I have made it through the first test in my mind by being subjected to some medical calls similar to mine and now I am ready for the big test. I do not wish bad things on any person, however my job is usually about bad things happening to good people. It is not a fun thing to go to a house or a business knowing that the owner and family is watching their dreams literally going up in smoke. You hear that firemen love to go and fight fires. We do in fact love to do our job, but with that being said if we truly loved to fight fires, we would be loving to see utter chaos and destruction. What we love is being able to go and mitigate the problem and save as much as possible while doing so. I sometimes get borderline angry when I see all of the T-shirts and the bumper stickers bragging up “We fight what you fear.” We fear it too. The difference is that we are trained on how to interfere and make it go away. We are given the proper equipment and technology to enable us to cause that interference. A fireman without his equipment and training is nothing more than the civilian standing on the street watching it burn while we work. Any fireman that says he is not afraid of going into a burning building in some way, is in the wrong line of work and is asking for trouble. Anyways back to the topic. My rant is done.
I needed to have that test for me to see if I was ready. The Dr’s. said that I was and I believe them completely. I just needed to know how was my body going to react. Was the vertigo going to come to me while crawling through a smokey room looking up to the ceilings? I didn’t know because I haven’t done it yet since the injury.
I think even more importantly I needed to prove to my co workers that I was back and, I was back better than ever. I was working out as much as possible while I was off in my home to make sure I stayed as fit as I could. During those two weeks that is spent on my back I had lost about 12 pounds and a good portion of muscle mass. I have never considered myself to be “The Incredible Hulk” but I am not built like a stick figure either. I can still get in the push up position and whoop the young guys in push ups, and sit ups as well. I know that my co workers had to have questions whether or not I was still able to do this job the way I did before.
Those first couple of fires I went out of my way to be sure that if a task needed completed I would not just point to a couple of guys and tell them what was needed accomplished. If I was not the officer in charge, I would tell them what was needed grab the equipment and tell them to keep up. Of course they did. We have very good and well trained firemen. I climbed up a ladder to a roof one day and was using a pike pole to pull down some ceilings. I looked out the window while I was straddling the sill and there were 3 guys watching me do what I was doing. One half of me wondered if they were watching and trying to get the nerve to tell me to get down because I wasn’t supposed to be there, and the other half was wondering if they were watching just to make sure that I was ok. Either way I was going to accomplish the job. I was elevated yes, but i was in a seated position in a safe place doing my job. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
A few more tests that I would need to face would eventually come my way, but one of the big ones was gone and successful. I know that it was partially a sense of pride for me knowing I could do it and proving to the others that I could do it.
My physical abilities have been proven to the crew. My mental status would be tested next. In a good way I guess. I was no longer the tight lipped guy who would let the little things slide by without saying too much. THAT ME WAS GONE. My Fall To Life was taking another turn for the better in as far as my eyes could see.