Thursday, November 11, 2010

Walking the road

I almost feel like I shouldn't write this blog, because of the day it is today. Through internal debate I've decided this blog is for me, to put my own thoughts in order and being such, if they didn't need to be put in order, I wouldn't write the blog. That being said, I will write my blog and I'm sorry if anyone feels it is ill-timed, but this is for me.

This is my second day off and I still find myself thinking about a call I took on my first night shift on Monday. It was from a woman who thought her husband was having a heart attack or a seizure, she wasn't sure which. He had vomited outside and she had brought him in. He's breathing but not responsive and foaming at the mouth, so I verify her home address and phone number, then patch us all over to ambulance dispatch. In the time it took for me to tell ambulance where the patient was, he stopped breathing. I entered a fire call from my side as well, per protocol when a person is not breathing, fire is dispatched to assist. All the while I can hear her crying, 'Phil, don't leave me'. Ambulance has her start compressions but to no avail. I wonder when she knows what both ambulance dispatch and I already know. I think she must have known though because her crying was less panicked but more upset, if that makes any sense. In ten second intervals she would still plead with him, not to leave her. It broke my heart to hear her plead and I kept updating the call with what was happening. This was Ambulance's ball game now, they had control of the call guiding her with the compressions that wouldn't be stopped until a paramedic or firefighter arrived on scene. For the most part I was the silent person in the back of the room, typing information to the fire fighters on route, briefly talking with the ambulance dispatch, briefly with the grieving wife. It came to a point when Dispatcher Grumpy, who was doing Fire Dispatch that night stood up and said 'Kat hang up.'. I muted my phone and asked why? What if something changed? He told me that ambulance dispatch would call him if something they needed to know happened. I hung up as instructed, at first thinking he didn't want all the information being put on the fire call and then I read what I was putting on there. I was pretty much stuck on 'on mode' and was writing things like 'still preforming compressions' and 'male still not breathing'. The man was dead, I was with her when it happened, maybe not physically but I was still there. Dispatcher Grumpy was pulling me off the call because I didn't need to be there anymore. I had done my job and needed help getting unstuck from 'on mode'.

I sat there for a few minutes, waiting for the call. Ambulance did arrive and so did the firefighters. I waiting, watching and waiting for Fire dispatch to be called and updated with what I knew was there. I had to see this one end, if that makes any sense, I felt like I had to see it through. It was updated. The man was officially dead. Fire dispatch entered a police call, also standard with any sudden death at home. The man was young, early 50's, and it was completely unexpected. I read the police report later, probably shouldn't have, husband and wife had, as the officers put it, intimate time and then the man went outside on the porch and got sick. Wife brought him in. He had chest pain and the wife was going to take him to the hospital. Things went downhill and she called me. Now I was up to speed, I knew the beginning, middle and end. Thinking that could take my mind off the call, I was wrong. I still thought about it the rest of my shift. Dispatcher Grumpy asked if I was okay and I said yes. If a call bothers you, you are weak, if it doesn't you are cold. There's a very fine line you have to walk and I walked it out of there.

I've had a couple calls like this in the past, where people die either on the phone with you, or you're talking to the spouse while the other had died in their sleep beside them. I think it's harder when the people who go are good people. Not that I want to see anyone go, but when it's a gang banger who has a gun fight with another gang banger and dies ... it doesn't bother me as much. Call me cold. When that same fight gets an innocent bystander, who had been at the wrong place at the wrong time, call me weak.

Toady is a day of remembering. I did not go to a service, I did not stand at cenotaph while poems were read and the wreaths were laid. Call me cold. I stayed home and was alone with my thoughts. I remember our veterans, what they sacrificed for. What my grandparents fought for. They stood for peace. I honour them for more then just this one day. I've always been told there's not one way to feel so there's not one way to show it. I held my own moment of silence and thanked those who not only fought and were taken, but those who fought and came back a different person then when they left.

I was always told that we never know how long or short our lives are supposed to be. Just that however long it is, that's how long it was meant to be. For whatever purpose our lives serve, it will be served and then it's time to go. We don't always get the luxury of knowing what the reason is, for it could be our deliberate actions or actions that we didn't take, something that someone saw or interpreted us to do. We may serve our purpose and never know it. Our purpose might be our death, it might be a change to come because of it. What our death might spawn. It helps because I know the husband and the veterans had served their purpose and that it wasn't in vain. Whatever they were supposed to do, was done. Rest their souls, you have walked your road. Now I will walk mine until I have done what I've supposed to.

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