14 Jun 2008 05:48 pm

Writer’s Block June 14

Okay all you fellow writers and blog surfers out there, if you get off on shows like ER, Rescue 911… and my personal favorite the late, great Third Watch… you’ll love my pick for this week’s edition of Writer’s Block.

I just discovered it this afternoon and I could tell right away that I’d found a winner. I’ve bookmarked it and added it to my blogroll so I can return to it again and again. And I think you’re going to want to do the same.

It’s Michael Morse’s blog, Rescuing Providence.

Now if you’re a little squeamish, you may want to proceed with caution. Not everyone is comfortable reading about stabbings, gunshot wounds, car accidents and sore throats. (Sore Throats?) What, you never called an ambulance for a sore throat?

Anyway, this is not some fictional TV drama. It’s a very realistic look into the world of our first responders. It’s very much like riding shotgun with the EMS guys as they respond to emergency calls in the city of Providence, Rhode Island.

Now you may not think of Providence, RI when you think of big city drama, but apparently they get their fair share of the action.

But wait, there’s more. (This is “Writer’s Block” after all.)

Morse is not only a firefighter, EMT and medical blogger, but a fellow author as well. Turns out, he’s written a book about his experiences as an EMT entitled – what else — Rescuing Providence.

Here’s a brief snippet from what I believe is the cover jacket:

In Rescuing Providence, Lieutenant Michael Morse of the Providence, Rhode Island, Fire Department takes you along for 34 nonstop hours in the life of a big-city fireman/emergency medical technician.

Ride through the tough streets of South Providence, the historic mansions on the East Side and the tattered but emerging West End as Morse and his EMS team respond to drug overdoses, heart attacks, car accidents, gunshot wounds, suicides, alcoholics, premature births, broken bones and other medical emergencies that are all in a day’s work for them.

The brave men and women who make up our nation’s EMS system willingly risk their lives every day to save people they don’t know and often cannot communicate with. See for yourself how difficult, frustrating and at times heartbreaking this job can be, as lives are lost, scarce medical resources squandered, futures altered, and hope abandoned and then reborn.

I thinks this is one you’re going to want to add to your reading list.


June 13, 2008

Mysterious Morning Neck Pain

What do you bet Homer wakes up with a crick in his neck?


Speaking of waking up with neck pain, here’s part of an email I received the other day…

Dear Dean

I’m 48 years old, self-employed and I don’t have insurance. I woke up this morning with severe neck pain… I had a whiplash injury several years ago and this feels exactly the same. Is this possible? Can you get whiplash in your sleep?


After my usual, “I’m not a doctor” spiel I wrote…

Hi Don,

It sounds like you may have just strained a muscle or ligament in your neck either while sleeping or perhaps sometime during the previous day. It’s also possible you slept with your head at a bad angle and simply need to give it time to relax.

I’ve never heard of anyone actually getting whiplash while sleeping. Whiplash is usually associated with a sudden accident…

A (whiplash) sprain is a stretch or tear in the ligament resulting from a sudden movement that causes the neck to extend to an extreme position. For example, in the rapid deceleration of a car crash, your head and neck can stretch far forward before stopping. [1]

Whiplash injury is the effect on the neck of a sudden stop in forward movement, for instance in a car crash… In a sudden stop, the head is thrown forward violently, putting a brief but extreme strain on the neck. This stretches muscles and ligaments in the neck. This is immediately followed by a reflex contraction of the overstretched muscles, so that the head then jerks in the opposite direction. [2]

Whiplash – a soft tissue injury to the neck – is also called neck sprain or neck strain. It is characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck, usually because of sudden extension and flexion. [3]

What Causes Neck Pain?


Don, the most common cause of neck pain is muscle or ligament strain. Naturally, since this is the same type of injury as your previous whiplash, it would feel very similar.

In most cases the pain will subside within two to ten days without medical attention. However, if it lasts longer than that, you should see your doctor.

Also, see your doctor if:

  • Your head is off-center and you can’t hold it straight.
  • Your neck pain is the result of a recent, serious accident.
  • You have pain in your wrist or hand accompanied with a feeling of numbness or “pins and needles” in your fingers.
  • You are having severe headaches that just won’t go away.
  • Your pain is getting worse instead of better.

Hope that answers your question,


1. Whiplash and Neck Sprain. Your Orthopedic Connection. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. [May 2000]

2. Whiplash injury. NHS Direct Online Health Encyclopaedia. [Jul 2002]

3. Whiplash. NINDS Whiplash Information Page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. [Mar 2005]


2 Responses to “Writer’s Block June 14”

  1. on 15 Jun 2008 at 8:18 am 1.Marijke said …

    Hi there, thanks for linking my new blog carnival. This looks like a very interesting blog so I’ll have to schedule some time to sit down and go through it. I always enjoy visiting new blogs and learning what else is out in the big vast Internet world.

    Thanks again,

  2. on 21 Jun 2008 at 8:26 am 2.Chrysalis said …

    I have been thinking of this site. I’ve had a muscle spasm big time for two days straight. I know they say ice it for the inflammation, but the thought of that was not inviting. I’ve been on heat, and that is tiny bit of Heaven. I can finally move my head to the right now. Just popping on to say hi, and read.

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