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April 2017

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Wow... so I kinda forgot to update here after the "Eek I have to have surgery!" post.

After going to the walk-in (irony, there) clinic on Tuesday and finding out I needed surgery, I got a call from the scheduler on Wednesday telling me that Dr. Hupfer could fit me in on Thursday. Thursday? Like, _tomorrow_ Thursday??? EEEEEK!!

But it needed to be done sooner rather than later, and I started making panic-stricken calls and emails to see if we could get everything arranged in time. Jen, Barry and Michael came up after work and moved my bed from the basement to the living room, and staged everything else that I would need in easy reaching distance. Various friends offered to Debbie-sit, and I put them all in an email together and let them sort out the scheduling. Bob offered to take me to the hospital on Thursday afternoon, and Jen offered to pick me up and bring me home, and Liz was onboard to stay for the first night. My friend Christin, who's showing Nick for me (loaner dog visiting from Canada), and her mom (mostly her mom) agreed to take the dogs while I was out of commission, and Sherri came up and helped me haul the entire canine crew off to boarding.

Before I had a chance to panic, everything was arranged and Bob was whisking me off to IOH for surgery. According to Dr. Hupfer, the surgery went well and they were able to put me back together with a plate and five pins without need of the syndesmosis screw (between the tibia and fibula) that would have required me to be non-weight-bearing for months instead of only a week or so. Jen and Liz managed to get seriously drugged me into the house and settled in bed and the next couple of days kinda went by in a blur. (Sidenote: Percocet is good stuff. Also, oxycodone makes me itchy... apparently this is normal, but it freaked me out at first. Benadryl and Percocet combine for Really Good Sleep, which is most of where Friday and Saturday disappeared.) After Liz took the first night shift, Rexene came up and stayed for the next couple of days, and we made good use of the supplies laid in by Li, who ensured that I'd have easy to fix/eat foot for convalescing.

So... here we are on Tuesday... almost five days later. Spending a week in bed is getting old, but my energy levels are about up to hobbling to and from the bathroom and anything beyond that is gravy. Actually assembling food is kinda possible, but carrying it from kitchen to somewhere for eating isn't really a possibility when both hands are busy with crutches, so I still have people coming by and making sure I stay fed. Liz is back today, and she brought cookies. Yum. Also, crocheting, which is amusing the cats (Izzy keeps trying to help).

Friday, I have a 9:15 a.m. appointment to go get the staples out and (hopefully) a real cast to replace the current fiberglass splint and miles of gauze and ACE bandage. If I'm really lucky, I will get ordered to start putting some weight on it, which might liberate me from All Crutches All The Time, which would be nice. If nothing else, being able to hobble on one crutch and carry things in one hand would be a novel change. :-)

Sunday, we have a fire department picnic for 9-11, where I get to go and convince them that "No, I'm not quitting because of this... seriously, guys, you're stuck with me!" :-)

Til then... sleep... lots of sleep. And maybe cookies.
This may be kind of stream-of-consciousness, but that's as articulate as I'm feeling at the moment.

Regular readers, either here or on Facebook, know that I've recently joined my local volunteer fire department... not as a firefighter (soooo not in shape enough for that!!) but as their photographer/web/PR person. I'll probably "upgrade" to Public Information Officer at some point, but there's training to be done first, and the next set of classes get taught at the state level and they're not currently on the calendar in Indiana or any of the surrounding states. So for now, I'm the photographer and the web geek and general Extra Set of Hands whenever I can be useful.

That last part is mostly what this post is about. My first few runs after I signed on were pretty benign... a fender-bender car accident w/ minor injuries who'd already been transported when I arrived... a car fire (unoccupied)... some storm chasing. Then we had The Big Fire wherein a store caught fire downtown and tried to take the whole block with it. The building was fully involved when we got there, and there was uncertainty as to whether the man who lived over the store was out of the building, so the guys were preparing to enter and search this heavily involved building. As I looked at the flames pouring from the roof, and thought about the fact that this meant they'd have to go up an old wooden staircase and search the second floor, it began to sink in that this was the first time, in my limited time of involvement, that "my" guys would be going into danger. They train for this (even as recently as last month!)... they signed up for this... but knowing that didn't make it any easier to watch them getting ready to go into an obviously dangerous situation.

We cut because we care... )

And there it was, in black and white... proof that these guys are mortal, hitting a little too close to home. "Can you put a thing on (web)page and Facebook... thoughts and prayers with Muncie Fire and their families... line of duty death."

Muncie, IN, is about 35 miles away in the next county over. A 40-yr-old firefighter there, married with three kids, lost his life yesterday when the roof collapsed at a huge church fire that they were fighting. He'd been a chief in the Yorktown FD, between here and Muncie, before going to work for Muncie FD, so some of our guys may have known him. My friend Wendy, who used to be an EMT, knew him. I look at Yorktown FD's Facebook page, and the comments on the news articles (especially on the firefighter sites, rather than the local newspaper site), and I can see how the whole firefighter community takes these things to heart, even if they didn't know the man personally.

And it makes you think.

And I don't like it. I've only been doing this for six weeks, but it's amazing how close I feel to this group of guys and their families in just this short time. I don't like having to think about the fact that one day it might be one of our guys who goes into a burning building and doesn't come out. Firefighters are heroes and heroes are supposed to be immortal... right? Right???

So I'll go to as many classes as I can. I'll learn Where Stuff Is on the trucks, and I'll learn to change the SCBA tanks in the air packs so they don't have to take the pack off and put it back on again when they're already tired, and I'll learn everydamnthing I can about safety, and I'll do everything that I can to have their backs while I document what they do and why they do it.

And at the end of the day, I'll hope and pray that they all come home.

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