Strange Situation?

We all know anyone involved in the firefighting and rescue community is no stranger to stress...
UserName
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Strange Situation?

Postby UserName » Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:30 pm

Hello all, long time reader, first time writer...

So I'm not really sure why I am writing this but I have a little bit of a wierd problem going on in my head about a call I was at a couple years ago. Basically it was a fatal hit-and-run on a county road which claimed the life of a local highschooler (16-18 I believe, still haven't caught the jerkoff). Once we finally got up to the scene it was rather apparent that the kid had died within minutes of being struck and there was little to be done. All of this didn't bother me at all. What did bother me ws the next day we got called back to the same spot to do a washdown. Now I don't know why but the memory of scrubbing, well lets just say remnants of the incident, off the pavement with a brush and Mr. Clean still pops into my mind now and again. Occasionally it'll still comes up in my sleep and it is always in the back of my head at similar calls....not the actual accident or trauma, but the washdown.

Now I personally don't think this is an PTSD issue or even a EAP issue. I know it really hasn't affected my performance and I have since been at calls where there has been far worse trauma and been fine. I don't break down or anything and the memory is almost an annoyance more than issue.

So basically the questions I'm getting at is:

I have seen things far worse than this but I never really ever think twice about them, yet something as simple as a washdown has stuck in my mind for over a year. Anyone have a strange situation like that?

We all generally admit that we all see bad stuff on the job and we all accept that as part of the territory. So I gotta ask if carrying on with those memories (provided they don't impact your performance) also part of the territory?

Like I said it's more of an annoying memory than a stressful one and I don't feel that it warrents any sort of EAP attention, but I figure it never hurts to get some outside opinion.

Thanks Folks.

mrfd274
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby mrfd274 » Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:08 pm

Scratch !
I live to fight fire

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dentedhead
Posts: 6453
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby dentedhead » Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:45 pm

"mrfd274" wrote:Scratch !
I live to fight fire


Atta boy tough guy,bet you think SCBAs are for pussies and freelancing is the only way to go.Tommy Gavin is a role model I bet!

You are the guy who likely figgers going out and poundin some booze will make it go away and deny that it bothers you but for some reason every time the tones drop for some reason you piss yourself.

The guy above dint ask about what you live for.

Dentedhead
Thousand a week for hide and seek on call when Im paid to be.

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dentedhead
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Postby dentedhead » Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:54 pm

"UserName" wrote:Hello all, long time reader, first time writer...

So I'm not really sure why I am writing this but I have a little bit of a wierd problem going on in my head about a call I was at a couple years ago. Basically it was a fatal hit-and-run on a county road which claimed the life of a local highschooler (16-18 I believe, still haven't caught the jerkoff). Once we finally got up to the scene it was rather apparent that the kid had died within minutes of being struck and there was little to be done. All of this didn't bother me at all. What did bother me ws the next day we got called back to the same spot to do a washdown. Now I don't know why but the memory of scrubbing, well lets just say remnants of the incident, off the pavement with a brush and Mr. Clean still pops into my mind now and again. Occasionally it'll still comes up in my sleep and it is always in the back of my head at similar calls....not the actual accident or trauma, but the washdown.

Now I personally don't think this is an PTSD issue or even a EAP issue. I know it really hasn't affected my performance and I have since been at calls where there has been far worse trauma and been fine. I don't break down or anything and the memory is almost an annoyance more than issue.

So basically the questions I'm getting at is:

I have seen things far worse than this but I never really ever think twice about them, yet something as simple as a washdown has stuck in my mind for over a year. Anyone have a strange situation like that?

We all generally admit that we all see bad stuff on the job and we all accept that as part of the territory. So I gotta ask if carrying on with those memories (provided they don't impact your performance) also part of the territory?

Like I said it's more of an annoying memory than a stressful one and I don't feel that it warrents any sort of EAP attention, but I figure it never hurts to get some outside opinion.

Thanks Folks.


Brother what you have ther is indeed PTSD.Again guys dont think it will get them.....it does.We all have calls we remember for various reasons.I remember my first VSA his name what his house looked like everything...that was 28 yeras ago.It doesnt wake me up at night or does it cause flashbacks,that is what you are having.Get help from the appropriate Psychologist or therapist but ake sure they have training to deal with PTSD,there are also many that deal only with fire, police, EMS and nurses etc.

i know several seasoned medics and firefighters that realized when they finally admitted it and got help that A) they wernt alone and B) there is help out there, check this website out http://www.tema.ca/index.html.

I have been lucky so far but who knows what the next call might bring.

Dentedhead
Thousand a week for hide and seek on call when Im paid to be.

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irsqyu
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Postby irsqyu » Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:27 am

I will concur with what Dentedhead is saying here. Being retired after close to 40 years of firefighting there are still a handful of incidents that will bring flashbacks if I see or hear something that triggers the memory. They are memories that do not affect my day to day life but they still come to mind every now and then. We are all human with emotions!
If they are affecting your life then as Dentedhead says, talk to someone, there is nothing wrong with it.
"The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work."

pompier5
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby pompier5 » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:22 pm

Hey there, I've been doing this for 20 years now as a volonteer ff. I have worked in a hospital taking people to the morgue, and am now a provincial police dispatcher. I have seen, heard, touched, and handled many bodies in my life and they have been in all the various forms one can imagine. Some do stick in your mind. you don't need a reason nor does it have to be the most gruesome of the calls. From what I can understand in your post, it looks like (from my personal layman's opinion) the banality of washing something that has a larger consequence. A kid lost his life in an awful way, and you were there and saw it, worked with it, and lived it. The next day, you're washing down the place as if it was your station floor. It's not a normal thing to live through. I agree with the other guys, if it does cause even the slightest of problems, go and talk to someone. We all have our ways of dealing with the ghosts of our calls, and most are as good as any. Mine is to accept those memories to help me better myself at the next call, and at the same time, keep the dead living to help others. Take care my friend, and keep up the good work.

WolfmanHarris
Posts: 200
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby WolfmanHarris » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:30 am

It wasn't clear from your post whether you're a Volunteer of Career, but don't forget the WSIB side of things as well.

I had a really rough traumatic VSA on Christmas Eve that was really bothering me. I worked Christmas Day, but was on edge the entire shift. (Hypervigilance, common in CIS) I was all ready to go back into work the following night, but decided instead to take some time at home with my family and take care proper care of myself.

Anyways, my point is, even if you don't take time off, consider still completing WSIB paperwork for a no-lost time injury. (Yes, pysch counts) You never know how these things may affect you in the long run, and not having a proper paper trail may make things difficult if you find yourself unable to cope with PTSD and in need of time off. Certainly I'm not saying go WSIB on every crappy call, but if it's sticking to you to this extent, take the time off or at the very least create the paper trail just in case. And as has been said before, get help if you need it.

At the very least chat with someone who will understand. I find this is one area where for all their best intentions family isn't too helpful. My partner and I had a great long chat last shift and have checked in with each other a few times over the holidays.

UserName
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

All's well

Postby UserName » Sun May 12, 2013 10:51 pm

Hey all...been a while but I wanted to come back and say to everyone...well almost every (mrfd274 I'm looking in your direction) for your input. I have taken it to heart and finally sought out assistance and defiantly feel I have a better handle on the situation. Sorry for not responding or disclosing more info but as I have now learned I had a lot of unwarranted embarrassment about all this and being anonymous was the only way I could proceed. Thanks again, truly did help and it's good to know guys are willing to help out like this. I think just putting it out there and getting it off my chest went a long way.

Be safe all!


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