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All the er stories, never forgotten.

I’m off to see my therapist today, in preparation for a meeting with case worker and my employers. I’m angry because this microscope I’m under has put me in a position of feeling like I’m a horrible employee for breaking down. I’m trying to remind myself of all the events where I made absolute positive differences, saved a life here and there, trying to be specific about dates so that I can throw them in table for everyone to realize, I’m not here because I think it’s fun. I’m not here because I’m weak and going flip out like a Jim Carrey movie. I’m here because they failed to give me healthy ways to unload the years of service already provided.

While I often joke about my shopping exploits at Walmart and Costco and ready to flip out at a moments notice. I know how my body works, it’s an adrenaline machine that kicks in with crisis. Once that adrenaline unleashes, I am calm, proactive, calculated and will get through the crisis at all cost. I know if something bad were to happen around me, I wouldn’t break down or get scared. I’d get involved, I’d take control and deal with the crisis without hesitation. It’s what happens afterwards when the adrenaline wears out and I have time reflect when I realize if was in any danger.

I don’t know if it’s a thing, if I were able to leave my adrenaline at what I am used to at the hospital all the time. I’m not sure I would be having these issues. It would always be full speed ahead. It’s my calm time that does the most damage and never having healthy ways to unload even the smallest events.

So frustrating to be in this defensive mode today.
 
Well today was a bust....... I’m angry because all the forces that are allowing me to have these sessions are now conspiring to minimize my experiences. Today I truly wanted to talk about an experience that has forever altered me. Instead.... I get to unleash it here because I was too busy trying to save my counselling instead of being counselled.

Over a period of a year, I dealt with a couple, both were drug seekers, her involvement was purely due to his control. She was always going to be the punching bag for whatever went wrong that day. No matter how well she behaved or tried. She was gonna bear the burden.

For several weeks at the end of 2016, I had to intervene frequently with the two of them. She couldn’t get the drugs, nor could he because the doctors saw right through it. I saw him take a huge punch at her on my camera, went out to control the situation. In tears, she told me all was good, smiling and laughing like everything was ok. All a misunderstanding.

One night she arrived melted down, despondent, uncontrollable emotion, suicidal, panicked. His holiness showed up to show his undying love for his broken angel. Controlling every conversation, every symptom, every word to a point I got a silent code call. It’s an abuse call. I hate them. It’s so hard to be professional. Because of previous incidents, he and I knew each other, he definitely disliked me because I was supportive of his angel. A threat.

Good thing, I have control of the hospital, I say who stays or go. I am the book end that kills the mood. Grabbed the asshole and escorted him out of the treatment room. All the while being threatening towards me, I just wanted to give her a nights peace. I took him to an area that is well recorded, I let my guard down on purpose. I talked his nerves into reacting. Made sure the punch landed squarely on me. Assault was recorded. I leveraged it for him to leave. Otherwise I was gonna charge him. He left knowing I could call upon that event for limited time.

I got him away for a night, because she was suicidal I had to sit with her for 9 hours. Talking to her, convincing her she could find a better life. I promised her that night that if ever she needed to escape. Come to the hospital. I would make sure she was safe. (Small town, not many places to escape to, no shelters)

For months on and off she would arrive, I would break my rules and risk my job to find her a place to sleep in the fitness room in the hospital basement. All the while trying to help her find resources, shelter, get away. I never pursued the assault charge he did on me, I knew who would pay the price. I didn’t want to hurt her.

One night, I got a call to prepare for ambulance and Fire Department in active life recovery mode, I was to prepare the grounds for LifeFlight. Standing in the ambulance bay, I watched the ambulance reverse into the bay, I watched firefighters jumping from their moving truck, police barely parking their cruiser before exiting, the gurney came out, a firefighter and paramedic doing CPR, there she is clinging to life. Badly beaten, bleeding, unresponsive.

I had 15 minutes to compose myself before the helicopter landed - pre-arranged due to severity (usually it’s an hour or more notice). I’m the landing zone operator, I know the pilot can land without me, still I wave those batons to mark the location and clear the landing mark. While that damn machine landed, I couldn’t hear anything, feel anything, I was just on autopilot.

I don’t remember much between the helicopter landing and extracting her from the trauma room for flight, the only thing I remembered were her eyes opening and shutting as we raced her to landing pad, her tears were unforgettable.

The secondary hurt from that event. 8 months later. That asshole got off for time served. They’re still together. Thankfully I’m nowhere even close to that region to ever deal with them again.
 
It’s hard to admit that you fell, even harder when you need to justify your fall. My compensation was granted based on an incident that is now deemed ‘returnable to work’, while this incident allowed for more exploration of PTSD, the specific incident does not qualify for continued coverage. As it is classified as depression, not trauma.

The fact that I am aware, have sat before a tribunal that without doubt cleared my interaction as any wrongdoing, the incident was listed having probable side effect. As violence was definitely not helpful to recovery. For me those words only mean a wiggle room, that I know I didn’t kill the man outright, but feel horribly guilty that our interaction indeed has some factor into his death. This is not deemed traumatic enough for continued compensation. It didn’t fall under the big glories like mass casualty, firearms, hostage and actual traumas resulting immediate death.

It was quite an angry conversation on the phone today with WCB. The case worker was taken aback by my response. I said to them, I should have been more aggressive to ensure he died in front of me to ensure my emotional attachment to his death was compensable and just a little more traumatic.

Reminded her, that I have been there for unidentifiable victims of motor vehicle accidents, held a self inflicted facial gunshot patient to the bed because doctor and nurses couldn’t apply sedatives because they were trying to find a way to help this patient breathe as he destroyed all normal airways, I’ve watched people attempt suicide in front of me. Indeed horrible horrible traumas. I feel angry that they determine that I should have sought help after those events. In truth they didn’t affect me. I don’t want to lie, I don’t want to focus on the events that didn’t bother me.

The problem with emergency health care industry is that they are too busy trying to define our trauma technicalities, they are absolutely blind to the cumulative damage every incident has had up to his point.

I feel like I just walked into a death sentence today. Walking back into the hospital will instantly start the hourglass, I am truly not prepared or ready for it at all. I could start as early as next Tuesday.
 
I’m raging tonight........ I’m just so damn angry with the case worker I dealt with. Because of the things they said. They kept pressing on Firearms trauma example....... god dammit, I have dealt with patients whose blood was far more damaging than a bullet and damn gun in my presence. I would have actually preferred the gun scenario rather than the blood tests I have had to get because of Hepatitis and HIV exposure, with the worse affliction being flesh eating disease being the reason they are in my ER in the first place. Three damaging blood borne diseases in one patient, my exposure because they decided to hit one of my nurses, sure I could have properly gowned and shielded, but when you’re watching someone getting hurt, seconds count FFS!! Two years later I still keep getting checked. WOW!! This splitting hairs over trauma is wrecking me badly.
 
Right now I have to have a serious conversation with my Psychologist about the wording of his reports and overall observation. All through the reports it states that PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder are present. But, the incident that got me these round of sessions is not being worded strongly enough to indicate a deeper emotion than just depression and guilt. I’m just frustrated that an agency is deciding what is traumatic enough or not to someone without looking at the bigger picture my therapist has provided.

On the other hand, it seems pretty straight forward that someone’s action and interactions with a patient having even the smallest factor in that patients death would be something to take serious in ensuring proper reassurance, guidance and counselling afterwards.

Not the ‘stiffen that upper lip, back at it you go’ mentality!
 
While I find sometimes chatting in the MYPTSD forums is a good way to vent and unleash thoughts, the combination of having to evaluate WCB finding ways to discontinue coverage and discussing examples here in the forums in this diary or other chats, its caused me to revisit some more difficult events because I’m searching for justification and validation, yes I have been present for those incidents. At a loss for words when I revisit some of these events, I realize I’ve just seen a lot of shit.

In one of the forums, we were discussing issues of consent for medical assistance, I related a scenario where consent gets tricky. I used an adult in the situation I described. After writing it out, I recalled one incident that involved a child.

My nurses, doctors and security team know I have a good read on people and small details. In this one case, parent arrived with a child with old and new bruises. I watched the pair come in to the ER triage, the parent that walked the child in versus the parent discussing the injuries with triage were very different personalities. Went from forceful and abrupt to the most loving parent. I didn’t want to cause panic in the unit. I just stayed very close to exam room assigned. As time progressed, I could hear the doctors and nurses requesting for an X-ray because they feared the bruising may have more damage unseen. Parent was very agitated and not giving consent for the X-Ray.

At which point, I pulled the triage nurse aside, showed her the replay of the parent entering the ER on my surveillance camera. At this point after discussion with the charge nurse and doctor, we decided that Child Services needed to be involved, contacted police. It’s a tricky situation because patient confidentiality and matters involving children are huge ordeals when you have to make serious decisions like these. In most cases I can intervene and remove the offending party from the room. Not so easy when that is the legal guardian of the child in question. It’s a sit tight, hold your breath and wait moment. Hoping that they haven’t been tipped off on what is about to happen.

Once police had removed parent from the room, child services discussing doctor evaluation, I sat in the room with the little one, even through all the commotion, angry voices, loud threats from the parent, the little one didn’t even stir, no change of emotion, except one simple question ‘am I going to the same place as last time?’. Refusal to consent raised all the right red flags.
 
I’ve been writing some responses on here that seem overly protective of medical staff, in truth I am hired to protect both sides of the story. A lot of times it is the medical staff that I do have to protect and support. It’s not always the case. Sometimes the patient wins and gets the last word.

The biggest test of my strength and resolve was tested when I worked for the children’s hospital for 58 days. I love children. Jumped at the opportunity to work in a capacity that could help make them feel safe.

One night I was called to a unit that they couldn’t get one of the little ones to comply. I arrived on unit to the find the little guy playing with his action figures in the hallway. Acting out all of the characters scripts and weapon sounds as he bounced them off his IV pole. This unit sadly is a unit where terminal children are held. Life expectancy is minimal.

I couldn’t. I just could not discipline or control this little guy in any way. What made that ever more certain was when I got to the nursing station and all nurses were busy looking at their phones. I told them, unless he was hurting any one of the staff or another patient. Not to bother me any more that night unless he loses one his toys and I would come back to search for it to make sure he could keep playing, I also told them to get the f*ck off their phones as it was against hospital policy. That was day 57 for me.

Two years later: Given the life expectancy of that unit...... Facebook is still here, so am I, I’m also still employed with the company even though I am off for now. But little man for sure has gone far beyond. I sure hope he tired the hell out of everyone in the unit that night.
 
BTW: I don’t want people to get the wrong impression. We don’t manhandle children. It’s a uniform scare tactic. It can take hours to convince a child to comply. There’s always a child representative on hand to oversee what happens. We only intervene during violent or self harm situations. Everything else is talked out. Us big burly dudes in uniform tend to cause scare. Usually when we arrived on unit the little one was hiding under the covers because the bogey man arrived. I didn’t like being the bogey man, because some times it was too damn cute and all you wanted to do was give them a hug and say good night. But some time I was able to give them a smile and a wink to let them know I wasn’t really that mean.
 
I’m starting to really understand how my mind and daily experiences are connecting me to the fatigue of work. Every time I experience something in personal life, discuss topics, the DVD in my head rewinds to an experience in my workplace. You know, the movements ate not all bad. While sad, there are truly meaningful moments that make you smile in the bittersweet moment.

On another post I have been discussing my relationship issues, I just found myself drifting back this moment.

During rounds in the hospital, you get to know people visiting in the units, especially the ones that remain after hours because a family member or loved ones life is about to end.

I had a family of 8 taking turns 3 x 3 rotating in and out of the room. The one family member not leaving, was the wife. The dying patient her husband of over 50 years. I got to know this family pretty good. They had been on hand for awhile, I would stop in to see if they needed anything, or if any of them need their parking meters updated when I do my outdoor rounds. If any were really tired, I would put them up in one of the quiet rooms for some sleep.

The wife was so adorable. She absolutely loved her husband. She was always curled up in the bed beside him under the covers stroking his hair. She did this every night. Right up until he passed. I just happened to be there comforting one of the sons who was pretty emotional about his father passing. There was so much love and warmth in that room.

The difficult part of this story, is knowing how warm and loving that family felt in that difficult moment. I hated having to return an hour later to do that horrid long walk to the morgue. It felt so wrong in every way to put him in there.
 
It’s been an off couple of days. It’s hard enough to admit emotional vulnerability but even harder when you have to keep legitimizing your desire and need for help and having doors shut because you don’t fit into the professional criteria of First Responder. While the government agencies have failed me, I tried a few non-profit organizations because I fit the situation. But my uniform does not. Definitely not a great day when a counsellors suggestion is just to change jobs. Yeah I’ll get on that...... I’m sure the job change will easily erase the last four years.

All the plugs have been pulled. All avenues exhausted. I return to work on Wednesday.
 
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