SURGERY DATE!!!

Finally got the much awaited call from my surgeons office! My surgery is scheduled for August 23rd!!!! I can’t believe it’s only 11 days away. Everyone keeps asking if I am scared and honestly no I’m not. I will probably start getting nervous a few days before maybe, I mean it is a surgery after all. But mainly I’m so excited I can’t stand it.

I don’t think it has really hit me yet. I’m just trying to plan everything out with work and boarding my pups etc etc.

August 17th I have to go to in to the hospital where my surgery is being done and sit through a nutrition class and have blood work done. Then the next day on the 18th I start my 5 day liquid diet. Which while I’m not looking forward to this AT ALL, I’m grateful that I’m only required to do the 5 days!

I can’t believe that after over a year of waiting I’m so close to my new life!

 

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911 Dispatcher

I’ve been debating for a while now if I wanted to talk about my career field. I’ve decided that I need to, this blog is meant as a way to express myself and being a Dispatcher is a huge part of my life. It’s not just what I do, but makes up a large part of who I am.

I’m not what I would consider a “Veteran” dispatcher and I don’t work for a huge, highly populated area so I don’t deal with tons of insane calls like some do. Props to those who do, but I don’t know that I’d want to work long term in a high volume center. I’d hate to get burnt out on a job I absolutely adore.

I’ve been dispatching for about 3 years, I was hired on by my agency when they opened and had zero dispatch experience. They hired 12 people, none of which had any previous experience and we trained for 3 months, getting all our certifications. Then the day our center opened we “flipped the switch” and that was the first time any of us had ever answered radio traffic or phone calls. It was very much a sink or swim type situation.

Out of the 12 people hired, only 4 of those original hires are still here. In just under 3 years. Since then we’ve gone through hoards of new hires. Dispatch is definitely not for everyone.

For those of you who aren’t familiar on what a 911 dispatcher does, I encourage you to do some research. There is an amazing Podcast called “Within The Trenches”, they have a Facebook page. You should definitely check out some of the stories submitted by dispatchers. I could go on and on about the responsibilities and roles of a dispatcher but those stories in my opinion are the best way for people to truly get a glimpse into what we do.

Granted not every call you get is a horror story. The majority of the calls are run of the mill calls, Traffic Stops, Reckless Drivers, Civil Dispute, Theft etc. What’s exhilarating and slightly terrifying is you never know when that “Oh damn” call is going to come in. You’ve got to be ready at all times, and yes sometimes it’s not at the most convenient moment. Like when you’ve just taken a bite of your sandwich or you’re in the bathroom.

My agency handles 3 city Police Departments, the Sheriff Office, Two ambulance bases and 3 volunteer fire departments. We operate with at least two dispatchers at all times, if possible we have a 3rd. We work 12 hour shifts; 6am to 6pm and 6pm to 6am. Currently I am working nights until a new hire is ready to go to a 2 person shift.

Sometimes I wish I could say that I’m a big tough dispatcher and calls don’t get to me. But to be honest they day they stop “getting to me” is the day I’ll turn in my resignation. I remember all my “serious” calls. I replay them in my mind, and am constantly thinking of ways to improve it or be more efficient.

While your agency provides you with valuable training, there is no way to be fully prepared for a call. No calls are exactly alike and they never go the way you want them to. You’re dealing with real human beings who are calling you on possibly the worst day of their life. They are angry, terrified, heartbroken. Most of the time they don’t want to talk to you, they want someone there “NOW” It’s easy to get frustrated at the caller for ignoring your questions and demanding you “get help there NOW” but if you take a step back, it is easy to understand. They are scared, they don’t understand that we may be able to help them before a responder gets there. That’s due a lot to the fact that not many people understand what dispatchers do, or the training they have.

Every dispatcher has their preferences and how they want to handle things. My coworkers all know that I am quick when it comes to answering calls and radio traffic. Which usually means that I answer the majority of 911 calls. I don’t mind, I know some people shy away from them and prefer to dispatch it out. I like doing both so I’m game for anything. I just get a thrill out of not knowing what’s going to be on the line.

As much as I love and support my Law Enforcement Officers, I HATE the majority of law calls. Lot’s of baby momma drama, druggies, drunken morons, family squabbles and juvenile delinquents. I do lean more towards EMS and Fire calls, which some dispatch agencies only do EMS and Fire. I’ve thought about going to an agency like that but at the end of the day I love my community too much. I know the area like the back of my hand, know the people and have formed bonds with the responders and my coworkers. While our agency has and continues to endure countless setbacks, I am still determined to stay as long as I possibly can.

At the end of the day after all the dust has settled and I have had a moment to see through the B.S. and political nightmare that comes with the job. I am reminded of how much I LOVE what I do. I feel like I stumbled into my dream job. It’s the most stressful, emotional and mentally exhausting job I have ever had but I can’t imagine doing anything else.

If you all enjoy reading about what I do I will try to write more on the topic. And PLEASE feel free to ask any questions, I’d love to hear what you all think and get stories from other dispatchers!

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Pre-VSG Appointments

This morning I made the pain-staking journey to St.Louis for my “pre-op appointments.” First things first….I DESPISE driving in St.Louis and try to avoid it if at all possible. It’s about a two hour drive from where I live and I had to be there at 830. Being the anxious worrywart that I am I felt the need to leave WAY too early. Now in order to really appreciate the situation fully you should know how exhausted I am. It is 7/17 and I have had two days off so far this month, made worse by the fact that I work 12 hour shifts. I am so far behind in sleep that I really just want to take some NyQuil and slip into a nice comatose state.

Last night I got home about 930 and fell into a pretty good sleep until I woke up at 1am to go to the bathroom and then could not for the life of me go back to sleep. My mind did that adorable thing where it doesn’t shut up…you know creating imaginary scenarios of what could happen at my appointments, and just thinking of anything and everything that could go wrong. Not to mention my fear of sleeping through my alarm and missing my appointments….Needless to say I was (and still am) running on fumes.

When I got to the hospital (which I’m not sure if I will share which hospital that is) the woman at the reception did not see my name on the “schedule” which nearly made my heart stop. Luckily after looking on her computer and making some calls she figured out what was going on and everything worked out.

The receptionist gave me a “patient passport” which essentially had the times and locations of all my appointments on it…see below…

As you can see they were all back to back and a lot quicker than I had anticipated which was fantastic. My first stop was the Psych Consult..I can’t say I was very impressed by this experience. Walking into his office I was welcomed very warmly….by the smell of BO…..the psychiatrist was less than friendly. When he did talk it was yes or no questions or he was sort of answering for me. “You have a good support system? yes?” or “You’ve tried different types of diets? correct?” He also had a thick (I believe Indian accent) and was pretty difficult to understand. All of this topped off by the incessant ringing of his phone…. It was not at all what I was expecting, which is sort of a good thing since I was expecting very deep and personal questioning. Blessing in disguise I suppose.

Next stop was the Dietary Consult. I actually really like the nutritionist I spoke to. She was very friendly while also being straight forward and not sugar coating anything (pun intended.) She thoroughly answered the couple of questions I had about bariatric product brands and also hair loss. Overall I was happy with that appointment.

The EKG was a first for me. I’m still not overly excited about lifting up my shirt for random strangers, odd right??

The Spirometry test was a bit odd, mainly because it was in a tiny closet… Seriously the poor guy’s office reminded me of Ryan’s office from The Office. Wait for it……

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Last but not least was the Chest X-ray, that was pretty straight forward. I mean having to take my bra off was not ideal but all in all it was pretty painless. Stand like this, breath in, hold it, breathe out…done.

So that’s about it, all in all not bad. Sorry if this wasn’t super in depth, I’ve been up since 1am and am stuck here at work until 6am….yay me…

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Blogging Family

I’m obviously pretty new to blogging and not at all good at it. There are some very talented writers on WordPress with serious skill. I am only here as an outlet, to try to sort out some of the chaos in my mind.

I would like to get to know some others on this site though and maybe become online pals. So if anyone is interested in talking, I’m a pretty good listener and would gladly be a pen pal…or keyboard pal??? Not sure what the “tech” term for pen pal would be.

Just let me know! 🙂

Initial Consult

Monday I met with my surgeon! Doctors, appointments and hospitals give me mega anxiety so normally I end up cancelling.  While I was definitely anxious for this appointment my excitement trumped it. That’s correct, I was actually excited to go to an appointment. My biggest concern was that the surgeon I chose would be mean or arrogant. Or that he would turn me away for surgery for some reason.

My appointment was scheduled for 1130am. I walked into Dr. Minkin’s office and had all the paperwork finished by 1015am. Expecting to be waiting for a for a good while I settled into one of the waiting room chairs. I hadn’t even had a chance to open Words With Friends when my name was called.

The nurse took me back, weighed me, took my blood pressure and got my height. Then showed me into a room where I was to wait for Dr. Minkin. Again, I was prepared to settle in and wait for a while. But again I was surprised when only a few minutes had passed and Dr. Minkin walked in.

I was immediately put at ease by his calm, cool demeanor. He was very articulate and professional but made sure to explain everything thoroughly. He made sure to answer my questions and never made me feel rushed.

The consultation was fairly painless. The surgeon asked me asked me a few questions, reviewed my paperwork. He had me lift up my shirt so he could check my stomach for hernias. And…that’s about it.

I was given some forms that are required by my insurance for monthly check ups with my General Doctor. They also gave me a form with required exams on it and a number to call to set up the appointments.

I paid a $75 fee required for all first time bariatric patients and that was it…Home bound. A lot less traumatizing than anticipated.