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{June 27, 2012}   New Book

I just returned from the library where I found a book titled “Ambulance Girl” by Jane Stern. This obviously caught my eye because of my new venture of becoming an EMT. I haven’t read it yet, but the inside flap summarizes the book:

“Five years ago Jane Stern was a walking encyclopedia of panic attacks, depression and hypochondria. Her marriage of more than thirty years was suffering, and she was virtually immobilized be fear and anxiety. As the daughter of parents who both died before she was thirty, Stern was terrified of illness and death, and despite the fact that her acclaimed career of a food and travel writer required her to spend a great deal of time on airplanes, she suffered from a persistent fear of flying and severe claustrophobia. But a strange thing happened one day on a plane that was grounded at the Minneapolis airport for six horrible, foodless, airless hours. A young man on a trip with his classmates suddenly became dizzy and pale because he hadn’t eaten in many hours, and there was no food left on the plane. Without thinking about it, Jane gave him the candy bar that she had in her purse. A short time later, the color had returned to his cheeks, the boy was laughing again with his friends, and Jane realized that this one small act of kindness— helping another person who was suffering— had provided her with comfort and a sense of well-being.

“It was shortly thereafter that this fifty-two-year-old writer decided to become an emergency medical technician, eventually coming to be known as Ambulance Girl. Stern tells her story with great humor and poignancy, creating a wonderful portrait of a middle-aged, Woody Allen-ish woman who was “deeply and neurotically terrified of sick and dead people”, but who went out into the world to save other people’s lives as a way of saving her own. Her story begins with the boot camp of EMT training: 140 hours at the hands of a dour ex-marine who took delight in presenting a veritable parade of amputations, hideous deformities, and gross disasters. Jane— overweight and badly out of shape— had to surmount physical challenges like carrying a 250-pound man seated in a chair down a dark flight of stairs. After class she did rounds in the emergency room of a local hospital, where she attended to a schizophrenic kick boxer who had tried to kill his mother that morning and a stockbroker who was taken off the commuter train to Manhattan with delirium tremens so bad it killed him.

“Each call Stern describes is a vignette of human nature, often with a life in the balance. From an AIDS hospice to town drunks, yuppie wife beaters to psychopaths, Jane comes to see the true nature and underlying mysteries of a town she had called home for twenty years. Throughout the book we follow her as she gets her sea legs and finally bonds with the burly, handsome firefighters who become her colleagues. At the end, she is named the first woman officer of the department— a triumph we joyously share with her.

“Ambulance Girl is an inspiring story by a woman who found, somewhat late in life, the “in helping others I learned to help myself.” It is a book to be treasured and shared.”

Can you imagine going from an anxious, depressed, rather agoraphobic mess to being an EMT? That is what I’m doing. I’m going to do it. And so far, so good. I have a theory about this: When my pager goes off with an emergency, someone needing help, my brain automatically enters a kind of “fight or flight” mode. I don’t have time to think about whether I’m going to go anywhere today, my mind doesn’t have the time to torture me with different, horrible scenarios. I don’t think about anything but getting to the scene and delivering all of the help I possibly can.

I’ll post about the book once I finish reading it.

 

 



{June 22, 2012}   6/21/12

Another hot one! It reached ninety-eight degrees here today.

I decided against getting all new gear (firefighter clothing) and decided instead for all new electronics. New pager, engraved, new radio, engraved and the cool accessories like cases for them. I also finally got my name panel for my jacket, so now my brother and I match. I also got a new helmet 🙂

I’m not a big fan of water, but yesterday the heat got to me. I ended up going to my parents house and hopping in their pool. The water was eighty degrees, but it still felt cool. Poor Sarge, he just wants to hop in so he can be with us. He gets up on his back legs and stands against the edge of the pool watching us. He’s got character.

Unfortunately, I have had to give up my Thursday nights at the bar that I love so much. Someone whom I no longer get along with has begun going every Thursday night now and I know myself well enough that I know I would lose my temper and be a complete bitch. She definitely deserves my wrath, especially her ‘husband’, but since I’m with the Fire and Rescue, I have a reputation to uphold. Believe it or not, though, my superiors at the department encourage us to go out and have a good time, not let the department get in the way of what we want to do, because it is a volunteer position. For the time being.  😉    I am trying to keep myself out of trouble and exhibit some self-control, but I had the biggest urge to go to that bar last night, reclaim my turf and my friends and be the biggest bitch I could possibly be.

Maybe next week…



{June 20, 2012}   6/20/12

10:55pm

Wow… it hit one hundred eight degrees in the sun here today. It was definitely an unusually hot day.

I found out today that my pager (Fire/Rescue) is not working. I thought it was strange that I hadn’t gotten a call since Sunday. I called my Assistant Chief and as it turns out, I will get a brand new, engraved pager tomorrow evening, as well as get fitted for all new fire gear! Believe it or not, that’s pretty exciting.

I gave my brother the poster-sized picture of my niece this afternoon and I was right- he loved it! It came out sooo well. I’m very happy with it 🙂



{June 20, 2012}   6/19/12

3:25pm

Sarge is adjusting well. He got his first bath here at his new home today. Other than his laziness, which prevented him from standing, he seemed to enjoy the attention he was receiving from two people at once. Now that he’s had a bath, I’m somewhat able to tolerate his scent.

I spent the majority of the morning patching walls so they can be painted before I move back into my parents house. Many of these holes that I have patched were the direct result of my terrible aim when using a hammer. Apparently, there isn’t a single molecule in my body that was meant for carpentry work. Maybe I’m more cut out for being an interior painter and decorator? We’ll soon find out!

Today is my brother Robert’s birthday. I’m excited because I had a professional photographer take pictures of our adorable little niece, Kayla, on one of our firetrucks while she wore my brother’s fire jacket (he’s also a firefighter). We’re taking the best photo and making it poster-sized and having it framed for him. He’s going to love it!

 

COMPLETELY OFF TOPIC:

We had a pretty interesting training session for Fire and Rescue the other night. They had me be the patient: pregnant, lost and with a broken tibia and a broken femur. They had me stuff a pillow under my shirt and go get lost in the Town sand pits so they could locate me, splint both of my legs, back-board me and carry me out of the pits and to the waiting ambulance. The guys did a wonderful job with the exercise. Oh yeah… did I mention that I am the only female on the department, so I get to be the patient quite frequently? Hahaha, I love my job!

 



{June 20, 2012}   It’s A Hot One!

It’s rather rare that we see this type of weather here in New England. I took this picture with my camera phone on my front porch. Granted, the thermometer was in the sun, but in the shade it said that it’s ninety-eight degrees. Still an unusual, sweltering afternoon here in Northern New England!



{June 19, 2012}   6/18/12

1:25pm

Day number two of the “new”, GIANT German Shepard, Sargent.

Sargent, most commonly referred to as “Sarge”, has taken to my Mother, my Father and myself quite well. He whines and cries and carries on if any one of us leaves his sight. I’m not a fan of dogs, but Sarge has grown on me (already, keep in mind, this is only day two). Unfortunate for my parents, I don’t live with them, so when I go home Sarge remains a complete wreck until I return, usually bearing gifts such as dog biscuits or rawhide.

My reasons for not being particularly fond of dogs:

  • They shed, but unlike cats, they leave hairballs the size of month-old puppies- in your shoes, your bed, your call, on all of your furniture and of course, on every floor in every room. (Sarge puts Chow Chows to shame with his hairballs.)
  • They think that everything you do is interesting or involves them, so they become an extension of your derriere (Sarge IS your derriere).
  • Dogs like to poop where you’re sure to find it. It’s like their version of a prank. They do it in the house, on your sidewalk, at the driver’s side door of your car or in the middle of your perfectly manicured lawn. I don’t know Sarge poops, or even if he does, because he goes out, around the corner of the house, disappears for a few minutes and then returns. Always acting marginally happier.

I’m definitely a cat person. In fact, I have every intention of being the old, single, seemingly lonely, cat lady who surrounds herself with one hundred fourteen cats while barricaded in an old, dilapidated house. The neighborhood kids will look at the chipping paint and shudders hanging on by one screw and call me the old witch. This appeals to me very much the more I think about it. I’m not fond of kids, either.

For now, however, I will continue with my immediate plans of moving back in with my parents with my (one) cat and my meager belongings in two weeks so I can go back to school to get my EMT certificate.

Of course, now I’ll have to be armed with a lint roller at all times because Sarge keeps leaving large amounts of evidence of his existence on my uniform. Surprisingly, there are a lot of ninety-five year old “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” victims who are less-than-impressed when you show up to help them wearing a uniform  that is seemingly made from dog hair. People are so finicky these days!

 



{June 16, 2012}   *~ Coma ~*

Slip away
invincible to feeling.
Inability to comprehend
the beatings from the
outside world.
Thoughts and cruelty
be gone.
I walk, I talk
I breathe and I function
just as well as you
just as well as him
just as well as her.
But unlike you
unlike him
unlike her
my heart has slipped
into a coma.
It’s only function
serves to keep the
blood flowing.
It’s hard as steel
it’s cold as ice
it’s as unflinching
as a stone.
Bad feelings
be gone
feelings of hopelessness
feelings of pain
feelings of loss
feelings of fear.
Feeling nothing.
No happiness
no sadness
no anger
no contentment.
For my heart
has slipped into a
coma.



{June 15, 2012}   Finally… Some Good News!

My cousin who suffered a brain aneurism on Tuesday and had brain surgery on Wednesday is doing well. So well, in fact, that she is even on FaceBook playing Words With Friends with me! It’s a miracle as far as I’m concerned. The surgeon said she would have to be in rehab for a few months because the damage from the aneurism caused problems with her memory and motor skills. I feel so happy and relieved right now. A GIANT weight has been lifted from my shoulders, the clouds have begun to part and the sun is shining on my family.



{June 13, 2012}   Funerals & More Bad News

Today was my Uncle’s funeral. It was a very nice service. They did a slide show of pictures of him and the family. I have to say… I almost crawled under the pew when a few pictures of me popped up. I had to keep repeating to myself that it wasn’t about me. I made it through.

I went and did some cleaning for a friend this morning to help her out with her cleaning business. When I arrived home to get a shower and get dressed for my Uncle’s funeral, my Aunt called me into the living room and had me sit down. One of my cousin’s had an accident yesterday and she’s in bad shape. She hit her head pretty hard and at this very moment is in the operating room to have an aneurism corrected. It was her father’s funeral today. My cousin and I are close and I’m taking this kind of hard. I didn’t want to go to my Uncle’s funeral, that’s how hard it hit me. I’m PRAYING with all of my heart that she comes out of the surgery and is fine. Please, God, let her be okay.

Isn’t it ironic: Since I joined the Fire & Rescue department, I’ve been burying my loved ones left and right and visiting friends and family in the hospitals. I joined the department to help others, to give something back to the world… and I can’t even help my own family.

Thank God for my psychotherapy appointment tomorrow morning. I’m crumbling under all of the sadness.

 



{June 12, 2012}   Uneventful is Good

It was an uneventful night for Fire & Rescue last night, thankfully. I was up most of the night coughing a nasty cough. I somehow got a chest cold and I can’t remember the last time I had a cold. I’m pretty miserable today. I was supposed to be up and at it first thing this morning to work on my new place so I can move into it. That never came to fruition. I couldn’t get my butt out of bed. Now I have a few people upset with me. I guess the rest of my day will consist of mudding and sanding walls… as soon as I can find the energy to get dressed.

Side note: Physical labor kills me.

I need to just get it all done so it’s out of the way and I no longer have to dread it…



et cetera