Saturday, January 30, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 136 and 137

Hi Team!

Sorry I did not post yesterday.  I had a very busy day and then went out with friends last night so I did not get a chance to post.  Yesterday was a good day.  I met Coach Alex and we had our workout-walk.  We only did 2 instead of 3 miles because we both had so much else to do for the day but it was a good workout anyway.   I drank 3 quarts of fluid as well.  And I slept very well the night before so I was three for three for Friday, Jan 29th.  YAY ME!  

I met with the Fire Buff Battalion president, Cat and her husband Bob so that they could take me to the fire department to get my ID badge made.  When we went to 9's, where they do that, nobody was home.  Darned fire department chooses to be busy when we are available for a visit!!  LOL   Well, while we talked about where we would go to wait for them, she asked me if I had gotten the fire call the night before.  I had not.  We discovered that my fire phone had serious problems.  Actually all 8 of the Battalion's fire phones were having problems.  Mine, like the other seven, was going off at 3 am for no reason with a busy signal.  When the phone was closed, even when it was on the charger.  Nothing would shut the busy signal off except to completely shut down the phone, wait a few seconds and restart it.  Weird stuff, I tell you.  We took my phone back to Verizon, along with Cat's and she let them know in no uncertain terms how unhappy she was with our service.  The Battalion has had 8 phones for six months and the longest that we have gone without having to go into Verizon to get something fixed was about 4 weeks!  Cat kept stressing to them, we work with the FIRE DEPARTMENT, we NEED our phones to do what they are supposed to do so that we can RESPOND to fire calls.  I think the phones are fixed now.  At least, I HOPE they are!  While Verizon fiddled with our phones, we went to lunch.  After lunch we got our phones and headed back to 9's to see if we could get that ID badge.  We were in luck, they just rolled in ahead of us.  The door was still up when we got there.

We had to try several times to get my picture done.  Digital cameras can be touchy and we had a tough time in the station finding the right lighting and background to make a decent picture.  At one point they asked me to stand in front of a beige door.  I was about to when I looked at the plate on the door.  Just above my head would have been the words, "Battalion Chief".  I laughed and suggested that perhaps that wasn't the best spot to take my picture. =D   They took me in the day room and suggested I sit in one of the recliner chairs.  They are huge, I am not.  I said to them that I might get swallowed up in the chair.  I had visions of me looking like a miniature person sitting on the furniture in a giant's living room.  They decided that didn't look very good either.  Eventually I got my picture taken in front of a white cabinet they found in one of the rooms.  The firefighter who took the picture then inputted (is that even a word?) my picture and my information into the computer.  A few more clicks of the mouse and voila!  I now have an official Tacoma Fire Department ID badge with a darned good picture (W. Spencer did a great job) which is amazing because I don't generally photograph all that well.  Now I can officially respond to fire calls!!  YAY!!!!
Basically, that made me week!

And then there was today!

I got up and got ready to go this morning feeling a little nervous and a little excited at the same time.  In order to apply for the EMT program at the college, I had to take CPR for the Professional Rescuer from either the Red Cross or the American Heart Association.  As I mentioned before, (I think) I sweet talked my way into the class for today.

The class was an all day INTENSE training.  CPR, Rescue Breathing and AED training for professionals is more intense and involved than the basic classes are.  It was a fun, hard, intense, challenging and exciting class to take.  I have to say that I am physically exhausted far beyond any level of exhaustion I have had in a very long time.   I was definitely the oldest participant in the class.  One of the instructors was older than me.  She had been a paramedic locally for quite a while and then an injury forced her to quit.  She then taught with the Red Cross for 17 years and recently took the EMT program again.  She has decided to become a Physician's Assistant.  We bonded instantly because we both decided to follow our dreams late in life!  Anyway, I was telling you about her because, when we started doing practicals, she suggested I get some padding for my knees.  She singled me out.  Not because she was trying to discriminate, she just felt some sympathy or empathy because I have old knees!  She would not take no for an answer and she found me some decent padding.  It's funny though because it was never placed in the right position to be any help no matter what I did.  Medical emergencies are not particulary predictable.  LOL  It was okay with me though because I really did NOT want any special considerations.  In fact, she told us if our wrists hurt we could take it easy, etc.  I told her I would not modify any thing I was expected to do because I would not be able to in real life situations.  She liked that.  She said to remember that in real life situations I would not feel the pain as much, and might not notice it at all even, until everything was done and over with.  Adrenaline has a way of doing that.  She seemed to like that I would not whimp out.    I definitely felt good about it too.  And it showed me a little of what I need to do to prepare for this kind of career too.

Now I am legally considered a "professional" emergency responder.  I am legally obligated to respond to any medical emergency I come upon, 24/7/365 (and sometimes 366) unless someone more qualified is on scene.  That is a huge responsibility.  One that is at the same time a little scary and empowering.  I am qualified to make a difference.  I have a lot more training and experience to get in order to reach my dreams, but this was a good start today and I am proud of my accomplishment and excited to be one step higher on my ladder.  And WOW... am I ever tired!!!

Next step:  Monday morning I will take my information and my money to the college and apply for the EMT program.  I heard from one of the other students in my class that there are 10 applicants so far.  That leaves just 17 spaces.  I hope he and I get two of them.  He still needs the immunizations.

I'll keep you posted.  In the mean time, stay safe.

Hotflash out.