I have helped you learn a lot about my family over the past year or so but I never really delve into what makes me tick. I thought is was important to share some things that make me…..well…me.
I don’t remember if I ever said anything about this or not but I’m dealing with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) mostly due to everything I saw while working as a paramedic. I never really spoke with anyone about these things as most simply won’t understand.
Some of the things I saw, most people simply could never imagine. The calls involving children haunt me the most. I will NEVER forget what it feels like to perform CPR on a child that I already knew was gone because I didn’t know what else to do and I not only wanted the parents to know that I did EVERYTHING possible but I needed to know that for myself as well. The only thing you can think about is that children are NOT supposed to die and that some how it’s your fault if they do because you weren’t good enough to save them. I know that doesn’t make sense but you have to be in the situation, I think, to really be able to understand. Thankfully, not many people have been and that’s the way if should be.
I also remember one case in particular where an older gentleman and his wife had been fighting right before we arrived to take him to the hospital. He declined so rapidly while in route to the hospital that no matter what I did I couldn’t help him. The last thing he said to me was ” please tell my wife that I love her and I’m sorry”. That call changed my perspective on MANY things. I have NEVER been able to shake that and it effects my relationship with Lizze because I always have to resolve an issue instead of walking away angry. I don’t ever want to be in that situation where we part ways or go to sleep angry at each other in the event something should happen. I dont want the last words we ever spoke to each other or the boys for that matter to be in anger.
A huge part of the reason I quit being a paramedic was not only due to my back and Gavin but also because I was burning out and these calls were getting tougher and tougher to cope with. Put simply, I couldn’t take anymore. The last call I remember running was a young girl, under 6 years old, hit by a drunk driver in HER OWN FRONT YARD.
Witnessing a child die, especially when it was my job to stop that from happening, is something that follows you the rest of your life. Living with the knowledge or guilt that I couldn’t save a child’s life, is something I struggle to live with. It changes you at a core level, in a way that most people will never understand. It’s also one of those things that you can’t just talk about to someone as it’s a significant burden to place on anyone and again, most won’t understand anyway.
Last night I met with Dr. Patti and she was kind enough to let me purge, as I desperately needed to. It helps me to be a better parent to my children if I’m in a better place. I just laid it all out there and told her everything. She reminded me that I was clearly dealing with PTSD and that while the situations I live in now are different the principles are the same as the traumatic experiences I had been through. Basically, the really bad calls I went on as a medic where situations that no matter what I did, I couldn’t save the person in question. I also fear what “could” happen because in my experience I saw repeatedly what often times does happen. Like the man fighting with his wife and not being able to take anything back.
Fast forward to my current life situation and I’m basically in the same situation, over and over. I watch my wife suffering every single goddamn day and I can’t do anything to make it better for her or take her pain away. I watch my kids struggle with many things and face many challenges that most don’t. No matter how hard I try, I can’t make take these burdens away from them.
I have had countless conversations with God and I begged him to PLEASE let me carry these burdens for them and it never happens. I realize how crazy this makes me sound but I can’t rely explain it better then that. What Dr. Patti is saying is that while the situations are different now the impact is still the same. Every day I’m met with the fact that even with all the my knowledge, experience and willingness to shoulder their burdens, I can’t take there pain away. As irrational as it may appear from the outside, I assure you that it doesn’t feel that way from where I sit.
From where I sit, I’m supposed to make their lives better and I just can’t seem to make that happen. I honestly do everything I physically and emotionally can and it’s not enough give my kids and wife a better life.
I felt that by sharing this maybe it will help you to get to know me better. At very least give you some insight into what makes me tick. There is so much more I want to say but honestly, this was exhausting so this is it for now. I will make an effort to be a bit lore transparent about things like this because it will help me to recognize the impact these things have on my daily life.