Health

The Solitude of Writing

33980_3887727172115_1911327579_n

 

Nothing like early morning hours and writing. The solitude I get when the house is quiet and I’m sitting here next to the fire, well pellet stove. The German Shepard is all curled up on his couch, snuggled in for a quick nap. The holiday Christmas is coming up real soon, I need to get myself motivated to go to the big city and buy some gifts for the family. I live in a small town and to find any shopping malls one has to travel thirty minutes north or south to find any half decent shops. That is alright with me, stay away from the city limits, on the county line either direction. Anyhow, I must find the strength to move forward so I can get the shopping experience completed. The rest of my worries at the moment, is that my own children are healthy for the holiday’s. There is a lot of sickness going on around these neck of the woods, Maine. I have to knock on wood, so far, cross my fingers, I have stayed healthy so far. I usually eat those words. Did I mention the solitude I’m having at the moment. One can write from the mind with ease. The mind needs an outlet, a place to discharge its thoughts, I found this in writing. Oh, where did that scratch come from on my right hand, never noticed it before. Oh yes that was from wiring the service box in the cellar the other day. A wire snuck up and got me, darn those wires hurt. Oh did I mention that Christmas is coming up real fast and that I got to get a move on? Oh well, maybe I did mention that. The weather in Maine, or Central Maine has been moderate. We have had a few snow storms but rain has been following these and melting most of it. The snowmobile riders are not happy, at least in this part of Maine. I guess the Northern part of the State is getting a good amount of snow and the Southern Part is probably bare of snow. We have been getting days of freezing rain and this has made the roads very slippery. Darn itch in my ear, nothing to scratch it with. My fingers are too big to fit into the canal, guess I will have to go upstairs and find a Q-tip. Why did I get up at 0230 hrs Local EST? No reason, other than the fact I was not tired and had a little hunger thing going on, also the coffee kick needed to be taking care of. I will take a nap later today, maybe go lay back down in a few. I did however find a great morning of writing. I will find something to take care of the rest of my day for sure. Enjoy your work day folks, I might be shopping today. Happy holiday’s

Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

 

Advertisements

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

A Public Message

2014-03-14 07.49.13

I can hear the alarm ringing, I’m having a hard time coming out of this dream. I’m trying to reach with my arms, stretching it out like the toy Stretch Armstrong, hitting the button for the second time. Something is wrong with me this morning, I cannot wake myself up. Someone has done something to me, I do not feel well and my vision is all blurred. I’m starting to panic inside my mind. There is a pungent odor inside this bedroom of mine. I can still hear the alarm sound but cannot get to it. There is a glow of light, ever so flickering, within the walls of this room. I can feel the heat upon my face, too much for me to handle, I tuck myself under the covers. I am awakened again by the sounds of sirens, I wonder what has happened, I go back to sleep. The door is crashing down inside the room, two men in suits are hollering something, I cannot hear them. The alarm is still going off, I feel dizzy, I cannot see, I cannot breath.

Please be aware of your surrounding’s. Do not leave candle’s burning at night. Make sure the smoke detectors all work and the batteries have been changed. Have an escape route and a meeting place outside, And NEVER GO BACK INTO A BURNING BUILDING.

A story here in Maine. A young mother and three of her children perish in a fire. A smoke detector was found with the battery removed. We all have to have an alarm system. I also recommend using a Carbon Monoxide detector on each floor. It never hurts to be a little on the ball with this stuff. Carbon Monoxide is the silent killer. No odor and the vapor density is about the same as the air we breath. In other words it floats around just like air. This deadly gas is formed from improper burning. Stay Safe folks and be smart when it comes to your family and heating resources.

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

A Peaceful Time

pic 1

At peace with the mind. It is this, that most people wish could have. Solitude is what a person needs from time to time to rest the mind ,body, and soul. This picture reminds me of many times fishing in Maine. There is many mornings or evenings that are just like this. One can be fishing for trout or salmon in the day or white perch and hornpout in the evening. There is such a calm about being in the boat, canoe, or kayak floating about with mirrored lakes. There is times when every stress that has been bothering you will be washed away during one night on the lake. Really, you should try it sometimes. Enjoy the day- I’m going out fishing.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

When The Smoke Cleared

smoke

When the smoked cleared I stopped for a moment to realize what tragedy I had just witnessed. I stood there, sounds of the regulator, clicking in and out. It was just me and my thoughts. Had I done enough to prevent a loss for this family I had known. I battled the fire with such force and I gave it all my strength to the end. The smoke is all that remains, a tear forms in my eyes. How could I save the little girl in the room upstairs. I couldn’t go up the stairs because of fire from the top to the bottom. It would be the sure death of me if I made that decision. I had to make a split second decision of life and death, mine over hers.

We as responders are faced with decisions at times that no one ever wants to make. We are faced with the aftermath of those decisions. It at times feels like a general sending his soldiers into war knowing the outlook that many men will be sacrificed. Being an officer in a fire department can and will affect peoples lives. Your own men going to battle for the decisions you make.

I hope that I am never faced with the fact I sent men into battle with loss of my own men. I’m not sure I could live with this fact, instilled in my mind forever. This happen’s everyday with first responders. No one ever want’s to hear that someone has died trying to save someone. It is fact, that we are the last resort in many situations. We train for such emergencies, but in the end the tragedies we witness sometimes are forever etched. PTSD syndrome is very real and many people whether it be war, or being a first responder is affected in some way. How can we not be? We try to go home and console with our spouses but they do not understand what trauma we have been witness too. There is help out there. Your local departments should provide help, all you need to do is ask. We provide post CISD or Critical Insident Stress Debriefing, after a tragic event. It is this where we can all talk about what happened to start the process of healing the mind.  http://www.usfa.fema.gov/pdf/efop/efo27917.PDF

The smoke is clear now and my heart is pounding. I have just talked with a professional about things I have been witness to. I know I have a reason to be a responder. Glad to know someone is out there to listen to us.

©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

Life’s Edge With Her

life edge

I held her hand to life’s edge. She was hanging on for every bit of strength she had. It had been a long night with the two of us crying and worrying about the next chapter. I was worried that I couldn’t live without her. She was crying that she wouldn’t make it another breath and be able to spend another day with me. The light was getting dimmer and the memories were getting distorted by the constant weeping within. Her breathing was becoming labored, knives penetrating through my heart. Was God going to be there for her in the last moments or would I have to guide her through the journey and hand over my love.

I had not been versed into the path of delivering my spouse. It cannot be me, I, who am a laborer, not trained in the delivery of one’s life. Please God, do not let me fail. I am your son but have not the strength myself to be a conductor of life. I will not fail my spouse. I weep again, she tugs my hand, oh no is this the time? A song is playing  my ears, Is there a god out there? Please don’t let me go, I am your brother, brother, brother………

When will this pain stop, we cannot hold on anymore, either of us will destruct, with our minds being put through this test of time. I keep thinking that my spouse is going to a better place, I feel a tear coming down my face, I wipe it with  the back of my hand, all I see is red.

I hear a gasp , I look down at my beautiful spouse and she has disappeared from life as we know it. It is quiet and I am scared, where do I go from here, I’m alone. I look out the window, the sun is bright, a new path has been chosen for me. I turn around and stop, looking at her bedside I see God with her in his arms. He looks at me and with a slow wave of his arm, he waves at me and nods. It is time for me to leave, I walk out the door to a new beginning.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Bye My Love

images4L5BVXD1

 

The last kiss was when I was walking out the door this morning. She had made my lunch every morning for forty-two years. I worked in the coal mines in West Virginia as a foreman for loading train cars. I turned my back this morning and waved a good-bye. She smiled at me with the most beautiful smile and my day was complete knowing that the love of my life was always at the window.

I would come through the door after a long day of work and she again would be in the window smiling and waving at me. I arrived in the driveway, looked at the window, and she was not there. I had a bad feeling that something was not right. I turned off the engine and rushed to the house. I opened the door and lying on the floor was my beautiful wife, lifeless and with a smile on her face. I started to cry, tears flowing down my cheeks, I gave her one more last kiss and said my goodbye. Who will be there to watch me through the window ?

Darn Allergies

eye

 

The inventor of allergies is not my friend. He comes knocking at my door anytime of the day or night and usually any season for me. I never was troubled with allergies until older in life. My eyes would be all scratchy and my sinuses felt like they wanted to explode. It is a weird feeling and hard to explain but when I’m having trouble my whole body has a burning feeling and my head feels as though I’m in a cloud sort of speaking.

I went to the allergy doctor years ago. I finally had enough of this misery and wanted to get somewhat better. The doctor told me he was going to inject all different stuff in three rows on my arm. This test would tell if I was allergic. I waited like fifteen minutes or so when a nurse came in and measured the red marks on my arm. I will never forget her words. Oh My God! Every test we injected you with has tested positive for your being allergic. No wonder I was feeling like crap all the time. Ragweed, Mushroom spores, white pine, dogs, cats, and I could on and on.

I had to be taught how to inject the antigen into my body. I was injecting three shots once a week and did this for two years. I did get a lot better and was feeling much better over time. I just got sick of always driving to the doctors to get a new bottle of antigen, they never seemed to run out at the same time. Each bottle I had was a mix of different stuff so it was important to always make sure I had the stuff.

I know today that my problem is an over reactive immune system. Basically it is on turbo speed so any slight things that bothered me before are kicked into overdrive. I have tried taking about every over the counter stuff. This is my method today. First I always make sure I have antihistamine available. I will only take stuff with 10 mg of antihistamine. The reason for this is I can still function and I’m not floored by the medicine. I make sure that I always have Benadryl for when I am totally messed up but will never take this when I’m working because it will make me really sleepy. I do get to the point sometimes when my throat starts to close up and I feel like I’m getting a asthma attack with non stop coughing. The Benadryl will combat this problem for me.

The only problem I feel today and I wonder if allergies have anything to do with it, is my joints ache from time to time. Still to this day I believe it is all the antigens I injected to help me with my allergies. Who knows what was injected or what was mixed to help with my problem. I was told that food has a lot to do with it. I am not one of these health nuts and trying to stop eating and eat like a rabbit is not for me. I know a lot of people are gluten free and it helps them with some of the health issues and they feel better. I just don’t want to be a walking medical test dummy. I am already a test dummy, been that for many years.

To all other people who suffer from allergies, I am with you and know what your going through.  I do carry an epi- pen with me because I’m really  allergic to yellow jackets and swell up like you wont believe. I have never lost my breathing when being stung. The doctor told me every sting is different and you never know what one will cause your throat and tongue to swell. Good Point! Also if I ever have a reaction so bad from my other allergies I have the epi-pen with me. Good day to everyone- I’m hoping this spring and summer is not going to get me too bad. The buds are starting to come out here in Maine and usually when the pine tree’s start putting out pollen, it really messes me up.  The future only knows but I’m hoping for a better year.

©Bilodeau,D.H.

 

 

Honey? What Is This Lump Here?

C2-0167__25578_1325295847_1280_1280I cried, she was all I had. We met in high school and had been together for 32 years. Honey? I feel something in my breast can you come here and check this out? I went into the bathroom and felt around her breast in a circular motion and there it was. She had a small lump probably the size of a pea. Do you think it is anything honey? I don’t know but you better go have it checked out.

We arrived at the doctors office a little early because we didn’t want to miss this important visit. We sat in the waiting room for it seemed like hours, it was only minutes, but it seemed like a life hours. Miss, you can come in this way. My husband entered the room with me. The doctor came in and felt around my breast and located the lump we had been feeling. Miss, I’m going to send you for a breast exam. This has to be done today. I’m thinking I have so much to do today and this was not in the plans. The doctor told me that you cannot wait. If this is cancer it could spread very rapidly, time is of the essence. Your appointment will be today at eleven this morning.

We traveled to the local hospital and they put me in those hospital suits, I can never understand why these do not have a backside. I guess one can figure it out. Miss? can you please come in here. I’m going to do a breast exam at this station. Your husband will have to stay in the waiting room. The machine examined my breast for it seemed like more angles than I learned in geometry. The test was performed, she told me I could put my street clothes back on. You can wait in the waiting room and the doctor will call you in awhile to talk of the results.

Miss? You can come in here, we need to discuss the results. What the results showed is that I had breast cancer and that I was going to have to make some decisions soon of what treatment. My husband and I were in disbelief and saddened by the results. We knew that we had a long road ahead of us.

We decided, aggressive as it might seem, to have a total mastectomy. We didn’t want to take any chances of it spreading. The operation was performed and many days were spent in bed. I had to have chemo and radiation therapy for a few months. I went in for another exam to see if anything has spread and if the chemo and radiation was doing its job. What the results showed this time totally floored me. The cancer had spread into my lymph nodes and with further exam it was found to be in my lungs and brain. The doctor told me that this was a fast moving form of cancer and that you better go home and live the last remaining time with your family and friends.

I met my wife in high school, she was the most caring and loving wife anyone could ask for. I’m writing this because my wife passed away last night and I’m sitting in the living room weeping. I understand that people live and people die, but why my beautiful wife.

This story was written in support of breast cancer and screening. I hope that all people realized that early screening can save your life. This story was not true in my family, this is only a story. It can however reflect on many woman in this world that are currently fighting this fight. Husband’s are there to help you through. Please support your local or national breast cancer foundations. Good day- Have your screening today.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

MY PTSD

afghanistan_rect

 

Sgt. Richard McCurry was leading his men down a street in Anbar, Afghanistan. He had briefed his men before they walked down the street and informed them to watch all the roof tops. The Taliban would stage up on roof tops and shoot down on the soldiers as they walk down the streets. This was just another day for the soldiers and they moved slowly down the one street watching every corner. I was the third man in this group with Sgt. McCurry walking directly behind me. I had been assigned to WHA- Watch His Ass- This was an important assignment because not only that you had to watch for the enemy, you had to keep your leader safe.

We kept moving forward when all of a sudden gunfire rang out, my heart about exploded with total fear. I looked down the street and lying face down was our point man Jermaine. He was a soldier out of Jacksonville, Florida and was an outstanding athlete in high school. His goal was to sign up for the football draft when he got out of the Army. My worst fear was that Jermaine was not alive. We walked up to him with bullets flying in all directions. It took a few minutes to get up to him and I think I shot a few Taliban along the way. I rolled Jermaine over and he had a smile on his face. He blinked his eyes and said it was a good thing he had his Easter peeps in his pocket. I told him I don’t understand. The bullet hit the package and deflected the bullet. I told him to get up quick and start shooting. We needed to get out of this hot area as soon as possible. Jermaine got up real fast and brought his M16 to firing position and started firing. He took one step forward and another shot rang out and Jermaine fell to the ground again. I walked up to him and there was bleeding coming from his mouth and he was not moving. I could see the color being removed from his face. Jermaine had passed right in front of me. All his hopes and dreams were stopped right at this moment on the streets of Afghanistan. I stood there for a few seconds to reflect what I had just been witness too. I thought to myself, and asked a question. Why am I in this place?  I didn’t have time to answer because out of the corner of my eye I could see a Taliban on the roof top ready to shoot. He was aiming his weapon directly at my Sargent. I brought my M16 up real quick and with rapid fire I took down that enemy.

Our group finally made it to the end of the street and there was a tall cement wall that we all got behind for protection and to access the situation. Sargent McCurry told us that we had to go back down that street and retrieve Jermaine. We never leave another soldier behind. Back down the street and again the shooting started. We shot at them and they shot at us but we retrieved Jermaine and dragged him down the street and behind the wall. Our radio man called for a helicopter to come and bring him back to our base. They brought a Chinook helicopter which brought our whole troop back to base. Sargent McCurry had all of us pay our respects to this soldier we lost today. This is what he said to us. You all fought hard today and you win some and lose some. I just want you to remember this young man today and know that he fought for his country. He gave the ultimate sacrifice and to know that in any situation that I hope you will give that same to save others. We all bowed our head in prayer for Jermaine.

Life moved on and I was in a lot of other firefights but I will never forget this one day we lost Jermaine. It has now been 10 years since I have been back to civilian life. I am having trouble sleeping and every noise I hear outside reminds me of a firefight. I cannot drive down the highway without thinking it is an ambush. How can I forget all this and go back to normal life?  They never told me that my mind would be damaged like this. I have talked with other vets from other wars on how to relieve these horrid memories. They all told me you will never forget. You just have to move on and realize what you have done for this country.

This story is a fictional story, I do not want to have this bring back bad memories for our soldiers, but do want to realize that PTSD is very real. You cannot go through traumatic situations like war and not have some kind of PTSD. Please reach out for help, Like the old soldier replied, you never forget what you have seen. It is the help that redirects some of these thoughts and gives you second chance of life. You do not need to deal with this alone.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Ketchup Testing Results

27699456

 

I’ve got to tell you one of my insane cravings that I have had for years. Good ole fashion Ketchup. When I was a young man the kids in the neighborhood would sleep outdoors in sleeping bags right smack on the ground. We had no tents and would swat mosquito’s all night. This one friend of mine would invite us to sleep at his place and his mother would always make a huge breakfast for all the neighborhood kids that were brave enough to sleep outside. The one thing that drove me crazy was the fact that their whole family would put ketchup on their pancakes. Ok, crazy I thought at this very young age and I repeated in my brain the word gross many times. The fact is that these people, my friends, were addicted to ketchup. I thought to myself that never in a million years would I do something as crazy as this.

People can do strange combo’s but this one took the clincher for sure for me. I would never try ketchup on pancakes but I have enjoyed ketchup through the years. I will put ketchup on mashed potatoes, and also on my mac and cheese. I like it on eggs just as much and will sometimes catch myself putting it on a piece of bread. Ok I’m not that bad really but do enjoy the flavor.

The FDICACIA Department has now put Ketchup on the top 100 list of reducing all aging on humans. It has been proven to grow hair in the topical form. Doctors say if you have an erection for more than four hours to go see your nearest doctor. This has been proven with a clinical test performed using fifty men. Other test were done on white lab rats and conclusive results were, not to use white rats again when testing with ketchup. Another test performed was using ketchup as a new tanning application but results show that too many test subjects were getting hives, this test was terminated.

FDIMECIA which is located in Maine has determined that as long as Ketchup is used in moderated doses that it will not cause you to have no teeth.  The next test performed in Maine with Ketchup will be in February 2016. This time half will be female and the other half men. They are looking for any aphrodisiac symptoms in woman this time. The foundation has just come out with ketchup packets and will be dispensing them at your local McDonalds outlets in your community. Stay tuned! Ketchup will now be considered right up there with 5 Hour energy drinks. People are talking about these new finds and  you will hearing a lot more about the health benefits of Ketchup. The only thing they don’t want you using ketchup for is fake blood. Doctors have been fooled in the ER room and don’t want this to be confused with real blood.

Everyone! Get on the Ketchup bandwagon! I’m doing my best to let everyone know.

©Bilodeau,D.H.

 

 

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

Give Me Some Of That Two Wheel Therapy

2014-04-04 09.45.49Therapy comes in all different types. I always wondered what two- wheeled therapy was. I have found this out all on my own. I didn’t need any therapist or doctors to diagnose my problems. Finally this year, I’ve decided to get me one of those two- wheeled bicycle’s. This one has an added bonus because it came with an engine. Smart people out there that put these engine things on these bikes. It was a cleaver idea because now you don’t even have to pedal.

Deciding upon which direction of travel I wanted to take, and what treatment was needed, I decided to head south on the bicycle. I started up the engine thing, varoom! Wow what a thrill to hear the engine thing start up. It gives me goose bumps and get the nervous system a super charge. My heart is starting to pound a little faster because of all the excitement. I sit myself down upon this seat and can feel vibrations all over my body. This is massaging my legs and my back muscles and I’m starting to feel real good and relaxed.

Turning at the end of the driveway I give it some throttle and the engine really blats out. I’m smiling now and I haven’t even left the driveway yet. Varoom!  I’m off to another place. I can feel the wind blowing in my face and the scenery is amazing through these new sunglasses I bought. I can see pretty good now and my mind is starting to relax. Moving on down the highway, something I noticed, people are out raking their lawns and with the noise from my engine people are lined up in their neighborhoods before I arrive. It felt like I was in a parade. These people are smiling at me and I’m smiling back at them. One guy in his driveway put his rake down and gave me a thumbs up and waved. What the heck is going on around here? I’m getting an overload of therapy today. I keep driving south on Route-4, toward  a place of nowhere. There really is no destination in mind, I’m just out getting my treatment.

You know, I’m starting to think real hard about this two-wheel therapy and I’m really starting to understand that I should have bought me one of these motor bikes a long time ago. I have returned back to the house and back from my hour long appointment with the two wheels and an engine. What a treatment it has been……… I’m going to make sure to schedule another appointment again real soon.  Good day everyone- Go out and find some treatment like I have, You will not be disappointed. Thanks Doctor?

Mechanism’s of Life

CPRDispatch, Code 99 in progress please respond to 1112 Park Street. This was a call for help and I was the man on duty. I was eating breakfast with my wife and kids when the call came out. I jumped up quick from the table and spilled my coffee. The wife looked at me and couldn’t believe that I would not stop for a minute to clean up the coffee.. Hey, I have to get going in a hurry, someone’s life is on the line.

In the heat of the moment the only thing you can think of is responding and trying to beat the clock of time for this patient. I jumped into my truck and reached in my pocket for the keys and realized that I didn’t have them, they were in my street clothes. Argh!  Back into the house to my wife saying what is the matter? I forgot my keys honey. I rushed up the stairs and retrieved my keys and hurried on back to my truck. I turned on my red light and off I go to try and mitigate, or stop the progression of dying. I’m thinking in my head, ok open the airway, check for signs of circulation, if none start compressions and breathing. I had trained for this so many times and when it is real life you still go back to the basic’s. ABC-Airway-Breathing-Circulation.

The patient was lying prone in the living room and some family members were trying their best to hold their emotions and still try to perform CPR-CardiopulmonaryResuscitation . It is a very hyped up scene when responding to a code 99. We  hope that we can respond in time for the patient. The brain will die in about 6 minutes max,  lactic acid will start destroying the vital organs in a short time thereafter. Because the family was at the home and were instructed from the dispatcher to stay calm and start performing CPR this patient had a chance. Blood flow to the brain and body was continuing.

The medic with me hooked up the twelve- lead monitor and determined this patient needed to be shocked back to life. Clear! Everyone cleared the patient and Six-Hundred Joules were induced across the heart of this patient. We checked the monitor and a good sinus rhythm was now shown on the screen. The paramedic put some drugs into the veins of this patient and everything was looking good. We had stopped the line of progression of life or death.

The family was instructed to meet at the local hospital and that the patient was stable at the moment but not out of the woods. Because of the lactic acid the patient could have liver, or kidney failure, it could be a long-haul in the hospital.

We as responders will try to do everything possible to change the outcome for a patient. Our own family members sometimes never turn on the switch. It really is a switch from going from family function’s to rescue mode. Sometimes we feel like Jekyll and Hyde. No not really, but to switch modes on a dime is the comparison. Honey, I will clean up the coffee, Just give me a minute, Ok?

I do not work for an ambulance. I did at one time back in the 80’s. I do medical work at my workplace and respond via local fire department when called upon. ©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.

Until The End

article_84fd85e643e1abd1_1343825565_9j-4aaqskOn the edge of life and death. Life is so precious we take every moment and balance every moment of this. We are time machines and are not programmed for eternal life.  Photograph the memories of your loved ones and tell them you love them at all times. We cannot control the future, nor can any other human. Others can mitigate certain problems and with that we survive in the hands of doctors. Hope, pray, cross your fingers if that is what it takes to give a person more time with us.

We have been witness to life after death, we see it all around us. The wind, sun, tree’s, certain songs, a noise. We can hear this person sending signals at times. I know life goes on. I have photographed everything about this person into my brain. They are with us to our eternal end and I know a connection of the two of us will prevail.

Lives will hang onto this bitter balance of this time machine and family’s will bond and make connections with these people to photograph one more memory.

Fire Road Twenty-Four

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe night of the snake encounter. My brother Mike had asked if I wanted to go hiking in the Sierra Mountains, Near Kirkwood Mountain ski area. I guess by what he was saying you could go about 12 miles into the mountains via fire roads. He would go to the local information center in Kingsbeach area and get topographic maps so we could follow the roads and hike different mountain peaks.

I didn’t have much for mountain gear to start out with. He told me I probably will need a decent back pack and to go to the local Circle K and maybe I could find one. I went to the store and in the sporting equipment section I saw the perfect back pack. It was in stripes and stars of the American flag. It was relatively cheap looking and that was ok because I only had a little money. I had to get some other supplies. A thermos and maybe some plastic cups and plastic silverware would do.

I was feeling good that I was packed and ready. My brother picked me up at my house. Hey bro, How you doing? I’m doing great and excited for the trip. How many day’s do you think we are going to hike. Well, I have three days off and do not have to be back until Friday night. Ok, I replied, sounds good to me. The drive up the mountain pass to where we was about to begin this trip was like forty-five minutes away. Hey bro? Here is a beer to start the trip. I was smiling from ear to ear.

Mike was an ambitious young man and the outdoors was really his fancy. I liked being around him because of this outdoor excitement. We did a lot of trips together which I probably wouldn’t do if it weren’t for his planning. We made it to the start of the hike, Mike brought out the topo maps and we decided to take Fire road 24 which would take us to the north ridge. We hiked all day and stopped for a few beer breaks along the way. Mike told me that we better start looking for a place to bed down for the night.

We found a nice flat spot near the top of the North Ridge and it was a perfect place to start a small campfire. It was hidden by tree’s and hopefully we wouldn’t start a forest fire. We had some cans of beef stew and cooked it up. We needed the protein for energy for the hike tomorrow. We sat and talked for a few hours until I told Mike that I was going to bed. I lay awake for a few minutes and fell quickly fast asleep.

Ouch! Something had just punctured me in the thigh and I about jumped through the roof of the tent. I was trying to find my flashlight but that was outside in my backpack. I tried to find the zipper on the tent and something hit me again right on my stomach. Ouch! I found the zipper and ran out of the tent hollering all the way. My brother came out of his tent and asked what is all the hollering about? Something just bit me, twice actually Mike. He had a flashlight and looked into my tent. Oh my god bro, it is a timber- rattler. I was starting to feel a little dizzy and getting very weak. Bro? I have to get you back down the Mountain in a hurry if you are going to survive this. He gathered all our stuff and left my tent right where it stood. Bro, we have to get moving fast. He put his arms around me and we started the trek back down the ridge.

I was really starting to fail fast and walking was like I had never walked before. Bro, you have to keep going! Hang in there because your not going to die on my watch. We finally made it back to the vehicle and Mike raced fast as he could to the nearest hospital which was twenty minutes away in Truckee, California. The doctor put some anti-venom into me and by the next morning I was starting to feel like myself again. My brother had save my life and I owed everything to him.

I loved my brother and his exploration of the wilderness. He had a love of the world like no other and wanted to share everything about it with his family. Mike took ill back in 1990 and couldn’t survive the infections that he had. If only I had half the ambition he had for life. I will never forget the time in the mountains with him. Thanks Bro it was a wonderful memory of you today. I’m looking up to ya Bro.

©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.