Finally going back to full duty.

From this entry on I am going to keep the latest post at the top. The main part of my story has been kept in chronological order starting with “The Day Before.” It is getting harder and harder to keep placing them in order and not fair to those who may be following this to have to wade through the rest of it to get to the latest post. I hope that this will not be received poorly by anyone.

It is finally time for me to go back to full duty as a fireman. when the day came that my six month license medical suspension came I was on the phone with PEN DOT while the Dr. was faxing the paperwork to them. I talked to a very helpful woman on the phone. She told me that she was looking at the paperwork as we speak. She told me that I would be reinstated by the time we got off the phone. This was great news. I cannot do my job without being able to drive a fire engine or an ambulance. As soon as I received the fax back from Penn Dot saying that I was in fact re instated I went straight to the city manager’s office to give him that document. There was just one thing that I was not allowed to do yet. I was not allowed to be on elevated platforms. I was still having positional vertigo which made me dizzy when I looked up and to the right and when I looked down to the right and left. I was sent to occupational therapy because of this to see if they could help the crystals in my left ear go back to where they were supposed to be a little sooner. They also had me doing lunges, and crawling on the floor, lifting things off of shelves and putting them back up. I did squats with no weights, and bounced balls on the floor.

The best way to describe what was going on my ear is this. The ear has little crystals inside that act like marbles to give you balance, I  hit my head hard enough that my little marbles flew out of their bowl. Until those marbles made it back to the bowl, my brain could not make sense of what my body was doing. Normally if a person does a somersault the body can react because of these crystals and keep you balanced. If these crystals are not in their proper place your brain can’t keep up with what your body is doing. Therefore when you are done with your somersault your body thinks that it is still doing it which gives you dizziness. Pretty weird, but also pretty neat if you really think about how smart the human body is.

I got through this therapy and the dizziness was going away at a pretty fast pace thanks to the staff. I was feeling pretty damn good about where I was right now, and ready to tackle anything that came knocking at my door. Then I had a reality check of what my friends, family, and co-workers went through on Nov. 11th 2011.

Within the first two weeks of coming back to work we had a couple of very severe medical calls. Both of them were head injury patient s that were going to be flown by helicopter to  a trauma center. On the first, one the patients spouse met the ambulance at the helicopter landing site and just missed him being loaded in to the aircraft and flown away. We assured her that her loved one was in caring hands.

The second one was a little worse of an accident where the patient fell down some stairs and had a head injury. The patient’s family was on scene. I was doing my job as a medical care provider and it was very very hard not to be distracted by the cries of the family asking us if she was ok and if she was going to make it. That is an answer that I never give in the field because I am not a doctor and I do not diagnose. I told the family that we are doing everything possible and their loved one will be very well taken care of. Fortunately for both the outcome was good.

I have been doing this job since January of 1996 and I have seen some very bad things and have been on some very hard incidents. These two weighed very heavily on my mind for quite some time. There were days when I went to work wondering if this was still the job for me. The other side of me said that there was no way possible that after fighting so hard to get back to this point that i was going to give up because of a couple bad calls. Of course it was going to hit me hard, it hit very close to home. Something good would come out of this as well.

I have always seen myself as doing the best job possible when it comes to caring for patients. What I have learned though is that I feel like I have  become better at caring for people with head injuries or seizures. I think that maybe this is because now I can empathize with what they are going through better than I could have before. I know they are confused or do not know what is going on at all. I have a little bit more personal knowledge that I carry with me now. It doesn’t make me better because I have learned alot about this type of medical call. It makes me better because I am more compassionate to this type of medical call. Once that patient is on the way to a facility I always try to console a family for 2 or 3 minutes while they are getting ready to head to the hospital. I take great pride in this. It makes me better at my job as well as a better person. My Fall to Life was beginning to have more plus sides than down sides


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