Thursday, December 13, 2007


Sometimes, you can know too much.  I don't know enough to know it all, maybe that would be better.
They say ignorance is bliss.  I think knowledge can be painful and worrisome.

This is not easy for me to write, I'm rambling.  But my thoughts right now are moving all around.

I am scared.

Sometimes this job is great.  We get to be the people who help.  We fix problems.  When confronted by a problem such as a fire, or vehicle wreck, I use my training and experience, my knowledge to find a way to solve or at least improve the situation.

I've been in EMS for 17+ years, 14 of that as a paramedic.  In that time I've helped all I could.  I've decided to do certain treatments because my training and experience has shown me that it was needed.

We get close to other medical professionals, Doctors and Nurses.  We get to see the inside or "behind the scenes" operation of how they and we treat patients.  And you learn things by that. Right or wrong, you learn that we talk to people differently based on what is really happening.  The fibromyalgia case that needs his fix gets talked to like...well, a drug seeker.  The 35 year old man with suspected testicular cancer gets talked to completely different, calmly, quietly, soothing.  One has a problem that may be of his own design and gets little sympathy.  The other has a possibly life changing disease and is talked to with care and compassion, trying to soothe him and ease his fears.

My mind is jumping from subject to subject.

One of the things I hate about this job is being away from home when things happen.  I hate the phone call about the washer going out, or the water leak at home, while I'm at work.  What can I do from here except worry?

I don't know if I've ever let you readers know, my wife is a nurse-RN.  My mother-in-law is an RN, as are my sister-in-laws.  What I was telling you about the "behind the scenes" knowledge, they know it too.

My wife went in for her "female check up" this week.  Because of a symptom she complained of, the OB/GYN sent her for a mammogram.

She had the mammogram today.  They asked her to wait, and then the radiologist asked her to do more tests.  After an ultrasound and color imaging (which was unexpected) they let her go with a promise to send the report to her Dr. today.

I got the phone call tonight.  She said that while doing the imaging, the tech was chatting in making small talk.  Then, she turned very serious while looking at the images.  Small talk stopped.  No more chatting.

That was one of those "clues" about knowing the inside workings I talked about.

Even more unexpected, her OB/GYN called her tonight, after hours.  Normally she is outgoing.  Tonight she was subdued.  She said her first question was "how do you feel?"  This was another "bad sign" to her.  She talked quietly, soothingly.

To make a long rambling story a bit shorter, her Dr. is referring her to the Susan G. Komen Center at Presbyterian Hospital next week.

I am afraid.  I am worried.  I am mad.

I don't know how to help her.  I don't know how to make it better. 

I fix things, that's what I do.  Her mother gave me my Nome de Plume because I fix things.  I remodel houses, I fix cars, I fix other patients.  I can do nothing for her and it sucks.  I hate the feeling of powerlessness. 

I want to cry, I want to scream.

We both know enough about medicine to be worried.  We don't know enough to do anything about it.

We may find out it is nothing, but we will have to wait to find out.  Waiting sucks.

I have always prided myself on protecting others.  I prepare myself to protect my family from dangerous people.  I am trained and willing to take risks to protect others from fire and injury.

No weapon I own, and no training I have can protect her.

She is my best friend, and I am powerless.



farmist said...

Your duty at this point is support. Take peace in knowing that you and your wife are in our prayers.

Medic3 said...

Wow, Fixit. What a life-freezing fear to have hanging over your head. No real diagnosis, just reading the attitudes of the providers involved. The perfect setup to let your fears run away with you.

This is going to sound counter intuitive for someone who normally solves or fixes things: hold her, and don't try to fix anything. Do what you can to support her, but the tools for fixing (or attempting to fix) this possibility are not in your tool kit. So help her deal with everything by listening to and holding her.

I wish I could offer more, but please know that you and yours are in my thoughts and my best wishes go out to your entire family. Remember that nothing is certain until the lab findings come back.

OK Katrina said...

I'm so sorry that you, your wife and your family are having to go through this difficult time. I went through something similar myself last year. Biopsy and the whole shebang. I worried myself sick for 2 weeks for what turned out to be nothing.

I'm not going to suggest that you don't worry because I know that's not going to happen. But, I would suggest focusing on the fact that you are both doing all that you can do right now.

There's a protocal for this just like everything else you do and steps that must be taken in order, before you can take the next one and you're working that process.

She's going to be going to one of the best clinics in the country for help and that's no small blessing.

Hold each other close and don't assume too much. You'll know the truth soon, even though it won't seem like it.

Please know that I will lift your wife and your family up in my prayers.

Best wishes,

Larry said...

You are reading my mail.
The one who holds my soul in her pocket was just diagnosed with lung cancer.
and i can't fix it...

MonkeyGirl said...



For both of you.

WR Olsen said...

Hugs, Love and being true with each other is all I can suggest. Our prayers and hopes are with you and your wife.

Brandon said...

Damn, Fixit, I'm incredibly sorry to hear this. I'm hoping and praying that the news isn't as bad as first believed. Best of luck to you and your wife.

Chris in SE TX said...

Fix it, my heart goes out to you and your wife. There is probably nothing I can say, to make the waiting easier, much less if your fears are validated.

IF your fears are realized, God forbid, let me suggest this:

a) I strongly believe that positive thinking and the will to fight ( I WILL beat this) can make a difference.

b) Get her to MD Anderson in Houston.

A friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer (I can't remember which kind, either Hotchins or non-Hotchkins - it was the better kind). His doctor gave him BS about "there is nothing MD Anderson can do that we can't - we consult with them weekly".

His wife insisted that he goes to MD A. They looked at the biopsy results and said it was so screwed up they couldn't tell which kind of cancer it was and had to re-do it. It was the BAD kind. They said left untreated, he had TWO months or so left. With conventional treatment, they gave him 20% chance. They did experimental treatment on him. He NEVER gave up. He KNEW he would make it.

That was 10 years ago. He is fine.

I strongly believe that the combination of his will power and the exptertise of MD A saved him.

If the worse happens, that is the best advise I can give you.....

Good luck, my prayers are with you and your wife....

Keep us posted, if you want. If not, I, and I'm sure all of us, will understand. This is an intensly personal matter, and in the end, we, the Blog readers, don't matter.....

God Bless!

Dedicated_Dad said...

You're not powerless.

You can wrap her in your arms and let her know that you'll love her forever.

You'll love her if she comes home with one breast, or none.

You'll love her if she's bald from chemo.

You'll love her if (G*d forbid) she leaves you before you're ready.

You're both in my prayers, but you're certainly not powerless nor helpless.

G*d bless you both.


Anonymous said...

I know how you feel-my wife had a stroke post childbirth and required brain surgery 11 years ago, I was convinced she was dying-now she's fine. We've lost two fellow FFs to cancer at my Dept, and now the wife of another is terminal. When you are down, reach out to the Brothers at your Dept.-it is hard at first, but they will do anything for you.

DW said...

I feel your pain brother, if something hurts my family, particully The Love of My Life, I start looking for something or somebody to wreck. I want to tear stuff down.
When your body does that to you it's impossible to find that outlet for the fear.
Hold her listen to her cry with her, but be strong and encourage her too.
Things are better than they used to be.
Prayers are inroute now.

Strings said...

Bro: if the worst happens, email me: mom went through this many years ago, and there are some things I can suggest you do to help.

Main thing is, make sure she knows you love her: that's THE absolute best thing you can do for her now...

Detail Medic said...

I've got everything crossed for you and praying like mad. Keep us updated.