Angels CriedWhat unfolded in Newtown, CT today is without a doubt a major tragedy. My heart goes out to the victims and their families, as well as the remaining family of the suspect. My prayers go out to all of the first responders- firefighters, police men & women, EMS crews and everyone else I may forget to mention. It’s horrific, unspeakable. First I tried to imagine how I’d feel if one of the victims was my own family, my six-year old niece, five-year old nephew or brothers, sisters or parents. It’s not something I can easily imagine, and I thank God I don’t have to experience that today. Then I tried to imagine how I would feel from the EMS side of things. Sure, I’d do great in the heat of the moment, just as the first responders did today. However it’s after everything calms down and there’s nothing left to do but think about what happened that would get to me. Seeing the hordes of parents who rushed to the school to try to find their children alive and well, or even just alive, would break me. Seeing the reactions of the families when they found out that their loved one’s life was taken so violently and so soon would tear me apart.

It’s becoming more and more frequently that these incidents are occurring and it seems the victims are younger each time. It’s heartbreaking. It truly is.

Tonight I’m praying for every soul that was involved in today’s massacre. Especially the young children who had to witness these terrible murders and will now live with that for the rest of their lives. God’s speed.

{December 14, 2012}   Six Flabby Pounds?!

scaleI was weighed at the pain care clinic the other day. I usually just skip it. Like at my PCP’s office the nurse, who knows me oh-so-well, walks by the scale and slows just long enough to point at it and look at me with her head turned slightly sideways, like a curious dog. I don’t even look at the scale, I just say “no thank you” and we continue on to the room. I don’t even weigh myself at home because if I find I’ve gained ONE pound I get  upset. Even if I’m menstruating. The extra pounds weigh on my mind (pun intended, hah) and I torture myself with them. The other day the phlebotomist caught me off guard and I just stepped onto the scale. To my horror I have gained six pounds since the last time I was weighed (I think about eleven months ago) and I’m not even menstruating! I’m not sure how this happened, and since I haven’t been weighing myself I have no idea when it happened. Or how it happened. My diet hasn’t changed in ages. All I know is that I’m not happy about it. Now I have to do damage control. Well, I have to figure out how to do damage control. It’s difficult for me to do much exercise anymore because of my back and shoulder. Maybe, just MAYBE, those six pounds have to do with gaining muscle. Muscle does weigh more than fat, and I’ve been doing a lot of difficult things with the fire department, while wearing sixty-plus pounds of gear, including the tools (haligan, etc). I’m so desperate for an excuse to this weight gain that I’m even thinking how I could have gained muscle-weight by having to climb two flights of stairs to get to my bedroom now, before I moved back in here my bedroom was on the ground level and there was no need for me to climb stairs.

But I know there are no excuses. I must get my lazy ass in gear and do something about it. Losing weight isn’t a miracle, it’s work. Oh the stresses!!!

{December 13, 2012}   Can I Be Manipulative Enough?

So I need a doctor to write me a note saying I’m cleared, physically & mentally, to continue work on the fire rescue department. None of my doctors are willing to say that I’m physically well enough, they’re all telling me I’m ruining my body by working and not letting it heal and they’d like to see me lift “no more than a gallon of milk… occasionally”. So I need to try to manipulate my new pain care clinic doctor into writing me a note that clears me for my duties. I’m hoping she will be willing to do that when I get the nerve blocks done on Monday. Yes, Monday. My schedule has changed yet again. The dentist’s office called this morning and said they’d rather see me on Wednesday instead of Monday, so I had to go to the pain clinic and ask them to switch my appointment back to Monday, instead of Wednesday.

I saw my psychotherapist this morning, a kind of emergency appointment because I freaked out when my Deputy Chief called me and said I was suspended until I could get a doctors note clearing me for my duties. Anyway… I’m still pissed off, though it did help to be able to vent to her. I haven’t told anyone about my suspension because they’ll be mad… mostly my parents and my brother. And they’ll be mad at me, because I didn’t suck it up and deal with the pain, I had to go get help for it and by doing that, I got suspended from the department. So… it’s my fault.

I’m so angry and sad at the same time. All I want to do is pop some Seroquel every six to eight hours and sleep through it all. I did stop at the library today and grabbed a couple of books, one of them Ellen DeGeneres’ “the funny thing is…”. Hopefully it will lighten up my mood a little bit.

{December 12, 2012}   Update: Goodbye Fire & Rescue

Hopefully only temporarily. My Deputy Chief just called me and told me I am off-duty from now until I’m no longer receiving treatment and I can get a note saying that I’m at 100%. Fuck. What really sucks is I feel like I’m being punished when I didn’t do anything. The one thing he will let me do, only because he doesn’t want to have to do it, is the administrative work. He said I can only sit in front of the computer at the station. No going to calls, no driving any apparatus, no training. This is a huge blow to me emotionally. I’m angry but I’m very sad and disappointed. The fire department was all I really had, and now it’s been taken from me for God knows how long. None of my doctors will clear me to work a job as physical as that. My doctors won’t clear me to lift a gallon of milk, for God’s sake! This fucking sucks.

{December 12, 2012}   I Hate Schedules and Agendas!

You stress out trying to keep to them and they never work out anyway!

I had to reschedule my appointment with the pain care clinic on Monday for Wednesday afternoon. I have a dentist appointment on Monday a little over an hour’s drive away and I don’t think I could drive there, sit in a chair for two hours and then drive home after having nerve blocks and trigger point injections. My mother’s not happy about it, but I don’t hear her offering to drive me. She’s also complaining that the dentist is costing me $315. She says it’s way too much money… she’s not paying for it!!! Then she’s hounding me about going so far to see the dentist. Well, I’m not excited about driving over an hour to see one of the devil’s advocates, but this is the closest female dentist to us who does general dentistry. If I’m going to go through hell (I HATE the dentist, but need a lot of work done), I want to be as comfortable as possible on the journey. I’m not comfortable being under sedation under a man.

Honestly I think my Mother’s real problem is that Grampa passed away on Christmas day (2006), the Holidays are here and she’s struggling in her own mind and heart, and the only way she knows how to cope is to make everyone else as miserable as she is. I guess I’m more like my Dad- I do just the opposite of what she does. I hide away from people and hold onto the misery, I don’t dole it out to others generously. I wish I knew a better way to deal with her. I feel like it’s not fair to snap back at her because she’s hurting and having a hard time, but it’s so hard not to give back to her what she hands out. She’s making the Holidays miserable for everyone. I guess I need someone to write a book for me: “How To Be Understanding When You’re The Target”.

{December 10, 2012}   A Way Out?

I had my first appointment at a pain clinic this morning. The doctor was very nice and seemed shocked at the condition of my back and the muscles within my neck and back. The exam was excruciating, but I’m going to have a couple of nerve blocks and trigger point injections done on Monday. Then the following week I will have more trigger point injections, chiropractic manipulation and physical therapy. The doctor seems very hopeful, but don’t they all? On the bright side of things, she is not discouraging me from doing my job as most of the others have done. She started out as an EMT many years ago and understands why I want to do it, and she thinks I should. So, some good news today.

Unfortunately, I woke up to a couple inches of snow and freezing rain this morning. The cold is terrible on me. Every chill is like a knife stab or a lighting bolt through my body. Time to cuddle up with my cat on the heating pad and watch some Chicago Fire.

Haha, me! And my brother. Long story short- my brother went to stand up as I was sitting down and our heads met in the middle. His head got me in the left temple and knocked me for a loop. It was pretty funny, but now I have a huge egg on the side of my head and my eye is swollen. But what better place than a room full of EMT’s and firefighters? Haha.

The party was a lot of fun. There was a lot of laughing and sharing going on. I finally got my uniform 🙂  I’m pretty happy. It’s only nine o’clock and I didn’t get out of bed until almost noon, but I’m exhausted (and I have a screaming headache)! The roads are sheer ice, but no worries because I had a couple of beers and I will not be going on any calls tonight.

{December 7, 2012}   Party!

fire snowmenTonight is the Fire Department’s annual Christmas party. I’m really looking forward to it… mostly because I finally get my uniform! And a warm department pullover and jacket 🙂

Last night our fire commissioners had a meeting and decided to make the clerical-type work I’ve been doing for the Chief an actual position: Administrative Assistant. Chief is leaving for a ten week vacation next week and that will be my time to really step up. He’s left word with everyone that if there’s a problem to run it by me, then he wants me to take it to whoever can fix it, ie- the Deputy Chief, the Chief, one of the Lieutenants, etc. He is 100% in the right about not wanting to be bothered with petty stuff while he’s on Vacation with his family. This new position will add to my payroll (yes!), add to my title (Firefighter/EMT/Admin Assistant) and take me one step further to moving up the ladder. There are a few people who already have a problem with it, mostly because I’m a female firefighter, but Chief said it will help him to “weed out the guys who are here only for status”. He believes that gender makes no difference as long as you do your job, be respectable and respectful. I agree. Unfortunately, a handful of my fellow firefighters don’t believe that. And the new girl on the department is not helping me prove that woman can do just as good of a job as men. She has only showed up to one meeting and one call. That brings a new issue about for me because I’m supposed to be “showing her the ropes” but if she doesn’t show up, I can’t teach her anything.

I’m feeling good about how far I’ve come in just eight months, both personally and professionally. Right now it seems there’s nothing I can’t do. I’m no longer known at the department as “Rob’s little sister”, but by my name and what I do. I’m finally becoming someone. I don’t drink to excess anymore, I don’t hang out with my old crew anymore who were bad influences, I don’t abuse medications anymore… I’m a whole new person and I owe that to my family at the department. It’s a wonderful little family.

{December 3, 2012}   I Am Blessed

Though many times I don’t realize it, I am blessed to have amazing people in my life.

Yesterday’s annual Family Christmas Party went great. I was surrounded by cousins and Aunts and Uncles who I only get to see a few times a year. We talked, we ate and we did our Yankee Swap. Fun was had by all. To add to the fun and festivities, my brother received a call from our Lieutenant at three o’clock and we were summoned to the station as planned. No one had any idea what was going on. To add to the mystery, our Lieutenant drove to my house in his Fire Department garb and summoned my brother’s girlfriend to the sidewalk out front. He called us on the radio and I led our little parade in: Me driving the ambulance, one of our fellow firefighters driving our Engine 1 with my brother riding on the cat walk and another of our fellow firefighters driving our Engine 4. Almost everyone congregated on our front lawn, which was still covered in snow, and my brother stepped off the cat walk when the engine stopped. HE went down on one knee before his girlfriend and proposed. It was amazing and of course… she said “yes”! We left my brother with his new fiance while we returned the apparatus, but not before we had pictures taken.

I am wearing the smiley face shirt, my brother's fiance is to my right and my brother is in the maroon shirt.

I am wearing the smiley face shirt, my brother’s fiance is to my left and my brother is in the maroon shirt.

My brother gave me a hug when I returned from the station and it was the first hug I can ever remember where I could feel that he really meant it. Of course, while he was proposing I was standing at the rear of the ambulance watching with one of my fellow firefighters and I cried a little. This wouldn’t have been possible without the other guys from the department, who are incredible people.

Once again, I am blessed to have such amazing people in my life!

{December 2, 2012}   Slacking Off, Sleeping In

SnowAhhh… sleep is so good when it decides to visit me! I must admit that I cheated and stole two of my Mother’s Seroquel’s, one for last night and one for the night before. But it was so worth it! I was up before seven this morning because my pager went off, but I’m not used to taking Seroquel and felt a little hungover and very groggy, so I didn’t go. The last thing I need when things are going well for me is a DUI. I wouldn’t do that to anyone, anyway.

We had our first real snowfall yesterday and then it was freezing rain early this morning so it’s kind of nasty out there this morning. I’m not complaining, though. Snow for a Christmas party and my brother’s proposal seems so perfect. The trees are hanging heavy and low with the added weight, sparkling in the sunlight. The lights we put up on the house the other night are gleaming with the frosty covering on the bulbs and the animated “twig” Angel on the front lawn seems to be celebrating, too.

I vow not to look at Facebook today. It’s been so depressing lately and I’m still being hounded by someone I want nothing to do with. Today is a happy day and I don’t want anything to ruin it for me or to set me off in a bad mood. Lord knows I’m a ticking time bomb. BUT NOT TODAY. Today is good, today will be amazing!!! I will try to upload a picture of this incredible engagement once all is said and done, if possible.

Time to start the day!!!

et cetera