Friday, October 31, 2008

Support Group

I took a call a few weeks back that hit a little too close to home. Anyone else in the room could have taken the call and not been affected, but due to things in my life right now it really got to me. This happens sometimes...a dispatcher with a small child will take a call regarding a small child and it affects them a little more than it would other people. A dispatcher who knew someone recently killed in a car accident will obviously be affected differently by taking a call about a serious car accident than others would. It's the nature of our job. Because of that, I didn't say anything to anyone about being bothered by this call, I just figured after a few days I would forget about it and wouldn't be a big thing. However, it continued to bother me for days.

I was walking out to my car a few days ago and stopped in the parking lot to talk to one of the officers. We were just talking about work and how things were going and he asked me if I was the one who had taken that call the week before. I told him yes (thinking it was a little odd that he would ask me that...especially considering how much it had affected me) and without any knowledge of how I was feeling he told me he had responded and had been having a hard time with it. He said it hit a little too close to home for him and wanted to know how the phone call had gone and what had happened etc until they got on scene. He needed to know that to get some closure. I told him I had been struggling ever since as well and told him I wanted to know what had happened on scene so I could get some closure too. And so we stood there and talked about it. I told him what I knew, he told me what he knew and we both went away feeling much better about ourselves and that call.

I could have come home and talked to my roommates about that call, but they wouldn't have understood what the big deal was. I could have told people in dispatch that I was bothered by that call but they wouldn't have understood why. But the officer was struggling and could tell I was too and so we were able to talk it out. I love having a support system at work. I love knowing when I need to talk to someone about a call that's eating at me or something I heard/saw that there is a whole department full of people who will talk to me and understand. They've been through it too. We have a tough job and not everyone wants to hear about it or can realize why we're affected by things the way we are. I'm glad I have a department full of support and I have taken advantage of that support many times!

(Sorry there were no details about the calls on these last 2 posts. Nothing I could share other than I took a child choking call, and the call I talked about in this post was a death.)

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