A year is a long time...

If I were to tell you that since I've last posted, I've fallen in love and moved out of the house with my boyfriend, would you believe me?

It's hard to believe myself, especially looking back at where I was a year ago... but it's true.

Soon after my last appearance, I began working as an EMT at a local amusement park's ALS-level first aid. It was a fantastic experience. All of the other EMTs and Paramedics had their different "day jobs" in a garden variety of places and organizations... from the ER to the fire service to the private ambulances. I made a ton of new friends and connections, and learned so much from people bringing their huge breadth of experience to the table.

In particular, there was this cute, athletic EMT with big ears, blonde hair, and gray-blue eyes. We talked a lot whenever we worked together. We'll call him Ryan.

He was clearly a bit shy but we chatted vigorously over our passion for nerdy physics/disaster shows on Discovery and History. He watched "How It's Made" out of curiosity. I watched it to lull myself to sleep.

He lived in a rural community pretty far away and his day job was in a grocery store... produce department. He goes to school full-time and recently started volunteering at his local fire department. He wants to be a firefighter/paramedic someday.

One day he was scheduled to work, but was no where to be found. After 45 minutes, I called his phone number from the posting on the wall. I woke him up. His alarm hadn't gone off. He apologized repeatedly as I heard him running around getting dressed and ready. I laughed as he hung up. When he ran in embarrassed and disheveled, still apologizing, I officially decided I had a crush on him.

He was the "taken" type, though. I never bothered to ask. I was too wrapped up in the absolutely awful, disgusting experience of falling for someone with too much PTSD for their own good.

One day, I was manning the water park first aid booth when a cute guy came to ask for a bandaid. We started chatting for a while. He was a firefighter and EMT from almost 400 miles away, but he actually worked with a good friend of mine. He mentioned coming back for a bandaid later after he swam and walked off. I kicked myself for not getting his number, being desperate to find a reason to detach from Army-Jerk.

Thinking he might come back for a bandaid, I wrote my name and phone number on one and saved it for him in my pocket. He never came, though. What can you do?

Several weeks later Rob, we'll call him, called me. That coworker of his that I know... yeah. He got my number from him. We talked every day for hours on end. Being desperate to get out of town and away from the ghost of Army-Jerk anyways, I decided to take the haul out to his place for a weekend. I loved driving anyways, and nothing felt more amazing than traversing the Rocky Mountains on the open road in summer, belting out songs in the car alone.

We spent the whole weekend together in his dorm on the sticky-hot Western Slope. I liked him a lot. I wouldn't have liked as much if my heart wasn't currently being torn to pieces by some other guy, but hindsight is 50/50. He still had to work... he was a tech in the local ER too... so I spent my days wandering around town and wading in the Colorado River. Honestly, I had an amazing time, alone and with him equally.

I felt like I was leaving a dream when I came home. Back to work, and all of the people and places that brought back Army-Jerk's legacy.

I just realized I haven't followed up on what happened between Army-Jerk and I. He flew out here before being discharged, we had an amazing weekend of "love" and connection... I flew out to Nashville and helped him move out of his apartment... another amazing weekend. Then he completely fucked me over. He went on a several-month long road trip wandering across the US, sleeping in his car. Among his varied activities, he fucked hookers and never bothered to tell me until after we had been together when he came back. The first time I've ever had my heart broken. I should've seen that one coming. You live and you learn... don't fall for jerks with a gnarly case of PTSD.

Fortunately, he soon left the US for the summer, allowing me to cry, scream, punch and/or burn things, listen to heart-broken country songs, date openly and generally get over it. It was a rough, rough road.

Back to Rob and I... over the next month or two we continued our little long-distance relationship. We went camping, I met his family. He asked me to make it official after I impressed the hell out of them. I reluctantly agreed. He had plans to move out to my area soon anyways. The whole thing only lasted a few more weeks though, before I got sick of the long-distance thing and I realized I wasn't that in to him.

One of my coworkers from the amusement park was having a birthday get-together with several other people from work at a nice restaurant. I got there early and sat at a bench outside waiting for others to show up. Ryan appeared, and reluctantly sat next to me... and we started talking shyly.


It's been over a year since I've posted.

Yesterday I got a text from a random friend who had somehow discovered my blog through surfing the web, and instantly recognized the writer behind the posts. He essentially yelled at me for quitting.

I will cut to the chase and finish the story of the last patient we visited in Complications, before I even go on to explain where the hell I've been for a year.

Dr. Green, Dr. Lee and I found the surgery floor and they updated the front desk staff on the situation. Since this was Dr. Green's patient, she wanted to take care of her herself in the OR. The staff started doing their "thang" on the computer system to get the ball rolling.

"Do you operate here?" the woman behind the desk asked.

"No," Dr. Green replied, "but I keep up my credentials here in case of emergency situations like this next door."

The woman stared at the screen, punched keys, wiggled the mouse. "I'm not finding you."

The two doctors I stood next to were clearly outraged. Dr. Green began to stutter out how she had just put in more paperwork for credentialing here and received a letter confirming... Dr. Lee, in a manner only a surgeon could project stopped it all.

"I'm the head chair of the Credentialing Board here. If I need to, I approve her. Now."

Awkward silence. The lady looks confused... "I'll do what I can."

Soon Dr. Green whisks away behind the doors to start scrubbing up and I'm on my way back to the clinic. It's strange to go about the day after such an incident. I apologize to my patients for the delay, but don't want to scare them by describing why the doctor won't be able to see them for a bit.

Dr. Green returns later. She reports that she was able to manage the hemorrhage easily in the OR, without hysterectomy or any lasting concerns. Her and I return to the hospital to visit the patient in the PACU. She is post-surgically woozy, with the attentive PACU nurses at her side eager to make her comfortable. But she's ok. Dr. Green talks to her for a bit, and I don't have much to say but I squeeze her hand and move some hair from her face.

She goes home that night to her children and husband. And I go back to work the next day.