Friday, December 12, 2014

The Downward Spiral- Part 11

   There was a sea of guests. Each one asking her how she was holding up. She knew they were trying to be nice, but God, did every conversation need to be about her sister? Needing some air, she slipped out of the room, somehow managing to reach the front door completely unnoticed. Alexis didn't know how much more she could take. The day was supposed to be a celebration of her birthday, but instead, Sammy was all anyone thought about. Alexis opened the door, and walked right into a large chest. She nearly screamed, but quickly realized it was Jeremy standing in front of her.

   "Holy crap, you scared me!" Alexis said. clutching her chest.

   "Sorry about that kiddo, Happy Birthday." Jeremy replied. "Here this is for you" he said, handing her a small gift.

   Alexis held the gift in her hands, looking at it for a short moment. "Thank you for coming Jeremy, I am so happy to see you. Oh, and thanks for the present." She said fumbling with the neatly wrapped gift. "Can you do me a favor though?" she asked, feeling uncertain of herself.

   "Sure" He replied, raising an eyebrow.

   "Can you stop calling me kiddo? I'm tired of people treating me like a child." Alexis said quietly, now unable to look him in the eyes. "Sorry, I know it shouldn't be a big deal, but as of lately, it seems nobody wants to admit that I am now an adult."

   "Sure, I understand. I'll stop. I didn't realize it bothered you." He put his hand on her shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. "You know Alexis, I don't see you as a child." He said, trying to reassure her. "I haven't for quite some time. You are mature for your age. I'm deeply sorry for making you feel like a kid." Roughing her hair, in a teasing manner, he attempted to change the subject. "Now, miss Lex, why are you out here, while everyone else is in the house celebrating your birthday? Is everything alright?"

   "It's just that, well... nothing. It's nothing. I just needed some air, that's all." She said.

   "Okay. Well, if it's nothing, how about we go inside and celebrate?" Jeremy reached for the doorknob, opening the door for Alexis. Hesitating for just a moment, She moved past him, and back into the crowded room.

   For an hour, Alexis tried her best at coping with stories, and one sided conversations about Sammy. She kept scanning the room, looking for an escape. Looking for Jeremy. Where had he gone? Did he leave without saying goodbye? She hoped not.

   Out of nowhere, a large crash sounded from the kitchen, followed by loud curses. Puzzled, she rushed toward the noise. In the kitchen was Jeremy. Around him was a mess of broken glass, covering the floor. He was yelling at her neighbor, Juan. Jeremy was in Juan's face, almost as if he was daring him to throw a punch. Juan, just stood there, not knowing how to react. Juan spoke to Jeremy nervously. "Woah buddy, calm down. I was just trying to help. I was just trying to help you!"

   Jeremy, then pushed Juan, hard enough to throw him into the wall behind him. Juan hit hard, looking stunned.

  "WOAH! Jeremy! What is going on? What happened?" Alexis yelled.

   "Alexis, Get the fuck out of here! This is none of your fucking business! Get out of here, now!" Jeremy yelled, his speech slurred. Staggering toward a bag on the floor, Jeremy pulled out a bottle of whiskey. He then removed the cap, and took a long, hard drink.

   "I was trying to get him to stop drinking. I told him that he had enough, that he should try and sober up, but he lost it!" Juan stated, trying to move himself away from Jeremy's reach.

   "It's none of his goddamn business!" Jeremy exclaimed, moving toward Juan. "I'm a grown man, I can drink however much I want!"

   "Woah, Jeremy, enough! Juan is right, you need to stop!  Please, put the bottle down. We can talk about this!" Alexis pleaded. "Jeremy, please. I am begging you!" Tears threatened to escape.

   Jeremy stopped dead in his tracks, and looked at Alexis. "Awe kiddo, i'm sorry. Don't cry, I'm sorry." Jeremy stumbled forward, stopping right in front of her, pulling her toward him, nearly knocking both of them onto the floor.

   "Jeremy, you need to leave. Let's go, i'll drive you home." Alexis said, disappointment in her eyes. She wasn't prepared to see this side of Jeremy. Truthfully, it scared her to death.

   "God, i'm so sorry Lex. Please, believe me. I'm sorry." Jeremy started to sob. "I just miss her so much. I miss her so damn much."

   "I know, we all do. Now, let's go. We need to get you home. You've had enough to drink tonight."

   After what felt like eternity, Alexis managed to get Jeremy into her car, stopping twice for him to vomit on the grass. She couldn't believe how the night turned out. The party was a disaster, and now, she just wanted to curl up in a ball, and cry herself to sleep. Jeremy sat silently beside her, staring out the window. She guessed he was merely trying not to get sick in her car. Either way, she welcomed the silence.

   She pulled into his driveway, and put the car in park. "Come on, we have to get you into bed." She said to Jeremy, who was now trying to find the door handle, but having trouble. Alexis rolled her eyes and exited the car. She walked to the passenger side of the vehicle, and assisted Jeremy out. She walked him into his house, turning on his lights. She scanned the room quickly, noticing many empty bottles of alcohol. She led Jeremy to his room, and pulled back his blankets, inviting him to get into his bed. Before he did, he grabbed Alexis, pulling her into a hug.

   "Thank you for taking care of me. You're a good person, Lex." He then kissed her on the cheek. With a thud, he tipped over onto his bed. Alexis removed his shoes, and covered him with his blankets. In no time, Jeremy was fast asleep.

   Alexis turned off his light, and closed his door. Tomorrow she would deal with this. Tomorrow, she will tell him just how much he hurt her. "Happy Birthday to me." She mumbled as she walked out to her vehicle, and drove away.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Downward Spiral- Part 10

   Alexis looked at her phone. Hesitating slightly, she scrolled through her contact list and selected Jeremy's number. Today was the day of her party, and she really hoped Jeremy would show up. She always liked Jeremy. Secretly, she always had a little crush on him. He was 6 years older than she, but that didn't stop her feeling the way she did.

   It used to kill her seeing the way Jeremy looked at Sammy. She knew Sammy liked him as well, but that never stopped Alexis from hoping that some day, Jeremy would look at her the same way. With a sigh, Alexis hit send.

   The phone rang, and rang, going unanswered. His voice mail picked up, but she ended the call before leaving a message. She didn't want to seem desperate, so instead, she sent him a text message.

                                             "Hey, It's Alexis. Just wanted to see if you were
                                             coming today, or not. I haven't heard from you 
                                             and we are trying to get a final head count. I 
                                             tried calling, but you must be busy. Let me 
                                             know, okay?"

   Closing her phone, Alexis took a deep breath and prayed he would reply. She had a lot to do, to get ready for her birthday bash. She tried to push her thoughts of him aside. He would reply when he was good and ready. She threw her phone onto her bed, and walked out of her room.

   Downstairs, her parents waited for her. The kitchen smelled amazing. Scents of Pancakes, and bacon overtook her senses. Every year for their birthdays, her parents always made a point to make their favorite foods. Alexis just happened to enjoy breakfast the most. She wasn't expecting her parents to do much of anything for her this year, especially after Sammy died. They were not taking it well. Her mother cried every day. Her father often locked himself in his office, not to be seen, or heard from for most of the day. But today, things seemed almost normal. Her mother busy in the kitchen preparing food, and her father at the table reading the news paper. She thought of moving out, but she knew her parents needed her here. Sammy was their oldest daughter, and when she moved out, their mother had cried for days. She doubted her poor mother's heart could handle her leaving right now. Nope, she wouldn't be leaving home anytime soon.

   "Happy Birthday, pumpkin!" Her father said, as he stood to embrace her in a warm hug. "Mom's got breakfast cooking. Hope you're hungry!"

   "You know I can't turn down mom's cooking. It's like heaven!" Alexis said, turning to look at her mother.

   "Happy Birthday, Lex. Are you ready for your party today? It's a big day, you're no longer a teenager!" Her mother tried to smile, but it was hard to cover up the sadness in her eyes.

   Alexis walked to her mother, embraced her in a hug, and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Thank you, mom. You didn't have to make a huge fuss."

   "You know I had to. I need you girls to know that, even with Sammy gone, I still love you more than life." she said, wiping a tear from her cheek.

   "We know mom. We love you, too." Life definitely wasn't the same without Sammy. But, at least her parents were trying to move forward.

   Alexis gave her mother's shoulder a light squeeze, and walked toward the table. Taking a seat, she looked at her father, trying his best to hide his emotions. It killed her to see them so hurt. How Sammy could leave them like this, with only a note left behind, she didn't know. She thought about the note Sammy left behind. So few words, mostly asking for forgiveness. She said she loved them all, but she couldn't handle losing anyone else. Well, had she thought about what it would do to them, losing her? Did she realize how much her family, and friends cared? Probably not.

   Something else about that note continued to leave her perplexed. What did she mean by "Take care of Jeremy?" She often thought about the meaning behind it. It didn't make much sense. Did she want her to be with him? Did she want her to just check in on him occasionally? Hell, what did it matter now? She wasn't there anymore. She took her life. She left her family broken, barely able to pick up the pieces. She hurt all of those who loved her. Those who would have dropped everything to be there for her, to help her. If only she had reached out, maybe things would have been different. Alexis had a hard time not being angry with her. She felt like Sammy took the coward's way out. Maybe, what she meant no longer mattered. Maybe, just maybe it was time for everyone to stop thinking about what Sammy would have wanted. She left them. All of them. With that thought, Alexis made a decision. She was no longer going to hold back. She wasn't going to be a coward. She knew what she wanted, and she was going to try and get it. She needed to live her life. She needed to get out of Sammy's shadow.


   Jeremy awoke, and checked his phone. He had a missed call, and a text message. "Jesus, Drew... you are quite the pest." he murmured to himself, opening his messages. The message was not from Drew. It was from Alexis.

   "Shit." he grumbled to himself. He completely forgot about her party. He knew he should probably go, but the thought of facing her family made him sick to his stomach, or was that the effects of his late night binge drinking? Hell, it was probably both. He sat and thought for a moment, and decided he should probably make an appearance. He didn't want to disappoint her. So, without another thought, he sent her a reply, telling her he would be there. He closed his phone, and cursed to himself.  How was he going to handle this? Well, he was going to have to try.

   With a sigh, he climbed out of bed. Once again, the room spun around him. He was getting far too used to this feeling. He knew all he needed was a morning drink to cure it all. But, today that wasn't an option. He dragged himself into his bathroom and started the shower. While waiting for the water to warm up, he walked to his sink. Looking into the mirror hanging just above it, he looked at his 3 day stubble. God, he looked like hell. Was it too late to change his mind, and stay locked in his house for the day? No. He needed to go. He had to. Alexis wanted him there, and he wasn't going to let her down, not like he let Sammy down.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Downward Spiral- Part 9

   Days had gone by, and the feeling of need nipped at his soul. The alcohol wasn't cutting it. He needed the pain killers. His doctor refused to refill the prescription, without seeing him, and damn it that made him mad. So, he made an appointment.

   Anxiety ripped through him every step he took toward the front door of his doctor's office. What if he didn't believe that he needed the pain meds? Or even worse, what if he cleared him for duty? With a deep breath, he strode into the office. Trying to put on his best "game face." He just hoped it would be enough. 

   The receptionist, a woman in her 50's with wild curly blonde hair, and an attitude to be reckoned with, took his name and asked him to take a seat. "Wow, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed." Jeremy mumbled under his breath, and plopped down into the closet chair. The office didn't seem too busy. Hopefully he could be in, and out quickly. Fumbling with his fingers, Jeremy waited impatiently.

   In the door, appeared the office's nurse practitioner. In her hand, she held a clipboard. Looking around, searching the room she called out, "Jeremy?"

   Jeremy stood, and sauntered over to the petite woman. She greeted him with a smile. "Right this way, sir."

   "Please, the name is Jeremy. The use of sir makes me feel old." He tried to smile, but she didn't look too convinced. Could she tell how much of a mess he was? He didn't think so. He spent extra time this morning trying to clean up, and look presentable. 

   They walked in silence down a plain, white hallway lined with rooms. The walls were decorated with paintings of children, flowers, and an occasional "germs are bad" poster, with a small bottle of hand sanitizer perfectly placed underneath. The nurse practitioner stopped in front of room 11, and waited for him to step inside. 

   "Please sir, I mean Jeremy, have a seat. The doctor will be with you momentarily." She slipped out of the room, closing the door behind her. 

   Jeremy took a seat on the horribly uncomfortable exam table. His eyes scanning the room, taking in the random objects used to decorate. On the window sill sat a plastic model of the heart. On the counter, there were pamphlets regarding obesity, cardiac health, and family planning. What a wide variety of topics, he thought to himself, then laughed because he was actually putting thought into the choice of reading material offered in an exam room. He swore half of what was placed around the room, was strategically left out, to make patient's feel uncomfortable in their own skin. 

   After 10 agonizing minutes of waiting in the cramped exam room, a knock sounded on the door. The door creaked open, and in stepped Dr. Stow. The doctor was an older gentleman. His hair completely gray with age. His body, tall and slender. His eyes were magnified by his extremely thick glasses, that made Jeremy think of Harry Potter. The man wasn't much of a looker, that was for certain. 

   "So, Jeremy how are you feeling." Dr. Stow asked while examining Jeremy's head wound, which was now closed up. While asking Jeremy to do various things, the Doctor continued his exam, waiting for Jeremy to answer.

   "I'm okay, still pretty sore. My arm is really bothering me still." Jeremy lied.

    "Can you wiggle your fingers for me?" Said the doctor, looking deep in thought, moving the focus of his exam to Jeremy's arm. Jeremy wiggled his fingers. "Well, here's what we are going to do, I am going to send you down the hall for an x-ray, but first I need to remove the cast from your arm." Dr. Stow walked out of the exam room, just to return moments later with a tool in his hand that somewhat resembled an air grinder used to remove paint from metal.  

   Within minutes, his arm was free of the itchy cast. The air touching his skin felt like heaven. with his other hand, he inspected his arm, feeling for any remaining damage. Not feeling any, he felt a sense of urgency. What if his injury was 100% healed, and they refused to give him pain meds? The thought nearly drove him crazy. 

   Dr. Stow directed Jeremy toward x-ray, and escorted him into the room.

   After the X-ray was completed, Jeremy was brought back to his exam room, where he sat impatiently, once again. Dr. Stow re-entered the room, with a smile on his face.

   "Well, I have good news." He said. "X-ray is all clear. You no longer need the cast. It may take a few days for your arm to adjust to not being in a cast, but you are good to go!"

   Jeremy's heart sank. That is not what he was hoping for. This meant he would have to return to work. This meant no more pain medication. Unless of course, he played his cards right.

  "I am still having some pain in the area. Is there any way I could get another script for pain meds, especially for after work? I mean, my job requires lifting and I am afraid that the first few shifts back will put a huge strain on it." Jeremy said, holding his freshly un-casted arm.

   "Sure, I can't see any issue with that. I will fill out that script now. I will also give you a note to return to work. If you have any issues, call us up immediately." Dr. Stow left the room. 

   Jeremy was relieved. At least for now, he had his meds back. He had something to fall back on when his thoughts became too much. But now, he had to face having to return to work. With a sigh, he went to the receptionist, collected his paperwork, and went to the closest pharmacy. Tonight, he wouldn't think of anything other than oblivion. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The downward spiral part 8

   Jeremy awoke to his phone ringing. He reached over and hit the silence button. weeks had past since he left the hospital. He spent most days laying on the couch, dozing off. With the help of the narcotics and alcohol, he was able to get through each day. Days that Andrew came over, were the only days he spent sober. Normally, Andrew would call in the morning, and ask him if he was up for visitors. That gave him enough time to get up, take a shower, and hide his booze. It felt silly to him that a grown man such as himself felt the need to hide anything, but after Andrew and Dawn had to rescue his drunk, injured ass, he thought it would be best that they didn't know he was still drinking.

   Sammy was still on his mind. He couldn't seem to remove the image of her lifeless body, cold and wet from his thoughts. 6 months had passed since Sammy's death, but time did nothing to fade the memory. He spent every minute, of every day missing his best friend. Without her, Jeremy felt like a waste of life. Like dog-shit on the soles of someone's boot. Reaching for his pain pills, out of instinct, Jeremy opened the cap. This was his last one. With a deep sigh, Jeremy tossed the pill into his mouth, and swallowed. This would be the last time medication would numb him.

    With a sigh, Jeremy removed himself from his bed. His goal for the day was simple, eat breakfast, then drink. Hell, that seemed to be his goal everyday. He knew at some point, he would have to face reality. He knew his time home on injury was numbered. But not today. Today he could pretend that what his life had become was okay. That this is what he needed to do to heal. He could pretend that he didn't need to return to a job that reminded him of how much life could really suck. He used to love his job. He lived and breathed the adrenaline. Not anymore. No, he felt as though he never would love it again.

   A knock sounded on his door. "Shit." he mumbled to himself. With a quick glance in the mirror, Jeremy checked to see if he looked any better than he felt. Nope, he looked like hell. The knocked sounded again, louder this time. "Coming!" Jeremy yelled, rolling his eyes at the impatience of his unwanted visitor. With a sigh, Jeremy opened the door. He thought it would be Andrew, he was gearing up to yell at him for just dropping in, when he saw the small figure standing in his doorway.

   It was Alexis.

   "You promised that you'd visit us." Sadness, showing in her eyes.

   "I'm sorry kiddo, I haven't felt up to it. I swear I had every intention on stopping in." Jeremy replied. His heart sinking when she tilted her head up to look at him. Her face looked haunted. Eyes red from crying. Dang, he felt like a jerk. He forgot that he wasn't the only one missing Sammy.

   "We've really needed you. I've Really needed you." Alexis sighed, wiping a tear from cheek. "I stopped at the station to see you. Dawn told me you had injured yourself. Are you okay?"

   Jeremy paused for a moment. He felt guilty. He didn't want Alexis, or the rest of Sammy's family worrying about him. "I'm fine. Had a weak moment. I'm getting better everyday." He lied. Forcing a smile, that didn't quite reach his eyes.

   Alexis studied his face for a moment, as if she was trying to see through him. With a shrug, apparently satisfied with what she saw, she hurried forward, and hugged Jeremy.

   Jeremy tensed up. Not knowing what to do. For a long moment, he merely just stood there. Then, he lightly wrapped his arms around Alexis. Alexis breathed deep, as if she was afraid that Jeremy would reject her. But now, she wasn't sure why she felt that way. She had known Jeremy for years, and he never passed up a hug. Something inside her told her, the Jeremy standing before her, was not the same Jeremy she knew 6 months ago. That was a damn shame.

   Alexis pulled away from Jeremy. With a light smile. she looked him in the eyes. "Listen, my birthday is next week. I'm turning 20, and we are having a get together. I wanted to invite you. Please consider coming. I'd really like to see you there." Now, blushing for a reason unknown to herself, she pushed the party invitation into his chest. "I hope to see you there." She said as she hurriedly walked back to her car.

   "What was that all about?" Jeremy wondered out loud. With a shake of his head, he turned to go back into his house. He stared at the invitation in hand. Should he go? Hell, he probably should, but he knew he wouldn't. He didn't feel ready to face reality. He wanted to be alone. Alone, and drinking.

   Jeremy strode toward the kitchen, looking at his collection of booze. Suddenly, whiskey just didn't seem like enough. Knowing his pill supply was depleted, he settled for the next best thing, his old buddy "Jack."

Written by: RU- Responders Unite
© Responders Unite- Do not remove author's name from material.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gardner, MA 911 Ambulance Contract Is An Ongoing Debate

     Ever since the news of the Gardner ambulance contract surfaced in the beginning of the year, there has been a lot of opinionated responses, from many regarding it. Woods Ambulance, whom held the contract for 60 years, was informed that Medstar Ambulance was likely to obtain it, even before proposals were submitted. This news upset many, cries to save Wood's Ambulance were heard far and wide. Employees held out on hope, that maybe they had a chance to continue to provide quality care, for the community they had been proudly serving for years.

    When it came time for the decision to be made, Medstar Ambulance was awarded the contract. This was not a surprise, because even before the contract was awarded by Mayor Hawke, Medstar Ambulance's administration was scheduling, and hiring new employees to cover the shifts in Gardner. How is it that, even before a decision was clearly made, Medstar was able confidently hire, and schedule employees, unless they knew well in advance that they would secure the contract? This is merely speculation, but it seems like a deal was made prior to putting the contract up for bid.

    Recently an article was posted in the Worcester Telegram regarding the Gardner City council being at odds over the contract. There was a couple of statements that really stood out to me, upon reading it. Now, to completely understand my point of view, one must know that the 3 top runners for the contract were Action Ambulance, Woods Ambulance, and Medstar Ambulance. Much light has been shed on Wood's and Medstar, nothing has been mentioned about Action. In this article published by the Worcester Telegram, Mayor Hawke states his reasoning for awarding Medstar the 911, ambulance contract. The quote itself reads;

     "What really impressed us was the amount of technology they have," Mr. Hawke said. "They've really invested in health care technology."

     Mr. Hawke said Wood's Ambulance Service has not kept pace.

     The mayor said the MedStar ambulance will operate out of the city's Central Fire Station. He said the company indicated it will help the Fire Department develop its own basic life support capabilities."

    Hawke clearly states that his decision was made with investment in health care technology in mind. But this raises a bigger question, if technology is what Mayor Hawke was seeking, why wasn't Action Ambulance the best choice? Action Ambulance is a large company, who has invested in large, high quality training labs, a temperature controlled major incident response vehicle, Multiple ATVs, bicycles, and much more. Medstar, whom was Mayor Hawke's choice, does not even come close to such technology. Besides the bells and whistles that Action offers, I have dug deeper. I have interviewed employees from all three of the mentioned companies. Simply for comparison purposes, I asked what kind of equipment they carried on their ambulances. The results were not a surprise. In the last couple of years, MA-DPH, Office Of Emergency Medical Services mandated that all licensed ambulance services needed to upgrade, and change out old, out of date equipment. My interviews uncovered that Action, Wood's, who was accused of "not keeping pace with developing technology,"  as well as Medstar carried much of the same equipment. Action and Wood's, as far as cardiac monitors are concerned, have the same make and model which are lifepack 12's and 15's. Medstar, carries Zoll monitors. In comparison to the effectiveness of these cardiac monitors, they all have the same function, user friendliness, and provide the same level of diagnostic capabilities. Both models are DPH approved for use, and are up to date on regulations.

    Out of the three companies, Wood's Ambulance is the only company that has made an investment in the high quality CPR device, the Lucas 2. This device provides quality CPR, with the ability to provide less pauses to life saving chest compressions. IV equipment, stretchers, stair chairs, airway devices, extrication equipment, all measured equal in effectiveness, and again were all up to DPH regulation.

    The ambulances themselves, now this is where it becomes debatable. Action Ambulance has more, newer model ambulances. Medstar houses many, old vehicles purchased, re-built, and re-painted. Wood's offered a mix of older vehicles, with brand new vehicles on order, and currently arriving. As far as the contract was concerned, Action and Wood's offered more as far as ambulances themselves. Action and Wood's proposed multiple "Box ambulances," where as Medstar has offered up 3 Vans, which is likely to drop down to only 2 by the end of the summer. Now, not being an Emergency Medical Technician, one may not know the real difference between the two. The major differences are, usable space, and quality of the ride itself. A Box ambulance provides space for multiple providers, about 3-4 comfortably, to work efficiently when the need arises. Usually in a major life and death situation. A van ambulance can fit about 2 providers comfortably, along with the patient, but allows next to no access to the patient's right side. OEMS does not recommend the use of a van ambulance in the 911, emergency setting, because it does not comfortably house the needed Advanced Life Support equipment. Often the equipment will obstruct the movement of providers. Vans are usually recommended for Baslic Life Support, non-emergent transports.

    In the end, Action was the clear top runner, the only reason they were not considered for the contract, was because they did not own an ambulance base in Gardner. But, here is the thing, neither did Medstar. The only company that housed ambulances in the city at the moment of decision making, was Wood's Ambulance. So, why was Action out of the running? In the end, Action was turned away because of their "lack of ownership of property." Medstar who lacked property ownership themselves, was handed the contract, and offered housing in the Gardner Fire Department. Why wasn't this option extended to Action Ambulance as well? Why was this housing decision kept quiet until the contract was awarded? Why are the Gardner tax payers, paying for the Fire Department to build Medstar EMS quarters in the Fire Department? Why wasn't the construction in the Fire Depatrment voted on? Why was Medstar not held to the same standard as Action, and Wood's? There is far too much suspicious activity involved. Mayor Hawke claims that Medstar was making "Investments in improvement," then later made a statement regarding Medstar assisting Gardner Fire in establishing their own Basic Life Support ambulance. What they fail to mention is, Wood's made offers to assist and support Gardner Fire as well.
Costs Submitted- Blank spaces show category's rarely billed by Wood's


    Mayor Hawke ran a campaign based on "Supporting Local Business." In the end, he outsourced the contract, and a company, that was established in Gardner over 60 years ago was pushed out. His ideals of supporting local business was a joke. He blatantly had a different agenda in mind, when it came to this contract. In the end, the company he chose will cost tax payers more in ambulance costs, and wasted tax dollars spent to build unnecessary additions onto the Gardner Fire Department, which was never even voted on. Gardner citizens and tax payers should be angry with the decision made, because the costs you are now forced to pay, and the wasted tax dollars directly effect you.  Mayor Hawke's decision should be
over ruled and voted on by the people of Gardner. Plain and simple.

-Published  by 6/10/2014

***Note from the author***

I am merely a bystander, who is not currently employed by any of the Ambulance companies mentioned.


Funny how instead of answering the questions, he placed blame on Wood's Ambulance, who has had nothing to do with this article being written, and has chosen to ignore the purpose of this post, and place blame because I own a blog. Interesting.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Is God among us?

   You spend the early hours of the morning removing a pair of teenage boys from the wreckage of what was once a vehicle. The first, is deceased on scene. As much as you wish you could help him, he is gone. The second, his life hangs by a string. A string that dangles in your face, taunting you. You hope with everything in you, that you can keep this kid alive, but he too succumbs to his injuries. You put your heart, sweat, and even your tears into these kids, and in the end you couldn't help either of them. Their young lives ended far too soon. It's hard to fathom how God could have been present. You can't even think of anything good that could come out of losing two young kids, who's lives were still ahead of them. Sometimes you wonder why you had to be there to see such tragedy unfold. Then the words of others pop into your head, and remind you that, "you can't save them all."

   You go about cleaning up your vehicle, to remove the remnants of the gory scene, that moments earlier took place. You step outside of the vehicle, and catch a warm breeze on your face. You raise your eyes, and bare witness to the most beautiful sunrise you have ever seen. Beautiful streaks of pink, orange, and purples smudged together forming a natural masterpiece. In that moment, you think to yourself "how can something so beautiful, something so perfect exist right after such a horrific, and emotionally draining night?" Is there a reason this once in a lifetime sunrise happened that day? Was it meant to be there when your mind needed it most? The world sometimes surprises you with it's beauty, often when you feel there is no beauty left.

   It's easy to chalk it up to mere coincidence, one that happened to give you just what you needed, at just the right moment. Could this perfectly timed comfort be the work of a higher power, telling you in silent beauty that you did what he wanted you to do, even though his plan was something different? It gives you something to think about.

   What if, every fatal accident we encounter, every innocent death, every murder, every sad call we bare witness to teaches us a little lesson? What if our mere presence, whether we can help or not is simply meant to be comfort enough for a family experiencing unbelievable grief? What if each experience sets us up for that one moment when we are put to the test and come out victorious? These are simple questions, but they leave a lot of room for wonder.

   Have you witnessed calm, comfort such as this before? Have you felt like something was placed right in front of you because at that moment in time, that is what you really needed? Do you stop and look for the beauty around you after seeing the horror that life can bring?

   I for one sometimes appreciate the well timed "gifts." Whether they are from God, or by mere coincidence. Sometimes looking for the beauty around you, can be just what you need.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A day in the life.....

It takes 6 alarms set on my cell phone to wake me up. I never really sleep for more than 4-5 hours a night. The years of doing this are starting to take a toll on my body. It takes me no longer than 15 minutes to shower and get myself ready. What's the point of looking my best? I will probably be wearing someone else's bodily fluid on me by noon.

I arrive at the station 20 minutes early, as I do every shift. Nobody likes when you get a call 20 minutes before you are supposed to be off. It's a courtesy thing, make sure you are there early so the crew before you can leave on time. Not like that ever means anything. Chances are they went out 15 minutes before you got there anyway, and will get out late just the same.

We do crew change, it's 7am and we are in the middle of going through our Ambulance to make sure nothing is missing when the first call of our shift comes in. *Attention A3, respond to 44456 maple drive for the unresponsive patient, unknown breathing status.*

You gather your things, hop in the front, and drive quickly to this residence. A hysterical wife, approximately in her late 70's greets you with tears in her eyes. She explains that she woke up and Joesph, her husband of 50 years wasn't breathing. You move past this grieving woman, into the bedroom where Joseph lays. He has been gone for hours. With a quick eval, we determine that rigor has set in, and traces of lividity stream down his left side, which was the side he was sleeping on. I attach him to the 4 lead monitor, and notice out of the corner of my eye the look of hope shining in the eyes of Agnus, his wife. I turn on the monitor and see what I expected to see, a flat line. There is nothing we can do for Joseph. We turn to Agnus, regretting what we are about to tell her. That her husband was too far gone, and that there was nothing we could do. We watch as the hope drains from her eyes, and is quickly replaced again with tears of sorrow. Her sobs fill the room, like a deafening roar. I lower my head, place my hand on her shoulder, and tell her that I am truly sorry for her loss. With that, we leave.

Now we are heading back to the base, when we are summoned once again. This time, it's a 19 year old female experiencing nausea and vomiting. We head to this emergency, just as quickly as we went to the last. We arrive, and what is the first thing that happens? I get puked on. We move her to the awaiting ambulance, give her an IV, and some nausea medication and we are on our way to the hospital.

The day continues on and on in this manner. It's flu season, so a lot of people have vomited in my vicinity. My stomach rumbles. The thought of a cheeseburger crosses my mind when we hear the tones again. *Attention A3, head to Rt 72 in the area of jake's bar for the person unresponsive in a vehicle." You call en route, and there goes the thought of dinner. 3 times you are updated. Each update painting a more gruesome picture. *A3, be advised the patient is located outside of the car on the pavement, in a pool of blood.* Then the next *A3, we are actually getting report that he is unresponsive, and has lost a lot of blood and is actually under a vehicle.* Then fire updates us... *A3, the patient is in cardiac arrest, was a pedestrian struck by a motor-vehicle at approximately 60mph. Launched about 75ft into the parking of Jake's bar.* This one is going to be messy.

We get on scene, a bar full of spectators encircle this patient. Knowing well the nature of a crowd full of intoxicated individuals, we work quickly to get him out public view. Blood lay pooled on the pavement. The man's shoes? They were knocked right off of him and are about 50 yards apart. In the light of the truck we see everything more clearly. Large skull fractures, blood coming from every orifice. 2 IVs are started, epi is pushed, and CPR is performed. I go to intubate, the airway is nothing but blood. Finally the tube goes in and we are breathing for him. What is that on the monitor? How the heck? This guy has a pulse back. We make quick work of him, in the short distance to the hospital. He made it, but won't likely make it long term.

The truck is a mess. We spend 20 minutes cleaning up blood and wrappers. Just as we finish, we make a mental note of the equipment used, and head back to our service area. We stock our truck, and then receive our next call. This time, it's a Heroin overdose.... and off we go again.

The night continues on with very few breaks in between calls. 24 hours on this shift is brutal. We maybe got 2 hours of sleep. Our relief will be in at 6:40am... it is now 6:35am.... The tones drop. Another unresponsive patient, unknown breathing status. Another one called in too late. We couldn't help this patient.

We get off shift 45 minutes late.

Some shifts are easy, others are hard. You will never know what a day will bring.