Power station and barns still remain on this large 40+ acre property.

I am glad that I made the trip despite many people saying it was a bad idea. I was able to see a piece of history, took the time to process some deamons and experienced something that ultimately I would never of gotten to the change to do.

These were my marbles!

Atonement Day

When I was in elementary school I was sent home with homework much like many of us were. This project often comes back to mind and makes me giggle, we had to write down what we wanted to be when we grow up.

I know you are all wondering feverishly what I wanted to be, but you will just have to wait.

This evening will mark the beginning of Yom Kippur for me. Yom Kippur is “atonement day” and your last chanceFullSizeRender-1e to really make things right and reflect for the upcoming year. Reflecting and Discovery of self are two things I have done a lot of lately so it’s fitting that Yom Kippur is among us.

I started a new EMS contract that I love! I always love the work, I enjoy everyones stories of adventures and the environments are always spectacular. Industry as a whole is fascinating, however; there is always an ugly head that rears itself. The “women” card never takes long to come around.

I get lumped with women very regularly and it always causes me extreme anxieties. I very much dislike confrontation, I seem to never have anything in common and I tend to over compensate for the aforementioned by trying to be as help as much as I can and keep my anxieties buried deep.

On job sites we typically have to bunk up and I do get put with the other ladies on occasion. Man, women or other.. If you are loud, disrespectful or ignorant I will be annoyed. When I bring it up to you do not tell me that it is just because I am a women and we are all catty. NO!

I have always envied the boys on site, they can have an argument and then sit and have coffee 15 min later. Women seem to be complicated and unable to do the same. Me on the other hand you can call me a “ginger cunt” and 30 min later I would probably laughing at some joke you told. I just don’t take the stupid shit too seriously and all I want to ever do is help. I guess you can say I am a bit of a Labrador Retriever, loyal, want to learn everything and would do anything for you.

Some people take my keen attitude the wrong way. They can see it as overconfidence or that I am looking for something. Neither are true, I am always looking to better myself and learning from different people and experiences is how I want to do that.

So this eve of Yom Kippur, I have reflected and there are things I could have made better from the past year, I am not perfect! I will continue to try to please and perhaps be less hard on myself  and perhaps obtain that work life balance I have always been seeking. The year is anew ..

So back to what started this whole chaotic rabbit hole of a rant… What did I want to be when I grow up?  Funny enough I wanted to be a Black Labrador Retriever or a Doctor.

 

Remote EMS’ing

So I am out in the Golden Triangle for the next year working for an exploration mine as their Medic. No I am not in the Golden Triangle in Asia. I am in a hidden area 20 miles east of Wrangell Alaska which was discovered to be very rich in deposits not long after the Klondike gold rush.  It was a pretty active area for mining up until late ’90’s when costs of production out weighed the price of gold.

Gold prices have rebounded coupled with an increase in mining technology has made mining these areas viable again. Viable mines make for an interesting day and of course gives me some fun time in industrial EMS. This is not a fully operational site, but an exploration of a previously abandoned mine, so lots of history up here. Making old tunnels passable again, finding old equipment and visiting mining of the past.

I love being out in remote areas not only is it beautiful and quiet, I meet incredibly gifted people with so many years notched out in their craft.  The camps are typically oozing with passion and if you are willing to listen and learn more than likely someone will take you under their wing and teach you the ropes.

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This camp is a true camp, not one of these fancy oil work camps. We have canvas tents and outhouses.. we spend the nights chatting and watching downloaded movies. We can’t go completely back in time, there is a bit of technology out here but; its all pretty limited to nature and good company.

This being my first experience working with a mining team, I had a lot of firsts that kept me on my toes. Mine rescue and being underground for the first time notably. After my first week and 50 hrs underground, I feel pretty comfortable and had a great mentor. I feel like I’m part of the gang!

Working in  EMS  out here brings in a whole new set of obstacles when dealing with pre-hospital care. Practicing in civilization can be taken for granted, access to all the gear you need, Roads and of course hospitals all within reach. Not here my friend, closest hospital is 1.5 hrs by chopper and I have to get you to that chopper first.

When you are out in these areas it trains your mind to think outside the box in a crisis. Use what you have, think on your toes and take charge as fast as humanly possible. There isn’t as many emergencies out in this areas but, when there is its usually not pretty.

A lot of these guys have been in the industry for 30+ years and have not only witness but, have survived mine collapses and crushes. They tell me some of the gruesome injuries they have endured and makes me hope that, should I have a patient they will be able to live to tell about it also.

I may not get a lot of real life practice out here.. but I do get a lot of knowledge and skill development time, so lets hope when the two way radio sounds “medic medic medic” I can do what I do best!

You must be part Carbon

Ever meet someone randomly and you seem to just click? You can talk for hours about anything, everything and nothing at all?  Some people call that “Chemistry”

Chemistry was never my subject, If I think way back to grade 10 Chem I remember nothing. Actually I remember the cute guy (Matt) who sat in front of me for two semesters, played on the senior basketball team and made me blush.  Everyone needs to witness  a dorky awkward ginger blush, it’s like our camo.

b7b31be1007e26490193abf27f012fa0--chemistry-pick-up-lines-nerdy-pick-up-linesThen there was University Chemistry!  We finally broke things down to inorganic and Organic. I learned that organic Chem was totally my thing; I guess you could say, carbon  rocks this girls world!

Where was I going with this nonsense again…. oh yes the chemistry between people! I think the chemistry we find when we meet someone else whether a  friend, a partner or co-worker would be organic. It so happens we all contain carbon! (Oy Vey)

Let’s say you meet your carbon sample and you do happen to get a date.. what next?

 

You have enjoyed their company and formed a nice covalent bond everything is great… right! ??! You are moving along, learning more about each other, making plans and having a great laugh …

Now I guess this is where my lack of experience with inorganic Chemistry comes into play..

The bond broke! You are blind sided, you can’t even fathom what broke the bond… So if you are me, you are trying to back track the math to find the mistake. Did you forget to carry the “1”  or was it divide by 2 .. but, I can’t get it. I can’t find where the bond broke…  Probably why I have never truly been a fan of chemistry …. I don’t know how to find the “H”  to my 2O”

 

 

The Great Balancing Act

I often joke about how my biggest weakness is that I love what I do. I love helping people! Whether struggling from addiction, human rights issues, health concerns or trauma. I am the advocate for it all. I have devoted all my free-time to all of the above over the years and now I work in EMS full time.  I always fear complacentcy which keeps me striving to learn and or test my abilities.

Not to sounds completely weird and void of substance, I do like other thing.. really I am the person who wants to truly do “all the things”.  I love running, nature, climbing, yoga, art, coffee, museums, writing, photography, weight training. Great conversation or debates. Really I do not know a whole lot of things I don’t like.  There is where my weakness starts to shine…

QS_41f0ac7b0cb14c6da4b283fb83e3e3ec_resize I have tried to become a more well rounded person but, I have always ventured solo and with little success balancing my need to help and wanting to do “all the things”.

Don’t get me wrong, I have travelled this country and many others from top to bottom! I have run many marathons and hiked and climbed some beautiful territories but, I am usually in these places working . I am never truly mentally or physically checked out .. which as you all can imagine becomes a crash and burn scenario pretty quick.  You will sometimes cry over that proverbial spilt almond beverage.

This morning the almond milk tipped over and I melted.  I was trying to find First

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Responders for a site,  pack for 3 weeks in Dease Lake for medic work and handle severe health issues with a family member. Clearly it was a build up of lack of sleep, pushing my  mind and body too hard and coming down with a cold that is the true culprit #mancold

All that being said .. well written, it may be the reminder I needed.  I am hard lining on the backside of 30 and I need to listen to my body. I need to truly find a way gain the balance so I can in fact do “all the things” with some amazing people.

I realize this can’t be an all or nothing venture. balance takes time and practice.  As a wise Jewish man once said “step with care and great tact and remember that life is a great balancing act”

 

Finding Peace in Chaos

I live for the adrenaline in helping others, fighting for those without a voice. This can be a thankless job that honestly never sleeps. It is chaotic, emotional and an ever changing world that makes you adapt quick!

Being a First Responder or EMS worker already makes you a bit of an odd breed. We have in a lot of cases a warped view on what fun things are. We haven’t had a full night of sleep in years and our diet consist primarily of jet fuel like coffee and snacks.

It is hard for us to have conventional relationships, finding someone who really understands why we don’t have a schedule, so active and have a hard time relaxing.. not to mention, almost never home. We are typically divorced, Single or in a state of frustration.  I know personally I can’t fit the mold of a nuclear family and or societial norm,  don’t really want to.

A lot of us seem to be loners when not on call or in the station. We really enjoy to have our peace and quiet when we can get it.  Oddly I say that as I write this and listen to a lecture on pharmacology for emergency medicine.

The only way for me to unplug is to head out to the woods and enjoy everything nature.  Self assess, regroup and digest life for a couple of days. It seems a little all or nothing and it could very well be. It makes me happy and keeps me grounded… I am certain I am not alone.

Is it healthy to have an off switch that is a bit stuck? Probably not overly but, we all have our vices.

So if you are a friend or spouse of one us, just remember that we aren’t broken we are just a different breed and you can’t tie us in the yard.

 

FUCK OFF

I have tattoos, I know right you are totally shocked! I got my first one in ’96 and never really looked back.  I am a Suicide Girl and a girl that has a mind that doesn’t quit. Im artistic, scientific and witty!

I have always been the nerd, dork, opinionated French chick, odd ball, macabre mind and a bit eccentric. I have always worn too much clothing, been painfully shy and oblivious with boys.

That being said, despite been a social black sheep it never ceases to amaze me the amount of people that insist on labelling me.  Sometimes labels are a good thing.. perhaps being looked at for your work, intelligence, passion and compassion. Labelling can also be very bad when people assume something based on social stereotypes.

Tattoos and my red hair do not make me a slut. I know its crazy but, very true.  Posing for photoshoots in a tasteful way does not make me a whore. Blogging about pop culture and societal issues doesn’t mean I have done or support any of those activities.

I can be outgoing and witty when I get to know you but, slutty is the furthest thing from the truth. I don’t depend on men to make me happy and never have; Nor would I use them for my own devises .

So please stop labelling, perhaps just say “Hi” I may just say it back.

Safer Injection Site

My day started with an appointment at City Hall, I pulled into the parking lot and I became a bit nervous. I have arrived not to visit city hall but the Unsanctioned safe injection site that has been set up in the far corner.  If I was nervous how did the people who are in need  the service feel? I had my training behind me, my Narcan kit in hand and I made the walk over to the small trailer in the corner of the lot.

This safe injection site is unsanctioned despnaloxone-kitite the epidemic that has swept the island in the past few months. 7000 calls to 911 for overdoses in December alone on the island. Which is why our fearless leader and civilian set up this much needed space to protect and educate local users.

When I arrived to the trailer, I was welcomed with open arms by two other volunteers. I was in charge of CPR and Narcan administration. The two others were on crowd control and 911 duty. This site has fruit, water, coffee and clean supplies for the visitors to use. We also educate them on how to use the Narcan kits and provide free kits when requested.

After only 15 minutes on site, I met a gentleman who is in his late 40’s who moved to the island from Ontario. In his former life, he too was a paramedic. He fell into the world of cocaine and has since found himself homeless and a heroin user. We spoke for a few minutes while I made him a to go bag and I was able to give him a few resources to check into. He was very happy I took the time to talk and I hope it made the difference for him. Not long after a young regular arrived and asked for a clean “rig” and began to inject.

To be clear, we are not able to watch them while they inject. We must remain behind a curtain so that we are not an accessory to crime. We are only allowed to step in should an emergency arises.

This young man had injected too much crack and was struggling. I stepped in and told him who I was and what I was there to do. “my name is Meg Mr. X, I am here to help you. You are in distress and I am going to help you. Stay with me okay? You are going to be okay, I am here” He was struggling to stay with me. I kept checking his vitals and asked him to look at me. ” Mr X, show me your blue eyes. You are doing great. Stay with me okay! ” This continued on for almost three hours, then he started to come around.

Once he came around, I was able to talk to him. He apologized for what happened. I explained to him this is my passion, to ensure he was safe. I made sure he had a safe place to go and made sure he had everything he needed for the night since he would be sleeping on the street again. If this site had not been there, what would have happened? Would he have been another statistic? I hate to imagine such a young man having his life come to an end far before his time.

The resources are there but, they are so overwhelmed with demand the wait lists are longer than some of the users may even live. We need more education and safe sites available.

The epidemic is real and so are its victims!

 

What a shame!

Unless you have been avoiding all sources of media and living off the grid for the past couple of years, even decades you have heard the term “Body Shaming” or some ugly cousin to it.  What I am absolutely shocked to discover is that not only are women being “Body Shamed” but, men as well.

In case you are unaware of this phenomenon the Urban Dictionary says the following

“Shaming someone for their body type. Sara: “ew hes too skinny” Jeff: “shes soooo fat it’s disgusting” Mary: “she’d be pretty if she were skinnier”

After reading many articles and diving into the subject after having a chat with a friend, I was so mad that it is so prevalent for both sexes. I am a little programmed to think it’s just us girls that are judged.

Maybe I am old fashion, maybe I am oblivious or I don’t care.. I feel that people are wonderful beings no matter their stature, creed, race, hair, no hair, thin, bigger .. and the list can probably go on. We all are incredibly interesting and have very unique things to offer and we are lucky17190498_1017073678428468_4524895960116669241_n to meet someone that compliments our personality and makes us feel special.

This is an age where people will probably meet their “match” or “dish du jour” online though a Tinder or POF type application…  The virtual game of dating roulette! Sadly, for some vain people there are certain traits that cannot be measured virtually.  Height, Weight, vanity and crazy scale. ( I suggest watching)

 

Sadly, you could have clicked( I don’t mean fucked),.  had the best conversation and really enjoyed your time with the other person .. but one of the fore-mentioned traits becomes a factor in whether to continue seeing that person.

I am no Kate Moss,  I am a nerd, I am awkward as fuck and dating seems like rocket science to me but, rest assured if, I clicked with someone the last thing that I would say is ” I am sorry, your too short, your too fat or my gawd you are bald!” I have however, been on the other side of that conversation and well it hurts!  No one is perfect, I don’t care who you are and for god sakes think before you speak. Guy or Girl you are being super rude.. humanity basics .. “Nothing good to say, keep it to yourself”

It is a real shame, that we feel it okay to treat people in such a way.. everything has become so under-appreciated and “oooh shiny” that we have become tackless ..