Family camp time


I know that it has been quite some time since I have posted on this blog, and I have no excuse other than life has been keeping me very busy. That is not an excuse however. I started this blog in hopes of helping a couple of people who may have suffered a TBI or similar injury, and I need to stick with that plan and stay on this blog like it is my job.

A very good thing happened this last weekend. The entire family was able to get together and spend time together at my brother’s house camping. He has a nice house with a nice little set up with fire ring, tent room, a little rifle range, and a small speak easy in his garage. he recently built a large smoker which we cooked on Saturday when friends were also invited over to a great fish fry. We of course did not limit the meal to fish. We had hot sausage, steaks, hamburgers, deer bologna that was smoked the day before, and of course the fish beer battered and fried in a turkey fryer.

Of course as we sat around the smoker making sure that it maintained the perfect cooking temperature, we had a beer or two and me, my brother, and my sister talked about the past and the future. It is the first time that we all three been able to sit down without anyone else and actually reminisce. It is funny how life throws things at you that you don’t realize are happening until you have reached the point that we reached this last weekend. My sister had talked about her not leaving my side while I was in the hospital with my TBI. My brother talked about how he would not come to my house after I was out of the hospital because both of us being an Alpha mentality, and me being in a state of mind that I could not be wrong, he thought that we would clash too much and any time that we spent together would be no good to either of us.

All of this time, I thought that some of my family members just did not want to see me in the pain and mental state that I was in because it would hurt them. I know that part of this was true, but I did not realize that the other side of it was that they were doing it for me so not to cause conflict within the family…Hmmmmm

I never thought about it this way. It makes a hell of a lot of sense now, because who would I like to argue with the most if I was going to argue. It would be my family because I know that they would tolerate the most out of me. Makes perfect sense now that I think about it.

Anyways back to camping. Every generation in our family and almost every person was able to be there. My mother, her 3 children, there children, and the child of one of them. It was a very nice thing to see every one together and enjoying the weather and the family fun that we always seem to have when we get together.

Enjoy your family and never take for granted that you know the answers, ask and you shall receive the answer that you need. May not be the one you want, but at least you will know.

 

 

 

Still with Hurricane Katrina


A stray dog abandoned by its owners approaches...

A stray dog abandoned by its owners approaches a rescue worker in New Orleans. Many animals were left by their owners who could not take them to the evacuation shelters. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I stated in my last post that I was going to post again on this subject and if you were faint at heart you may want to read cautiously. We were still staying at the same fire dept. or the one down the street responding to calls with them to be sure that the members of the dept’s were able to get the rest that they needed and tend to their own affairs. there were two journalists that also stayed at the station, but really never talked because they were always on a computer. We even had a little mascot. It was a dog that came wandering in all beat up and hungry. I was very surprised by looking at this little 6 pound dog that he was able to survive. It crossed my mind occasionally when I petted him if his family had survived or if they had perished in the storm.

The first trip that we had taken down into the city, downtown was still flooded all except for the French Quarter and some of Bourbon St. there were people just sitting on the street having a drink of their cocktail of choice, in other words a little whiskey.

We saw air boats combing the flooded streets looking for people who needed help out and also assessing the city. The Superdome was devastated as seen alot on TV but the TV could not do it justice. There were helicopters flying overhead still looking for people that needed pulled from rooftops, and there was smoke visible from numerous fires on the outskirts of the city. The next paragraph will be a little graphic

Next we were teamed up with a couple of US Marshalls that would do patrols throughout the city at night. Our team was asked to send someone along because we had medical training. The marshalls would do their job as far as law enforcement and keeping people peaceful and we would do ours as EMT’s if needed. On more than 1 trip into the city we wold see a body laying on the roadway only covered with a trash bag because they had not been picked up and cared for yet. This did not happen all the time, but once was more than enough. We were asked to send some people over to the airport where we could help with bodies at the makeshift morgue. This was not a task that anyone wanted to take part in, but they needed it done because the President was going to be coming to landing there. Fortunately they must have found another team to do the job because we never had to go. I was very thankful for that.

I remember one day very vividly that we were heading in to the city and were stopped a t an intersection where there was a man with his hands in his cooler and shaking his head at the same time. It rather obvious to me that this man was in desperate need of some ice in his cooler. We got out of the car and dumped every piece of ice we had in our cooler into his. He almost had tears in his eyes. We may as well have handed that man a bag of gold. It was a   very good feeling to help someone with something so easy to do.

Back at the fire dept. the members were able to make a comfortable sleeping area for their new guests. they had built a wall behind the engines and placed an air conditioner so it wold be cool when we had time to sleep. They called it the bunny ranch. Where they came up with the materials I don’t really know but it was a great relief after being out in the heat all day.

We ate alot of MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) but we also were treated to straight up cajun meal when time allowed. Gumbo, tamale’s, and jambalaya to name a few. It was a nice change from the MRE’s. At night you could always here fighting going on in the neighborhood behind us, and on one occasion you could hear gun shots in the neighborhood in the distance. I just stayed where I was because I knew the guys out front were very well armed and not afraid to defend the dept. if needed.

Once our main goals were accomplished, we would be ready to head back to Pennsylvania. It would be a few more days of running calls and keeping the station fully manned then our time here would be over. I can’t say that I was ready to leave because we were doing an important job. I can say that I did miss my family and was ready to get on that plane back to PA. We said our good byes to the dept members and other members of our team and we went our separate ways. Occasionally we would talk on the phone but have lost track of them since.

I am very proud to say that I was able to be a part of a response team, but I can also say that there was a lot of things that angered and frustrated me over the amount of time that we spent in that big convention center in Atlanta prior to our deployment.

My time with Hurricane Katrina


Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...

Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near its peak Category 5 intensity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Flooded I-10/I-610 interchange and surrounding...

Flooded I-10/I-610 interchange and surrounding area of northwest New Orleans and Metairie, Louisiana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Up until this point in my blog, I have pretty much talked about the last year and a half of my life due to the TBI. Today I am going to change things up a bit and go a few years back.

When Hurricane Katrina rocked the Gulf Coast on August 29th 2005 the devastation could be seen on the news for days. People from all over the country responded to assist in the devastation and rescue efforts. I was one of the one’s who got to go.

Myself and one other member from my fire department were chosen by the state of PA to aid in the effort. I considered myself lucky to be able to got there to help the people who had lost everything from this storm. I had kept a daily journal of what we had done, but it was missing from my luggage when I arrived home along with a couple of disposable cameras and other items. Was this just someone who thought they needed these items more than me or were they taken on purpose so they could not be shared. I will never know, but I love conspiracy theories so I just threw that statement out there.

I saw a whole lot of things while I was in Atlanta, which was the staging area for the response teams. Most of them were not good things, but I will keep it to a minimum. At this huge convention center people from all over the country were processed through as responders in a day or so and then we sat on our butt for days before we were sent out to our areas of operation. We were in a hotel with one of the most comfortable beds ever awaiting FEMA to put us on the road to help the people who really needed us. It was very frustrating seeing people playing wiffle ball in a convention center because they were so bored after sitting for days awaiting their orders.

Finally our orders were to go to Louisiana and assess fire department damage and what they would need to get back in operation. We were teamed with firemen from other states and our group of 8 was to visit every fire dept. to assess the needs. On our way we stopped at a gas station in Toomsooba Mississippi. There was probably 30 to 40 vehicles in line for fuel, but when the worker saw that we were wearing fire shirts we were sent right to the front so as not to slow our progress to the damaged areas. They had damage there as well, but not near what we were gonna see when we made it to New Orleans.

We started in Baton Rouge. For the area of the state that was not damaged we made phone calls instead of putting hours behind the wheel of a car for no reason. When that was finished we ended up in New Orleans at a fire station called Nine Mile Point. The firemen at this dept. had not been home yet since the day of the storm. Most of these firemen had sent there families west where they had families or somewhere else that they would be safe. These men did not know if they even had a home left to go to. All three doors of this dept. were blown off the front of the building from the storm. It was protected only at night by armed firemen who sat at the front door with weapons to be sure that no one would harm the men sleeping at night. We insisted that these guys go home and check on their homes and take care of anything they needed before they returned. For some of them the fire dept. was their new home because theirs were gone.

There was a cold storage trailer full of ice to be given out when needed to personnel. Ice was more valuable than money at this point. The fire dept. had its flag blown off the pole from the storm which I could not handle being a former veteran. Across the street was a National Guard base so I went over there to see if they had a flag for the dept. I was hoping I would not get shot pulling up to the gate in a Ford Taurus, which was our vehicle given to us for our duties. They gladly gave me a flag and some T-shirts and military socks for the guys across the street in return for some ice for their crews on guard duty at traffic points keeping people out of the city. A big VICTORY for both. Once we were done with our initial duty we stayed assigned to the station for the remainder of our stay. To keep this post from being too long I will continue on the next blog. If you are faint at heart. I would recommend reading it cautiously.

Life is getting really busy again


Trust me when I say that I am not using this as an excuse for not blogging recently, but life has become very busy lately. In the past two weeks I have had two people that I know have medical issues not far from my own.

The first has suffered from a head injury and was in very bad condition in the hospital for multiple days. the second was having spells where he would pass out which led to falling down the stairs on one occasion.

On top of that I have taken on a second job with a work from home wellness company. I will share that part of this story as well when I am done here today.

When I was on my downward spiral that I blogged about previously it didn’t take too long to figure out two things. First, it doesn’t take long to continue to travel down when all you do is sit around and wonder why bad things are happening instead of getting off your ass and changing things for the better. Secondly, when you do get off your ass and do something about it your spiral begins to unwind and become a straight line again. A straight line is a good one to follow when you are undecided about the way things are going.

So when I began to see straight again was about the time that this new opportunity almost fell on to my lap. A work from home wellness company that saves you money and improves your lifestyle. Not only that, if I am willing to work hard at this new opportunity, I can make substantial money to supplement my income. This company competes with the top dogs in the country. The nice thing is, I sell nothing and have no inventory. I assist others to find the opportunity that I have found. IT IS THAT SIMPLE.

It is not a get rich quick, if you don’t wanna make it a business, you just shop online and save money and make your home healthier for doing it. You throw a referral to us every now and then and life is good. If you are truly a go getter, you can turn this into a business and supplement your income. A great deal for stay at home mom’s. I would be a fool if I did not say that if you are reading this blog, and you would like an overview of this great company, do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to help you find what I have found with this A+ Company. Come check out my web page and get a feel for it and then send me msg or email. You will never know if you don’t try.

http://www.enhancinglivesathome.com/?mikek