Sunday, June 12, 2022

The Sunday Post #308


The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.




The Sunday Post #308





ON THE BLOG RECENTLY






In My Reading Life


I have not been reading. I haven't even touched a book in the past week. You'll find out why in the next section. Life has been . . . something. My anxiety levels are out of control. My brain seems to have decided that sleep is unnecessary. I'm just running on pure anxiety and Diet Coke at this point.






In The Rest Of My Life


Remember how I became a park ranger a few months ago? Are you ready for more overly honest park ranger talk?

Okay. Deep breath.

I had to deal with a death in the park last week. We're going to talk about a dead human and what it's like to be a first responder. If you're not in the mood for this conversation, please "nope" out of the post right now. I won't be mad.

I'm going to be vague because I don't want to disrespect the victim or their family by turning the worst moments of their lives into a story for my stupid blog. I'm also not sure what information is public knowledge. I know that news cars eventually showed up at the scene, but I haven't searched for any news stories, so I don't know what they reported.

An adult-aged person died in the water. I don't know the official cause of death, but for the sake of this post, we're going to call it a drowning. The person was near the shore in approximately 8 feet of water. I was across the street from the beach when the radio call went out about a person missing in the lake. I was one of the first rangers on the scene.

This was my first drowning as a ranger, but it wasn't my first park death. It wasn't even my first drowning death. I started working at this park in 2019. Before I was a ranger, I worked in visitor services. With the previous deaths, my job was to answer questions from the public after the deaths happened. I was never at the scene of an accident.

It's a lot different being a ranger! I don't think I'll ever un-see the rescue diver carrying the victim out of the water and starting CPR. I was interviewing witnesses when we saw the victim. I was frantically pretending to be calm so the witnesses wouldn't freak out. Reader, I was not calm inside my head!

Honestly, it feels gross talking about this in a place where anybody can read it, so let's spin it into something abstract and educational. What do I want random internet strangers to know about drowning emergencies in general?


1. Wear your freakin' lifejacket. If you are in deep water, wear a flotation device on your body. I profoundly do not care if lifejackets are hot, itchy, uncomfortable, or make you look chubby in Instagram photos. Find one you can tolerate and wear it. Attach a whistle to the lifejacket so you can get people's attention if you are in trouble. (Think of Rose at the end of the Titanic movie. How did she save herself? Be like Rose.)

Our victim drowned on a Sunday at one of the most popular locations in the park. There were literally hundreds of people in the water or on the beach. Only a few of those people noticed the victim. Drowning is quiet. It's easy for people to miss.


For inspiration, here's a photo of me and my sister looking glamorous in lifejackets on a river in Florida.



2. Control your freakin' children (part 1). I completely understand how families get separated during an emergency. Rangers yell for everyone to get out of the water and off the beach. Chaos and confusion ensue because the park visitors don't know what's happening. Kids sprint out of the lake and run absolutely everywhere. If you are at the beach with your kids, please keep your eyes on your children! Don't be staring at your phone. If there's an emergency, you can grab your kids and get them out of the way so they're not stampeding around like rabid zoo animals while first responders are trying to save somebody.


3. Control your freakin' children (part 2). Unattended children kept coming up to me and asking questions. I was not mad about the reasonable questions. (What happened? Why did we have to get out of the water? When can we go back in the water? Are you a park ranger? If someone is drowning, why aren't you in the water saving them? Etc.). Reasonable questions are fine.

The random questions quickly got on my nerves. At one point, I was interviewing witnesses and trying to figure out if we had multiple victims in the water or just the one who was reported missing. While I was doing this, kids kept walking up to me and asking questions about frogs, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and why the other rangers have guns on their belts and I don't. Children, now is not the time! I will happily address all your wildlife and weapons concerns when people aren't missing in the water.

I told the kids that I was dealing with an emergency. I asked them if they knew where their parents were. I told them to go to their parents. Some of the kids listened. A surprising number of them continued to hang around and ask questions. Teach your children that they need to obey immediately when an adult says, "This is an emergency; go to your parents." I do not have the time (or the patience, honestly) to escort your wayward spawn back to you.


4. Don't be a freakin' Karen. Parks are big. There are usually multiple problems happening at once. We have to prioritize and solve the deadliest problems first. Please don't argue with us when your problem suddenly gets bumped down the priority list. We're not going to disrupt a missing person search to deal with teenagers playing their music too loud. Arguing about it is pointless. Please don't hesitate to report problems, but understand that you might not be at the top of the list.


5. Don't be a freakin' ghoul. Would you want to stumble across a TikTok video of your loved one getting CPR on a beach? No? Don't do it to other people. Be classy. Your vacation scrapbook will be fine without a photo of this.


6. Keep an eye on your fellow freakin' humans. Okay, putting "freakin'" in that sentence makes it sound harsh, but I have a "freakin'" motif happening in this post, and I can't ruin it now. I don't blame anyone for the drowning. I'm not criticizing anyone. I'm not angry at anyone. It was an accident. I'm exhausted and very, very sad. That's it. When you're in a crowded place, try to be aware of the people around you. Someone might be silently begging for help.


That's all I've got. Thanks for reading it.





Here's An Awkward Transition To Shameless Self-Promotion


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Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!







42 comments:

  1. Wow, that is horrible. Thoughts and prayers to the family. I liked all your rules, especially #5. People can be insensitive jerks.

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  2. ((HUGS)) That's tough. And, why don't we look out for each other more and understand that some times there are more important issues to address? --sigh-- My father brought us fishing at a beach that had "no swimming" signs posted (in multiple languages). Two the kids swimming with their family "disappeared" in the water. My dad ran in to try to help. That was pretty traumatic event for me (I think I was 8), and the bodies were not even pulled out in front of me (they were found the next day further from the beach). I hope you don't have to deal with too many of these events.

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  3. Oh no. I am so sorry to read all of this! That poor family. And yikes - having to deal with all of that on top of the actual emergency as well.

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  4. A big hug, AJ - and I really, really hope that you get some counselling to help deal with your own emotions triggered by dealing with such an upsetting event. We are SUCH a peculiar species! I'm still getting my head around someone ARGUING the issue about loud music when you are in the middle of dealing with a missing person alert... Just saying. Thought your bullet points were excellent, by the way. I hope the coming week is FAR more peaceful:).

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  5. What a horrible experience for you! Thanks for sharing the information.

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  6. Terrible events! Hang in there, and thanks for sharing. Enjoy your books and movies.

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  7. Well AJ I think you did amazingly well. I have been in situation of emergency once or twice (never a dead body mind you) and had to bark orders for people to give room etc. While in the action, I was calm. Just after, I had no legs anymore, I was trembling etc. And yes I am amazed at the stupidity of some people and their kids in such situations. Hugs!

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  8. I think you're brave. I could not do what you do. I'm glad there are people like you out here to help and save others. I want to say that I'm shocked someone would try and record what was going on but I've seen people nowadays and... I'm not surprised. Sadly. I feel so bad for the family.

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  9. I think people picture rangers walking or driving around the park, enjoying the outdoors, seeing wildlife, and telling people to put out fires. There is SO MUCH MORE to your job! I appreciate the stories, the advice, and more that you include. This is your venting place and in the process you are spreading important information. All that said, I am sorry your anxiety is so heightened right now; that is exhausting all by itself. Be sure to take care of yourself in amongst taking care of the public.

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  10. Oh, Aj, I'm so sorry that happened - for the victim's family and for you.

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  11. Wow, I'm so sorry for you and the victim's family. How terrible. Those are great recommendations. It doesn't surprise me that people need to be reminded of them though. People can be ridiculous. Sounds like you handled things well.

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  12. First of all, your blog is not stupid. I love reading it and let me guess, after typing and publishing - you could take a breathe. I real proper one and you did actually feel better. Not stupid.

    What a horrible experience for you.... I don't even know what to say. Accept that I wish I was there to help you with the kids. I have a very good teacher Mareli voice and kids tend to listen to that voice very quickly.

    I'm sending you a few serotonin cells. I tend to store them a bit....

    I hope you will have time to read a bit this week and that it's only sunshine and rainbows and kids accompanied by parents or teachers.

    Elza Reads

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  13. I'm so sorry. That must have been hard to deal with. I can't even imagine how you felt, having to appear calm even though you didn't feel calm inside. Thank you for being there. I hope your anxiety can calm down and you can feel better about what happened. {{{hugs}}}

    Also, I feel like it's so minor compared to what you went through and that first meme makes me feel seen.

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  14. I am so sorry. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who don't watch their children in or near water. We take our youth group out on the lake at my in-laws, my rule is you wear a life jacket, I don't care how good of a swimmer you are, I don't care that you are only standing in 2 feet of water, if you are going near the water you will put a life jacket on or you won't be near the water. You have had several really hard moments in your new job and I hope things improve for you.

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  15. Wow, I can't imagine dealing with that. I can understand why you are feeling anxious. Also, how did I not know you were a park ranger now? Other than this horrible event, are you loving the job? It sounds like a really neat job. I hope this week is much better for you.

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  16. I'm sorry it happened but you handled things very well in a difficult situation. Thank you!

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

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  17. What a sad AND traumatising event. I hope you find your equilibrium this week and can move on a little with your life.

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  18. I love the quote- is that true or what??? I'm sorry to hear about your anxiety, but after reading your story... gah, makes sense. I don't think anyone can ever be ready for something like that! Sending you lots of supportive vibes. People are... I don't know. I'll say challenging. Someone said to me the other day "I don't really like people a lot of the time" after our neighbors were being especially obnoxious, and I had a hard time disagreeing. :)

    Anyway thank you for sharing and doing it so well.

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  19. What a horribly tragic and traumatic day! I'm so sorry for the victim's family and can only imagine how awful it was for all the Rangers involved, too. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time to recover...

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  20. If I ever need help in an emergency, I hope a first responder LIKE YOU shows up! You sound very much in control of what needs doing, and very sensible about what other people should do. It's sad when people want to turn a tragedy into an Instagram post to gratify themselves. It's definitely sad when people let their children become pests, become a danger to themselves, or worse yet, become risks for needing more attention because they have created dangerous situations. Your list of advice seems excellent.

    Good luck with your job.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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  21. So sorry you had to deal with all that! But it sounds like you handled it as best as anyone could.

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  22. How awful and traumatizing! I'm so sorry you went through that. :-(

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  23. I'm so sorry to hear about this incident. I hope you're able to process the anxiety and trauma. Sounds like on the outside you were calmer than you were on the inside. I live close to the Grand Canyon, and visit there often, and your rules for children couldn't be more important. I've seen so many little kids running wild there and so close to the edge. It gives me such bad anxiety when I go there and see these wild kids.

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  24. I'm so sorry you had to go through this... Anything can spike my anxiety, I have noticed that the last year, but I can't even imagine what you were going through... Hugs!

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  25. What a terrible thing to happen! I'm sorry you had to be a part of it. Great set of rules though. Not being able to read is more than understandable. Take care of yourself!

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  26. Ouch, what a day/week at work. :( I hope you're ok and I'm sorry that this is part of your job... My cousin's wife's brother (I tried to think how to word that connection to make it simpler but couldn't) died near Easter after drowning in a park lake and it's a horrendous shock to all. It happens so fast. I hope people appreciate your points to note! They're something everyone can do.

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  27. So sorry that you are having anxiety and having to deal with all this. So sorry for the victim's family that they lost a loved one. Hope you have a good week!

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  28. I'm so sorry that you had to go through this, and I feel bad for the family of the victim. I was trained as a lifeguard, and one of the things I was surprised to learn is how quickly and easily people can drown. Your knowledge of the situation probably helped a lot of others there.

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  29. What a terrible thing to have happen. I'm so sorry that you had to experience that (or that anyone did). It seems like something like that can bring out both the best and the worst in people.

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  30. Wow. I'm so sorry that you had to go through this! And I'm sorry to hear about the drowning as well. That poor person and their family. All of your points are very valid. I hope people listen to them. Hugs. I hope this week is a lot better!

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  31. That's a tough day. I was probably six and we were staying at the beach with my grandparents. My father and grandfather were fishing, I'm sure, and my mom and grandma took us over to the beach as they were bringing in two drowning victims. When it became apparent what was happening, we were quickly ushered back to the cottage. I don't envy your job on days like this, but know that you are appreciated. (and yes, I have a whistle on my lifejacket and when sailing offshore carry a marine radio in the pocket.

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  32. What a terrible experience for you -- before I read the post I saw the picture of the (2) of you and knew FL and was thinking -- hope no alligators in there. Sounds like this is a challenging and stressful job especially when people fail to use common sense. Hope the rest of your summer is better.

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  33. I'm sorry you had to go through that. And more than once. I live in WA and they have lifejackets EVERYWHERE for free because the beach here is not a nice fun, take a dip. It's full of logs, currents, things called sneaker and king waves. It freaks me out how casually people take being in the water despite all the warnings.

    And yes, people caring more about taking videos or their own problems is horrible.

    My husband saw a young man (an EMT who had been out drinking with friends and wandered off) get hit by a semi and that was pretty traumatizing for him.

    I can see how you would be anxious and have trouble sleeping.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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  34. Whoa. Whew. Thanks for sharing. Good to know and to be reminded of how to be a good human.

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  35. Hope this week is better for you. Cheers :-)

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  36. Really freaky experience for you. I can understand totally the looking calm on the outside while freaking out on the inside. Go gently and hope sleep soon returns.

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  37. I am so very sorry for your traumatic experience! My husband found a suicide victim and was distraught for months. My prayers are with you. Thank you for the oh so honest list of suggestions – they make so much sense. Take care, dear one!

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  38. Such a difficult experience, please look after yourself and reach out for support if you need it.
    Your advice is very good, much of it common sense which seems to be lacking these days.

    Wishing you a much better week.

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  39. I can’t imagine how stressful that situation must have been. I’m sorry your week was like that, and I hope you’ll have a better one.

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  40. I'm so sorry you had to deal with that and that people can be so... insensitive. My husband was a paramedic for a long time. He and his co-workers saw some crap. Please don't hesitate to reach out for help, whether that means talking to a friend or contacting some sort of Employee Assistance Network. I've seen what happens when you bottle things like this up and it's not healthy. Seriously.

    Take care.

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  41. I am so sorry you had to deal with all.. these, and do your job as well, AJ. I hope you are getting some help to talk about this. And thanks for sharing these pointers with us. I hope you have a better week ahead.

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  42. Very tragic. It's sad when awful accidents happen. Good grief we never expect it and then it happens. I'm sorry for what you went through. It knocks one back something like this. Take a breather. & talk to all the other rangers.

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