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Post operative blues

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  • Post operative blues

    How many of you have been or are going through a major surgery and are now recuperating? I had back surgery (fusion of L4-L5, L5-L6) in July of 2000, I can not respond to calls per my doctor and per the Fire Chief. It's a pretty depressing experience. Recently I haven't even wanted to keep up with the forum. I have a least 6 more months before the doctor can re-evaluate the progress of the fusion and maybe just maybe release me to start aggressive physical therapy. Hanging around the station is OK to a degree, but it can be a bummer too. What have been your experiences and how long were you out? Did you lose interest in the Fire Service? How long?

    Tell your family you love them.

  • #2
    Hang in there.

    I had a blown knee three years ago. It was Hell sitting around listening to the scanner. But I never lost interest. You should know being a firefighter, that it's in our blood. The brother hood is a strong one and has no bounds. My department has always been a source of strength for be. Besides my wife and children those guys are the most important thing in my life. My advice is the lean on them and trust in God. Keep going to the station. I'm sure some of the younger guys can pick your brain. It can also be a good time to catch up on your reading. I studied several manuals and read tones of fire related articles while I was laid up. Most of all keep your chin up and look forward to the day you feel the heat again.

    God Bless
    Grego BFD


    • #3
      Torn ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL at once...then a stress fracture on the head of the tibia due to the drill for inserting the pins to repair the original injury. All added up, 18 months of rehab and an additional surgery to fix it all. I became REALLY depressed during that time. I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. About month 8, I started to learn a lot about myself and what I wanted in my life. Honestly, I found myself at the library helping grade school kids learn to read, delivering meals on wheels, just doing different things to help people. My life has been dedicated to helping others, I just had to find a way to keep doing that.

      Talk to the chief about an inactive job like fire prevention at the local schools or similar mini-seminars. If you can't do what you love, find a way to share it with others. Find a way to continue helping others and you will find yourself healing much faster. Channel you energy to something useful though. Self pity is a waste of time...speaking from experience.

      Also, do what you are doing now...talk about your emotions with others. Anger is natural. The important thing is to vent that out in a constructive manner. If you need to scream...e-mail me. I understand.


      • #4
        On November 20th, this past, I experianced a ruptured appendix. I had a 03:00 surgery and spent the next 7 days in the hospital knocking on deaths door. I was so sick. There are days I don't remember up there. I spent Thanksgiving in the hospital. I lost 35 pounds and wasn't up to doing anything. I caught up on the Emergency! re-runs. I was out of work for 3 weeks. I went back to work on "Light-duty". I was released to active duty on January 1, 2001. What a welcome day! I know it doesn't compare to your perdicament but I was bummed out about being out for so long. I am happy to be back to work. I never lost interest. I looked forward to the day I could go back. I studied, and learned.
        Wish you luck!

        Stay safe,


        If in doubt - Call us out


        • #5
          I wish you the best of luck. Keep your spirits high!!


          • #6
            Hang in there buddy. I feel your pain. Really. Sept 17th 2000, I fractured C-2, C-5, C-7 and T-3 in an MVA responding to a call (an MVA, go figure). The C-2, actually known as a hangman's fracture in the medical field because that's the one that breaks when you get hung !!, was the one of most concern. The doctor told me that if it broke in any other direction, I would have died instantly. I was very fortunate to have an understanding employer and a wonderful family that stood by me through this whole experience. To answer your question about inactivity. My department allows you to attend meetings and certain functions whilst on medical. The guys in my Company were great, they would pick me up and bring me to the firehouse for as many excuses as they could find. Being an Ex-Captain, and at the time the Company President, there were a lot of administrative tasks that I could do to occupy my time. They even bought me a huge recliner (I'm 6'5" and don't fit in most) as sleeping in a bed was impossible. Yes, it sucked with a capital suck, when the bell rang and I couldn't respond, but I kept thinking about getting better so that I could ride again. On December 15th, I got the go ahead to return to full active duty. C-7 still has a fracture, but that one will never heal my orthopedist told me. He will re-evaluate in June, but has said that there is nothing that I could do that would damage my neck, that a normal person wouldn't damage if they did it. I still have a lot of trouble sleeping, and I can't cradle a phone between my ear and my shoulder. That should get better with time, but I'm likely to have pain the rest of my life. However, that's a small price to pay to still be able to hold my loved ones close.
            Please drive carefully, and wear your seatbelts.

            Joel, as said above, feel free to e-mail me if you have questions or just want to vent.

            [This message has been edited by iwood51 (edited 01-15-2001).]


            • #7
              Guys, I appreciate your council and wisdom. It's the brotherhood that has helped me re-focus on our calling. I was coming back from town the other day when we were paged out for a possible structure fire. I slipped in behind the Engine and followed. It was just a false alarm but when we got back to the station I was roundly busted for being to scarce, ( I had made myself pretty isolated for the past month or so ). The brotherhood and camaraderie were genuine and I was rejuvenated with the bond to our communities and each other. There is nothing that they wouldn't do for me if I asked. I can't wait to get back, but it's going to take time and a lot of hard work, but I know I have many Friends pulling for me. Besides, we are looking to purchase a brand new Quint this year (our first) and I hope to be able helping spec it out. Man, I have a lot to do this year. Thank you for all your responses and the offering of your time and selves. May the Lord keep you and your families.

              Tell your family that you love them


              • #8
                Joel, hang in there.
                I am presently a partial paid Chief (Borough of Bristol)and a volunteer Chief (Goodwill Hose Co. No. 3). Last year about this time I started experiencing lower back soreness and sciatic pain (burning) in my left leg and hip. I just couldn't stretch it out enough.

                My real payin job is I'm a piping design supervisor for a large engineering firm. I was in work on March 28 and couldn't stand the pain any longer. It had gotten progressively worse. I could not sit or stand for more than a minute at a time. I left work went to my family doctor. Got all the info I needed. I had surgery on June 15 after some extensive investigation. I had a lamectomy at L2,L3,L4,L5,S1. Also a cleaning around the spinal cord in those areas. And the spinous process was removed from the same areas. I was able to sit on August 3 and went back to work on September 5. It was a long recovery and I'm still recovering. I stretch and lift 3 times a week. I feel great again. My department understood the the problem and responded. My Deputy Chief and other officers took command of the department and it hasn't missed a beat. They have progressed I it's feel because of the new ideas and new enthusiasm.
                My Borough department also did well. No major jobs and my 2 Deputy Chiefs there took over the load.

                Again hang in there, I know it's discouraging but it will get better.
                If you need to talk, you can contact me via email at [email protected]

                Good luck.


                • #9
                  Oh, I remember. Lst Feb spent 7 weeks on STD for double knee surgery. After the first 10 days I was ready to most anything but stay at home and do nothing. Quickly found out when I almost past out walking 100 feet outside to get the mail at the sidewalk that I was not ready.

                  I was a good boy and did my excercises and stayied off the legs. Feel great now better than they have in ages.

                  Never lost one second of interest in the job. Few people know it and fewer still understand what it takes mentally to do what we do. We as a group are one of the most determined and push forward group of people I have seen. To us, I have not seen the word can not do. We hunt, locate, and find ways of doing something better so we can make someone else feel better no mater what the problem.

                  Can not say it better.



                  • #10

                    Since you're apparently not restricted to bed, why don't you take this opportunity to do something for the fire department, such as P.R. or a history on the station?

                    Interview some of the guys/gals, and do a piece for the local section of your paper, or start a journal of thoughts from those you work. Depending on how old your station is begin a history of the station. You can still be involved, and get a deeper understanding of yourself and those you work with.

                    Good luck in your recovery.


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