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{March 25, 2014}   Stalked

As a Firefighter/EMT, when we have bad days they very quickly turn into bad weeks. A bad day for us all too often means that we lost a patient or lost one of our own. This week I worked a scene of a young woman who completed suicide. There was nothing we could do for her, she was gone long before anyone called 911. Even though there was so very obviously nothing anyone could do to save this young woman’s life it tends to follow you, stalk you. Some things that you encounter in this profession never leave you.

For the last three days I’ve been haunted by the completed suicides that I’ve worked in my two short years as a firefighter/EMT. None of which were viable. The elderly male who put a gun in his mouth and sprayed his entire bathroom with blood and brain matter. The 19 year old girl who hung herself with the cord of a curling iron from an eye-hook in a bathroom ceiling. The 32 year old mother who we found face down in her own vomit, she overdosed on Oxycodone with her teenage children in the house. And then Saturday, the young woman who sat in her car garage with her car running.

The things I’ve seen make it hard to sleep at night. Natural death is hard to deal with, but when someone actively takes their own life it’s devastating for all involved. It kind of makes you angry, you studied your ass off to learn how to save people when they’re circling the drain, you’ve held the hand of the dying and tried to do your best to comfort them when all they want is more time on this Earth. Then you go and cut down the body of someone who decided that their life isn’t worth living. It definitely makes you question your faith in God, or whatever higher power that you believe in, that they allow the people who want to live, to die, while the ones who have no desire to live anymore can choose to take their own lives.

I’m not putting down people who are depressed, suicidal or mentally ill. I understand some of the emotional distress and chemical imbalances that play a role in depression. I’m just simply asking why things play out the way they do. I understand that I’ll never have an answer to that question.

Conclusion: death is difficult. My job has me knee deep in corpses, when I’d much rather do lift assists all day every day. You can comfort the families who’ve lost a loved one all day, but you can never breathe life back into a person when their time has come.

EMS: the profession of being stalked by death.



{March 1, 2014}   Blogger Flu

I guess I’ve got the Blogger Flu. I have all kinds of ideas for new blogs and I’m excited for them. For now I’ve settled on making one more blog, for a total of three. Check it out at professionallesbo.wordpress.com . This new blog, appropriately titled “The Professional Lesbian”, is less of a diary and more for funny stuff, pictures, quotes, etc. I think it will lean more toward the LGBT EMS and Fire Community but there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone.

Come on friends, check it out!!!



{November 15, 2013}   Setbacks

natural_heart_healthThis evening while preparing for EMS training at the Fire Station we had an in-house emergency. Unfortunately that emergency was mine. I had what the ER docs explained as a “cardiac event“, however they couldn’t tell me exactly what it was. I had what we call a syncope episode, a loss of consciousness caused by a fall in blood pressure. Basically, I blacked out and hit the floor. My own boys from the firehouse took me to the hospital. They refused to allow our transport company to take me because they insisted on staying with me and taking me themselves. I was in the ER receiving treatment for about three hours before they decided to admit me, which I refused. Lucky for me, my best friend was also in the ER for a minor medical issue and found me when she got discharged. God bless her, she came and sat with me until I was able to get discharged. I put on a tough front, but that meant a lot to me. Tomorrow morning I see a cardiologist and then follow up with my Primary Care Physician.

Now I’m sitting on my bed writing this because I’m not able to sleep. More than likely because of the Nitroglycerin they gave me. All of this comes at a terrible time… I’m stressed to the max already from things going on in my personal life and I’m super busy with work, physical therapy, the pain clinic and kids. I can’t afford a setback right now. In Reba McIntyre’s words, “I guess the world ain’t gonna stop for me broken heart”.

So I’m catching up on my TV shows- Chicago Fire, Grey’s Anatomy, Chelsea Lately and American Horror Story.



{November 12, 2013}   Coping Skills

mvaThe tones went out for this motor vehicle accident at 17:57 this evening. Two of the occupants were flown to a major hospital by helicopter from the scene and it will be a miracle if either of them survive.

In Fire and EMS we tend to joke about these horrific calls as a way to cope with the horror we are faced with. It seems morbid, or even disturbing, to people who do not deal with these scenes. But for us it’s the only way we know. So… Don’t Drink and drive, or I get to see you naked!

Think people! And stay safe!



{November 1, 2013}   Don’t Drink and Drive

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It’s simply not worth it. This was my wake up call at 01:30 this morning. Miraculously the single occupant wasn’t seriously injured and there were no children in the child seats that were ejected from the vehicle.
Stay safe everyone!



{August 29, 2013}   In Action

In Action.

 

From my other blog- a small glimpse into my “happy” place, my work and what I live for.



{July 30, 2013}   Thank You

Thank You

Being an EMT/firefighter myself I know that we don’t hear this nearly enough. Most people have no idea about the things we see and the challenges we face. But we do it because there’s nothing else we would rather do. Thankless job or not, we eat, sleep and breathe to help people.

 



{July 26, 2013}   I Work for a Higher Power

And I don’t mean someone with a fancy job title who makes more money than I do.

Here’s how my day has gone, so far:
04:00am- small fire in a machine shop. Piece of cake.

04:40am- 62 year old male, heart attack. With some Aspirin and some Nitroglycerin we were able to stop it, temporarily, and get him to the hospital.

10:30am- 84 year old female with severe stomach pain and possibly bloody stools. Package and transport.

13:00pm- 76 year old male fell, definite broken hip/pelvis. We gave him pain meds before we moved him and transported him.

18:00pm- requested by State Police to respond and check on a 43 year old male who had been assaulted. Upon arrival we fund out that his 20 year old son used his face for a punching bag, and he was positive he didn’t have any facial fractures because he’d fractured almost every bone in his face when he was younger and a “brawler”. We did not transport him. Good thing because any technician sitting in the back of the ambulance with him would have gotten drunk off his breath.

Five calls in one day is a lot for my department. Sometimes we can go a week without a single call. I’m a volunteer firefighter/EMT. That’s why I say I work for a Higher Power. I do it because it’s a calling to help people, not for the puny paycheck. Even if I didn’t get paid a penny for going on these calls I would still do it. I’ve never done anything more rewarding than holding an elderly patients hand while he writhed in pain, or holding a Mother while she cries because her daughter just completed suicide. You can’t put an hourly rate on this job. It has to be in your heart. And you have to have a strong heart to do the job without becoming damaged yourself.



{July 6, 2013}   Day One

humidity

Today was the first day that my nephew has been here. He’s spending the weekend here and then he’ll be moved in on Friday. So far it’s gone well. He wants to be a medic in the Army and so I took him to the Fire Department with me and showed him around. He seemed to really enjoy it. One of my Lieutenants left a Fire Department shirt in my locker for him, which I thought was very nice. A seventeen year old boy isn’t going to be easy to live with but at least we’re starting off well.

I was awakened this morning by my pager going off. One of our frequent fliers passed away last night and her husband called 911 this morning. He said he couldn’t wake her after the six o’clock news last night but he thought she was just in a deep sleep, induced by this awful heat. However when he got up this morning (15 hours later) she hadn’t moved at all so he called 911. She had been gone for awhile and the house was hotter than it was outside. It was not a pleasant call, especially without first having some coffee.

Tomorrow I’m going to a big family cookout. One of my Aunts flew up from Georgia so we’re having a big get-together, and my nephew will finally get to meet the rest of the family. The poor kid has been in foster homes for so long (unbeknownst to my family, long story) and I think he needs to know he has a big family who loves him and cares about him.

Let’s hope this heat and awful humidity breaks up soon! We’ve been at a rather steady 92% humidity. Ugh.



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I read the news with great sadness. 18 fellow firefighters have perished in the line of duty while fighting an out of control wildland fire in Arizona. To their families: words cannot heal the devastating loss. Be proud of them. They are true heroes who fought a hard battle. To the firefighters left behind: always remember the reason we do this job. It’s never easy. Carry your brothers and sisters close to your heart, they’re still fighting with you from Heaven. To the firefighters who lost the battle: thank you. Rest easy, we’ll take it from here.



et cetera