Sunday, 2 December 2012

Moving Day

Back in May when I moved down here to Provo, I was apartment hunting while staying at the Reef Residence hotels.  I was lucky enough, that they offered to let me stay in my room for the low season for a very good price. 

Well the low season has come to an end and I had to move on. It took a lot of time but I found a nice place that balances between really expensive and really crappy.  I got a Junior One Bedroom at the Queen Angel Resort overlooking Turtle Cove. Its very nice, just not quite as close to the beach as I was before!

The actual move went fairly well, I don't have much stuff here so I packed it all up pretty quickly. I had to work on my moving day, but luckily I was able to get someone to cover my shift.  I also had friends who offered to help, but the manager at the resort let me use his truck so everything went quickly.

Of course nothing can ever go perfectly for me! It was bright and sunny when I headed over to the resort to pick up my keys, and when we drove back. But when all my boxes were loaded in the back of the truck, they sky decided to let loose a torrential downpour. Great. So we went racing back, and the staffer who was helping called everyone to come help. Everything got pretty damp but the boxes were double walled so nothing was ruined.

At that point I had to go back to the Reef for my last couple things and to turn in my keys and the rain keeps coming. And I don't think there is a city in the world where you can get a cab in the rain. I ended up trudging most of the way before I got a sympathetic ride.

The rain had eased up by this point, until my friend and I went to load the last few items in her car. They skies just opened up again and didnt ease up for about an hour. Though once we got to my new place, my balcony is a good place to sit and watch the rain with a cup of tea!

My bad luck with the rain didn't end there either.  That night I was walking down to Turtle Cove to meet a friend for dinner when, yup, it started to pour again. Luckily I was wearing my rain jacket but its the first time I've ever gone to a restaurant and been given a towel by the manager!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Jitney Experience

So, a couple months ago it was anounced that the ambulance would no longer be picking anyone up for shift change due to excessive milage abuse. Seriously, its a talent to be able to rack up over 150 miles a shift on a 37 square mile island. With out any calls.

So I had to find a new way to work, Don't have a car, and can't really afford to buy one right now. Taxis are so expensive - about $14 one way. So I settle on taking Jitneys. These are the illegal cabs that populate the island. They are a cross between hitchhiking and buses. You stand on the side of the road and wait for someone to honk at you, and it cost $2 to go just about anywhere.

Now I am sure all of you can guess how sketchy this is. And it gets worse. The illegal drivers are quite often illegal themselves. So no licence, cars aren't highly maintained either. My favourite is the cars with no door handles on the inside. Usually just a little string tied to something in the door.  And for some reason, no seatbelts. They are tucked behind the seat so you can't use them. Delightful!

I've also had some interesting drivers, occasionally someone will stop to pick you up who doesn't run a jitney- I've had some kindly good samaraitan, and some guys who gave me their phone numbers too! But its all in all an interesting experience, and I keep a giant maglite tucked in my backpack whenever I go anywhere!

I will note as well, I am sure many of you remember the Toyota commerical that says that 80% of all cars sold are still on the road. Well, its very true. This is the place where corrollas come to die. Almost every older car is a Toyota! I have to admit, when I see a red corrolla I wonder if it might be mine! ;)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Guests in October

Ok, well we are almost caught now!

October was a good month though still pretty hot. You break a sweat thinking about doing something. Which, let me say, is not conductive to activity. If it was more strenuous then lifting a book or a beer I wasn't interested.  Work did get a bit interesting. We had an EMT come back from a leave so he spent two weeks working with me for a bit of remediation.

We did have one exciting night where there was a serious car accident. We were siting in the ER hanging out with the nurses when a car came screaming up and two guys fall out all covered in blood. While we are helping to get them inside dispatch radios us about the accident, where another guy is trapped in the vehicle.  And our truck won't start. Luckily my boss likes me, or he would have really hated me when I called at 11:30 on a Saturday night. So he raced out to grab us and the three of us went to the call.

It turned out to be great to have the extra hand there, the Fire Department was still extricating the patient when we got there and he was pretty bad off. So while my boss and my partner dealt with him I checked his passenger who was ok, though pretty shook up. We put her up front in the front then got the patient into the back and rushed him to the hospital. In EMS three isn't a crowd!

We also finally got a new driver! I had been without a partner for half my shifts for months. Which sucked! He's a hilarious guy and we have a lot of fun working together.

The next good thing was my mom came for a visit. It was a great visit and I was so happy to see my family again. We went on a snorkling adventure. It was amazing, there was a long boat ride out to West Caicos, and we saw a couple dolphins along the way! We stopped at this reef along the south end of the island and did three different snorkels.  There were several sharks, barracudas and even a huge eagle ray!  I think the craziest part was the massive storm to the north of us. You'd be paddling along with the sun on your back and here a hugh boom from the thunder!

The rest of the visit was mostly relaxing. Went snorkling of my beach, which wasn't as good because the waves were pretty choppy. One day we went for a long walk into Grace Bay for some shopping then met a couple of my friends for dinner. The teachers were all thrilled to meet an author and I had mom bring down several books which she autographed for them.

At the end of October we had the threat of hurricane Sandy. That bitch (it makes me giggle saying that, anyone from my childhood knows why!) swept up through the Caribbean before it rained distruction down on New York.  But she was actually considerate enough to give us a miss! Again just had a few grey days.  Though we did get the storm surge! Crazy high tides and waves just pumled the beaches. A lot of hotels lost beach chairs and umbrellas and at my spot the water erroded the sandstone so much the stairs were washed away.

So I sat by the pool for  a week!

Then at the end of the month I got my crazy day again. This time a busy morning was capped off with a shooting, actually my first gunshot wound call. While responding to another call the amblance was flagged down by a Police Officer who told us a suspect had been shot. While assessing him, they decided to let us know another suspect was still at large so we quickly got him on the stretcher and got the hell outta there!

If nothing else, this island certainly is interesting. Well, I guess that is the last five months of my life. I'll try to keep these more regular again. If for no other reason then to save myself from having to type for a couple hours to get it all down!

Adventures in August

After my trip to Tampa, August settled into a simple month. Many of my friends had gone home for the summer so there wasn't too much to do. Work stayed steady, had a few more interesting experiences including another cardiac arrest. I have started to notice a trend on the island. I am usually not very busy at work, but one day towards the end of the month all hell breaks loose  and I get some crazy stuff.

I also got to finally go diving again. It was my first dive since I was certified in January. I was happy that my dive instructor was also the dive master that day. It was comforting to go in the water with someone I was comfortable with. My first dive went ok, had a few boyancy issues and my breathing wasn't as great as it could have been. I will boast that I still outlasted most of the other divers for bottom time - except the nitrox divers. They are quite advanced and can really control their air!

The second dive was even better. We saw lots of cool things, several sharks, a huge turtle and of course lots of fish!

I also had my first hurricane. Issac swept by in late August. Luckily it stayed far enough east that we just had three grey rainy and windy days. I was off work so I hid inside and watched tv. Not much to do when the sun is gone!

As the summer ended, man it got hotter! September was terrible as the rainy season moved in and so did the humidity. On the plus side the teachers came back so I was going out a bit more. But with the rains came the REALLY slow season and most of the hotels and restaurants shut down for a month so things were a bit boring.

This did help as I took the opportunity to do a detox diet. It was hard since I had to eliminate a lot of my favourite foods. Sugar, caffinee, dairy. And worst of all, alcohol. For three weeks! It worked well though, I got through the challenge with out and withdrawl rages and have cut back a lot of my sugars and am drinking more water! Still love my beer though. That'll never go!

Lets Go Blue Jays!

So I decided to spoil myself with a long weekend in Tampa Bay. I had a fairly short trip over, though I did have to layover in Miami. Ick. I stayed in a Hilton in St Petersburg for a couple nights that had a Playball package. It included a ride to and from the game and some "Tropicana Money" to use at the field.

I arrived in the afternoon and had about an hour to settle in before I headed over the the field. I had bought a ticket right down by home plate and was pretty excited. I got to the stadium for gates because I wanted to watch batting practice and try for some autographs. I only managed one that day from Omar Visquel. I did get to chat with a bunch of other Jays fans at the game, and with Barry Davis from Sportsnet. I'd met him before since he is friends with a coworker back home.

The game was great, except the Toronto loosing part. But I was sitting next to a really friendly woman who has seasons tickets. I also went for a long wander around the stadium. Its a bit blah but it has its nice parts. Like boneless wings.  Mmmmm, I'd missed wings.

I also ended up chatting with random people along my way, including an usher who had offered to take my picture. During our chat I mentioned I had worked at the SkyDome as a medic and he flagged down the stadiums doc as he walked by and I got a tour of their first aid facilites. It was great to be around nice and cheerful people!

After the game I caught the shuttle back to the hotel, mostly packed with other visiting Jays fans. I ended up chatting with some guys who were in town on business. We ended up going out for food and a few drinks. The night ended at a small local bar, and in walked Jessie Litch (a pitcher for the Jays) and I got to talk with him a bit. Nice guy, he even bought us a round of drinks!

The next day started early with my free buffet breakfast. Yum, then my friend Nicole came over and she and I went to another game! This time we bought some cheaper tickets on the upper deck, though it was empty enough we were back in my old section by the end of the game!

It was a lot of fun to watch the game and hang out with a friend, it was an afternoon game so we went for a drink after and some sushi for dinner! It was a fun day. I only had the two nights in Tampa, so the next morning was departure day. I got up early again for the free breakfast then found a salon to get my haircut before heading back to the Turks and Caicos well rested and happy again.

Playing Catch Up

Hello All,
Well it has been a long time since I have written here, I had a rough month in July which a few of you will have heard about. Not having much cheerful to write about I just decided not to.  Then I got lazy, then I kept meaning to and was forgetful.

Well, no more excuses! Its bloggin time, and I will try and catch you all up on the last few months of my life!

So back to July. As I mentioned my boss decided to take a little vaction and go home to Canada to have a baby with his wife. I was given the dubvious honour of becoming the Acting Supervisor in his place. It was a great experience at least, and will make my resume look awesome.

But clearly this island loves hi cause all hell broke loose when he left! The trucks starting breaking down one by one. Then I had huge staffing shortages, which led to a few 80hr work weeks for me. And we suddenly got tons of serious calls! This island only has about 25,000 people, acording to statistics we had about 20 cardiac arrest calls in the first six months of 2012. And seven of them happened in the six weeks I was in charge! Then we add in several serious car accidents and I was just waiting for a plane to fall out of the sky.

Well that was July, a mostly dismal month with a few bright spots, I had a lovely birthday, I went out to dinner with a few of the friends I had made here. Also hung out a few times with a Canadian Nursing student I had met at the hospital.

Well thankfully my boss did come back and not a minute too soon in my opinion. Arriving back on island at the begining of August it gave me a perfect opportunity to escape for a few days and indulge one of my passions. The Toronto Blue Jays. Bless who ever did the 2012 schedule, cause my boys were in Tampa Bay for a series over my days off. So I flew to Tampa to give my self a well earned treat.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Spring in the Caribbean

Its hot! And everyone just keeps saying it just gets hotter. I may melt before summer gets here.

Anyways, life has been busy here in the Turks and Caicos.  We are a little short staffed these days. One of our EMTs was sent over to Grand Turk to work on that island so we are down to three.  That and another EMT taking a well overdue vacation meant that I've been working 72hr work weeks. Yea.  And things are about to get a little crazier for me, my boss is going home to Canada for a month with his family and is leaving me as acting supervisor.  I won't be covering all of his responisiblities but it will still be a great experience! Wish me luck!

Call wise, I haven't been overly busy- for some reason the other crews seem to get all the calls.  But I have had some interesting calls in the last month.  One of the big things going on is a terrible gastrointroritis that as appeared on the island in some of the high end hotels.  Its actually led to three of the bigger hotels on the islands having shut down for a couple weeks. We had several calls on the ambulance from the outbreak, but dozens of milder cases too.

I also had a call for a cardiac arrest at one of the hotels. That was an interesting experience, its going to be a great way to loose weight.  I had to hurry up and down three flights of stairs and do CPR in blistering heat.  Almost felt a little light headed driving to the hospital! Which is why I keep water on me all the time!

Then last week we had a fire standby that lasted close to three hours as the whole top floor of the structure burnt down.  Might have been a little more interesting if it wasn't at two in the morning. It was interesting to watch, its just a volunteer service here on Provo, and there are no water lines for hydrants. So when it looked like they were getting some control, the trucks had to leave to refill the tanks.

On the personal side, I have been getting to know some people on the island.  I spent some time with a Canadian nursing student who is on the island for the summer and working with the hospital to gain some experience.  Also a british woman who lives on the same property as me has been introducing me to some of her friends.  Unfortunately life on the island is a bit fluid with new people coming in and people always leaving.  I have actually been to three going away parties already!

I have spent some time at the beach and pool side, looking forward to getting some more time off. I can't wait till I get to go scuba diving again!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Im Back!

Hey! Well after three months at home in Canada, I am back! I have gotten a full time offer here on the island and who can turn down paradise! I got my life packed up and put in storage back home, my cat dropped off with my grandma and flew back to the Turks and Caicos where I got welcomed with a bang!

I was picked up at the airport by my boss, and on our way to my hotel an emergency call came in. he fluctuated between going to the call and taking me home, and as it seemed serious we jumped on it.  Not even on the island for an hour and I was driving the ambulance lights and sirens to the hospital! Nice to be needed!

I got settled back in to the Reef Residence while apartment hunting, unfortunately am not having much luck with that.  What I have been able to find is either too expensive or out of the area I am hoping to live.  Though one night while walking to my room after a shift I was chatting with a man walking around- who turns out to own the hotel and has given me a great rate for the low season.  So I have settled into the Reef and started unpacking!

Back at work everything started slow, I was asked to work with another medic for a bit of training, but due to some complicating factors that ended after a couple shifts.  Unfortunately we are a little short staffed right now for drivers, and for two of my shifts I don't have a driver. Luckily we have some great volunteers that help out when they can.

I have had a few interesting calls since I have been back. A couple car accidents, but without serious injuries despite the cars being totaled.  Islanders bounce I swear. We had another woman in labour, luckily this time made it to the hospital about twenty minutes before the baby showed!

The weather here has been fairly bad, so many thunderstorms and cloudy days.  But it is HOT! And everyone keeps reminding me it'll just get hotter.  I'm already melting. It's going to be a long summer. I have been able to enjoy a couple of nice beach days, though I do have to be careful with this hot sun! Still, it is absolutely beautiful here!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Mom Comes to Provo

As you have probably guessed, my mom came for a visit last week. We had a pretty good time.  She arrived on Wednesday which was my first day off, I was able to sleep in the morning and be up when she arrived in the afternoon.  After a walk on the beach we had dinner in.

Thursday we went to the Grace Bay Club Resort. It is one of the most fabulous resorts on the island, we spent the day pool side and had a delicious lunch at one of the restaurants there.  It was a simple day but really nice. 

Friday was the snorkeling trip.  We went out in the morning on a boat and first snorkeled along the reef.  The island has the third largest barrier reef in the world, and it is beautiful.  I took an underwater camera with me, lets hope the pictures work this time. After the reef the boat took us to a calm area on the south side of the island where we dived for Conch.  I found quite a few, but the had to go back as they were juvenilles.  After we had collected a decent number of adults (one per pair/family) we moved on to a beach. There one of the crew showed us how to get the conch out of the shell and clean it up. Then he made us a conch salad.

We spent about an hour on the beach, we were able to walk around and see the TCI Iguanas that live on the island and then go back to our beach for lunch, which was our conch salad and doritios.  We also had lots of beer and rum punch on the boat which was cool. We saw plenty of fish on the beach, coming to claim some of the bits of conch. As well as a red starfish was floating by, there were some debates as to if it was alive or not.

Saturday, we went to the islands of North and Middle Caicos.  There we rented a car and I drove around the islands again. This time we went to the Caves where the original indian inhabitants used live out the hurricane season. It was very interesting, just clambering through the caves with a guide and flashlights. No lighting, no guiderails.  We had lunch at Daniels Cafe, the only restaurant really on Middle Caicos but just wonderful.  Also did some shopping at a little co-op in the town of Conch Bar where they sell things made by crafters from all over the island.

We stopped at Mudjin Harbour, which I still think is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and had a walk on the beach. We ran into one other couple, and it turns out the woman had grown up in my hometown and even gone to my high school at one point.  Small world!  We also explored North Caicos a bit, the town of Kew is beautiful, a cute little town.  Then caught the ferry home.

I had to go back to work at this point. My mother was able to enjoy a couple days on the beach, snorkeling and enjoying the sun.  We also went out for dinner a few times and tried some delicious restaurants. The last day, it was just before I started my nights, I rented a car and showed my Mom all around Provo.  It is a little island, but there is still much to see including some huge houses out on the amazingly blue Chalk Sound.  We had lunch at Da Conch Shack too.

Last night was my last night shift on the island.  And it was an interesting one.  About 9:30 we got called to an airplane emergency at the airport.  Before you get excited, it was an excersize!  They had been planning to run a Mass Casualty Incident at the airport for a couple months and finally got around to it. It went well, but due to a lack of resources we, the EMS service, really couldn't devote our equipment to the scenario.  We participated and worked with the patients, but it wasn't too realistic since we didn't actually treat any patients beyond verbalizing.  Still it was a fun experience and I was glad to be able to participate.

So today starts my final count down. I am in my final week on Provo.  Lots to pack up and get sorted before I leave, though I am excited to go home. See my family, friends and cat again!

Who needs a Vacation?

Hello, well its been awhile since I wrote, but I have been busy! I did have my second dive day, we took the boat out to West Caicos, it wasn't actually a nice day.  But once you get under the water its a lot calmer. I had a new dive instructer for this day and another student which wasn't as great as having my own instructor! We still had a pretty good day, saw lots of fish, sharks and a huge turtle! He was so cool, just chilling and eating along the ocean floor!

So I am now an officially certifed Open Water Diver! Now I just to live in a place with great diving - I guess that goes in the Pro list on my Should I come back to Provo list!!

My shifts that week weren't too eventful. I did get another call for a woman who's water had broken and with constant contractions.  Luckily it was slightly exaggerated and I got her to the hospital without the baby being born.  Once was enough for me!!

Last week we did have a rough day, got called out to the Beaches resort for a woman who had managed to fracture her leg pretty badly.  They had a nurse on staff, unfortunately she didn'g give any painkillers so my patient was in agony for the transfer, and oh what a transfer!  By the time we got her loaded in the vehicle, we discovered it wouldn't start.  Apparently the ambulance really wanted a vacation! So it stayed at Beaches while we loaded the woman in the back of a suburban which really sucked. 

On a more interesting note, she was Canadian and a flight nurse from Toronto ended up coming down to escort her home, but I never found out who! I just thought it was hilarious that one of my co-workers might have been down here!

Friday, 13 January 2012


Hello,  everything has been slowing down for me on the island.  After my crazy shifts everything settled down back to normal mostly.  My boss, is back from his vacation and getting the island back on track. My shifts have been uneventful, except one day that seemed to be "anxiety" day where we picked up a couple people that had been unresponsive.  It seems to be a fairly common thing on this island, and it doesn't just seem like they fake it, a test is painful stimuli, and they do not flinch!

I spent a good bit of my off days with the med-students. Days at the beach, and nights going out for dinner and drinks.  Having friends is fun, but a lot more expensive!  But the girls have gone back to Montreal (already planning a trip to go skiing.) So I had to find something else to do.  I picked SCUBA.

I have actually been wanting to learn to dive for years, but its kind of expensive.  TCI is claimed to be one of the best diving sites in the world, so I decided I had to do it while I was here.  With some the help of some Christmas gifts I signed up with Dive Provo.  Right now its a bit slow again so I am lucky enough to be the only one in my class.  First I had to do an on line course, it wasn't too hard.  Then yesterday was the pool day. After a little bit of a review we go straight to work, setting up the tanks a couple times. Then was my swim test - 8 laps of a small pool then 10 minutes of keeping my head above water.  That was easy, just boring.  It helps they don't care how you float, just can't drown! So I floated mostly.

The diving itself isn't so bad, but it is a bit bizarre breathing under water.  And its unsettling when they make you take the regulator out and practice using back up or just finding it again. I did very well, but I have spent a lot of time in the water, and firefighting training certainly didn't hurt either.

So into the ocean, today was the first two of my four open water dives.  We took the boat out with a couple other groups into Grace Bay along the "Wall." That is where the sea floor drops from about 40ft to 7,000ft.  Now I wasn't going along the wall just yet, but the first dive was amazing.  As I was getting settled underwater, my instructor, pointed out a pretty big barracuda near by.  That was the worst part! He just kept swimming closer!

Eventually we started on our dive, which was just exploring for the first one. We saw so much, a little Hawksbill Turtle, some Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, and lobster.  And of course crazy amounts of fish and coral.  My biggest trouble is my buoyancy, I tend to float and have troubling getting back down to the lower levels.  Starting to get the hang of it, the trick is in the breathing.

So after a break and a snack we went back down in another spot.  This time we had some skills to practice, it was even worse having to take my regulator out 20 odd ft down!! But it went well, didn't panic and we swam some more.  Saw more sharks and barracudas. There was also an amazing school of Horse Eyed Jacks that were swimming in a circle. A couple of barracudas swam up, but the bigger fish in the group just bumped them away.

My last two dives are going to be on Monday, we will be going to the south side of the island.  The neat part is its about an hour boat trip to the dive site so I will get a nice trip out of the dive too!

Along a slightly different line, I had a meeting with my supervisor on Thursday about my future on the island.  Apart from the fact that I am definately coming home in Februrary, nothing really has been settled yet.  But we talked things over and the plan looks like I will be back, probably only for a six month stint.  I'll be home for several months to pack everything up and settle things to come back down here. He'll be looking for another medic for a temp position till I come back, so send your resumes!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Well, my New Year has come in with a bang.  After Christmas I had a couple days off that were uneventful, just relaxed at home. I went back to work with a vengence!

It all started with the Haitians.  I was working a day shift, while dropping off a routine transfer we got dispatched to a medivac that was arriving at the airport in ten minutes. On our way there, news came in about a sloop with illigal immigrants that had been found and would be coming in to the island with over 100 people on board.  Thats on top of 138 that had come in two nights before. 

So we rushed over to the airport and picked up the crew for the medivac, while taking them back to the airport with their patient we get told of an emergency call on the opposite side of the island.  Great.  So we haul ass out east to get our patient, the rush back to the the dock on the west side.  Luckily most of the passengers were ok and had been shipped to the detention center already. There was one patient waiting for me when we got there.

The next day was New Years Eve, despite overwhelming peer pressure to call in sick, I worked the night shift.  It started fairly slow, but about four in the morning the flood gates opened again!  The first call was a possible overdose, but when we got there she had taken off into the woods. While waiting for police to come help look for her, we got called for a possible assault.  We found that patient lying on the sidewalk in Five Cays, not the nicest part of town. So we bundled him up quickly for the hospital. 

A little while later, we get called for a woman in labour.  Back out to Five Cays.  We picked up our patient and headed for the hospital. I thought I had enough time. I was wrong.  Long story short, I delivered the TCI New Years Baby in the back of an ambulance.  It was one of the craziest things I've ever done. Luckily the little guy seemed ok and we quickly got him and mom to the hospital.

My next shift took a turn for the worse, I won't go into details on here, but it wasn't a good night.  That call was fairly early, and we got some sleep before another accident in the morning. It was actually interesting, an (empty) school bus had crashed, but managed to line itself up perpendicular to the road.  Actually impressive. Off course the only real damage was to the front door so we needed fire to help pop it open.  Patient had broken his leg, but was completely fine besides that. Probably one of the easiest going patients I've had.

So three days of work was a bit overwhelming, but in between I was able to spend some time with my new friends the Med Students. Down on the island for their Rural Hosptial rotation from McGill, it has been fun to chill on the beach with the girls.  A good combination of silly fun, we buried one of the girls in a giant hole she dug, and good times out at the bar.  We also had a late lunch one day with some friends before she had to go back to the states.

Most of you will be pleased to know, the weather has been dreary of late.  The clouds have rolled in and a northern wind makes sitting on the beach less then satisfying.  Hoping that will turn around again soon.  I am in the final month of my time here, for this temporary position anyways.  I am excited to get home, and see you all and especially my Guin!