All posts by danielsundahl

About danielsundahl

I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada June 19, 1967. I've been fortunate enough to live in several countries and experience many cultures from around the world. Travel....Music....Photography...Art, throw in a little Paramedic work and Firefighting for excitement and that's me. I try to capture an emotional element in my artwork that goes beyond the image itself. I'm passionate about raising mental health awareness for first responders, many of these images are based on real calls I've attended over a 15 year career as a full time paramedic and firefighter. This is how I purge these images from my brain, my artwork is my therapy.Stuff I use for photography: Sony A7R ii, Sony A7R, Sony 16-35mm, Sony 24-70mm, Canon 100mm Macro, Photomatix Pro, Topaz Labs Adjust, Denoise and Sharpen, All the Nik Software stuff, Photoshop CC, Corel Painter X and Lightroom.

DNR

DNR

DNR

I was recently reminded of why this job is so unique and special. I was called to a terminally ill patient who needed pain control. This patient had an advanced directive stating his wishes not to be resuscitated when his body finally failed him. As I was preparing my medication my patient went unconscious. I didn’t think he would wake up but after a few minutes he did and the conversation we had at that moment is why this job is so special.

My patient said it was a beautiful feeling to just slip away, he thought he was dying. He then pleaded with me not to try any resuscitation efforts if it happened again. A few months prior he died in the emergency room and was brought back, he told me he’s in constant pain and he’s ready to leave this world. Conversations don’t get more real than that. Speaking with a dying man near the moment of his death really puts everything else in perspective. What other profession allows for such a connection with your fellow man.

Stay safe everyone and remind yourself of all the good we’re doing.

DanSun

Mayday Mayday Mayday

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Mayday Mayday Mayday

As a firefighter my biggest fear is dying in a burning building. We train how to breach walls and even jump out of windows to self rescue. So far 42 firefighters have died this year in the United States alone. Often a part of our training is to listen to the recordings of these events.

Recently I visited the dispatchers for the Edmonton Fire department. I never thought of what these dispatchers go through during these mayday events. In many communities these dispatchers are friends and family with the emergency workers they work with. They are the ones speaking with fallen police officers and firefighters during their last moments. They may not be on scene but managing communications during these events is crucial to a successful rescue.

This piece is for all the dispatchers who have managed a mayday event while at work. Thank you.

Stay safe brothers and sisters.

DanSun

The False Okay

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The False Okay

I’m feeling a bit dark today so if you’re in a good mood maybe just stop reading here, I don’t want to ruin your day.

When I was younger my older brother, who I love dearly, would put his hand an inch from my face and say, “I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you”. It drove me crazy and he thought it was hilarious. It was all good fun and only lasted for seconds but the point is it was mental torture.

I know there are people spending their days pretending everything is normal. They wake up with a pit in their stomach from a night of their brains running free while they sleep. They drag themselves out of bed and wonder how they’re going to make it through the day. They drive to work hoping nothing serious happens because they don’t know if they’ll be able to handle it. They make their way through the day faking it to everyone around them, pretending everything is okay while they are on the verge of losing it all.

“How’s your day going?”
“It’s great! how about you?”

Do people really want to know how your day is going? What would happen if you really told them?

If you’re reading this and thinking, how does he know exactly how I’m feeling? It’s because the way you’re feeling is not unique to you, many feel this way. The trick is to realize you’re not alone and to get help. This isn’t something you have it’s something that happened to you. Rid your demon before it rids you. Call 1 888 288 8036 or 1-206 459 3020 to get help now.

If you’re reading this and thinking, this guy is a loser and really shouldn’t be a paramedic, I feel totally fine and I’ve never felt that way. Know that you have coworkers that are probably not okay and watch for them. You don’t want to find your partner dead in the ambulance from an overdose and tell yourself you had no idea he was sick. Here’s a link to some information and ways to recognize and help a coworker you may think is suffering from a mental health issue. http://www.ems1.com/health-and-wellness/articles/2181184-How-to-speak-up-if-youre-worried-about-a-co-workers-mental-health/

There are many of you that may think I’m sensationalizing PTSD and only mention the dark side of EMS. Many more of you are believers in the negative stigma when it comes to mental health among emergency workers. “You knew what you were getting yourself into, get back to work!” “If you can’t handle it do something else”

Well, here’s something for you to ponder. This year in Canada 14 paramedics, 2 firefighters, 1 corrections officer, 9 police officers and 5 military personnel have taken their lives. According to Stats Canada 11.5 per 100,000 people in the general population commit suicide. For Paramedics in 2015 it was 47.16 per 100,00 people. I’m trying to raise awareness so that someone who feels like the medic in this image realizes they’re not alone and hopefully decides not to fill their veins with narcotics and sleep forever.

Getting back to my brother’s “I’m not touching you” game, image something doing that to you for years and never quitting. No matter what you did you couldn’t make it stop and the torture only intensified when you slept. How many years could you handle it? what options would you think you had to make it stop? The answer is to call a friend and have them beat the shit out of this mind game.

Have a safe week everyone. Take care of yourself and your fellow coworkers.

Respectfully,

DanSun