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By Ricardo — 1 year ago
Guest blog post by Shae, 9-1-1 dispatcher out of central Indiana
This smile hurts my face.
I sit around the table for an early Christmas dinner, quietly wondering if anyone has noticed that my smile isn’t real. I’m having trouble faking. Family and extended family are all talking at once and it’s sensory overload.
I excuse myself and sit in the living room with the kids, realizing I have more in common with them than anyone my age – we’re both not interested in “grown up” talk. The houses, the cars, the material goods – they talk about their good fortune and maybe brag a little. And I sit there wondering what families aren’t as fortunate as theirs.
I’m not trying to be a snob, I just don’t have things in common with them anymore. The houses, the cars, the material goods. I’ve come to despise holidays, for the runs I’ve been on and the calls I’ve taken. Years as a medic and now a dispatcher too, my life’s mission to serve the people has cast a gloomier view on these holiday events.
That house we passed on the way to the store is where I’ve told a husband his wife of 60 years is gone. Those crosses by the bridge are where I watched a family of four die – unable to get to them quickly enough. The bag boy loading our Christmas groceries is spending another holiday without his mother – I know, I took his call.
The nightmares I have will never end, I’ve been invited into some of the most intimate moments in people’s lives. I’ve seen pain and suffering, taking it home with me to nestle in bed, awake and scared that their fate will become my own. Worried that what’s worse, it will eventually stop effecting me and that’s when I’ll know it’s time to hang it up.
I’ve got PTSD. Those four letters are hard to say. I’ve spent time afraid that if I say it out loud, someone will question me why – and they do. I feel shame, like what I have I didn’t deserve. They think PTSD is for soldiers, and I’m just a dispatcher. I can’t begin to explain it so I shrug my shoulders and walk away, knowing that someone else’s pain and suffering is now a part of me as a person and I can’t begin to make sense of it for them.
Family gatherings like this are exhausting, for the well meaning but always annoying questions about work, about my worst call. They want to live through me, feel a thrill of a life saved but most of the stories that I carry around aren’t happy ones. No one really wants to know unless it’s a happy one. So I make something up, hoping that it will satisfy them for the moment, and it does. I can go back to sitting at the kids table, content in their chatter.
I look forward to being able to go home, and just be by myself. My own demons feel like better company sometimes. They’re familiar at least. I know what to expect. It’s not that I don’t love my family, I just can’t make them understand and that feels more exhausting to me.
So I smile, nod my head and sit there quietly just waiting to go home.Post Views: 165
By Ricardo — 5 years ago
Good afternoon! This episode of Within the Trenches features Sabrina of West Palm Beach Dispatch Operations. We had an excellent conversation before recording and it was nice because we were able to get to know each other better. After only a few minutes of talking to her I felt as though we knew each other all our lives. This is a must listen episode that everyone can learn from. Make sure to check it out, share and as always, you can email the show at email@example.com.
Episode topics –
Post Views: 92
- How Sabrina got into dispatching
- The interview process
- Line of duty death
- Dispatch education/training
By Ricardo — 5 years ago
Good morning everyone! I’m back with another awesome episode of Within the Trenches. In this episode I tried something different from the norm. At the suggestion of two awesome 9-1-1 pro’s, Kristina and Shelley, I grabbed my digital audio recorder and walked the expo hall for spot interviews. I have to admit that it was a lot of fun and I was able to get some good audio.
Probably one of the most interesting parts of this episode dealt with THOR Shield that is made by Intrado. Monica, who works with the company, walked me through this massive mobile PSAP (Public-Safety Answering Point.) The trailer of this unit sits 17 dispatchers and has its own conference room on the second floor. I wanted to get some photos but was unable to. I was told that I can get some shots emailed to me and as soon as I get those I will post them up for all to see. I hope you enjoy this episode and as always you can email the show at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Intrado’s THOR Shield click here.
Episode topics –
Spot interview w/Kristina of Bartlett PD in Tennessee
Spot interview w/Rob of Queensland Police Service out of Australia
Tour of THOR Shield with Monica of IntradoPost Views: 123