Friday, June 24, 2011

Now it's getting HOT!

Holy moly summer has set in down here in AZ.  It's supposed to be 93-95 degrees all week and the swamp cooler in my new trailer is broken.  I am trading trailers so my stuff that was FINALLY delivered by the moving company is in the new hot trailer and I'm still camped out in the old trailer. 

Yesterday for our company retreat our company flew all the bases and our communications and business center staff to Moab, UT for a day of rafting.  It was so fun.  It's nice to finally be able to put faces with names and faces with the voices who wake us up at 3 am for a flight. 

I have become somewhat of a legend.  Our education guy, Keith, likes to talk a lot of smack and be heard.  He knows how to really push my buttons and drive me crazy.  So our boat snuck up on him and I flew thru the air grabbed him and pulled him into the water.  Our program director said he just looked up and saw me flying like a hawk and then I snatched Keith with my talons and poof he was gone!  It was so awesome.  People said they wish they had it on video.   However,  I have to go to Rocksprings, WY in July for TEAM training and Keith said paybacks are a ...... (you know what he said).

View of Moab from the plane

Crews from different bases meeting each other and catching up

Couple of the planes

I'm so excited!

Jeff and Evan, 2 of our dispatchers in SLC

This is my good friend Delores preparing her weapon of choice.

These are my boys after all the fun.  Every single one of them asleep.

Riding home in the co-pilot's seat. Sun fried trying to block the sun with my towel.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm losing my mind!

One of the biggest headaches that I have had to deal with in many years has been my moving company.  They are still not here with my belongings and I have been here for almost a month.  This weekend I wanted to go with my family to our family reunion in Red Lodge, MT but didn't go because the moving company promised me they would be here Friday, at the latest.  So I decided I would meet a friend from Vail in Durango, Colorado (3 hrs away) for the weekend.  Well the anticipated delivery day became Saturday, Sunday morning at the latest.  So I cancelled the Durango trip.  But I HAD to get out of Chinle.  I'm going nuts!  So I headed to Gallup, NM (90 miles away) for the Lions Club Rodeo.   Gallup is almost he equivalent of NY city to me!  It has WalMart, Big Lots, and JCPenny - this is the big time.  The rodeo was actually pretty cool cause the arena is at Red Rock State Park nestled among large red rocks.

This is teams of 3 guys who are trying to dress the calves.  They have to put panties, pants and a shirt on the calves the fastest to win.  It was quite funny, but it seemed easier than the wild cow ride at Burley's rodeo.

This is the rodeo clown.  He's trained monkeys to ride on dogs on little monkey saddles and chase goats around.  The goats are on top of the pickup. It was quite funny.

I wonder about this....So the cowboys and indians used to be enemies and kill each other, but now all the indians think they're cowboys.....humm...... I was one of probably 10 white people at the rodeo.  I was used to being the minority in Washington, DC, but here the Indian's don't really like white people.  In fact they will look right past you like you are not even there.  If they do not absolutely have to acknowledge you then they won't.

I got stopped by the po po on the way home for going 72 mph in a 65.  If my mother were driving she'd be in jail cause we all know that to her the speed limit is simply a suggestion.  I got off with just a written warning, but not before a thorough search of the car to make sure I was not transporting liquor onto the reservation.

This morning I awoke to find that I have a new pet.  A dead bat on my front steps.  Poor little sucker died in the wind.  It probably blew him into the side of my house and he died on impact.  There he lay dead on my steps.
Poor little dead bat.  I think I'll name him Edward Cullen.

Monday, June 13, 2011

So Much To Catch Up On!

Last weekend I drove to Logan, UT to complete the Little Red Riding Hood all women's bike ride.  It was so fun!  The Taylor-Bowen Team (Casie, Mali, & I) broke our spell.  You see, on our previous ride 2 weeks prior we had a flat tire within the first mile that we patched and kept going flat, 4 wrecks, 1 bent handle bar and a few bloody extremities - and that was just a 30 mile ride!  I suspected that 50 miles was just more area and time for things to go wrong.  However, we were able to pull it off this time with no wrecks or flat tires.  Mali did run into the back of me one time, but we both were able to hold it together.  It has been so fun riding with my sisters.  I dearly miss exercising with them.  I have started doing my Insanity workout here in AZ again and have enlisted some of my fellow co-workers.  I cannot help but laugh as they are laying on the ground gasping for air, swearing and sweating.  I can only laugh cause I have been there myself.  In fact, I slightly humbled my clinical educator as took pictures of him leaning against the wall trying not to puke.

Mali, Casie & Me

Look at all those women!

Mali & Casie


Me, Casie & Mali

We all got pink glitter tattoos :)  I called it my princess power leg.

I was supposed to go to one of our other bases in Alamosa, CO for training this week, but luck would have it that the training came to me and I got to stay home.  Keith, my clinical educator, set up Sim-man in my living room (due to all the space).  Sim-man is a robotic mannequin that cries, sweats, has a pulse, breaths, pupils and eyes move, he even pees and dies.  Trust me, I know the dying one since I couldn't save him a few times.  Sim-man in run by a computer, and I cannot see what is coming next.   It is supposed to simulate a real person to put me into scenarios I might encounter with patients.   I also get to do procedures such as intubation (putting a breathing tube in), needle cricothyrotomy (putting a needle in someone's neck to breath), and needle darts (putting a needle into someone's chest when they have a popped lung).  This is fun!

This is Keith setting up Sim-Man.  He's fixing his junk so he will pee on me.

I was looking for something and for some reason I felt the need to hold on to Sim-Man by his nose.  I hope I don't do that to a real patient.

Intubating - Oh I'm almost there!

Yes!  I got it!

And finally,  one of my biggest headaches and regrets has been hiring a moving company to move my belongings from Salt Lake City, UT to Az.  Needless to say this shady company has still not delivered my stuff.  I have had to hire a lawyer, I have filed complaints with the Colorado Attorney General, and sent my sob story to local TV station in Denver.  Denver is where the moving co. is based and holding my stuff hostage.  I am sleeping on a borrowed air mattress, sitting at a borrowed folding table, and lounging on my jelly chair I bought at WalMart after a flight.  Oh, and don't even get my started on cooking.  I have one little borrowed pot, paper plates and plastic utensils, and my George Foreman grill from my college days.  That grill has been so faithful and traveled all over this country with me, but tonight I opened the box and the grill was in pieces.  However, it still worked and I made it work!  Life on "the res" is interesting and never dull despite the lack of civilization.

I love my new lack of furniture.

Borrowed air mattress and bedding.

Trusty George Foreman Grill

Using my trauma scissors to lift the lid.  Amazingly it still works.

Last week my friend Will from Vail kindly brought me my things that I had left in Vail.  He helped me fight with my moving co and would have dinner ready at night when I came home after a flight.  Here he refused to show his face in a picture because I kept teasing him about his hair.  I said it looked like a tumble weed. 
This is shy Will

Getting ready to take a nap during the flight home.  Notice the trees out the window....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Fun Parts of My Job...

I know, I am a bit behind on this blog.  I have good excuses like flying and traveling to Logan, UT for  bike ride with my sisters (a blog on that to come).

Today, we had out annual skills lab.  We get to practice skills such as intubations, needle darts, surgical airways, etc.  I have never done any of this.  The company flew in the crews from our other bases.  Let's just say there were a few big egos in the room, and a few of the guys were flexing their muscles.  One had no problem letting me know that intubations were just old hat and no problem in a condescending- I'm a paragod, kind of way.  I asked him to leave.  I am scared to do this.  I have seen experts fail.  But our medical director from Phoenix was there with a resident and they were very patient with me.

I'm practicing a surgical airway on a pig trachea.

I had to practice a lot!

Last week I was able to take a little time to hike around the canyon here in Chinle.   It is known as Canyon de Chelly (pronounced d'Shay).  It is a beautiful canyon with many ancient ruins.  It is protected and you need a guide to access most of the canyon.  But there is one hike down to White House Ruins that you can do without a guide.

Will, my friend, and I were hiking down to White House when we stopped to sit in a little alcove.  A bat flew into the alcove.  Will took off running like a scared little boy.  Will is a grown 6'4" big strong guy.  He left me there as bat bait.  He claims he was trying to distract the bat away from me.  I know the real truth.

This is White House Ruins

Beautiful Arizona sunset taken from the canyon rim.

So I hope ya'll will come visit sometime, and we can go hiking down in the canyon.  Plus, you can check out all "the res" has to offer.  Will said, "I have heard you talk about this place and describe it, but this is something you just can't even fathom until you see it in person."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rural Healthcare - Indian Style

I had my first taste of rural healthcare today.  We had to drive 30 miles to a "hospital".  It honestly looked like an old mental hospital like you see in the movies.  It was a 1 bed ER.  We were there to pick up a patient that had been stabbed 3 times by his sister with scissors.  This is the second time she has stabbed him.  Needless to say that was an interesting 30 min ambulance ride to the plane followed by another interesting 1+ hour flight to Flagstaff, AZ.
Yesterday, I was flying out of Las Cruses, NM as a huge thunderstorm was rolling in.  I was freaking out, Matt (pictured below) was giggling like a little girl and yelling out "yahoo" as we banked hard to the left to avoid lightening strikes.   The radar was lit up red and Matt handed me his i-pod with strict instructions to listen to it.  I tried to send a text to my family that said, "I'm alright.  Just wanted to tell you I love you."  Thankfully the text did not go through.  That would have freaked out my family.  When we were finally in the clear Matt said, "That was some scary shit back there!".   Matt has been flying for over 10 years and does not get scared easily.  He then informed me that he laughs and giggles when he is nervous.  I wish I didn't know that.

One of the joys of living on the reservation is that we only have one grocery store and the nearest WalMart is over 2 hours away.  So when we fly into towns like Flagstaff, AZ or Farmington, NM we go shopping.  Below is a picture of flight coming back from NM after a shopping trip at Walmart.

Notice the HEPA filter (for the sand) seatbelted to the stretcher and the various housewares behind the cargo net.  This is another Matt.

During the last dust storm we decided to have a crew BBQ indoors since going outside was suicide.  This is Matt grilling ribs and steak in the broiler.
Left to Right: Matt L., Delores, Kelli

Matt S., Kelli, & Delores

I love my new job.  Believe it or not.  The people I work with are fantastic and we fly some interesting patients from interesting places.  Plus, each flight is like a roller coaster due to wind and heat.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

And if you wonder why I call it "Dusty Desert Wings"

Ever hear the howl of the wind?  Well the wind is screaming outside my door.  If you ever wonder why I call my blog "Dusty Desert Wings" here's why... The following is copied and pasted from the National Weather Service for the weather for the next 24 hours in Chinle:

Today: Areas of blowing dust after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Windy, with a south southwest wind 29 to 32 mph increasing to between 41 and 44 mph. Winds could gust as high as 60 mph.

Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 45. Windy, with a southwest wind 40 to 43 mph decreasing to between 14 and 17 mph. Winds could gust as high as 55 mph.

There is a fine grit everywhere - my computer keys, paper, door jams, window sills, and yes even my face and hair.  I have given up on sexy hair here.  I have just accepted the fact that I am always going to look like a frazzled hot mess.
Blowing and drifting sand

and more blowing and drifting sand

and even more blowing and drifting sand

guess what?......sand cloud