{May 6, 2013}   It Gets Me High



German Shepherds are well known for “holding hands”- giving you their paw to hold while you pet them. My Shepherd, Sargent, does this every time you give him any attention. Tonight his aim was a little off and he got my throat with his nails. I never realized just how tender the skin of my neck is. Tears instantly sprang into my eyes and beads of blood surfaced on my neck.

My thoughts: damn, I really need to get his nails trimmed and… this is going to look bad for work (and anywhere else I go).

{April 18, 2013}   Every Day Is A Blessing

Yesterday morning my wake up call was my pager. That’s normal. But the dispatcher informed us that we were responding for a 50 year old male that was not conscious, not breathing and the female on scene refused to do CPR. We raced to the scene, my partner and I being the first to arrive, to find a male who was indeed unconscious and not breathing. I said his name a few times and observed his grayish color as I grasped his wrist, searching for a pulse. I almost immediately recoiled- his skin was cold, his eyes were half open and he was very stiff. Unfortunately, I now know what death smells like. That was the worst call I have been on to date.

Between the call yesterday morning and the awful tragedy in West, TX last night, I didn’t get much sleep last night. At times like these I realize just how true the saying is: every day is a blessing.

I’m praying for the victims and the victim’s families of the tragic events in West, TX last night. There’s much clean-up to be done but houses and (most) possessions are replaceable, the people are not. Many lives were lost, including volunteer firefighters and volunteer Emergency Medical Service workers. The people left behind have scars that will never completely heal, but with support and compassion we can all help ease the pain from their losses.

If you want fire… just wash the trucks!
After I washed the trucks and made them all shiny we spent about four and a half hours in another town fighting a structure fire. Then returned home only to fight one of our own a few hours later. Now all the guys keep saying “When we want a good fire, just have Fast Phoebe-Q wash the trucks!”. It’s all good, however I missed my eye exam and they’re not being very forgiving. I’m still trying to get them to give me another appointment.

Unfortunately the nerve blocks I had on Thursday have not worked this time around. It may or may not have something to do with the three fires we had over the weekend.

I want to take a moment to mention the attack on Boston yesterday. It’s very close to home. The devastation is unimaginable. I’m praying for all who have been touched by this tragedy. Also, many thanks and great job to my brave brothers and sisters with Boston Fire and EMS, as well as the other responding companies. It takes great selflessness to run into an unknown situation to help people like they did.

{April 15, 2013}   Of Mice And (Fire) Men


I was at the Fire Station around 02:30 and thought, what the he’ll, I’ll wash the trucks. I went to fill a bucket with water and I found a little friend. (S)he is just a little baby. I took the little mouse outside and let him go at the side of the building… just as the police pulled up. How could I possibly look suspicious hanging out at the fire station at 02:30 in the morning, coming around the side of the building with a bucket in my hands? Believe it or not, she believed me. I had the picture to prove it, of course. I got the engines and the ambulance all cleaned, inside and out. Of course that means we’re bound to get a call for a fire in some mud hole.

I’m having my first eye exam in five years in three hours. I’m actually looking forward to it since I can no longer read road signs and can hardly see beyond the steering wheel at night.

Yesterday I got called out to an active chimney fire “across from the Elementary School”. I have to pass the location to get to the station to get an engine, so as I went by I was scoping it out. There was lots of smoke, but no fire. The female officer ( 🙂 ) flagged me down to tell me she couldn’t locate it, so I told her to keep looking, talk to me on the radio and I’d get a truck. I finally located it about a mile East of the school and there were flames coming out of that chimney that were about three feet high. Myself and a fellow firefighter quickly ascended the roof via a ladder, and dropped two chemical bombs and started punching a pike pole down the chimney. It was clogged solid. We were able to contain the fire, save the house and extinguish the remaining fire in the wood stove. After all was done the home owner admitted that he hadn’t gotten the chimney cleaned since it was erected… twelve years ago. He was very fortunate, and so were we. The side of my helmet got a little melted and the other firefighter who was on the roof with me melted the sleeve of his jacket.

You think chimney fire and you think piece of cake. And then you get one like we had yesterday and you realize that there is no such thing as routine in the fire/rescue service.

I thank God every day when our company returns home safely to their families. We’re blessed to be in a position to help people and doubly blessed when all goes well.

{April 12, 2013}   You Win Some, You Lose Some

There has been one hell of a war going on within the Fire Department between the Chief (C1) and the Assistant Chief (C2). It was kind of like Twilight, except there was Team C1 and Team C2. Well, we no longer have an Assistant Chief, he was terminated because he thought it was acceptable to physically threaten the Fire Department members who weren’t rallying with him. It has been a stressful week and to top it off the former C2 has been dragging my name through the mud on public television and in the local newspaper. I now have enemies whom I’ve never met, let alone heard of their names.

The war rages on and I’ve been thrown on the front lines. All I want is to do my job- help people. For now I’m going to stick it out and keep a low profile but the chances are good that I will have to quit my beloved job. Fortunately I have many people backing me up.

Politics suck.

Yesterday I accidentally sliced the back of my forearm open. It didn’t hurt… until I grabbed the closest paper towel to stop the bleeding with. It was a used paper towel that was quite wet with Windex. Boy did that wake me up. To top it off, this EMS professional only has little, tiny band aids at home. It took seven of them to cover the wound. Thankfully, I’m better at this stuff when it’s someone else gushing blood!

I leave in ten minutes for my first Commissioner’s Meeting. I’m nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. AND my Mother will be there.

I had physical therapy for the first time in a month today. I’m sore. And I’m getting fitted for new bunker gear tonight, too.

Wish me luck!!!

“… when the moment is not right, and the timing is quite unusual…” ~Train (Meet Virginia) At 01:00 I found myself grabbing my car keys and sneaking out of the house. In pain, mind racing, I decided it was a good idea to go to Dunkin’ Donuts and grab a coffee: hot French vanilla turbo, extra-extra. I probably didn’t need the turbo, but it adds a nice bitterness that the “extra-extra” takes away from the coffee. Coffee in hand, MP3 player blasting angry rap, I decided to drive around for awhile. I must say, I have pretty impressive rapping skills, for a white girl. Usually a drive at night by myself listening to music will quiet the static in my head. The static being all of the random, stressful thoughts that race through my head at mind boggling speeds. It didn’t work for me tonight (blame it on the turbo?) even though I drove around for a little over two hours. I am so pleased with the gas mileage I get in my new car: 20-25 mpg vs 12-14 mpg in my old truck. I don’t feel so guilty about driving around any more. Some of the thoughts rolling around in my head tonight/this morning: *My first time ever taking minutes at a meeting is Thursday night, and the meeting will be aired on public television. Do I really think I’m capable of this new job? Am I capable to do this new job??? *Why is it that I’m always attracted to women who are married to or involved with a man? And women who are like ten years my senior? *How can I achieve a “normal” sleep pattern? Would it be really fucked up if I took sleeping pills every four to five hours so I can sleep through a day and a night? *What will it take to fix my shoulder and back problems? Am I just always going to be in pain? Can I live out my career as a firefighter/EMT as I so badly want to, or are these issues going to break me? *I’m stuck baby sitting my six year old niece all day Friday, on my birthday, what can I do with her? She’d happily sit inside on the couch all day playing on the tablet. How do you cure a child of the technology epidemic? Especially when it has it’s talons in you, also. I could go on and on, but the speed with which these thoughts zip through my mind makes it hard to keep up, and it’s a bunch of nonsense. If only my insurance wasn’t so fucked up I could get my medications and relax my brain. A little bit of Klonopin goes a long way. “Sometimes you just feel tired, you feel weak. And when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up. But you gotta search within you to try to find that inner strength, and just pull that shit outta you, and get that motivation to not give up, and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.” ~Eminem (Til I Collapse)

{April 2, 2013}   Stuck In A Rut

Last night we went to a chimney fire at the end of a class five road- meaning the road’s upkeep is up to the homeowner who lives in the house at the end of the road. Keep in mind that mud season has just started for us. I was driving the ambulance by myself, following our biggest (and heaviest) engine when the engine got stuck halfway up the steep driveway, burying the rear end to the floorboards. The guys hiked the rest of the driveway and I very careful backed the ambulance back down the hill. When I got to the bottom I began to drive the ambulance away from the driveway so they could safely get the engine out when the entire passenger side of the rig found a sinkhole. After about five minutes and what seemed like forever, I expertly drove the ambulance up and out of the sinkhole. When I parked and got out to survey the damage I observed my tire ruts that were about two and a half to three feet deep and saw that the mud went about halfway up the passenger side door. I got lucky that I was able to maneuver the rig out of the sinkhole. We had to have a heavy-duty tow truck pull the engine out.

Today I rearranged my bedroom because I got sick of bashing my head off of a shelf that hung at the head of my bed. Now my body is useless and aching. I haven’t had injections, pain medicine or physical therapy in about a month because I’ve been fighting with the insurance company about my deductible. It took them three weeks to apply my paid deductible and they finally approved it on Friday. Conveniently, of course, since no doctors are open Saturdays and Sundays and I was due for another deductible Monday.

I just want some pain relief!

et cetera