28 June 2010

Just being a good samaritan

Last week, Dan was going to go get his haircut after work and was suppose to come home right away so we could go shoe shopping. I got a call from him saying he would be a little late because he witnessed a car crash and had to give the police a statement. It turned out that there was quite a bit more involved. It resulted in Dan having to go to the ER later on and also give a statement to his work because of his injuries. He is modest about the whole situation. He doesn't want a medal, he doesn't want recognition. It is just in his character to help people no matter the situation.

On Monday June 21st 2010 at 1713, I was driving on N. Texas in Fairfield, CA near the intersection of N. Texas and E. Tabor headed towards Travis Blvd. I was following directly behind a maroon colored van in the number two lane going the speed limit at 35 mph. Up ahead there was a parked city bus at the bus stop waiting to load/unload passengers, also in this lane. I started to slow down in order to prepare to change lanes when I noticed the van in front of me was not applying their brakes. Immediately after realizing that the van was not slowing down to come to a stop or make any indication that they would be changing lanes I knew there was going to be an impact between the two vehicles.

I began to slow down even more to increase the space between my vehicle and the van in front of me. The van, still traveling at the speed limit of 35 mph with no signs of slowing down, struck into the back of the parked city bus. The impact was so severe that it caused the back end of the van to jump and landed into the number one lane, which left the van in an angle and partially blocking both lanes. I stopped immediately, parked my vehicle behind the van, and removed my keys. I ran to the driver’s side of the van and noticed a man, maybe in his late 60s, hunched over his middle console with his seatbelt fastened. There was smoke coming from the steering wheel due to the deployment of the air bag. The dashboard was mutilated, the lights above the rear view mirror were dangling, and there was a large amount of liquid pouring out from underneath the vehicle onto the ground.

I started to knock loudly on his window and saying “Sir, Are you okay?” but he was unresponsive. A few pedestrians on the sidewalk to the right of the vehicle started to approach the van and assisted in knocking on the windows and trying to open doors on the van, at which point I directed one of them to call 911. Finally, the gentleman looked over at me and I noticed blood from his lips, possibly from the air bag deployment. I yelled to him to unlock the door repeatedly and he continued to stare at me the first few times. The man was clearly delirious from the impact of the crash. He eventually leaned over and pushed the button that rolled down the window. Once his window was open, I reached in and opened the door.

I looked around the body of the driver for any possible injuries and condition of the interior of the vehicle. Upon investigation, I noticed he was wearing braces on his legs; a wheelchair in the back of the vehicle, the interior dash was still smoking from air bag deployment, and more electronics dangling from wires. There were still large amounts of fluids coming out from underneath the vehicle. At that moment, I made the decision that I needed to remove this gentleman from the vehicle to possibly avoid any further injuries to himself. I asked him if I could remove his seat belt, he said yes. I asked him if I could remove him from the vehicle because of the potential dangers, he said yes. I bent down, put his arm around my neck and lifted him up. I lifted him to the sidewalk which was about 15 feet around the van.

Once I set him on the sidewalk, more people started to gather around. I asked the man if he had identification and he handed me his wallet. I pulled out his driver’s license and asked him to tell me his name and address to see if he could remember. I also asked if he had any medical problems I should know about; I asked if he had diabetes, he said yes. Then I asked him if he had a pacemaker and he replied yes as well. I continued to ask if he was taking any medications and he told me there was a list in his wallet. I handed the driver’s license and the list of medication to the person on the phone with 911, told them to relay to the 911 dispatcher that he was diabetic, and had a pacemaker. I asked an individual who was standing around to see if everyone on the bus was OK. About 30 seconds later, he came back and told the individual on the phone with 911 that there were three people hurt on the bus; one older gentleman, one pregnant woman and one teenage girl.

By that time the first group of paramedics arrived and I briefed them on the condition and medical problems of the driver of the van. I explained that people on the bus required attention as well. I asked the paramedics if they might need my help or any other information and they told me that they wouldn’t but advised me to stay in case the police needed a statement since they had arrived shortly after the paramedics. The police did need my statement and I waited around until the police had time to take it.

After giving the statement I noticed my left wrist, which was already previously injured a month prior and diagnosed by David Grant Medical Center to have multiple problems, was starting to swell up and have pain. After getting back in my car, I noticed my back was very stiff. When I arrived at home and while trying to get out of my car, the left lower side of my back started to spasm and it felt like it pulled. I told my wife that I was going to the ER at David Grant and she told me she would take me there.

I arrived at the DGMC ER at 1915 and noticed that the teenage girl that on the bus and needed medical assistance was there. My wife notified her first sergeant who then called our shirt. The shirt stopped by I was in triage to see how I was doing. The captain that took my vitals in triage asked if my injuries were from the car crash that happened not too long ago and I told him that it was. He informed me that the driver of the van as well as the teenage girl was there for treatment. I then waited in one of the patient rooms for treatment. At 2040, a major came to talk to me about what happened and she told me that she would prescribe me some pain medication for my wrist and back. I inquired about the status of the driver and she informed me that he needed airlift to UC Davis for further treatment due to head trauma. The doctor gave me one shot of Toradol and prescribed me valium and percocet. My discharge paperwork released me to my duty section but limits me to no PT for 7 days.

18 June 2010

Happy Anniversary to me!

Today marks 8 years in the United States Air Force for me. I can't believe that I've made it to this milestone in my career and I can still remember every thought, feeling and emotion that was going through me as I stepped foot off that bus in San Antonio. Part of me actually wishes that I didn't wait 9 months to leave for basic training, but the overwhelming majority wouldn't have it any other way.

I've traveled to countries I never thought I'd visit, became a mom (and of course have another one on the way), deployed multiple times, made great friends, met the love of my life, learned life lessons, won some, lost some, and still have a lot left ahead of me. I haven't been in long enough to really be considered an old timer, but I'm no longer a newb that can get away with not knowing better. I am proud to be serving in the military and still wear my uniform (even though at the moment it feels like a tent) with pride each and every day.

Thank you, Air Force for everything that you've shown me and every opportunity that you've given me. Only my fellow brothers and sisters at arms (past and present) can understand what it's like to serve our country and only they can relate to all of the hardships and great times that you have brought me. I am still uncertain of my future with you, but I know that I can say that while I'm still in an "active" relationship with you, I will continue to give my all and serve proudly.


15 June 2010

I suck at writing

Bullets. EPRs (Enlisted Performance Reports) are reports that are required annual to show how we are as an Airmen in the Air Force. It's pretty much a report card but instead of grades in different subjects, we're rated on a scale based on standards (does not meet, meets, above averages and clearly exceeds) in different areas of performance such as our primary duties, teamwork, and self improvement. You would think that writing about what you've done in an 356-day period would be simple. It's like a narrative, right? Nope. You have to write bullet statements. Pretty much they are chopped up sentences with no regard for the proper structure of how a sentence should be written.

I can write. I may not as brilliant as my sister Flo when it comes to stories and such, but I think I can write fairly well. We have letters and memos (most of the time used for punishments) in the Air Force that I can practically write in my sleep. Dan sometimes will call/email me while we're at work for me to send him ones that I've already done so he can use them (unfortunately I've written that many). I have no problems writing narratives and biographies that are sometimes needed for award packages.

Bullets are a totally different story. The main goal is brevity. Short and sweet, you need all of the information in one line. When we write EPRs, the bullet statement is broken down into 2 basic/main parts. The action and impact. Action verbs and adjectives are used a lot to try and give it that extra "wow" factor to a bullet. An example would be something like this:

Dan is a base PTL who leads circuit training sessions weekly. He's helped 500 members on base better their overall fitness.

- Fitness professional; led fitness center weekly circuit training class--500 base members improved their fitness

Can you see the lack of sentence structure there? Brevity, brevity, brevity. Take out anything that makes the line too wordy and make sure the point comes across. When you read the bullet, you should be able to easily identify the action and the impact right away. I suck at writing bullets. Trying to think of the best way to format the bullet stumps me. Should I start it with a strong action verb, can I use a double dash there for the impact, would a "zinger" sound better at the beginning? Oye.

I've got two EPRs that I need to finish yesterday. Yea. I'm over my deadline and my bullet writing block isn't going anywhere. Why couldn't it be a mini essay I needed to write on each airmen about how they've done in the past year?

04 June 2010

One class closer.....

Finally took care of my math requirement for my CCAF degree.  I took Statistics with Brandman University and boy was it rough.  I ended up with a 94% overall and felt good about it.  I only have one more class for my CCAF degree and hopefully will get to CLEP that this semester or I might just take another class.  I hope that I get to continually take classes while working full time in the military because I really want my bachelor's degree done before I make more rank and get too busy to take care of a lot of classes. Nothing much else going on, just living life....