Retired Fireman’s Political 5 Alarm Fire

January 14, 2008

This Retired Fireman Is Heading For Kentucky!

Filed under: The Fireman's Fav's — Retired Fireman @ 12:36 pm


Only Kentucky Picture Worth A Damn I Could Find

 So, the time has come for me to get away.  As I mentioned in a previous post, and in my New Year’s post, things are not going as well as I had hoped they would or as I would like them to be going.  There is definitely some serious issues.  Did I say issues?  More like full on subscriptions.  Massive subscriptions.  I mean, like when those guys come to your door in poorly fitting shirts, looking like a bad imitation of "Peter Griffin" from "Family Guy" with some sob story about why they are trying to sell you magazines and how it is keeping them off of crack so you buy several magazines that you don’t want at over-inflated prices for several years kind of subscriptions.  OK?  Lots of stress.

 I have been dealing with the Worker’s Compensation system in the State of California for, as of tomorrow it will be exactly 4 years since my injury that sidelined me, crippled me and forced me into retirement, and has completely wore me, my wife and my family out.  Thanks to both former Governor Davis and current Governor Schwarzenegger, it has now become impossible for a truly legitimately injured employee in the State of California to be treated for their injuries, to receive compensation for their injuries, to receive medication for their injuries or anything for that matter without having to obtain an attorney and go to court every time anything is done or required, and even then that is no guarantee.

Yes, the Liberals and the Lobbyist truly won out on this one.  Not the Unions though.  Truly, this is one where what the Unions wanted needed to be heeded. 

Now, I am one of those weird nuts on the tree.  I am a dyed in the wool Conservative Republican, but I am also a Union member who believes in Unionism.  However, I believe in Unions for what unions were SUPPOSED to be for.  They are there to protect the employees against the management and keep management from abusing the employees, which they will do if given the chance, and to make sure that the workers are paid a "Fair Day’s Wage for a Fair Day’s Work".  That’s it.  Somewhere along the lines, power corrupted the Unions, organized crime got involved, lazy men who did not want to work got involved and the Internationals and main bodies got greedy.  Also, it is the individual locals of the Unions that tend to be screwed for the workes as well.  the union is only as strong as it’s membership and it’s governing body.  A local bought and paid for by the company, or a local that is milk-toast weak will never be worth a damn. 

The unions got very greedy when it came to Worker’s Compensation in California, and all the weak, lazy people who did not want to work, would stub their toes and then work the system.  Fraud ran amok in this state, doctors were prescribing anything and everything, money was flowing like a waterfall, and it became too expensive for businesses to operate in this state due to the insurance premiums thanks to the smae people who now are cheating the Welfare system.  Welfare cheats and Worker’s Comp cheats are all the same people.  They vote Democrat and believe that the wolrd owes them, they are all into the entitlement programs and do not believe they need to work.  They want all the money and want none of the effort.

 Well, the two Governors of California set out to fix it.  And fix it they did.  Now, nobody gets anything.  The Insurance companies are bragging how they have saved 10 BILLION DOLLARS last year.  Well duuuuhhhh…of course you did.  You are not helping anyone, and people who need treatment like me, get nothing, so yes, you will save money.  In the mean time, families are destoyed, jobs are lost, lives are ruined..and the Governor sits in his office, smokes his cigar from Casillas Hand Rolled Cuban Cigars in Sacramento, and back-slaps him Liberal friends in the California Legislature who helped him write this legislation which completed the damage that Davis started before we summarily kicked him out of office.

So,  I have had enough.  Tomorrow night, at around 1910 hrs. (That is 7:10pm for those of you that don’t do military time) it will mark the four year anniversary of when I slid my patient from my gurney to the hospital bed in the ED.  He was a pretty big guy, abot 6’4", 240-250 pounds, in end stage of throat cancer.  He was being suctioned in a "Skilled Nursing Facility" (Convalescent Home) by one of those imported nurses who speak very little English, that never know anything about the patients when you get there, and always seem to be "Just coming on/off duty" and thus know nothing about whoever it is you are there for.  Anyway, she also didn’t seem to know how to suction mucus out of the throat of a throat cancer patient, went in wrong and tore the back of his throat.  He was now basically drowning on his own blood, and we had to take him to the ED to get it fixed.  That’s right…I am crippled because a "Registered Nurse" did not know how to suction a patient…a basic EMT skill.

So my partner and I got there, went ot do the slide which we had performed a million and one times before with no problems…me being 6’2" tall and he being about 5’8" and we had worked out the mechanics just fine, when right at the last minute, like a flash of light, out of nowhere, another RN came over to my side of the patient, just as we executed the maneuver, grabbed the sheet at the patients legs and helped slide him over.  Now, normaly the help would be welcomed…BEFORE we are in motion, as we would be ready for it and would adjust for the help.  However, she seemed to throw something off.  That was it.  It was just that simple.  Something went, and I felt the pain.  It was a different pain in the small of my back.  It was like nothing I had ever felt before.  It was not a muscle pain…not a pop, not anything I could descripe.  More like an electrical pain…like someone had stuck a 220v cable directly into my spine.  I didn’t yell, I didn’t go down, I simply looked at my partner and said, "Uh oh…that was bad…that was different". 

He looked back and replied,”Was that your back?”

I said, “Yeah.  Why, did you hear something?”

“No.  I just saw the look on your face when we went over and I knew something happened.”

I finished my shift, trying to get the docs at the ED’s to give me something for the pain, but they wouldn’t unless I signed in and was seen.  I didn’t want to be seen because I didn’t want to be sent home, I didn’t want paperwork and didn’t want to go on W.C. at all.  I got back to the station and in the morning, when the Captain woke up, I thought it best to let him know about it.  I told him that I didn’t want to see a doc, that I had some muscle relaxants at home and I would try those…I was sure they would do the trick…even though I knew that something was very, every wrong.  I put on my running shoes and went for a run.  By the mile and a half mark, I just could go no farther.  I was in excruciating pain.  I went back to the station and the process towards my retirement started.

I was off for a month, on light duty for a month and then returned to full duty after lying to the doctor and telling him I could do it.  In fact, i was in pain, and spent all my off-duty time resting up and recovering just enough to be able to go back to work.  Eventually I got so bad, that by January 8th of 2005, I was working out in the Apparatus bay of my station and that was it.  I did something where I was incapable of moving for 20 minutes and finished the shift and never returned to the station in uniform again.  It was my last day as a fireman. 

I spent the next two and a half years fighting with the Department, the City Workman’s Comp System and everything else related, their company they use that authorizes anything from medications to treatments and surgeries etc., trying to get fixed, get better and return to work.  Just so you know, if you tell Worker’s Compensation that you do not want their money, that you do not want to retire and that you actually want to return to work…they have no idea how to deal with you.  They are so used to people wanting to just take the money and run, that they are not set up at all for repairing injured workers and getting them back to work.  that was the major problem I was up against.  My fighting to keep my job, my dream job, the best job in the world which I loved as much as my wife and kids, earned me a reputation of having an "Anger Issue" with them.  I told them I have no anger issue, what I have is a frustration issue of dealing with their constant "Delay and Denial" system when it comes to injured employees.


What it boils down to is this.

When it comes to the Firefighters in this country, we are everyone’s heroes.  9-11 brought us into the forefront.  People never before had a better chance to see what it was that we did.  We go in while people run out.  We do not run screaming from danger.  We are not there to die…we want to go home to our family and friends just like everyone else.  However, should the need arise, we will give our lives for our fellow man.  Sometimes, giving your life for your fellow man means that you are no longer breathing and are buried six feet under, sometimes it means that your life as you knew it is over and you can no longer pick you children up and play with them, you can no longer run, you can no longer play, you can no longer do so many of the things you once did.  Your life with your family is not what it was, your wife and children suffer daily because their father and husband has changed and is not what he was.

For the families of the firefighters who are dead…killed in the line of duty, there are plenty of programs available.  The children can go to college for free, there are scholorships available, there are "Widow and Orphan Funds", there are firemen that come and look out for the families, there are awards, there are so many things.

But what about the firefighter who have lost their lives but are still alive?  What is there for us?  Nothing.  there is only bills that continue to stack up because we have lost the salary we once had.  There is the daily frustrations that we face of or new handicaps.  There are the looks on the faces of our loved ones of the words they cannot say.  There are the baseball games that are missed, that tickle fights that go to the wayside, there is the loss of the camaraderie that was once had in the firehouse.  There are still the bills from all he medical things that the Department and W.C. will not pick up that are still required.  Sure, they are being fought over with lawyers and eventually they may be paid for, but for now…it is all out of pocket.  There is the constant strain on the marriages.  There is the former work buddies telling you, "They do this to everyone, you aren’t the only one to go through this" as if that is supposed to make it OK.

There are no scholarships.  There are no plaques.  there are no walls with ceremonies where the wives and children go to see their father’s names honored.

There is only the constant reminder of the pain and suffering that their father goes through every day, and thus…they must go through every day while thanks to the Governor and the Insurance Companies…it will go on for a long time.


And so, I am going to Kentucky…to see and visit with a good friend of mine who is touring with a show that is playing there for awhile.  I am taking my laptop with me, and may be reporting from there…or maybe not.  I hope all is well for everyone while I am gone…me, well I am going to be enjoying the snow that I understand is falling.  It will remind me of an all new, clean slate which I hope this new year will bring.  It will be nice to be around the theatre again.  I did that for a career for 20 years.  I can’t wait for the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd once again.

Now if I could just get over my fear of flying…



Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: