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Looking for Positive Input

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  • Looking for Positive Input

    Hello all,

    I am looking for some feedback and input on what others might due in my position. Need input to guide me not to hinder me.

    I am a 48 yr old Lt. on my volunteer dept. I have been on this dept for over 12 yrs now. I started with them when I was still active duty and stayed with them once I retired for active service. A few years after I retired in 2013/2014 I had to have back surgery (military service related injury). The first one had me out for 8 months the second less complicated only 4 months. I was actually released by my doctor the same time we had a five alarm fire call come out on an apartment complex and that fire got me back rolling again. Things have been good since my return. I have had a few other surgeries in the years since (military service related) but nothing keep me out longer than four months.

    Bad news is I am now looking at another back surgery on level up form the last. The images all show a disc slipping and other test have proved the disc is bad and needs replacing. So I am looking at another 8 months of healing. None of my issues have ever directly impacted my abilities to perform on a scene. It has always been after when the adrenaline leaves that my problems flash back and remind me with pain and discomfort.

    On my dept all line officers serve a term of two years and then we reapply for the position and the three chiefs make their decision. My chief loves having me as an officer always telling me I handle myself good and he draws on my years of military experience for quick thinking and reaction when called upon and I have always been reliable. Trust me I do not want to let him or my dept down.

    I come up for my position this fall. Which surgery may hit the same time. As the big unknown is how well I will recover from this 3rd surgery. Should I call it quits as an officer and step back as a fire fighter. This can be done on our dept and I could always reapply the next cycle or should I continue as a line officer take leave for the surgery and see how I recover.

    Looking for good advice.

  • #2
    You sound as bad as me. I was 65 when I came off the ambulance, two years ago.. Came off the fire trucks in '92 when I was 40, only because I was hired as a cop in 1990, after retiring from the Navy. Been a volunteer since 1976, but started as a teen in 1968. The Navy kept me busy. Aches and pains, oh my! Wouldn't trade it for the world. Can you move up to a captain's spot? A little less wear and tear on the bod?

    Sounds like you kept yourself in good shape. Go with the surgery, see what happens. Your well being is more important.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by PhillyRube View Post
      You sound as bad as me. I was 65 when I came off the ambulance, two years ago.. Came off the fire trucks in '92 when I was 40, only because I was hired as a cop in 1990, after retiring from the Navy. Been a volunteer since 1976, but started as a teen in 1968. The Navy kept me busy. Aches and pains, oh my! Wouldn't trade it for the world. Can you move up to a captain's spot? A little less wear and tear on the bod?

      Sounds like you kept yourself in good shape. Go with the surgery, see what happens. Your well being is more important.
      Something about the service that just crushes the body. I know what it is like to live without vitamin Motrin. my civilian docs give me the good stuff but I only take it on very bad days. I can endure allot of my pain without it to avoid any addictions. but there are those days where the special pills is all that can help.

      As for the captain. it would not matter as our line officers actually work as hard or harder than our fire fighters. not because anyone chooses to or orders them too. we have those who can be relied upon more than others and most of them are already officers.

      thanks for your feedback.

      Comment


      • #4
        So i take it you have a full time job and family?
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZdEH...e_gdata_player

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by fire49 View Post
          So i take it you have a full time job and family?
          Yes. I work full time for the USDA in St. Louis and volunteer in my after hours.

          Comment


          • #6
            I am thinking your first priority would be to protect your full time job, especially if you have a family to support.

            Not sure how the feds look at getting hurt off duty, even though it is a military injury, but still aggravated off duty.

            One option is to take even more steps back, and find a few non physical or very limited physical roles. Where you still contribute to the organization.


            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZdEH...e_gdata_player

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            • #7
              I'm with fire49 - yourself and your family come first.

              As enjoyable as it may be to be an officer - you will be doing yourself a favor if you step back. It doesn't sound like you have a problem within the organization - your senior officers will likely respect your wishes to step back.

              And there are plenty of things you can do to support the organization. Somebody has to call bingo... ;-)

              And you can always act as a mentor to your newer members - you don't need to lug hose in order to coach.
              Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

              Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm sure you're familiar with the saying that "discretion is the better part of valor".

                It may be time to step back even further than you are considering. Military service is bad for the body. So is the fire service. You are pushing 50. It only gets worse, even when you're not already beat up. And you are.

                You may want to start considering quality of life both now and in your senior years.

                I'm sure the chiefs could find a role for you considering your background and experience.

                Good luck with your choice!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tree68 View Post

                  And you can always act as a mentor to your newer members - you don't need to lug hose in order to coach.
                  This is it. We should always be looking towards the next generation and bringing them up.
                  You can't help anyone if you don't help yourself first.
                  However it is that you do that is up to you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Will lots of great replies. Ty all.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Agree with everything that has been said; take care of your body. if you need the surgery, get the surgery. Take care of yourself, make sure your job is stable, but if you can't do the job, there is nothing with saying so. Many of us are more banged up than we were in our early 20s, or because we did stupid stuff back then, we are paying for it now. It happens. you have an 8 month recovery time, so see how you feel afterwards, and see if your doctor says you can return. You might end up delegated to driver only status or exterior only (so let the young kids go inside, that's usually where they want to be anyway)

                      And remember, the best thing an old firefighter can teach a new firefighter is how to become an old firefighter.
                      If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

                      FF/EMT/DBP

                      Comment

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