{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!

{October 5, 2012}   Dreams and To-Do Lists

I had an upsetting dream last night. In my dream, my Lieutenant, who’s also my favorite guy at the Fire Department, came to my house in our Engine 1 and told me that he and two other Captains had a discussion about me and agreed that I should turn in my resignation. He said to think about it. I walked a figure-eight pattern in the driveway for a few minutes then told him that I would not resign. He said, “You don’t really have a choice.”

I woke up from that dream and I was genuinely angry and upset. It took me a moment to realize that I had a dream and that it wasn’t real. Why in the world would my subconscious do that to me? It seems like a cruel joke. At the present time I live for that department, being an EMT and Firefighter. If it wasn’t for the department I would have nothing to hold onto.

Of course in just a little over an hour I have to go have a physical which is a requirement for the department. Maybe subconsciously I’m worried that something will be askew and I will “fail” the physical, resulting in me having to give up the fire department. And just last night at our weekly meeting I was given the major responsibility of inspecting the ambulance and all of the on-board equipment on a regular basis! It’s an honor, really. Lives literally depend on that ambulance, all of the supplies we carry on-board and especially our heart monitors and AEDs.

After my physical, the blood-work and immunizations, I have to do some grocery shopping. I’d rather stick my thumb in my eye. I hate grocery shopping. Then I’m supposed to go to the Fire Department, print out the State regulations of what we have to have on the ambulance and take an inventory of our on-board supplies.

What I want to do: snuggle in bed and watch TV or just nap.

{July 10, 2012}   First Transport

Tuesday, 07/10/2012


I may be driving in my first transport this evening or early tomorrow morning. That should be good news for me, right? Here’s the catch: My brother is the patient. Normally the Fire/Rescue Company I work for would not do transports, however where my brother is a firefighter for the same department, we will do the transport. I will be driving and two of our EMT’s will be on board. We just have to wait for the other hospital to have a bed open up.

So, needless to say my first transport will be memorable. I’ll never forget who it was for for or where it was to or from.

Wish me luck!!! And please pray for my brother’s speedy, full recovery.

{June 10, 2012}   The Inexperienced

*Rookies in the field of Fire & Rescue

The rookies, they’re more enthusiastic than their senior counterparts. They’re one step ahead of their experienced coworkers when responding to a call. The adrenaline pumps through their veins just a little harder, a little faster. They rely more on instinct and textbook procedures, rather than experience.
The rookies move quick. They get excited, like a little kid on Christmas morning. What the more experienced coworkers do not tell the rookies, as a sort of code, for fear they will swerve their career paths from Fire & Rescue is this:
The excitement tends to go away, more and more each time you load a lifeless body onto the stretcher. The adrenaline pumps weaker, replaced by dread and fear in the form of nightmares: the burning building, too hot to enter, with a child inside. The car accident caused by a drunk driver, he escaped without so much as a scratch, but he killed the young mother and father in the other car, leaving two young children parent-less. Or worse yet, being called to a home of your own family, arriving in time to find out that it’s too late, they’ve stopped compressions.
The haunts that these workers go through on a daily basis are inconceivable. But they do it because someone has to, and they just happen to care enough to be the one for the job. I use the words “job” and “career” very lightly here, because the fact of the matter is that most small-town Fire and Rescue is on a volunteer basis. These men and women work all day at their nine to five grind, if they’re lucky for the hours to be so simple, and then go on a call at two in the morning because something’s wrong and someone needs their help. I can tell you from my own experience, that on the way out the door in the wee hours of the morning, they’re not thinking they can’t afford the gas to drive across town and not get paid for it. They’re not thinking about how they have to get up in a few hours to get their kids off to school and go to work. They’re focused on the emergency. Every emergency, every call, is treated as a life and death matter in their eyes.
The horrors rescue responders face, from violent encounters with patients to sleepless nights, wondering what could have been done different to change the outcome of that one call. I have a pretty good idea of what I’m up against in continuing my education to become a licensed Emergency Medical Technician. I have already been on several calls ranging from a middle aged man with a toothache to an older man overdosing on medication and jumping out of a second story window. There are frustrations and often bewilderment, but there’s also that feeling of satisfaction of being the help, being the comfort to someone who is in distress. My Chief has a saying that I’ve grown fond of: “Don’t make someone else’s emergency your emergency. Your safety is first. Once you arrive on scene, the emergency is over, like it never existed. It’s in your hands and you have it under control.”


{May 19, 2012}   Eerily Quiet

So far it’s been quiet around here this weekend… too quiet. The only call we’ve had since Wednesday morning was a lift assist for a seventy-three year old man at quarter to four this morning. A couple of our guys are gone for the weekend, so our department is spread a little thin… where’s the big one? We all know it’s going to happen, we just have to sit and wait for it.

Some rather exciting news for me: I have started driving the Ambulance! I’m pretty psyched about it, even though I would prefer to respond direct with my own truck. It feels good when people give you responsibility, it means they trust you and your judgement. It feels very good.

This afternoon will take me to the Cemetery where we will bury my Great-Aunt Ellen. She passed away from cancer on Tuesday morning. She would be turning one-hundred years old in September. I think she lived a pretty full life. She survived two marriages, both of which her husbands passed away. Can you imagine?

That brings me to my last little ramble… I live in a very small town. I was literally born at the fire station that I’m now working for. I’ve been here my entire life. So, it’s just a matter of time before we get a call to respond to one of my family members for an emergency. I’m not looking forward to that day at all.

et cetera