Every media outlet I came across reported that Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroin overdose.

It is indeed a loss of a fine actor, and it is sad when anyone succumbs to addiction and worse when the addiction wins.

I read many comments about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death and it got me thinking about how people frame addiction. I’ve heard people talk about being saddened for the loss of the actor, that we will miss out on great future performances. Some people say they don’t feel sorry for famous people who die of overdoses – as if they deserved it. Those folks accuse the famous of being selfish. So on one hand, we grieve the loss of their talent and on the other hand we condemn them as if they had any control over their addiction, this terrible disease. We objectify the famous person as not more than their talent and get angry at them for not giving it to us. I think that perhaps it is we who are selfish.

“He was so talented and had everything and threw it all away.”
That’s not how addiction works.
Just because someone is talented and from the outside appears to be doing well in their relationships and financially does not mean they do not suffer from demons. Addiction is cross-cultural, and doesn’t care about class or talent or intelligence.

“Some pour so much emotion into their craft. Seems at times it comes with an expense.”
This assumes a lot about the actor or artist. (I recall a Laurence Olivier quote my dad used to like telling me, ‘upon seeing Dustin Hoffman`s “method” acting technique of not sleeping and making a mess of himself to get into character while shooting Marathon Man (1976)’
“Dear boy, it`s called acting.”

Everything risky has a potential dire consequence. Hell, living has dire consequences.
We hear about the few famous people who die of overdoses, but we don’t hear
about the multitudes of middle-class, poor, or homeless that die everyday from overdoses. I’d change it to, “Being human can come at such an expense.”
And I would wager that the numbers of not-famous people dying of O.D.s is far larger than famous people.

“Money doesn’t buy happiness.”
No, but I am happy when I don’t have money stress. Money can buy food and shelter.
Last night, an astute friend remarked that “Death is happiness for some”

Some people are locked in a cage. Dying releases them from that cage.
Philip Seymour Hoffman had talent, family, money, but he, like a terrifying number of people, was locked in a cage.

almost there

I can taste it. The end. Graduation. Certification. Work.

Finals are separated into two sections: Practicals and Exam.
The Practicals are hands-on testing. We enter a room with equipment and a tester person. We have ten minutes to complete the exam which will consist of a scenario. There are six stations with six different objectives; Medical Assessment, Trauma Assessment, Bag Valve Mask, Spine Immobilization, AED/Cardiac Arrest, and a random one.

Nerve wracking but doable. I hope I am ready and I’m glad I have a few more days to practice. I still have a cold, but I figure if I can get this stuff down when I’m foggy headed and feeling crappy, then I’ve got it.

The multiple choice exam is next week. The last day of class, provided you pass the exam. This will be 150 questions covering the entire book. All 1068 pages. That’s a lot of reviewing to cover.

After all this, I will head to the National Registry Exam. This is The Big One. I can pass the class, but if I don’t pass this exam, I don’t become an EMT. I’m signed up for it already and once I complete the class I can pick out a date. I’ll take it as soon as possible so that I have the information fresh in my head.

I’m excited! After doing my clinical rotation at Scottsdale’s Osborn Hospital ER I was even more excited. This is an honorable, thrilling job – even if it’s just helping an 86 year old woman feel more comfortable. EMT isn’t really all about “saving lives,” it’s about helping people.

One of my favorite jobs was in high school when I worked at an ice cream place. People don’t get ice cream when they are cranky and tired. They get it as a treat, kids aren’t complainy they are on best behaviour hoping this will garner them a larger scoop. People have already eaten so are content. They are always pleased when you hand them their cone.

Working as an EMT won’t be like that. A lot of folks won’t be happy to see us, there will be combative people, people with mental disorders and lots of truly disgusting smells and fluids. But there will be people who are scared, and people who called us and hope we can help. There will be people who understand our role is to attempt to be of service to them.

The countdown has begun.
Here I come!