Oct 26, 2009
Oct 25, 2009
Oct 23, 2009
I arrived at work 20 minutes early - that's weird. I'm never early. Wait - let's back up...
I woke up at 4:15am and couldn't go back to sleep. There I was wide awake...what the heck? After 45 minutes of staring at the ceiling I got up, made coffee and logged in to Facebook.
When I surveyed the parking lot, I noticed my shiny new rig idling and the mechanic outside talking on the phone...Crap! This is not good! Darin (the Sup de jour) gave me the bad news.
Well, it could be worse. Oil changes are quick, Glen can do them in less than an hour - so maybe we'd only be in a back up rig for a short time. I can deal with that : )
Clocked in, coffee in hand, we were told to line up for H1N1 vaccinations. I seriously thought about bailing on it - I haven't had the flu since I played with pterodactlys in the sandbox....but I caved in. (I hate peer pressure)
After milling around for 30 minutes and not getting close to the front of the line, dispatch told us we had an interfacility call...crap! Darin tossed us the keys to the POS back up and told us yesterday's crew moved all our gear over last night...should be good to go....honest.
My partner rolled his eyes in disgust...the seat-belt light glowed dimly, while the engine quietly slept. Crap!! Someone left the battery switch on. Darin told us to have the mechanic (still talking on the phone) to give it a jump. We advised dispatch of the problem, they called the hospital and delivered the news of our delay. 15 minutes later we're under way...late.
We're not used to running late. We usually arrive early, the paperwork isn't ready, the patient isn't ready and no one's called report to the receiving facility. We can bank on 20 minutes of boredom. Sometimes I do 'hot laps' around the hallways, praying for random patients or irritating the nurses with bad humor. The nurse behind the desk was on the phone getting her butt chewed out by the doc who was doing the procedure on our patient. She promised him we were loading him and about to leave. She gave us a quick report, tossed us the paperwork and asked us to hurry as politely as she could.
I did everything on the way - the 5 minute transport was just long enough to get a couple sets of vitals, an EKG, a quick history and ask the patient what was going on. He was very helpful, and even mentioned that the urologist who was doing the procedure called him on his cell phone and bitched him out this morning for not being there earlier. They set up the transfer for last night, because the procedure was slated for early morning, but they rescheduled the transfer. The irate doc called the staff and the patient and threatened to cancel the procedure. Just amazing, I love people who act that way.
After that transport we hoped to go back to the barn and switch out of our pre-Cambrian meat wagon. No such luck. We went to the west side instead to cover another rig's area. The brilliant idea to do a rig check hit my partner. We found the portable and main oxygen tanks bone- dry....Nice. A call to dispatch and we on our merry way back to the barn. We changed out the empty tanks and moved our gear into our normal rig. Our shiny new one had a couple of gallons of new oil waiting to be broken in.
My partner is a good guy. Sometimes his thorough-osity irritates me. (Don't ask if that's a real word) His inspection of the portable o2 tank on the gurney? Stone cold dead. Crap!
It was just the beginning.
We found 12 pillows stuffed under the bench seat. I'm not sure how the guys on the other shift party, but apparently the feathers fly when they get excited. We had (as usual) one backboard - without straps. The garbage can in back was bloated bag of refuse, spilling it's vile contents on the floor. We found no de-fib pads in the monitor and no idea what our predecessors planned to do if they had a code. There was a key broken off in the door of the main o2 compartment. This is becoming legendary. Braun, in their infinite wisdom switched to a spring loaded lock cylinder last year. All the new rigs come with an exciting new "feature". If you don't jam the key all the way into the lock and properly depress the spring mechanism, the key snaps off when you turn it. We've broken off about a dozen keys on our rig alone. Finger pointing is at an all-time high.
Our second patient was...'interesting' We were told by dispatch she lived on the 3rd floor of an apartment complex that had no elevators - only an outside stairwell. They were sending another unit with us to help carry her up the stairs. On scene we were warned by the nurse that she was demanding, controlling, pushy, refused to have male nurses in her room and 'fired' some of the female nurses during her short stay. Our informant added this gem to the rap sheet; "she was no stranger to narcotics". YAY!
I broke out a bottle of Rico Suave aftershave, lit a few candles and sauntered into her room - determined to win her over. It worked...she feel in love with us. We had a fairly decent trip with one irritating exception. She had a beautiful vase of flowers (lillies) that we brought along. In carrying them I somehow got orange pollen all over the front of my uniform shirt. It remained there the rest of the shift. About a dozen people were kind enough to ask what happened. I rolled my eyes in disgust.
Coming out of the hospital with the patient, I shook my head in unbelief. Some nucklehead from AMR parked his rig 4 feet behind ours. How the heck were we supposed to load our patient. Don't their gurneys need the same loading space ours do? The EMT shot me a look and asked if he should back up. I said, "I don't know, what do you think?"
Our next transport was a bariatric. Thankfully, it only required us to swap out gurneys. We grabbed the 'wide load' bed and put it in the rig. My partner's obsession with oxygen bottles continued and (drum roll, please).....the tank was empty. The gurney had no pillow and no blanket. A microscopic exam of the mattress revealed every bacteria known to man. Who knows if it had been cleaned in the last month. Our frustration went into high gear. We cursed the lazy worthless slobs we worked with who couldn't manage to do a single friggin' thing right. Dropping off our (very nice) bariatric patient at dialysis, we maneuvered the wide gurney into the room. A nurse poked her head into the room and sheepishly asked if we wanted help. I said, (a bit sarcastically) "I don't know, what do you think?"
(Warning - rant ahead)
OK...we have a bariatric patient. That means they're around 300 lbs, minimum. A lot are 400 - 500 lbs. Some are over 650 lbs. Why does a nurse think for one minute we're going to refuse lifting help? Get your butt in the room and help us! It's a constant source of irritation for us... people who can't or won't do heavy lifting. We pretty much stopped asking for lifting help at the dialysis unit a long time ago. All we every got was attitudes and excuses. A lot of hospital floors are the same way. People disappear every time a large patient shows up. We come to their floor and like cockroaches when you turn the lights on, people scurry for a hiding place.
We have a few EMT's working for us who request an extra unit to assist in lifting when the patient weighs 175 lbs. Two people who can't lift a patient that weighs 175?? No, I'm not kidding....it's becoming a lot more common. Why are these people even doing healthcare? EMS isn't for everyone. Maybe you like the lights or the drama. Maybe it's driving fast. None of that matters. The job involves lifting and carrying people who are disabled. Some are very big. If you need help every time because you can't or won't lift someone, you're a liability. There are other jobs that don't require heavy lifting. Perhaps you'd be better suited in one of them.
(End of rant)
Coming out to our rig, we noticed a shuttle van parked behind us. Yes, we were parked in the shuttle loading area. I'm sorry, but I think ambulances qualify as shuttles, even if we don't have a wheelchair lift. The shuttle was parked exactly 5 feet off our rear bumper. As we approached with our gurney, a woman materialized out of thin air. She introduced herself as the supervisor who was training the new shuttle driver. She sweetly apologized for his park job. Her smile gave away something of what really happened. (at least in my bewildered mind)
(10 minutes earlier) She explained to the newbie, "The ambulance needs exactly six feet of space to unload their gurney. They are not a shuttle van and thus they have no right to park where they did. Do you understand? Good, as you park the van, I want you to leave exactly five feet of space between our vehicle and theirs."
I waited for my partner to go back inside and get the signature he forgot. Sheesh! The shuttle van prepares to leave. I can't believe what I'm watching in the mirror. The van has at least 50 feet of room to back up before they leave. Instead, the driver cuts the wheel away from the curb and creeps forward in his attempt to merge. He crawls within a couple inches of my rear bumper...I can't watch, I close my eyes and brace for impact.
He clears my bumper without hitting me. I'm simply amazed. Stupidity reigns in the heart of men...I just want to go home.
I call dispatch and remind them I need my flu vaccine. They send us to the barn, I snort the vaccine up both nostrils and quickly leave as the stuff drips down the back of my throat...yum.
We get a call to the homeless shelter for a dude with a massively swollen arm. Been like that for a month. Had a DVT a month ago...looks like he still has it. He tells the fire guys his story, they relay it to us. We begin the drive...6 blocks to the hospital. Vitals are good, sats are great. On the way the guy decides to add a few more pieces to the puzzle...diabetic, CVA, heart problems...yada yada. We check his sugar - almost 500...thanks a lot for sharing, pal. I can just hear them now...why didn't you start an IV?? Why didn't you blah blah blah?? 30 seconds to arrival.
We did our best to tell the story we had so far. But the dude kept changing it. He told us he was taking insulin, but told the nurse he wasn't. Then he told them he wasn't taking his coumadin or any of his medications. He tossed us under the bus. My partner rolled his eyes with disgust once again. I told him don't worry - he's gonna change the story again when the doc sees him and make the nurses look like idiots. If he sees someone else like a specialist, the story changes again. Guys like him make a career out of telling everyone a different story so we all look like morons.
On the way out the door the nurse asked us if we checked out his breath sounds. "Wow, I've never heard such junky sounds in my life, what did you guys hear?" My EMT informed her that our stethoscope was missing an earpiece and a bloody eardrum awaited anyone who used it. I went in a different direction. I thought the lifters in the engine needed adjustment based on the loud tapping sound I kept hearing in the background. I don't know, maybe we should have started him on Levaquin.
The end of shift was fast approaching. Just when I thought the nightmare was over, we had one more problem. Some dingleberry parked a back-up rig in our spot. We have numbers for our rigs stenciled on the ground in front of the parking spaces. It's management's way of bringing it down to the 3rd grade level of personal accountability most of us operate at. But apparently it's too complicated for some. I fetched the keys, once again trying to fix a problem created by lazy mope. To my dismay, the back-up rig (a different one from this morning's fiasco) wouldn't stay running. It turned over, but when I let go of the ignition key, it died. Maybe I could back it up, holding the ignition key on and grind the starter to a burnt lump of metal! Crap!
I went inside & broke the happy news to the supervisor. He rolled his eyes in disgust. 15 minutes later the offending unit was extricated from it's wrongful location and I backed my rig in. Thank God for the end of this day. I didn't pray for a single patient. I did feel like strangling half the people I work with. I prayed that God would never again let me suffer through a shift like this.
I asked God what happened today. The answer is this: I gave a co-worker some advice the day before about reacting to the situations around us. Today I was given an opportunity to walk out my words of advice. It wasn't easy. The advice came from a man I respect greatly; Bill Johnson. He said (paraphrasing) "If you react to error, you won't arrive at truth, but another error. As long as error is your starting point, you're going to end up going in the wrong direction. We are not designed to react to error - but to respond to truth."
I spent an entire day reacting to the errors of other people. It frustrated me to no end. I could have chosen, as I often do, to seek God's truth in every situation and respond to it. Today I chose to react instead of respond. I hope I never make that mistake again.
Oct 21, 2009
Oct 20, 2009
Oct 15, 2009
Last weekend was my weekend off work. I’ve been praying for about 3 or 4 patients a day when I’ve been on duty. I didn’t see any miracles of healing last week, but patients I pray with are beginning to write and share their stories. I’ll be posting one in a day or so. I spent a busy weekend around the house with my wife and kids. God decided to do a few cool things at home last weekend.
I know we humans are a three-fold being; body, spirit and soul. But think I suffer from spiritual amnesia. I often forget about the reality of the spiritual dimension and the fact that my spirit is the most important part of my being. I don’t like the fact that I’m involved in a constant spiritual battle. But that's a fact of life I'm learning to accept. This is a discussion about the body, spirit and soul and how the problem of pain is treated in each one.
My daughter came home from swim practice on Saturday with pain in her ribcage. We thought she may have muscle strain from the long workout. A year ago I would have grabbed the Advil and a glass of water. I don’t do that anymore; it’s not the way I roll. Because of what I’ve seen in the last year, my first reaction to everyday injuries is different. I knelt beside her with my eyes closed, placed my hand on her ribs and commanded them to be healed. Within a couple of minutes the pain was gone. God didn’t show me anything in the spirit.
The same day, my son Danny developed abdominal pain while doing homework. Lying curled up on the couch, unable to go on, he told me he was tired and felt sick all over. I walked over to him and closed my eyes, placing my hand on his abdomen. I saw a vision of something like a man wearing a black hood. It resembled someone dressed as an executioner. I commanded it to leave and spoke healing into his body. Within a minute or two the pain and all his symptoms were gone. He got up and continued doing his homework. About 30 minutes later he developed pain in the middle of his back. I repeated the process, again seeing a spirit and telling it to leave. We went through this same process with him about 6 months ago.
My son has many dreams of being in battle. God is constantly trying to sharpen his awareness of the spiritual battles in life. He had some visions in church this weekend. He began to ask God to show him some things to build his faith. He received some prophetic words about his spiritual gifts. The previous weekend an angel woke him up to tell him to write down a dream that he had. He’s growing in the spirit – it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the enemy would try to put the fire out. That’s the nature of the battle. God is always at work, helping us to grow but the enemy sends messengers of gloom, pain, or discouragement.
At the spiritual hunger conference a few weeks ago, I was healed of chronic shoulder pain. The woman praying for me asked if I was carrying a burden that wasn’t mine. As soon as she asked, the Holy Spirit showed me that I had allowed problems my wife had at work, to become my own problems. I unknowingly transferred the burden to myself and with it, the pain. I told Jesus I was sorry for carrying a burden that wasn’t mine, and released it to him. The pain in my shoulder was immediately gone and hasn’t returned. This was an issue of the soul, which is responsible for our mind, will and emotions. I was holding onto emotions of anger because of a situation my wife was dealing with at work. The emotion of anger cause a physical pain to be manifested in my body. Once the emotion was dealt with, the pain left. I suspect many people suffer chronic pain syndromes, like perhaps fibromyalgia, because of emotional issues that are never properly identified and resolved.
What I’ve noticed is that there are physical ailments with no apparent spiritual or emotional issue, as in the case of my daughter’s rib pain. It’s just a physical injury. These things can be healed with simple prayer. Advil will probably work, too - so would a cold pack - and yes, I still use them sometimes. But I'd much rather allow God to do it.
Then there are times when a physical problem has a spiritual or emotional root to be to be identified and dealt with. A pattern of recurring pain that leaves and returns or pain that occurs without injury should be suspect. The same is true for conditions in which multiple exams and testing reveals no physiologic cause for a condition. They should probably be treated as spiritual or emotional issues.
Sometimes God reveals a spiritual being that brings the condition with it. Spirits have no physical body - they prefer to hitch hike on us. Attitudes of the heart like sin, rebellion, bitterness, hatred , unbelief and many others provide a shelter for spiritual hitch- hikers and the pains and diseases they carry. It all gets transferred to us. We may need to get rid of a certain behavior or attitude to get rid of the critter and be healed. That makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but Jesus healed multitudes by removing demonic parasites. I believe he knew a little more than you or I do.
These things don't make sense to the natural mind, particularly if you're schooled in modern medicine's approach to healing. But there are spiritual laws in effect that aren't taught in med school. Spiritual laws (like gravity) are like natural laws; they can't be broken. Apparently one of the spiritual laws goes something like this; if you shoulder a burden that doesn't belong to you - it creates the same pain as if you were dragging a telephone pole around. In the natural, you would advise your patient to stop carrying heavy things around for no reason. Concerning the spirit we must do exactly the same thing.
I hope this post helps you grasp the realities of spiritual warfare a little better. It’s real, it’s all around us, and we have the tools to wage the war victoriously and win the battles. Awareness of the battle is the beginning of victory. I hope you win the battle you’re in today.
Oct 12, 2009
I heard Randy Clark say recently, that he feels there's a "Mt Carmel showdown" coming between healthcare and God's power to heal. I believe he's right. The reference was to the battle for supremacy between The prophets of Baal and Elijah- the prophet of Jehovah. The story is told in 1 Kings 18. There had been a division in the land; confusion reigned over which deity was the most powerful God. Though greatly outnumbered, as the prophet usually is- Elijah persevered in the showdown and proved to everyone that his God, Jehovah was in fact the only God.
. I believe I was witnessing history in advance. Second, what had taken place was a paradigm shift. People were no longer coming to hospitals for healing - they were coming mainly to have their conditions documented by empirical testing. I didn't actually see anyone in the hospital who was there for treatment. The healing was firmly in the hands of God, and everyone knew it. What could have changed a long standing tradition like this? Why would people come to a major hospital and completely reject the idea that they could be made better; expecting only to have their conditions verified? Could it be there was an outpouring of miraculous healing on an unbelievable scale? Something like this must have happened to transform the expectations of so many people.
Oct 6, 2009
But there’s more to the story.
Oct 5, 2009
My wife and I attended the Spiritual Hunger conference the last weekend of September. We expected to see some cool things. We hoped to receive instruction and impartation. What we received was an incredible experience. It far exceeded our expectations. And it was more about giving than receiving. Bill Johnson was the keynote speaker, giving a message on the
I brought my guitar along hoping to get some practice in…what was I thinking? We left the hotel room early and came back late every night; tired, but spiritually stronger. I also brought along a few books. It’s not really a vacation unless you return home with clothes you didn’t wear and books you didn’t read. We were busy from morning ‘til night making friends, worshipping our hearts out, praying for the sick and prophesying. I was surprised at something God did to me during worship. I saw many people laughing, jumping and being uninhibited during the conference. I was kinda jealous. So God came after me with a feather and tickled me during worship. The spirit of laughter came over me repeatedly and I went into fits of uncontrollable laughing. The joy I experienced was greater than anything I’ve ever known.
I had a dramatic increase in visions while I was at the conference. For a long time, I’ve seen things in the spirit realm every time I closed my eyes. In the last month of two, I haven’t had many visions or words of knowledge. But at the conference my spiritual eyesight went into overdrive. I saw waves of power sweeping over the crowd during worship as well as a mist or fog settling over the crowd during a message. I saw a lot of heavenly scenes and demonic images. I became much more aware of nature of spiritual battle we are in.
We were involved in the ‘Treasure Hunt’ workshop Friday afternoon taught by Marc Buchheit. Having done them before, we were asked to lead a group who hadn’t. We spent a few minutes asking God for clues then set out. I had a couple of visions – a bend in a river with geese on it and two people, one with red hair and one with black hair. The river was right behind the conference center. One of our guys had an impression of flowers. There were hanging flower baskets on the bridge over the river that led to a park. We took off across the bridge and found my two women sitting in the grass on the other side of the bridge. We prayed with them for healing.
One of the men in our group, Robert had some very specific clues. He saw the
We continued the hunt at a café. We weren’t picking up any more leads so we decided to give our waitress some encouraging prophetic words that she gladly received. Friday evening was a special night for me. God healed my heart of the condition I’ve had for over 25 years. I’ll post my testimony about that when I collect all the evidence. We witnessed about 200 people healed each night at the conference. I wish I could say my wife and I were healed of our chronic neck pain, but we weren’t. She received prayer from many people that weekend. We met Cal Pierce, who prayed for her on Saturday night. She still has neck pain. But I believe we’ve heard from God about the timing of her healing, we believe its coming in November.
One of the main callings God has upon my life is healing.
We clicked with a group of new friends; Robert whom we met on the treasure hunt and his son Jeramy and a woman named Gwendolyn. The five of us drove to the cemetery. We spent a few moments in silence seeking God’s presence at the grave site. Benni Johnson told an amazing story of waking up angels at strategic places. We decided to wake up a few angels at
The spirit of prophecy descended on the group. We spent the next 3 hours prophesying to everyone who came near us. People drove up one after another and parked, saying that God told them He’d meet them at the grave site. The company of prophets grew to about 10 or 12. As people left, a few more would arrive. We encouraged one another with dozens of words from God. As we put my wife in the center, people gave her the impressions they received from the Lord. I saw an image of a beautiful lighthouse and told her she was a bright light to those around her. As I was speaking a man drove up and parked. He told us he saw a bright column of white light coming from the center of our circle. He said, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep doing it.” The five of us remained together for the rest of the conference. We went to lunch and dinner together and prophesied to the waitresses. Between speakers we sat in the grass outside the conference center and prophesied to friends and strangers.
As I left the hotel each morning, I heard about the continued flooding in the southeast US.
We decided to go for it.
Saturday morning we stood on the conference center lawn and declared an end to the rains in the Southeast. God’s been teaching me to command things to happen. I commanded the winds of change to move the low pressure system out to sea over the
We went to the conference expecting to receive from others. Although we're young in the prophetic life, God used us often to bless others. That surprised us. We see ourselves as newbies who require more training and mentoring before we’re really able to be used in ministry. Apparently God doesn’t see it that way. It was amazing to see the hand of God moving in power as we stepped out and followed His lead. We’ll always be growing and learning and always be unaware of something until God shows it to us. We’ll always have need of spiritual fathers and mothers. But God can use us (and you) every step of the way. It’s an awesome adventure. We can’t wait to go back next year!
Oct 4, 2009
As I walked through the clinic door, I felt the presence of God arrive. That meant He had a strategy. I was no longer the lead paramedic, but His partner; trying to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. I sensed it was going to be an evangelistic assignment.
There are many models of personal evangelism used in the church; some lead a new convert in saying the sinner’s prayer, some explain the 4 spiritual laws, the ‘Romans road’ or the ‘good test’. I seldom use these approaches. They seem rigid and tend to assume a great deal about the person, which may not be true.
I see every encounter as unique. I prefer to let each relationship develop naturally, without a predetermined direction or goal, unless God has given me His strategy in advance. I let the Holy Spirit guide me in the right direction, set the pace and determine the issues.
Sometimes all I do is buy my new friend a cup of coffee and interpret a dream or give them a prophetic word. With others I might answer a few questions they have about God. Sometimes it’s a prayer for healing and a hug. I never really know where an encounter will lead.
When I’m with people who don’t have a relationship with God, I try to approach the situation with only one thing in mind; I know God loves them and want to give them one positive experience with Him. It may be the only one they ever have. I believe I owe that to everyone I meet.
As I listened to her story, I tried to gauge where she was at spiritually. In my mind I ran through a list of questions; How much did she know about God? How desperate was she for change? How did she feel about Jesus? Did she have any negative church experiences? Has God been speaking to her through dreams? Did she want to be delivered of demonic oppression?
In the ambulance, I could tell she was desperate and ready for a serious discussion about God. I told her there was only one thing that could change her life permanently. She beat me to the punch line and blurted out "It's God, isn't it?". In her spirit she knew what the solution was.
Most people in this place have serious identity problems. I spoke to her about the fact that she was created in God’s image, that she wasn’t created an addict or a prostitute and that God would restore her completely to the beautiful woman of strength and virtue she was meant to be. I hammered this topic for quite a while. I find it helpful to speak positively, lovingly and authoritatively against the negative things people believe and to declare the great things God says about them. It seems to break yokes of bondage.
Before we took her inside the hospital she said she wanted to have the new life that I'd told her about – and she wanted it now. I felt it was time to lead her in a simple prayer. This wasn't a time to remind her of her sinfulness. She knew how horrible her life had been. I didn't want to make it worse. We asked Jesus to come into her life and permanently change her in every way. We asked Him to remove her craving for drugs and alcohol and for the new, eternal life that He promised everyone who follows him.
It was a very special moment I’ll never forget. She became very peaceful and relaxed as we transferred her to the emergency room bed. She couldn’t stop thanking me for helping her. I love the way God opens doors.
Will she live free of these things in the future? I can't say. That's a limitation I live with. My influence is small, my time with a patient is short, and I seldom know what will happen years from now. I'm a sower of the seed - one who doesn't know what the harvest will look like.
Our nation is in a tight spot right now in regard to caring for people like my patient. A major problem in our society is the ineffectiveness of our mental health treatment. Most patients are in a revolving – door lifestyle that never ‘cures’ their condition. All we can offer them is medication – and if they stop taking it, they’re back through the revolving door again.
Most people with severe addictions and mental illness are unable to work and have no insurance other than what the government provides. And our government is fast running out of money.
What’s the answer?
Jesus. He's always been the answer. He is the great physician.
When Jesus heals, He doesn’t ask for an insurance card or a deductible. Prescription plans aren’t needed, only divine appointments, and the great physician is always available – He never takes vacations.