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Death, Grieving and Coping With Loss Coping with loss is difficult at any age, but you are not alone during this difficult time. Reach out to other users in this forum.

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I need help grieving. :/ - May 19th 2012, 06:47 PM

I am an emergency medical responder with a volunteer fire department in my area. Back in February I was coming home from my night class, and there was a wreck, so I stopped to see if I could help. It didn't look bad, so I did not properly prepare mentally for what I was going to see. He was trapped, and all I could do was ask what hurt. He said my chest louder and louder until he was screaming it, and he continued to scream until he was given meds. The young man would manage to sit up every now and then, and he would make eye contact with me, and with the way he looked at me I knew he wanted me to help him. I knew this young man; we went to school together. He passed away at the hospital. I have lost a lot of sleep over this and developed a severe case of anxiety. Any time I hear sirens or see the red or blue lights, I panic- my heart races, my chest feels tight, and I get short of breath. I have to pass the wreck site every time I leave my home which sets my emotions off. I have seen a councilor, but I haven't improved. If anything, I've gotten worse. To top it all off, I am an EMT student. I have even started to feel this way in class, and I don't know where to turn anymore. My grief is overtaking me.
                   
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Re: I need help grieving. :/ - May 20th 2012, 03:27 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsmiff View Post
I am an emergency medical responder with a volunteer fire department in my area. Back in February I was coming home from my night class, and there was a wreck, so I stopped to see if I could help. It didn't look bad, so I did not properly prepare mentally for what I was going to see. He was trapped, and all I could do was ask what hurt. He said my chest louder and louder until he was screaming it, and he continued to scream until he was given meds. The young man would manage to sit up every now and then, and he would make eye contact with me, and with the way he looked at me I knew he wanted me to help him. I knew this young man; we went to school together. He passed away at the hospital. I have lost a lot of sleep over this and developed a severe case of anxiety. Any time I hear sirens or see the red or blue lights, I panic- my heart races, my chest feels tight, and I get short of breath. I have to pass the wreck site every time I leave my home which sets my emotions off. I have seen a councilor, but I haven't improved. If anything, I've gotten worse. To top it all off, I am an EMT student. I have even started to feel this way in class, and I don't know where to turn anymore. My grief is overtaking me.
I'm so sorry. My mom is a RN, and she was in a similar situation. She was in a Peebles one day when she heard a girl scream, "Help! My mom's having a heart attack!" My mom performed CPR on the girl's mother. The ambulance came. The mother died anyway. My mom was scarred from that. It shook her. She actually felt guilty. There was a sense of, "Did I do all I could do?"

I don't know if you do, but don't feel guilty. Situations like this happen, and sometimes it seems like what we did wasn't the right thing or wasn't enough. It doesn't seem to me like you're having trouble just grieving. I think you're having trouble because of the suddenness of the awful situation. I've known people who develop PTSD from stuff like this.

You may need more than just a counselor. If things get worse, really start seeking help. That's not easy. Even now, just thinking about it, my heart just aches. I just hope you don't feel any guilt. You need to get over any feelings like that. That will help the "grieving".

Get the support of your friends and family. Don't try and handle this alone. Be open about what you are feeling. It won't be easy getting over something like that. Moments like those do scar, and you'll probably always feel that. Things will get better, though.
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Re: I need help grieving. :/ - May 20th 2012, 06:18 AM

I talk about it all the time. My mom was there, too, but she stayed by the car. I have four instructors that I talk to whenever they teach class. The two in the classroom are always concerned and making sure I'm okay. The two instructors on the ambulance text me every day, and one of them was actually on the ambulance the night of the accident.

I do feel guilty. I didn't have my turnout gear in the car, so I wasn't allowed to stand by him to try and comfort him. I couldn't hold his hand during the hour it took to get him out. I know in my heart he was absolutely terrified. I live two minutes from the accident site, and I regret not sending my mom home to get my turnouts.
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Re: I need help grieving. :/ - May 20th 2012, 10:34 PM

Hey Alex, sorry I haven't responded to you PM (I was away on vacation), and I saw you made a thread so I figured I would just comment on the thread. First off, I was a cadet at my local fire department for 3 years (before resigning and going into the police department). The things I've seen have ranged from murders, to a kids knee being scrapped at the local park. I have also seen people trapped in cars screaming for help on the local highway. Its scary.

I think its time for you to see a therapist/physiologist. A councilor is only allowed/trained to talk through things and figure out good outcomes and how to get past things; while a therapist or physiologist can usually proscribe medication, and build a learning course in which you can work pass what you have feared/dealt with since that accident involving the people being trapped. It will be hard, and it will take time but in the end you will be able to carry on your career choice.

On another subject, If you at all feel you wont be able to handle being on an ambulance, or you start freezing up/getting confused when you are giving first aid to patients, then take a leave of absence, or find a new career choice. Some very bad things can happen when a first responder even looses 2-3 seconds of time second guessing themselves or freezing up. People can die, or your problems may worsen; to make sure that if you need to, and you cant handle being in an ambulance, that you don't force yourself to do it. Remember, you have to look out for the citizens best interest aswell.


Best wishes,
Chris


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Re: I need help grieving. :/ - May 21st 2012, 12:51 AM

I'm sorry babe=( I can sorta sympathies but in a different way. I don't talk about this much because it really got to me when it happened and I dont like remembering it, but earlier this year, me and my family were coming home from the movies and we saw smoke in the distance. We just thought "Oh thats wierd" and went on our way. When we got closer to the freeway, we saw a horrible crash. Car parts were all over the place, another car was on fire, People were laying on the floor surrounded by other people, it was horrid. I started crying imediantly after we left. I had no idea who these people were, but it shook me up so bad. I knew those people prob didn't make it. It was just, wow. It took a really long time to calm down. Even now when we go that way, I can't look at the spot where it happened. I look away when we pass. What you saw was worse cause you knew the person. I cant imagine how that must have been for you. I do think this will stay with you. But you gotta try to put it out of your head. Distract yourself with other things. Also keep in mind, the guy you knew is not suffering any longer. He's fine, he's free. You did all that you could for him. Everyone did. Nothing more could be done.


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Re: I need help grieving. :/ - May 21st 2012, 03:29 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris. View Post
Hey Alex, sorry I haven't responded to you PM (I was away on vacation), and I saw you made a thread so I figured I would just comment on the thread. First off, I was a cadet at my local fire department for 3 years (before resigning and going into the police department). The things I've seen have ranged from murders, to a kids knee being scrapped at the local park. I have also seen people trapped in cars screaming for help on the local highway. Its scary.

I think its time for you to see a therapist/physiologist. A councilor is only allowed/trained to talk through things and figure out good outcomes and how to get past things; while a therapist or physiologist can usually proscribe medication, and build a learning course in which you can work pass what you have feared/dealt with since that accident involving the people being trapped. It will be hard, and it will take time but in the end you will be able to carry on your career choice.

On another subject, If you at all feel you wont be able to handle being on an ambulance, or you start freezing up/getting confused when you are giving first aid to patients, then take a leave of absence, or find a new career choice. Some very bad things can happen when a first responder even looses 2-3 seconds of time second guessing themselves or freezing up. People can die, or your problems may worsen; to make sure that if you need to, and you cant handle being in an ambulance, that you don't force yourself to do it. Remember, you have to look out for the citizens best interest aswell.


Best wishes,
Chris
I actually haven't given patient care since the accident. I'm too afraid. My ambulance rotations require me to spend 24 hours on the ambulance observing the paramedic and EMT (in my state all ambulances require at least one medic on all trucks so we don't have just BLS trucks- they're all ALS) perform patient care. The medic and EMT I was assigned to knew my situation, and they just let me watch. The program director is requesting I participate in more ambulance rotations to hopefully overcome some of my fears. Even in my skills portion of national registry prep, I feel anxious and freeze. There's four different medics working with me to try to iron it out.
I did sort of take a leave of absence already. I talked to my chief, and he agreed to allow me to stay in the department and not run any calls. My first ambulance ride at the end of April was the first time I ran calls since February.
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Re: I need help grieving. :/ - May 21st 2012, 05:36 AM

Well just remember to do what you feel best; and most importantly seek help from a therapist or physiologist. If in the end (after all those sessions with therapist or physiologist) you still don't see an improvement (which I highly doubt will be the outcome), you may want to start seeking another career you can actually preform in (or just seek a desk-type job). Sometimes we all need to get over some stuff; unfortunately your task seems alittle more difficult, but you can do it. In the end, seek help, and try to be where you want to be in life.



Best wishes,
Chris


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Re: I need help grieving. :/ - May 21st 2012, 07:32 PM

I'm not a professional, but it sounds like you might have a form of PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I agree with Chris about you seeing a therapist. This might be something with the right type of help that you can work through.
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Re: I need help grieving. :/ - May 23rd 2012, 10:49 PM

Thank you all for your kind words and support. <3
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