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January 2019

Always Professional...


AmbulanceToday I went on a "ride-along" with a paramedic as part of the story I'm writing on opioids. I can't say I was looking forward to it - I'm anxious in cars, faint in the face of blood and guts and on top of that, am nursing a bad head cold.

Well, we didn't get any overdoses, though I did observe the aftermath of a nasty car accident (two victims, both lucid, put in neck braces, strapped onto gurneys and taken to the hospital), one fainting woman (reported that she had headache, smoked marijuana in the morning and promplty began puking in the ambulance) and a case of respiratory distress at a shopping center. Gettyimages-860180296-612x612

Mostly, the paramedic and I just hung out -monitoring what was coming over the radio and talking about life. But I must say these were not my fineness few hours of reporting.

I think I was suffering from a NyQuil hangover from the night before. (And I took 1/4th of the suggested dose!)  How appropriate for a story on drug abuse. I dropped my gloves about four times, left my digital recorder at the headquarters, misplaced my phone once, and littered the front of the "bus" (as they call the EMS vehicles) with damp little crumpled up tissues. 

I apologized to the paramedic, who replied, "Are you kidding? Do you know what I see every day?"

Then she offered to show me the photo of a guy she rescued who had been hit by a train. I declined.


Then and Now

K and Sal weddingI'm writing this from my bestie's house, where I've been visiting for the week. And what have we done? Nothing. And everything. Cooked together, taken walks, worked on our respective computers, drank copious amounts of wine, danced, and talked, talked, talked and laughed until the tears came.

I know it's a thing now on Facebook to post your first profile photo and your current one. (Those in the know say it's just Facebook's way of improving  facial recognition techniques, but whatever.) I'm not interested in showing how my face has aged in the last 12 years.

But I am interested in how long this treasured friendship has lasted. Sally and I have been friends for almost 45 years. Kate and Sal now

Here's my then and now - first one, obviously, taken at my wedding (when we had already been friends for years) and second, taken yesterday. I would like to get props for posting a photo of myself with out a speck of makeup.

 

 


Say what?!

ImagesI use a digital tape recorder when I'm doing interviews. Then, I send the mp3 recording to an online service which transcribes it. In minutes.

This, in my opinion, is up there with the discovery of penicillin and the first moon landing. For most of my career, I spent countless hours transcribing tapes, hitting stop and rewind and stop and rewind as I tried to capture the exact quotes. (Yes, I take notes, but not shorthand, and you need to get it exactly right.)

That said, voice recognition is not yet a perfect science. Earlier this week, I had a long interview with several members of the Yonkers police force. I'm working on an article on opioid addiction. Now I am reviewing the transcript. For your amusement (Lord knows it cracked me up) here are a few of the boo-boos: 

"Some narcotics..."  = "Summer cottage"

"A paramedic..."   = "Apparent nada" 

"Narcan" = "Archive"

"They need to get their fix somewhere" = "they need to get that fixed summer"

"Cartel" ="car town."

"Westchester" = "what chefs are"

And MY FAVORITE:

"I could attest to that, having run Narcotics" [dept.] = I could test that bed and bring narcotics."