Sunday, November 15, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 60

Hi Team!

Today was a pretty good day. I stayed up way too late again last night. As I have stated many times before I am a night owl. When I don’t have any specific reason to be in bed early, I don’t have the discipline to go to bed at a reasonable time. I fell asleep about 1:15. I woke up briefly when my niece was getting ready for school. I don’t know when that was, maybe 7:00-ish. I moved all of my stuff from the “school room” (my sister-in-law homeschools the kids, except her high schooler) to the living room and crashed again on the couch. I didn’t wake up again until 12:20 (Sheepish look on face). The point I am making is that I did at least get a good amount of sleep!

Pete actually cooperated with me today. Maybe when I showed him the squad (that ran over my sister-in-laws cell phone -twice!) he got scared! Anyway, he says that from 1:00 until 9:00-ish I walked 4,687 steps. Since I am on vacation and didn’t have anywhere to go, that is probably accurate. I have had no problem getting the fluids down either.

Okay, so fire department stuff is next. Today, was a long slow uneventful day as far as that goes. However, late this evening my brother and I left in my car to go pick his daughter up from a party. Of course that is when a call came in. His station was not first due, but he would have gone to the call had he been at the station or had the squad with him. We decided to stop by another station and pick up the rescue squad there and head to the call. He called dispatch to report and got the go ahead. It was night time so I could see the flashing of our emergency lights from inside the cab as they reflected on the road and trees and such. Sadly, the call was so close to the fire station that we had no need to use the sirens!

We arrived and the ambulance was already there. It was a call involving an elderly man trying to maintain some dignity in dealing with the final chapter of his life. There was a nurse in the home and the man was set up in a hospital bed in his son’s house. I won’t go into the specifics of his needs in order to maintain privacy but the time came to decide how to proceed. The medics were talking to the nurse and the family about weather or not they ought to transport the man to the hospital. The family was rather reluctant to put dad through the rigamarole of doing that and kind of hemmed and hawed about it. But when one of the medics asked the patient what he wanted to do, he indicated he wanted to go. That settled that.

As an observer, I felt a little obtrusive. I felt like I was standing around with a houseful of rescue personnel and I was standing off to the side to stay out of the way, but the family just sees me as someone standing around not doing anything. They didn’t know I was praying for them but I am not sure that they would have thought of that as doing anything anyway. However, once the decision was made to take the man to the hospital, my brother went out for the stretcher. Another of the rescue personnel started to follow him out but he looked at the man and said “She’s with me, we’ve got it,” as he pointed my way. I got to go out and help bring the stretcher in. I got to be useful on a call! Yay me!

When they had the man packaged to go, I got to help carry equipment out of the house. I know it might sound a little silly being excited about that little bit of “action” but I got to be a part of it and that was cool for me! I am happy that this trip I actually got to go on a call, but I hope there are others and that we’ll get a chance to run with sirens. (Yeah, I know, I’m still like a 7 year old boy on his first tour of a fire station.)

After we got home from that call, my brother and I were discussing how these types of calls always get to him a little. It is sad to see someone who has lived a long life and done lots of things and who has been independent for so long now have to deal with the final chapter and try to maintain some dignity. The saddest part is knowing that someone will be left behind. I can’t really put into words what I am trying to explain, but some of you may know already. It makes one face one’s own mortality, and that of their loved ones. I hope that when I get to that point (where the man from the call was) that the caregivers and emergency personnel will have that same kind of compassion for me and for my loved ones that I will leave behind. The whole thing was kind of an affirmation to me that this IS what I want to do with my life. I want to show compassion to others and hopefully make something a little less scary and a little less unpleasant for them. I want to make a difference.

Stay safe my friends!

Hotflash out.

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