Monday, March 18, 2013

Life in the Dispatch Lane - surviving loss

Any time one of us in the profession suffers a tragedy, inevitably the talk will come around to mortality. I can't speak for anyone else, but when I was younger, I didn't think about the future (aka, those golden years). I stayed up all night, worked nights without a thought, and partied on my days off like there was no tomorrow. Most of my twenty-something friends and co-workers acted in a like manner. If I became sick, I recovered quickly enough.

You see, when you work in Public Safety, especially at a young age, and you are exposed to the very worst of society every day, one quickly learns to find a coping mechanism. There are many different ways to deal with difficult jobs: religion, friendships, alcohol, drugs, or hobbies. I saw my first dead person before I was fifteen. I was caring for critical patients as a teenager. I knew what I wanted to do. My very first call as an EMT was a cardiac arrest. The patient died, but that was the way of the world. I learned life wasn't fair.

I had a choice of places to work. I never picked the 'safe' cities or areas. I always went for the high-action spots, the high call volume areas, worked the 12 hours or 36 hours to get the 'good calls'. That meant learning street sense and always keeping  one eye open for danger. The Star of Life made a good target for stray bullets at night. But it wasn't until I became a Public Safety Dispatcher that I found my true calling, and my real voice. I had the chance to really help people and, yes, I got to tell cops & firefighters where to go.

We're all one family, a team. When one person is hurt, killed, or dies from an injury or illness, we all feel sympathy and the loss. Dispatchers back one another up, we help out during in-progress or critical incidents. We send 'thinking of you' cards after major incidents. We sympathize on dispatcher boards, offer suggestions to problems or questions asked, and even lend an ear to let a fellow dispatcher vent after a rough shift.

The flu virus is still making the rounds. It's hitting communications center hard, making for short staffing and mandatory overtime. This virus is bad, killing the very young and the not always so elderly.

Such a terrible thing. To be here one day and gone the next.

Be careful when you catch that sniffle. Stay home if you possibly can. Use a face mask, or at least cover your mouth when you cough and use antiseptic wipes and/or spray to clean your work surface. Wash your hands! Hand washing is the BEST method for stopping the spread of infection.

As a licensed and certified Pharmacy Technician, I can't emphasize this enough....


One never knows where the virus can be caught. The grocery store, post office, school, walking down the street. A virus is is airborne, and has a limited amount of time that can be spread.

Don't take life for granted. Tell your family you love them every time you speak with them. You never know, it could very well be the last day you speak to the loved one. And if it happens, know that you are not alone. There are a lot of us out here. Reach out if you need a soft shoulder to cry on.

Goddess Bless.

To both S, and to L

I'm sorry for both of your losses. My heart bleeds for you both.

Stay safe out there.

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