Monthly Archives: April, 2013

Funding for Sandy Hook First Responders Lags

This is not right. It does not sound like it is a problem yet, but these people who made commitments need to step up and make good….


Can’t stop for accidents

Earlier this week, while driving to work during a moderate snow storm, I came up on an accident that had just happened. I did not see it happen but it was obvious that it had occurred just a minute or two earlier – traffic was not backing up yet; no police or EMS on scene; and only a car or two had stopped.

It looked like a pretty bad accident. A single car had rolled down a very steep embankment a good 30-40 feet. I’m sure the car had to roll at least twice, maybe three times, before coming to rest at the bottom. I did not see anyone out of the car yet.

So, what did I do? With my paramedic training and more than a decade of experience? What did I do? I kept driving….

I could not stop. I had to keep driving.

By the time I got to work about 10 minutes later, I was shaking and on the verge of tears. I felt horribly guilty for not stopping. I still do. It rips me up to think that someone could have been seriously injured – maybe even on the verge of death – and I could have helped them. Or maybe prevented someone with good intentions from doing something to cause more damage. But I didn’t. I kept driving.

I was overwhelmed with memories and emotions from my experiences working as a paramedic. It has been more than 12 years since I ran my last call, but looking at the car at the bottom of the hill brought me right back to it. It was a roll over accident. A pregnant woman with a head injury trapped in the back of an SUV. I spent an eternity in the back of that vehicle with her punching me while the rest of the crew cut the car apart to get her out.

I have no idea what happened to her – it was truly the very last call of my career. Now, I have no idea what happened to the occupants of the vehicle I drove by last week. Of course, my emotions tell me the worst possible outcome is the only possibility.

How did I go from thriving on jumping head first into the worst of the worst, to driving by without hardly slowing down? I spent years doing every thing I could to help people – now, thanks to PTSD, I can’t.

Will it be like this from now on? Will I ever stop for another accident? Will my kids, knowing what I used to do, insist that I stop to help? What will I do then? Will I stop? What will they think of me if I don’t?

It is a feeling of true weakness.


PTSD – Many Struggle, Few Tell…..

I was not in the military, but I have learned in the last year or so that my struggles are very similar to those who did serve. This article tells my story almost exactly. The biggest difference is I left the fire service before being diagnosed – several years before in fact – although I was already struggling. In hind sight, I was in pretty bad shape by the time I got out. Getting out of the environment helped a little. For a while.

Sometimes I wonder if I would have been able to continue had I recognized the problem before I left. But, like the people in the story, I truly believe that by the time I made the decision to leave, it was the only option. It was already too late. Maybe if I had been very pro-active early in my career, I could have stayed ahead of it and “survived”. But who thinks like that when they are young and addicted to adrenaline?


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