That one call

Dansun

We all will have it, that one call, the call that haunts us, follows us……changes us.  For me it was 3 years ago today.  The picture above says it all. I posted it that day.  I have never really talked about it or the effects that it had and still has on me.  So today I will.  I will talk about it, I’m putting it out there for everyone to read. This scares the shit out of me.  3 years ago today started out as just a normal day for me.  I wasn’t working, I was home with my kids and my husband was in the field seeding.  I was making supper for the kids when my phone rang.

It was my Mom, she is also a paramedic and was working for another service that day.  She told me that my service was responding to an ATV accident out-of-town, she didn’t have many details , just the location and that there were 2 patients.  One was in cardiac arrest. She was responding with her service to help out but I was closer and she asked if I could go and lend a hand.  My oldest daughter who was 17 at the time was able to stay with my younger kids so I put on my uniform and rushed out the door.  I work for a small rural service,  we know pretty much everyone that lives here.  This particular call was to a farm and a family I had known all of my life. Their one child was the same age as one of my daughters. 3 at the time.  I didn’t know the age of the patients but as I drove to the scene I just knew it was the kids. I prayed that it wasn’t but in my heart I knew. I pulled up on scene and it was chaos.  I remember it all so clearly, the sights, the sounds , the smells.  It’s as if It happened yesterday.

I got out of my truck and it’s like I was in slow motion.  I surveyed the scene,  I recall vividly the boy’s mother walking across the yard screaming and crying.  I remember feeling intensely angry.  I am not sure why.  There was a group of responders with one victim, a 6-year-old boy.  They were performing CPR.  There was a bystander with another boy, a 3-year-old.  She was crying , holding c-spine and she had blood smeared across her face.  I was the senior medic on scene and had the highest level of training on our crew so I took charge .  All though I knew we likely  would not save him, I made the decision to transport the 6-year-old and give it our best shot.  We packaged and transported both boys in our unit.  As I mentioned earlier my mom was on her way with a second unit but they were coming from a good hour away. So we loaded the boys and left for the hospital. We had arranged to meet STARS air ambulance there. We met my mom on the way and stopped to let her in with us.  We had 4 medics and 2 boys in the truck.  We went about our jobs,  assessing, monitoring, starting IVs.  We did CPR for 45 minutes on the way to the hospital.  Never once did I feel tired.   I strongly feel I had an angel with me that day.  A 6-year-old little boy,  taken too soon, guiding me and helping me to save his brother.

The rest of the call is a blur. We arrived at the hospital. The Doctor and nurses continued the resuscitation efforts for the 6-year-old but the trauma was too great and they called it shortly after our arrival.  STARS was still on the way for the 3-year-old who was critically injured.  Once STARS landed and stabilized him they loaded him and flew off.   We were left with the aftermath. The 3-year-old survived but he had a long road to recovery .  He is now in Grade 1 with my daughter.

My feeling of anger dissipated during the heat of the call, there was so much to do, so many decisions to be made.  But it returned after all was said and done.  I was so so angry. Angry that a 6-year-old boy had died,  angry that his parents had to go through this, angry that they had to leave their 6 year old’s body and rush off to the trauma center with their 3-year-old.  And I was angry that I had to do the things that I did that day. I wasn’t even supposed to be working. I was home with my kids. The days and weeks that followed were difficult. We had a critical incident stress debriefing for all that were involved that day.  It helped some but afterwards there was nothing.  Just me at home with my kids trying to figure out what the hell had happened.  I cried a lot, I seconded guessed every decision that I made. I still do . I went to the funeral.

I had a dream about a week after the incident.  I heard footsteps coming down the hallway to my room, it was so real.  I thought it must be my son coming to crawl into bed with me, but when I sat up, it was the boy who had died.  Just standing at the end of my bed. And then he was gone.  The next day, I was outside doing some yard work, listening to music. Crying.  It was a particularly hard day.  I sat down on the tail gate of my truck and a white feather floated by.  I read later that it’s a sign that an angel is with you.

The months following were not great. I sank into a really dark depression. I was crying all the time, and so angry.  I would get so mad at my kids over the littlest thing and then break down crying with guilt.  Why would I get so mad? At least I had my kids with me,  happy and healthy.  I wasn’t the one who lost my son, I wasn’t dealing with another critically injured child while trying to plan a funeral . I remember once my husband found me crying on my bedroom floor and said what is going on with you?  I just told him I wanted to put a bullet in my head.  And I did want to, or to swallow a bottle of pills and just forget. To be free of the pain. I knew that I needed some help but I just couldn’t ask for it. I finally did make a call to go see a therapist but I cancelled it the next day.  But I knew that I was at a breaking point and that I had to do something to pull myself out of it.  I still couldn’t ask for help but I knew my family needed me and leaving them was not an option.  I decided to help myself. I started walking, eating healthy and taking some vitamins.  Slowly, very slowly I started to feel better. I was able to get back up, be a better mom and a better wife.  It’s been 3 years now and I still sometimes struggle. I have found myself wanting to reach to alcohol for comfort but I recognize that is not the way to go and stay away from it for the most part.  Drinking alone is a big no-no for me. It takes me to a very dark place so it’s something I have promised myself I won’t do . This last winter was a hard one.  I had a lot of shitty calls. I coded a former coworker. I also responded to a 6-year-old girl who had fallen down the stairs. She ended up being ok but it was a major trigger for me and immediately took me back to this call.

I still struggle, I have good times and not so good of times.  I still have not asked for any help with it.  I do think I am managing it all right on my own and I hope I don’t ever go back to that dark place where I just wanted a way out.  If I  do , I hope I am strong enough to ask for help.

 

The Paramombie in me

paramedic mom

Right?? who else feels this way  ??  Actually it’s either nothing scares me or EVERYTHING scares me.   My kids are 20, 6 and 4  ( I know I know ) ….. when it comes to your common everyday sniffles, cuts, scrapes and bruises  it has to be pretty damn serious for me to consider a trip to the ER.  When my 4 year old was about one and a half he had croup pretty bad and was struggling a bit with his breathing.  I was pretty close to taking him in then but we got it under control at home. Why bother the ER with something I can handle right ??    I did however call the boo boo bus when my oldest (13 at the time) fell off a horse who reared over backwards and landed on her pelvis.

paramedic mommy

However, we live on a farm and I see the danger in everything. My kids love to help feed our horses but I am terrified to let them use the pitchfork for fear they will become impaled on it. Ridiculous I know but I run through trauma scenarios in my head every time I see them with that fork.   Of course it doesn’t end there,  like I said I see the danger in everything so I have to find a way to calm my crazy and let them be kids and have fun. Thankfully my hubby isn’t as paranoid as I am , but he’s never had to pull a 6 month old out of a window after a roll over or had to rush a 6 year old to the hospital after a nasty fall down a flight of stairs. I guess we balance it out and our kids don’t have to live in a bubble…….. and insert interruption from 4 year old who had an “accident” in the bathtub ……like wtf …. he’s been potty trained for a year but this week has had 3 accidents .  He hasn’t done that since we first trained him.  Guess it’s off to the ER could be c-diff  …………

 

 

Who am I and Why am I Here?

My first post.

I am a mom, I am a paramedic.

I am often exhausted due to the fact that I am both….  I LOVE coffee.

Why do I want to tell you about my life?  I guess I think some of you may find it interesting especially those who are in the same boat as me. AND I don’t just mean moms, I know Dads count too!  So thus begins my journey of detailing the struggles of parenting and paramedicing (probably not a real word, I will use it anyway). I have been both a working mom and a stay at home mom.  My life in EMS began after my first child so I have also been a non EMS working mom so I identify with the struggles of each . And the struggles are real my friends.  But, let me tell you, the struggle of being a mom to 3 kids, a wife and a paramedic well that’s a whole new level of struggles .  Well for me anyways.  There may be parents who handle these things with grace but I am not one of  them.  Its messy, its hard and damn stressful sometimes.  Don’t get me wrong it isn’t all bad, the parenting and the paramedicing both have their really awesome moments too.  SO that’s what this blog is going to be about.  My messy , hard , stressful , awesomely beautiful life as a mom, a wife and a paramedic.

I hope you enjoy it. Stay tuned.

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