Accident

Only Son

men

First of all, I wrote this story after hearing news of my friends son who at 21, passed last week. He was in a car accident in Oct 2015. It goes like this—

 

    How precious a life. Please do not forget about me, I am a child. Such anguish amidst the blurry eyes. Grown men and woman in tears, a child lies down, people making a path to witness our son for he is silent. Heads down, people pray.
    I spent a little time with this boy named Ben, not much really, but I was part of his family. I grew up with his mom and dad, they were our family growing up. The mother was real close with my oldest sibling, friends forever. I am wiping a tear from my eyes, hang on please, bare with me. I remember the camp they had on an island. I remember their young son at the camp, still very young. I also remember their mother  who would chase different rail crossings so that this young boy could watch his favorite engines and cars going by. I really think mom was the rail junky. The boys dad was full of adventure, a handy man of sort. The boy took on his dads skilled hands. I remember his dad telling me they would go flying in his airplane. How cool is that, your dad has an airplane.
   So sad to see this young man, lying there, parents grieving. My heart goes out to their family. Love you Barry and Trudy, Oh man,tears are falling again. D.H.Bilodeau 2016
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Just Another New Years-Mayhem!

 

I hope everyone had a great year and celebrated like a champ. I was destinated and could not take part in this years festivities. Still to reflect back on a year of what my wife tells me ” Still above the ground”, I would have to agree with her. I recall one New Years celebration where I was handed one of those horns that blow out a snake. Well instead of blowing I sucked on it and the darn tube sucked right through the mouthpiece and got caught in my throat. I started gagging and everyone thought I was joking around. Me? Joke around! I was having a spasm like no other and was trying to heave the paper out of my throat when Melinda Parsons, My six grade teacher recognized the immediate danger I was in. WHACK! She hit me on the back so hard I almost passed gas. That clog of paper came out and fell into Jonathan Wilburs whiskey he had over there on the table. He stood up and was pissed like no other and came running toward me, like it was my fault. I was still gagging and saliva was pouring out of my mouth when Jonathan Wilbur started hollering at me so loud his teeth fell out and hit the floor, shattering into a gazillion pieces. The dance floor was littered with tooth fragments and I started hearing loud thumping sounds. The dancing people from the party were falling down, tripping on the white pebbles of teeth, falling hard to the ground. Someone called 911 because it was becoming a disaster in the place. Someone had to triage all the fallen victims. I had a little first aid in Mrs Grace’s 8th grade class so I started going to people who really looked bad. One couple did a split and I could tell that their hips were pointing in different directions, just not normal to look at. I got down on my knee and this is when a piece of tooth penertrated my patella. My kneecap was laserated right there and blood started flowing freely. Richard Millagan started wiping up the mess with his hanky. I could hear sirens in the distance so I was feeling a little better about some more qualified people coming in for the patch job. The cops, all one of them who was on duty couldn’t calm everything that was going on that night. He called for backup. Mutual aid from another town came with a response, one other officer. People were now getting up from the floor, drunkin individuals, you know who you are! begun yelling at the cops. I just tried to stay on the ground making myself a patient, faking how bad I really was even though i had some blood running on the floor. Well before long it was New Years and everyone there wanted their money back because the fun was taking right out of them, I cant say I blame them. One thing for sure is today marks the start of another year, Yahoo! We made it, (STILL ABOVE THE GROUND) Happy New Years. First story of the New Years, D.H.Bilodeau 2016

 

 

Where Have You Gone Mary?

Men in plane

 

The screech of tires made me turn and look what danger was coming at us. Mary and I were walking to Wally’s Store for a hot coffee and a pastry. This had been our routine every Thursday. The road we take is a shortcut from our trailer at the park. It is just a goat trail but on occasions vehicles take this road to get to the main road, Federal Road. Some people come back here to buy and sell drugs so we always make sure to go before dark. Mary turned her head too, screaming. There was a loud thumping sound and I saw Mary flying through the air.

Standing at full attention. The Commanding Officer was very intimidating. The squad and I were being instructed on our mission. We were going to war in a foreign country and the jet was leaving in five minutes. I had a few minutes to reflect on life. I was moving on since the death of Mary. She was my rock and I was hers. I was sitting here, looking around of where I was and where I was going. Richie, my friend since boot camp was sitting next to me. I could tell he was thinking about his family just like I was. I really was thinking about what life would of been like with Mary. I certainly had thought about her being my wife. The future of our relationship, children, everything people think about was going through my head and I was having a hard time mentally. I didn’t want to cry in front of my best buddy Richie but tears started to flow. The men and I were loaded into the plane. We were all facing each other, all sitting in jump seats. The men and I were starting to put on our game face, the hunt was on.

Jut back from my morning jog, I’m thirty-eight years old. Where has time gone? There is a lot on my mind lately and I am having a lot of stress at work. I took a quick shower and came downstairs for a coffee. I have to work in ten minutes so I’m going to suck down this coffee real fast. I’m out the door and a few minutes late for work. I can shorten this time if I take the shortcut down the road which is a cross-cut and comes out on Federal Road. I push the pedal down to move things along . I might just make it to work on time. Something flashed, I pushed the brakes on the Jeep real hard. I heard a thumping sound, bodies in front, flying debris.

Sitting in jail, newspaper in hand. I flip the pages to the obituary’s. The first page is showing a young lady. I start reading. Life taken suddenly, unexpected death. I look for her name, Mary.

 

D.H.Bilodeau 2015

East African Airline Decent

man jail

The pilot Andrew was fumbling with something in his right pocket. I looked over at him and wondered what his real story was . Here was a man in his mid forty’s who never had any family and just pilots around the world. He has no other ambition to do anything else. Flying has overcome him in everyway. I spoke up, Hey Andrew? He turns his head in my direction, You ever been with a woman? I asked. Here he goes again fumbling in his pocket. It happened too quick, Andrew pulled out a bottle of something and sprayed it into my eyes. I started to gag, cough, and was feeling very dizzy. I did the only thing at the moment I could think of. I pushed the levers on the steering and put the plane into a nose dive.

Sounds of people talking, I’m inside some kind of hospital and everyone is speaking a different language than I’m used to hearing. It is not common to hear other languages in different hubs. I am being wheeled around on a gurney of some sort to a different location. I cannot speak, only open my eyes, listening to maybe an answer of my whereabouts. I coughed, oh no, attention to me has been noticed. A woman of East African decent is looking at me with those big brown eyes. Sir, You must lay still! She has demanded me. I will let you know what is going on in a minute, You must be understanding Sir. I give her a  nod in acknowledgement. I’m waiting now inside a small room with bright lights and have to urinate so bad. My arms and legs have shackles on them so it is impossible to move. The woman comes back inside the room and comes to my side. Sir, I’m sorry to report that the plane you were riding in has crashed into our country. Many people, some with babies inside have died because of your equipment failures and for this we have to hold you accountable for your actions. I want to explain what happened if I may. Sir, Your time will come when you meet the City Council, your fate will be worked out there.

I am now in a cell in an East African country. My cell mate is from England. His name is Edward and he was in Africa with his family on vacation. He is coughing real bad and vomiting all the time. Edward, why are you so sick? Has it been something you ate. You have been sick for over two weeks now and should have been better by now. Edward responds, I think I have Ebola. What the heck is that Edward? It is a deadly virus and now you have been in contact. It would be better if you took your life now, there is now cure for this virus. I could tell I didn’t want this virus and I was going to stay real far away from Edward. Time went on and Edward passed only a few days after our conversation. I still have not come down with the disease.

I’m now getting out of my comfy chair in the living room, I look out and both of our children and their loved ones are sitting around the living room. I can smell the remnants of the annual turkey. I must have fallen asleep. Happy Thanksgiving day folks, I’m going to enjoy just being around family.

Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Highway 95-Gobble Gobble

high

I was traveling from Virginia to Central Maine to spend some time with my folks during Thanksgiving. It was raining real hard so driving was becoming very difficult. I was not getting any help on the driving front because my spouse was sleeping. The sky was becoming very dark and I was getting a feeling that things were going to turn sour real fast.

It was the smell of the Turkey, time spent with my siblings that I was thinking about. I really do believe this is the best holiday of any of them. Family getting together and having a great dinner. The folks will be so happy to have their children and grand child for Thanksgiving. The smiles on their faces, the drinks, and football. I heard a screech and the car in front of me is going sideways, fishtailing, roads are getting slippery now.

The road were getting horrendous and I was slowing the vehicle down to keep safe. We were moving into Southern, Maine over the Portsmouth Bridge when the snow was coming down so hard on Highway 95. The traffic was still moving at a clip when off to the side I noticed a speed limit sign. Wow, when did they move the speed limit up to 75 mph? I asked my wife. Can you believe that, people are going to kill themselves going that fast. I nodded and agreed with her. Still moving North and traveling very fast the car in front of me started slipping and crossed the centerline. The vehicle crashed into a semi, blowing the car into pieces, debris flying through the air.

The debris kept flying and smashed my windshield and something hit me hard. The lights went out. I woke up with dust flying through the air. It was the dust from the airbag. I instantly thought of my wife, how she was doing. I look over and only see her starring into nowhere. Her eyes not blinking. The debris had gone through the window striking her in the chest area. I had lost my love, the only one who understood me, my hugger. What was I going to tell my family, it was going to tear me apart.

The ambulance and fire personal came to our assistance. They dragged her out of the car, looking with a sad face, I knew there was nothing they could do. I was brought to a police car to be questioned and checked to see If I had been drinking. No officer, I told you I haven’t had a drink. The officer responds with me having to walk the line to check for sobriety. I think you need to settle down Mr. or I’m going to take you to jail. I guess I didn’t settle down and I was looking between bars in a jail. Where had everything gone wrong? I was alone, no family and in Jail.

I can tell you people and insist that you do not drink and drive this holiday and make other arrangements if the snow make traveling to bad. No person in this world would want to see anything happen to you, Turkey or not. Enjoy the holiday folks, be smart, don’t drink and drive.

Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Encounter With Nemo

ufo

Riding home from work and I see a flash of light beaming in the woods, shinning across the dash of my pickup truck. It really has shocked me to no end. What could this be? I slowed down the truck wheels, grinding to a stop. I really have to fix that right rear brake on this Ford. I’m not sure what to expect walking around the bend to investigate the glowing light in the woods. I am on a back road in Maine, where houses are far and few between. I  wonder if I  have made a big mistake stepping out of my truck at five-o’clock in the morning. I’ve decided to move forward, a little reluctant, scared? Maybe. As I start approaching the edge of the woods I can see a formation or metal looking structure that is on fire. I can feel the intense heat from quite a ways from the obstacle. There is a bunch of tree’s off to the right, I’m thinking that if I can get there I can get some cover from the heat and get a better view of the carnage. Upon my closer inspection, I can hear music of some sort coming from the vessel, or whatever it is. It sounds to me like jibbersh sounds, kind of galactic noises, nothing like any music we have ever heard on this planet. I want to get closer look to really find out what this thing is. I looked back to the road and no other cars have traveled it so I have no help. I’m feeling a little bit nervous, no really nervous to go out and investigate any further by myself. The crazy side of me has taking over so I grab my gonads and move forward. I was about twenty feet from the vessel what I hear a moaning sound. At first I thought it was the music I was hearing, this was not to be . I see movement on the right side,  this is not a human but some oddly looking creature with big green eyes. The arms and legs of this thing looks to be as long as a moose here in Maine. The arms and legs are flailing all over the place, I can tell it is in severe distress. Could it be that this vessel is a UFO? I am one not to believe in all this stuff, but right before my eyes is a true specimen to the fact it is not human. I walk closer, Hey! You. Can I help? Stupid me thinking this thing can talk our language. Hey You! Again no answer. I  am now at the feet of this creature, I am in awe of the size of its feet. The feet must be the size of a piglet, real round and fat. Moaning still coming from the creature. I get down real close as to get a better look at the face. I am about a foot from the face when it lets a howl, I fall back, landing on some pine bowels. I get back onto my feet and grab one of the arms to help this creature sit up. I pull with all my might when it is sitting there looking me in the eyes. It has me in a spell, a trance,  bright big green eyes are pulling into my mind, I feel myself becoming one of them. I can now also hear a voice. The  language is getting clearer now. The creature is talking English and is speaking directly to me. My name is NEMO and what is yours? I’m Rick from Livermore, you have crashed into a cornfield, Are you Alright? Yes, Nemo answers back. I ask a simple question, How did you get here? He starts telling me that his planet was destroyed by a meteor and the only reason he survived was because he was out on a training mission . He told me how his planet was on a mission to wipe out a planet called Earth and that he was going to be the lead attacker. Nemo told me that his GPSR unit had failed and he was not sure where earth was. He also couldn’t fly the ship because the navigation is all controlled by the GPSR unit and no override to control. I walked closer to the ship and was about to peek inside when I felt a sharp laser on my right shoulder, taking me to the ground, my arm was completely severed, I was fading away. Nemo took one more shot with the laser, I was gone. I can hear voices calling again, Nemo? What are you talking about Richard? You must be in a dream, it is time to wake up and bring me to work. Have a great day everyone, always good to be a dreamer.

Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Please Answer Me

eastern

Did you hear me calling? I do not know how many times I have called and left a message. Please call me it is important. I’m not trying to annoy you honey, this is really important. Why are you not answering your telephone? I need you now, please pick up the phone. I lay here inside this cold truck, upside down on its roof, I am shivering . The phone is about to lose the last remaining charge, no one will answer me. My head is hurting real bad when I smacked it on the windshield. My leg is pinned under the dashboard. I thought I heard something up over the embankment, I am holding my breath so that I can hear the faintest sounds.  I hear some growling, Have I become a meal for the wild animals? Please honey answer the phone, I need you.

Time throughout the night is in fragments. I do believe that I fell asleep only to be awakened by animal sounds. I cannot get the fact out of my head that coyote’s are out there, stalking its prey. I do believe I’m a sitting duck for feed. I make another phone call to my wife. Ring, Ring, Ring, no answer on the other end, I hang up the phone. A crashing sound again, this time real close. I look outside the window and staring me in the face is a large coyote. I am in fear like no other. I try to make myself real small and curl up into a ball but I am stuck, unable to move. The animal growls, stares me down and lunges at the window to let me know he is in charge. I am shaking so bad my teeth are chattering, it is not going to end good. The coyote runs to the other side of the truck, an open window is on that side. I can feel the breath of the animal, sharp teeth crunching down, pain. The phone is ringing, I cannot answer, I hear nothing, the phone has died, I have died.

Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

If

slip

Many times that I have either received injury or just tripped on something. If for the moment when walking down a sidewalk I would have noticed the not completed brick work. I stepped on the edge and completely wiped out. I hit the floor and never saw it coming. Every have a moment like that?

If for the moment when ice skating as a young man that on the edge of the ice rink was a large pine branch hanging out over the edge. I looked up but too late. I never knew that pine taste so good with chunks of teeth in it.

If for the moment when walking into a dark barn that I would have known the hole was in the hallway, larger enough for one leg to fall through. It took me down in a hurry and I fell sideways into the wall which had nails exposed. I now have permanent red scars on my shoulder.

If for the moment when as a child that sleeping in the newly constructed tree house during a heavy rain storm that it produced a major leak. I jumped back and a nail punctured my back. I remember pulling myself off the nail. I was so embarrassed that I never told anyone. The doctor asked what that scar was in my back later in life. He told me that it hit so close to where it could have killed me.

If for the moment when I jumped into a silage silo, which only looked like five or six feet,  ended up more like twelve feet. Darn that hurt. It was a wonder that I didn’t break any bones ,but it sure hurt like hell.

If for the moment when ski racing that I would of turned just a split second quicker. I clipped a racing gate and tumbled all the way down the slope to the finish line. Well almost to the finish line. I came in contact with an iron pole. It wrapped around my back. I couldn’t do anything for two weeks after that one.

I have a lot of IF”S and I’m sure many of you folks have encountered a few. I would really like to hear some. Oh, if the rock I threw would of been a few millimeters away from my friend’s head that he wouldn’t of had stitches. I went through a lot of band aids and survived but really think about if I was only an inch away things wouldn’t have happened.

Hope everyone is enjoying the summer. Good day.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Last Moment With You

car r

 

I was driving down an old country road in Aroostook County, Maine. It was a long days work and the travel home was going to take me two hours. It was starting to sprinkle out so the visibility was starting to get worse. I was kind of day dreaming when I looked off to the side of the road and saw rear lights from a car. The car was burrowed into the woods and upside down. My heart started racing, it was going to get much worse.

I stepped out of my vehicle and ran toward the car. It was very dark outside and I remembered I had a flashlight stashed into the side of the door. I turned around real quick to retrieve it when I heard a loud scream. It sounded like a young girl crying. I grabbed the flashlight and went over to the car. Inside was a young women with blood all over her face and by looking at the position she was in that she was jammed inside and just under the dashboard.

I told the young lady, or Corinth later I found out, that she was going to be ok and help was on the way. I looked down toward her legs and noticed that she had broken both legs. I could tell they were broken by the disfigurement in her legs. She was screaming for me to help her. I was almost losing it myself but knew I had to help her. I told her I had to run to my car so I could call for more help. I squeezed her hand, she responded back with a tight grip.

Talking with the dispatcher was killing me because I wanted to get right back to Corinth. I still could hear her screaming from a distance. I told the dispatcher I had to get right back to her after I told her of what injuries she had. I made my way back to the wreaked car, tripping on a piece of debris before I got there and slightly spraining my ankle.

Corinth told me she was eighteen years old and a cheerleader and in her senior year of high school. She looked at me in the eye and said, Sir? Am I going to die? My heart about melted at that point. I had no way of knowing the outcome but she had some serious injuries with loss of blood. I told her she was going to be alright. I started to hear the sirens in the distance, help was soon to be here.

The firefighters had to use the jaws of life to extricate her from the vehicle. I could see the color going out of her face, a very parlor look. They had her out of the car and onto a stretcher. I went up to Corinth and squeezed her hand one more time. She responded with a tight squeeze.

I will never forget this moment. I found out later Corinth died in the hospital from multiple trauma. I’m glad someone was there in her last moments, glad it could be me.

From this experience I quit my job and started taking classes to become a paramedic. I know I can help someone else again, Cant I?

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014  Fictional Story, but could be true to so many responders like myself. Lieutenant D. Bilodeau, Livermore Fire Dept

Standing On The Edge Of Life

firefighter-2

 

I wanted to be a police officer but ended up a firefighter. I am on a volunteer department and only get paid when on a call. The money is not important because I only get about 400 dollars a year. Why would anyone decided to get involved in something that could end your life very quickly anyways? I can only respond to this question as it pertains to myself, others will have different opinions for sure.

First of all, there is no other adrenaline rush like when your pager goes off and you never know what the nature of the call on the other end is going to be. Really think about this for a moment. You are sitting, watching television, and the tone goes off. You rush to the garage and gather your turnout gear and try to get it on quickly. Someone needs your help and needs it now. Firefighters! A plane has just crashed into the lake with possible survivors. Or a call comes out with a house is on fire and people are trapped on the second floor. How about a victim is trapped in motor vehicle. So you never know what to expect but to always expect for the unexpected. It is kind of like fishing. You never know what the next one is going to be.

I have often thought about why I chose to be in public service in the first place. What was the trigger. I remember as a young man in in primary school when the kids and I were playing red rover red rover. Two teams with all the kids holding hands. The object of the game is to crash through their line of interlocking hands. If you get through the line someone is eliminated. This one particular day a kid ran over as fast as he could and got clobbered in the face. His face started to bleed and all the kids just stood there. I ran over to this kid and helped him get to his feet and brought him to the teacher. Was this the trigger? I am kind of thinking that it could be the first. Helping someone in need and not just sitting there watching.

I remember when my wife and I was traveling years ago when the car in front of us hit a pedestrian and the victim went flying through the air. I immediately stopped our vehicle and tried to administer help. The victim died but I was right there on his last agonal  breaths. I decided at this point that I wanted to learn first aid. I took an EMT-B class just to have more knowledge of first aid and maybe I could help someone or my family if needed. I passed the class and proceeded to work on an ambulance for a few years. It became hard for me raising a family and working in a paper industry, doing shift work. I raised my family, one year our son decided to become a firefighter and wanted to know if I would do it with him. I decided to take the class for firefighter- one and passed the class. I started working on the local fire department and I was back into the emergency field. Again money was never the reason it was the fact that I could help someone out if needed.

The years are moving and there will come a time when I will have to pass the towel in, but I have been so happy doing what I always wanted to do even though it was on a volunteer basis. I know it takes certain types of people to do this kind of business. I wonder if we were chosen for this type of business by what we saw as young children. I’m sure there is a connection. Good Day Everyone.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

 

Fishing Adventure

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The ice was becoming a problem. I was on a 320 foot fishing vessel in the North Atlantic and we were fishing for crab. I was laying in my bunk after a twelve hour stint putting the pots in a line. We were going to let the pots sit for six hours so I had to sleep. The noise was something else and it seemed like the hull was being damaged every time we would hit a chunk of ice. I dozed off again and really was in a deep sleep when all of a sudden I heard a loud crash and felt the ship move to the port side and tip up. I fell out of my bunk and all of a sudden water was gushing all over the place. The alarms were going off which meant all men to stations.

We left out of Burbank and it was a great day. The sun was shining and the gulls were flying around the ship. It really was a great day and I had a smile from ear to ear. I was going fishing for the first time in my life. I was going to be a green-horn and this meant paying attention really close to what the old salty dogs were doing. We traveled for hours and hours to get to our fishing spot. I thought that the first thing I would be taught is the safety stuff and how to get into my gumby suit. I wondered if there was a life raft, no information was giving. I really had concerns about this fishing trip. How was I going to save myself if something happened. I didn’t want to sound like a wussy so I kept my mouth shut. The ship moved forward at thirty-knots of so and was moving along at a pretty good clip. We should arrive to our first fishing spot in due time.

I picked myself up after falling out of the bunk. I hit my head it was bleeding really bad. I grabbed a towel that was on the floor and wrapped it around my head. Boy did I have a pounding headache. I had to get out of here and see if anyone else was injured. I went up topside and didn’t see anyone and looked up to the bridge and couldn’t see the captain. Where had everyone gone? I looked out over portside and way out in the distance I could see a life raft. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Everyone had jumped ship and left me here all by myself.

The ship was listing to one side but the engine’s were still running. I went into the bridge and tried calling SOS on the radio but all I could hear was squelch, or static. I frantically kept trying every channel on the radio and nothing was heard. I had taking some nautical classes in high school and decided that I had to try and get this ship to land somewhere. I looked at the map and plotted a path which took me to the Northern Tip of Canada. I moved the power handle to the Fast position and the ship moved forward a little faster. Several hours had gone by when I looked out over the bow of the ship and I could see land.

I could see a cove of some sort and I felt the only way I was going to get to shore was to beach this vessel. I was within five-hundred feet when I could hear some screeching at the bottom of the ship. I must of been scraping on the reefs bellows. The ship was still moving forward and I could see people at the waters edge in preparation of my crash landing. The ship hurled forward and crashed on the shore. I fell forward and then backward and banged my right knee on something hard. I lifted myself and checked myself for any other injuries. I was safe and on land. I climbed down the ladder and was met by this Canadian man. Bonjour my friend. Nice to see you parking this ship in my lagoon today. I was so happy just to know I was alive.

I waited for word about the rescue of my shipmates. They were never found. I survived this ordeal. Never again will I go out fishing, you never know when your luck will run out.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

My Firefighter-Medic Life

imagesI read an interesting story about a firefighter who was teased about what he does for work. There was an family get together and this one well to do guy comes up to the firefighter and makes a statement. So how is the checkers games going? The firefighter looks at this guy and was about ready to smash him in the face for this rude comment. The firefighter finally gives him a one-two punch.

I drive down every highway around here with ghost haunting me. I remember this couple that was in an accident where the girl is dead and the boyfriend is pinned in the car. The man keeps asking if his girlfriend is alright. The firefighter/medic responds with. she is being taking care of. The girl is dead and he has to lie to the fellow. I personally have been put in this situation. Is anyone really prepared to be of witness to such horrific incidents without some long term affects. I would need another call to reset my memory from the last horrific incident.

I am not alone in this personal affects of the brain. It is compared to PTSD, many firefighters/medic’s are afflicted with this. Still to this day I remember the accident’s like it happened yesterday. There is crosses in the road which are reminders of the incidents that I witnessed. It is somewhat of a trigger every time I see these on the highways.

Back to the man at the gathering. So the firefighter responds with another one. I was at an accident where the mans head was severed from a flying object off a pulp truck. He was not just a object that got struck. He was a man with a wife and four young children.  The firefighter responds to the yuppie, So, my checkers game is good. It is the only thing that takes my mind off the horrific incidents I see on my job. I don’t just sit around” asshole” playing checkers all the time. I don’t sit behind a desk with smooth hands and wearing a three piece suit. The next time you see a firefighter remember what they have been through. There is moments on the job that we sit around for the next call but the next call might be your love one that needs our help.

Something to ponder about. I have been witness to a lot in my years of public service. This is what I do and very proud to help people in dire need. I am a firefighter on a on-call department. I was an EMT years ago and have worked on the job site as a firefighter-medic-hazmat tech for 25 years in local paper mills. I have witness many things in my life. So the next time you see a paramedic or firefighter please tell them you support everything they do. Good Day Everyone.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Falling Asleep At The Wheel

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI can remember things now. I was driving down from Lake Tahoe to Sun City Arizona the summer of 1981 to go for a job interview when it all happened. It had been a long drive and I should have slept more before taking off. I had a six pack of Red Bull to keep me awake for the long drive and was going to stay at the Hyatt Hotel when I arrived with the interview being the next morning. I was probably sixty miles out from Sun City when I caught myself getting real sleepy. My head nodded but I caught myself and grabbed a Red Bull to keep me awake. I was still driving and about an hour into the ride after the last episode of falling asleep it happened. Unknown to myself at the time but I feel asleep again and the car and I drove off into la la land. The car traveled into the other lane and we went head-on in a pickup truck driven by a young man and his child.

I was in a induced coma for a week because of the swelling in my brain. I woke up with the worst headache one could imagine. Every bone in my body was sore from the trauma I had sustained. The nurse who was taking care of me was in the room when I woke up. Hey Mr. Henry? About time you woke up. Everything was a little blurry at the moment I opened my eyes but standing in front of me was this nurse. Glad to see you are finally awake. How long have I been out? The nurse replied, one week.  You have been in a coma induced by the doctors here to let your brain heal up a bit. There was swelling on your brain from the impact of your accident. What accident I asked? You fell asleep while driving and collided with a pickup truck. The other driver you hit and his son didn’t survive. I couldn’t believe the words she had just told me. My heart skipped a beat and it was surreal at the time.

I was discharged from the hospital and my brother and his wife picked me up. The nurse wheeled me out of the hospital and placed me into my brothers car. One the way back home I started to remember bits and pieces of the accident. I remember someone holding my hand through the ordeal. I remember someone holding my head to stabilize it incase I fractured my neck. One guy with sunglasses on kept calling my name, Sir Sir , your going to be alright. I can remember now the helicopter ride to the hospital, the rotors making their noise with blades cutting the air. I now remember being wheeled down the hallway of the hospital with people watching from the edges of the hallway as we were passing by.

The conclusion of this story, or the point of it all, is that when you feel your getting tired when driving make sure you pull over and take a short nap. The other thing is to make sure you get some fresh air and drink a coffee or something before venturing out again on the highway. This story could have been written about anyone and we all have friends or even been there before. Drive safe everyone-Also put down the cell phones- No call is worth dying for.

Within The Forest Of Fire

plane%20crash%20kansas_1382128078871_3629612_ver1_0_640_480I was awakened by the sound of a loud crash. I looked outside and couldn’t see anything because of the darkness. There was a rumble that shook the whole house and I was freaking out. I put my clothes on in a hurry and made quick time downstairs to see if the house was damaged or a wall had come down. There was nothing to witness within the house, out of the corner window I saw a glow in the woods.

It was very cold out so I grabbed my jacket and hat and some gloves. I went to the cupboard and retrieved the flashlight. When I stepped outside the door I could hear a roaring sound with loud pops every minute or so. I walked closer to the glow and I could now smell something burning. I came to an opening in the woods, before my eyes, and strewn all over the place was burning debris for as far as I could see. The tops of the tree’s were on fire and fire throughout the forest for about five-hundred feet in width.

My mind was reeling and still I could not process what could cause such devastation. I started walking around the perimeter and I saw a suitcase, a doll lying on the ground covered in soot. I now understood what this devastation was. It was a jetliner that had crashed. I got on my cell phone and called 911. Here is the call. Hello dispatcher. I am in the woods and I believe a jetliner has crashed into my backyard. Sir, don’t play games with us. We are an emergency dispatch center and it is a crime to make false accusation’s about something of this nature. I am not fooling around miss, there is flames for as far as I can see. You need to send someone out here in a hurry. There might be people lying in the woods still alive. I’m going to walk around and see if I can find any souls. Sir? You are serious about this? Yes, I’m not kidding, send the fire department out right now. Ok, Sir, I will be dispatching the fire and rescue they will be there soon.

It must of been five or ten minutes and it seemed like the whole state had responded to this scene. I ran back to my house to check on my wife and two children. They were standing in the kitchen and understandably shaken by what they were seeing within the woods. Honey, a jetliner has crashed in the woods. My wife looks at me with a worry on her face. Honey? Is there any survivor’s? I do not know that answer dear but I’m sure the fire department will let us know soon.

We waited in the house for it seemed like eight hours and this one fire chief came into the house and told us that one soul had been found and is in critical condition. The person found was a young lady of around twenty-four years of age. Her passport stated she was from Istanbul and she was coming to America to become a chef in a famous New York restaurant .  I asked what hospital they were taking her too. Sir, they will be taking her to Presbyterian Hospital by the Bay. Ok, Thanks chief I appreciate this information.

I walked back out into the woods later when daylight came and was amazed at how much debris was strewn all over the woods. I could see a section of the wing and also the wheels from the jet. There was some things still burning but most of the fires were out. The firefighters had been there all night and were exhausted. The count of souls they found were to be two-hundrend and twenty-five. I started to cry and only had visions of how many families had lost their fathers, mothers, children,brother’s and sister’s. This was going to take me a long time to process and I hugged my family today. We all cried.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Crying In The Woods

Avalanche_Rescue_Dog_Looking_A_6552172I am part of an elite special search and rescue team out of Ashvielle, Texas. Our major concentration and training has been in Search and Rescue. I am special- qualified in low angel rescue and searching with dogs. Our team was called out to the the State of Maine because a woman had gone missing on the Appalachian Trail a week ago. I had my dog Bert with me and another person on my team was going with a search dog too. I had all my gear in my back pack and flashlights for hiking at night if needed. This woman was hiking alone on the AT when she failed to contact her husband Tony two days before. Her husband new that something wasn’t right and called the authorities.

The day started out with all our team meeting at the local fire station in Apton with our team leader Dean giving us a pre-op and giving us coordinates to search for the day. I looked over the map of the terrain that Bert and I would be canvassing and notice the elevation to be around 3200 feet. I had hiking boots with spikes in the bottom which gave me better traction. One of the firefighters gave me a ride closer to the area I would be searching.

I found out that this lady had an enormous amount of hiking experience and that she was well prepared for hiking in the mountains. I’m sure she just went off trail and got lost and that we would find her in no time. Usually our team found most people that we went looking for and I felt like this was going to be the same. I had been all day searching and calling out her name. Julia! Julia! I hollered for her all day and never heard any response back. I called back to my team leader Dean to tell him I had not found any indication of anyone hiking this area. I could find no foot prints and also looked for turned over rocks, or broken whips on the tree’s. The hike was starting to wear me down so I decided to stop and get some water. There was a big rock and the sun was shinning on it brightly which I felt would give me some warmth. Bert sat down next to me and I brought out some water for the both of us. I was looking at my map and making decisions to change course when I thought I heard someone crying from within the wood line about 100 meters ahead. Sometimes when your looking for someone so bad your mind does strange things and I just thought it was my mind thinking I’d heard a voice within the woods. Again, I could hear someone crying. This time Bert’s ears popped up so I knew that I wasn’t just imagining this sound.images

Bert and I  moved toward the ridge line and into the woods. The crying sound was getting stronger and I know could hear this person calling out, Help! Help!  We were about to cross over this stream and down next to the stream and near a large felled tree I saw a woman. I called out, Are You Julia? Yes, Please help me. I got on my two-way radio and called team leader Dean to give him information of my coordinates and that she had been found. Julia was so happy to see me. Here is a link of a true story that happened in Maine. This woman was never found.  http://appalachiantrail.com/20131214/search-missing-appalachian-trail-hiker-gerry-largay/

I accessed her condition and found that she had two broken legs from a fall she had taking. She had dragged her injured body at least one mile through the woods. She understood that she needed to get to a stream if she was going to be found. Both her hands were cut up as well. I took out my bandages and wrapped them around her hands. I had soft splints in my gear bag and splinted both legs the best I could. The crying from Julia had stopped. She had no more tears to let out. She was very dehydrated. The rest of my search team embarked upon the scene and we were able to carry her back to the fire station to an awaiting ambulance. Her husband was relieved that his Julia had been found.Cave_Rescue_training_12_4in

In the weeks afterward our team was called out to another search and rescue. The Arizona mountains, where a team of sky jumpers could not be located. Bert and I were ready for anything- – – – – – – – – – – –   ©Bilodeau,D.H.

Hiding Behind The Curtain

microphoneWhy I put myself into these positions? One time when our daughter was young and taking gymnastics classes, I the old athlete, wanted to show our daughter a tumble.  I started my roll and then I heard a snap and the most excruciating pain overcame me. Something in my neck didn’t like the extra stress and I laid there on the floor not even able to lift my head off the floor. My wife had to pick my head up and help me to my feet. I probably should have called an ambulance. I put myself into a position that I was not prepared to do.

I was at work one day and was told to do a safety topic in front of my piers. This is right up there with singing in front of a large group, whoever  is this guy up front trying to sing. Fear will set in and really mess you up. I had downloaded information of a topic I wanted to mention and was somewhat prepared. It really makes it easier if you know what your talking about. I did however bring a prop of the topic to be talked about.  So why did I decide that last night was going to be the night of the speech? I guess it was being able to put myself out there and not to worry about what others will say. Life is very short folks and to hide from everything you really miss out . So with my little speech completed, I’m going to hunt down a Karaoke Machine and start practicing for my next up front performance.

Lessen learned through all of this is to make sure you are prepared for anything in life. Do not be shy to step out of the box. Life is too short folks.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014
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Flash Ahead

lightning flashThe lightning hit the telephone pole right in front of my eyes. It was a dark and rainy night and I was driving home from work on county road. I could see small lightning flashes ahead so I knew that I would be driving into a storm. This is not uncommon in the area that I live and to be honest I kind of like watching the flashes. The rain started picking up so I decided to move the wiper control to another notch. I was struggling hard to keep concentration on the road when all of a sudden I saw a big flash and heard a loud crash. I looked up and a telephone pole had been hit by the lightning. The only problem is the pole came crashing down right in front of me. I cranked the steering wheel to the left real hard and the car fishtailed and drove right off over an embankment and crashed into a large tree.

I’m sitting on a beach in the French Riveria and I can see all these first responders running down the beach. I’m thinking boy I hope they find who they are looking for because I’m sure someone is in dire need. Oh, the sun feels so good today and I think a nap is going to happen real soon. One more sip of my cocktail, sip, Ah!

Sir? Wake up. I open my eyes and I see a first responder hollering at me. I move my arm, or try to move my arm, pointing in the direction I saw the other responder running to. Sir? Are you ok? I’m very confused at this point. Why is he talking to me like something happened? Oh, my arm is hurting like someone pushed a dagger through it. Sir? You have been in an accident. Lightning struck a telephone pole and you swerved off the road and hit a tree.

Life can change in a moment. We need to enjoy every day and tell the loved one’s you love them every day. Lightning can flash in front of you and change everything.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Only Minutes Of Clarity

Surgeons%2520Looking%2520at%2520PatientA call came out to a report of an unknown problem. My heart skipped a beat. I had to drop the tools I was using when trying to fix an electrical issue. I grabbed my pouch of tools and walked faster than normal. Someone is calling out for assistance of an unknown factor, they are in distress. My mind is trying to swap from electrical fixer upper dude to a medic. No reports of what has happened but to just report. I get back to my shop, drop my tools on my work bench, then retrieved my medical bag. I am no longer the electrician. I walk to the trailer where this person is located to find someone clinging, minutes to possible unconsciousness. I have to figure out in only a minute or so what is wrong with this person. My mind is still stuck at the electrical job I was just working on minutes before. What is wrong, I ask a few questions to the people around him and get a medical history report of the patient. He does have a medical history and I find that I can make a difference in a hurry. I reach down to my medical bag, take a quick inventory of my supplies and grab what is needed. I give this person a quick dose of what I believe his issue is. Within minutes this person starts responding to my treatment. He is starting to understand a little more than before and things are starting to come back to normal for this patient. Two other responders show up and we monitor this person for awhile. The patient shakes my hand when I’m leaving. It doesn’t get any better than that. I walk out the door and my mind has to swap back to electrician, just like that. Moments like this make you realize how precious minutes can make. Enjoy your day, I will.

©Bilodeau,D.H.

Hand For You

imagesLVUEGR8IWho was that person who held my hand? I was involved in an auto accident last year and spent six months in the hospital for numerous broken bones. I was driving a semi truck down Route 68 out of Toledo when a small car swerved in too fast into my lane. The only move I could make at the time was to cut the wheel as fast as I could to prevent hitting that small car. I looked out at my mirror and could see my trailer fish tailing. When the trailer came around it took the cab with it. I went down over an embankment and smashed into several larger boulders. The cab exploded and that was the last thing I remember except for the moment someone was holding my hand. I woke from what seemed like hours. I could hear voices, cut the A-post, then the B-post, and remove the roof. Still someone was holding my hand and I could not see anything. This hand holding was what kept me going through this ordeal. The next thing I know was I was lying in a hospital bed. My eyes had been wrapped up because of injuries to my facial region. Someone was holding my hand. I called out, Who goes there? No one answered my call. I could still feel someone grasping my hand as to say hold on, we will make it together.

Time has passed now and I am going crazy as to who that person or being was that held on to my hand the night of the crash , also the hospital bed. Is there someone out there that goes from person to person helping people in need? I want this job, I could do the same thing. You are going to be ok because I have your hand. AHELPINGHAND.COM would be my business. I know that someone was out there that day. I could feel the warmth from their hand. Maybe it was some greater power that is beyond my imagination. Maybe I will never find out. I just want to thank that person for being there for me. This story is a Fictional. I was not in any accident. Good day Everyone. Cool in New England. ©Bilodeau,D.H.