Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On Call

You may have forgotten the contest by now, but it was to identify this photo.

Jasmine from Jazzy Crafts in Castro Valley, CA correctly identified it as the control panel of a medivac helicopter. A PRIZE WILL BE DELIVERED TO HER THIS WEEK!

A couple of weekends ago, I was treated to tour of a facility a few miles from my home. I'm proud to say I have a man on the inside—in fact, I married him (as in "minister" not "husband"). He's a medivac pilot with Calstar, California Shock Trauma Air Rescue.

I've always been impressed by emergency workers of any kind— firefighters, police officers, our armed forces. As one who is pretty much afraid of her own shadow, I admire men and women who are willing to go into uncertain, often life-threatening situations, on a regular basis, and without a whole lot of monetary reward. Not that you could pay me to do it!

I love to create characters who lead this kind of exciting life. Who says you should write ONLY what you know? Research like this is what makes writing even more enjoyable.

The crew at Calstar were very generous with their time, allowing me to take pictures, ask very detailed questions, and walk around their doublewide "home." When I got home, I emailed to ask what the phone/alarm (they call it the Bat Phone) sounded like since it didn't go off while I was there. One of the flight nurses sent me a wav. file!

My favorite flight nurse:

You can also see how they have a sense of humor:

But most of all they have a sense of mission and dedication, and I thank them all in advance of my ever needing them.

My biggest fear: they won't the like characters I've turned them into! I'm already writing the acknowledgments and confessing way in advance that I may have had to twist their personalities a little to fit a mystery plot!

Any of you lead an exciting, alarm-filled life?


Anonymous said...

Have only been close to the situation when my grandson was medi-vac'd to the hospital after a serious motorcycle injury. It has a happy ending: motor cycle no longer exists in his life AND, he's quite the hard-working, successful man. Your description and comments are so interesting and informative, as always. xoxoxox

Linda O. Johnston said...

Isn't it fun to do that kind of research, Camille? I've been enjoying my discussions with people involved with L.A. Animal Services and its various teams and offshoots, as well as other animal rescuers, for my upcoming mystery series about a pet rescuer who runs a private shelter.

Camille Minichino said...

I'm glad we had a happy ending, anonymous!

Linda, isn't it great how people are so helpful and generous with their time when you ask about their jobs?

Julie said...

My own life is booooooring, and to be honest, I'm okay with that. Past excitements like getting the call that my daughter fell off the swings and needed many stitches, were a little more excitement than I really wanted. I've had some fun expiditions to do research, though. One was visiting a Lamborghini dealership in Newport Beach to learn about a character's car, and another was to a gun shop for details on sniper rifles. I love to listen to people sharing their passion with a writer. Makes the hours hunched over a keyboard even more fun.

Betty Hechtman said...

Like you, I'm fascinated by people who go into emergency situations. How great that you could spend time with the medivac crew and find out how they tick. I bet you could have listened to them forever.

Camille Minichino said...

Yes, Betty, it was great how one question from me would spark story after story from them.