Friday, April 27, 2012

Will you leave a hole when you're gone?!?!

Put your hand in a bucket of water....when you pull it out do you leave a hole?!?!

After Andrew made reference to that analogy the other night I have given it a lot of thought. Maybe I won't leave a hole...but I hope I leave a ripple, or maybe even a wave!  I think about all the people in my life and how many lives I've touched, if even for a moment, and I hope that I've had some effect....for the better......

Yesterday I called out sick from work....I have been waking up with horrible headaches lately...I think it's allergies. I keep forgetting to take something before I go to bed.

I was able to make my afternoon appointment at Charles Schwab to open a bank account. They have made it pretty easy to transfer money internationally so I will have money there that I can transfer back and forth.

Today I woke up at 0530hrs...had gone to bed at 2200hrs last night. I just couldn't sleep any later!  So, I got up and decided to color my hair, did some laundry, vacuumed the house and packed up the car to take all the hazardous materials (old paint, garden chemicals, etc) to the Hazmat waste disposal station in Livermore. They are only open one weekend a month, so I had to do it today or tomorrow.

At  around 0800hrs Andrew and I Skyped for a bit, then when I hung up with him I headed over to Livermore. When I got back home, I loaded up the car again with some things I wanted to bring to the storage locker in Tracy. On my way out there I stopped at the Harley dealership in Livermore and bought a few baby things for one of Andrew's coworkers in Amsterdam.

When I got back from Tracy, I stopped at Starbucks for an iced drink and went home and heated up some leftover chili verde for lunch. Yummm! Then I did some more cleaning....wiped down all the shelves in the closets and cabinets and cleaned all the bathrooms.

Ingrid came over this afternoon to have me sign a form. The buyer's realtor has not been keeping up with the paperwork for the house. They were supposed to remove contingencies about 1 1/2 weeks ago, and he hasn't filed anything. Ingrid has been trying to get ahold of him, he either doesn't answer his calls, or answers and puts her on hold and never comes back to the phone!  I wrote directly to the buyer hopefully she can help get the ball rolling......I would hate to have to start all over.......

The Danville Veteran's Hall had their grand opening tonight after a major remodel, so I met some friends over there. What a beautiful building!

Afterwards we all went out for yogurt!

Tomorrow morning Amanda and I are going to meet for breakfast. Then later in the day I'll drive down to San Jose and Jackie, Dillon and I will spend the day together!  Dillon is growing up so fast!!! He's learning so many words now....soooooo cuuuuute!

A few days ago my boss, Brian, approached me in the Control Room. It always makes me nervous when "they" pull up a chair.......hmmmmm...what's going on, I thought.......

He had a very nice letter he had written about my "CPR save"...and he presented me with a
"CPR SAVE" pin!!! 

This was in reference to the 9-1-1 call I had taken back in February (26th) , my 1st day back from vacation. I talked the woman caller through CPR instructions and the patient had a pulse when E7 arrived (while she was doing compressions). They shocked him twice with the defibrillator and got him to the hospital. He walked out of the hospital with no deficits!

It was very nice to have been recognized by the Fire Department......what a good feeling knowing that a life was saved.......

I think maybe there was a little "wave" that day....!!! Hope so.....

This is how our pins are worn on the uniform...we can only wear two at a time. I have a choice of three: my Blue Star Mom pin, my baby pin (I gave instructions to a caller over the phone and delivered a baby boy!), and now my CPR Save pin!

There have been other "saves" from our dispatch center also!  Recently Monica had one, and Sally has had two!  We have good training and I think we are all conscientious about the job we do and try to do the best job we can and provide a good service for the citizens of San Jose.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring has sprung in Pleasanton!

Working, working, working!

After work yesterday I stopped at the Post Office for stamps and I returned some extra FexEx boxes I had in the house. Stopped at the Dry Cleaners and dropped off many many hangers to recycle, got gas and went through the car wash at the Shell station.  While I was in the car wash I had to close my eyes, I couldn't stand all the motion. It usually doesn't bother me so much, but I guess because I haven't been sleeping enough my brain was just overloaded with input with all that motion!

I went over to Panda Express to get something for dinner, then headed to the house.  When I got to the house, I called my Auntie's always soooo nice talking with her!  While I was talking with her I got a small paintbrush out and painted over the spackle marks on the walls of the living room, and painted the handrail outside at the front entry.

After I hung up with Linda I went out in the yard and took pictures...everything is blooming!  I love spring in our yard!

After I took pictures I sat down to eat, only eating 1/2 I put the rest in my fridge. For anyone who's seen my fridge the way I normally have it, they know this is not normal!!!! It's usually so packed you can't see the shelves!

I finally finished addressing and putting stamps on letters to go out to family and friends letting everyone know what is going on with us. I hadn't sent out our usual Christmas letter, so thought I'd send out a letter in the spring with our new address in the Netherlands.

Went to bed last night at 1930hrs. and slept till my alarm went off at 0320hrs this morning! Yippppeeeee, finally slept all night!

It's very strange, even kind of eery, waking up alone and not having anyone to take care of!  When I get up I've always had the dog or the cat to feed and take it's so quiet!  I miss coming home and seeing Sammy poking his head out of the fence....


I have noticed that it is rare that a day goes by at work when everything works!  There are always issues with our CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) system, the phones, the radios, or something.......sometimes it makes it difficult to do our job.

Today one of the PD dispatchers came in and told us that if you enter the location Sigrid/Pistachio into the CAD to GEO check it, the computer changes the location to McKean/Uvas. Doesn't even make sense.......Every day there is something. Gets very frustrating sometimes having equipment that doesn't work properly!

Today I called Comcast to have my internet service (DSL) turned off.....they answered the phone promptly and I was done with the call within about 5 minutes!  Thank you Comcast for the great phone service!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dispatchers on "Ready Alert Status"

Saturday, I flew back from the Netherlands on KLM direct flight from Schiphol to SFO.

The woman sitting next to me was part of a group of 9 people flying to America for the first time. I was enjoying watching their group....I think it was the first time some of them had flown. It was so cute, they were taking pictures out the windows, of each other getting on the plane, sitting on the plane, etc.  It did make me pause and take a look out the window myself and remember how beautiful everything is from up there!

There was a problem with the landing when we got in the area of SFO. We started towards the runway and then the pilot pulled the plane back up. It was a little disconcerting...and the poor woman next to me was terrified. So, I just started making small talk to get her mind off what was going on (which helped me too!).  When we finally landed (the pilot had to turn us around and make another go at the runway), we were both relaxed and ready to be on our way!  I picked up my car from long term parking and headed "home".

When I arrived at the house Ingrid happened to be there, it was good to see her! She was there watering plants and taking the lock box off the front door.  She said the new owner's came by the house earlier that day with a contractor to see about things they'd like to do with the house. It was about 85 degrees in Pleasanton....soooo hot I had to turn on the air conditioner!

Saturday I spent the day just going through the mail, went to Stoneridge Mall to pick up Andrew's new glasses, finished up our "family letter" with our new address to send to everyone, and prepared to go to work the next day.

At around 0300hrs I was wide awake, so I just got up and started getting ready for work. I did some laundry and started packing up the few things that are left in the house. At around 0415 hrs, I left for work, stopping at Safeway before leaving town for a prepared meal to bring for lunch.

Work went okay my first day back.  Anytime I get less than 8 hours of sleep though, I still suffer from dizziness much worse than normal. Somehow I'm going to have to get more sleep.......I'm going to bed early enough, I just can't sleep till the alarm goes off!   Every time I wake up I forget where I am and look for Andrew and Sammy......

Yesterday after work I stopped by to see Jackie, Allen and Dillon. Caitlyn was there too, so it was very nice to see her!  It felt good to give them all hugs!

After I left there I went to Target to get a few things (ice cube trays!), went to Chipotle for a burrito in a bowl, then went to the house.

While I was taking out the trash for pick-up Reza and Sepi were out there, so we talked for about a half hour.  Reza said he'll be in Amsterdam in the middle of May, so I gave him Andrew's email and phone number so they can meet up for dinner and/or drinks.  I went to bed around 1930hrs, read for about 5 mins, and then was fast asleep!

This morning, I was wide awake at 0230hrs!  I just can't sleep........Soooooo, I took a shower, did two loads of laundry, and packed a few more things for my trip back to the Netherlands. The duffle bag is almost full!

We watched a couple of training films today, one of them being "Dispatcher Cannibalism". They talked about how dispatchers have a tendency to be cliquey and exclude trainees. There was also a film about how Dispatchers have to be on Ready Alert Status at all times. We can be joking around one minute and busy answering  9-1-1 calls and dispatching calls the next.

"The telecommunications environment is unique because very few other jobs require such an attention to detail and accuracy performed in an expedited manner. Calls for Police, Fire or EMS response require precision and care. A wrong address, a missed word from the complainant as well as the failure to get pertinent information can spell disaster, not only for the success of the call, but may also pose a threat of potential liability for the department.

Because the typical telecommunications center is a fast paced environment there isn't always time to sit and plan an action.  As a Emergency Dispatcher you must be ready to act fast, and decisively.   Subsequently, there is very little down time available to where you can rest and re-group after each task.  Emergency calls sometimes come in rapid succession, and even when there is a little downtime you are still in a Ready Alert Status never really knowing what the next call will bring.

This ready alert status is similar to what soldiers experience while in combat.  That means that even when there is no actual threat, and there is no bullets flying around, the soldiers are still in a alert status ready to fight when needed.  This is very much true for dispatchers.  This is true even when the communications center is quiet and there are no calls or other activity going on. You might have a magazine out, or a newspaper doing the crosswords, and you think you feel relaxed. Yet your body is still in a readiness status. It is still in a heighten arousal state ready to react to the next event. This is native to the dispatch environment. Therefore unless you learn to adapt, cope and adjust to this work environment, over time, the sustained stress can burn you out."

One of my supervisors distributed an article the other day about PTSD in dispatchers that I found very interesting. I know this job takes its toll on us dispatchers.......

A new study finds that emergency dispatchers who handle 911 calls also suffer a mental toll, especially when taking distressing calls involving accidental death and suicide. The new study shows that 911 dispatchers' indirect exposure to traumatic events can result in symptoms of PTSD. "Usually research considers links between disorders and how much emotional distress is experienced on the scene of a traumatic event," said study author Dr. Michelle Lilly of Northern Illinois University in a statement. "However, this is the first study on emergency dispatchers, who experience the trauma indirectly."

The full article:

Today I have an appointment with my doctor at Kaiser for the rash on my face, which has gotten worse. After that I will go to Costco and get razor blades for Andrew, and go to the house to water the plants.

********** Went to Kaiser and saw Dr. Urva. She called in a dermatologist to look at the rash on my face. He said I have "perioral dermatitis", which was made worse with the cream she prescribed earlier. He prescribed an antibiotic gel and oral antibiotics. He said it will probably get worse before it starts improving, and will probably take 4-6 weeks to go away!

After I left there I went over to REI and bought a cot to sleep on over at Jackie and Allens' house. Because I go to bed so early, I'll be sleeping in Dillon's room!

Headed over to Costco after that and then I also made a quick stop at Sozo Sushi for a Lion King roll!  While I was waiting for that I went over to Rite Aid and got a few things. When I got home I thought, hmmmmm....a beer would be good with my sushi!  I had the beer...but, no bottle opener! Then I remembered my handy dandy Swiss Army knife in my purse!!!

Then, I headed to the bed by 2000hrs!