That Moment When Understanding Occurs but Remains Unconfirmed

Why Understanding of Police, Public Safety, and Emergency Response is Mixed

First responder sits on porch steps, head down, deep in thought.

As all past and current law enforcement and emergency personnel can attest, we have been the last face many a dying person saw before embarking on the journey that follows human life. Death by natural cause, fulfilled by someone else, or an accident, it mattered not, for in the final moments, the police officer had profound awareness that change took place and an unexplained transition occurred. We can believe in a supreme being, who many call God; or with those who maintain this is our relationship to life experience, a stage of process, a moment in infinity. The belief, or not, is a personal matter; for what follows will bring understanding as we individually reach that stage.

I have reflected for years on the elderly woman severely injured in a traffic accident, west of Gorham, Maine, who suffered a traumatic head and facial injury. I knelt on the road with her, having placed a large dressing to the side of her face, holding onto her shaking body, and talking softly to her? Her final breath followed by a stillness; a Trooper and now deceased body, awaiting the arrival of additional emergency services. I felt a presence, was it real or imagination? Was I seeking explanation, a belief, to make sense of what I just experienced? To this moment I believe it was real, an edge of understanding as she was welcomed home from the lessons of this life. It was also personal to me, for there is no certainty or proof; just her eyes that seemed to understand, asking me to do the same, in the silence of it all. Continue reading “That Moment When Understanding Occurs but Remains Unconfirmed”

The Meaning of the Drums

Semi-circular formation of Barundian drummers from above.

On November 23, 2019, our partner and friend, Alphonse Ndayikengurukiye (n-D-ah-ih-kehn-goo-roo-KEE-yea), left for NYC in the company of the Batimbo Foundation Family team of drummers who have been invited to perform for America’s Got Talent (AGT). Alphonse will document the journey and its motivations in the form of a video or the Batimbo Foundation Family.

This is but a small piece of a much larger project that Alphonse and Building Resilience will initiate. Alphonse will call on drummers from many countries and cultures to come together and explore the messages loaded by and through drumming. The act of drumming spreads the spirit within the drum to the sensation of those around. In Burundi, Alphonse’s homeland, a master drummer faces a team of drummers, in semi-circle formation, with the sole objective of following the master. In doing so a powerful spirit of unity and solidarity is shared. Continue reading “The Meaning of the Drums”

An Addict Among Us: Part Three

ubber duck dressed in nursing uniform.

As we have discussed in the previous blog post, addiction, especially opioid addiction, is a major issue for our society. And this is not just the abuse of drugs like heroin. Prescription medications are frequently abused. Patients become addicted to them very quickly when they are prescribed in large quantities for the treatment of pain. Unfortunately, medications such as oxycodone and OxyContin may be very effective in treating acute pain, but often don’t work that well for the long-term treatment of chronic pain. These prescription medications are refined to such a degree that addiction to them may come faster than addiction to heroin. Continue reading “An Addict Among Us: Part Three”

Dealing With Anger

In many ways, anger is a normal reaction.

In this blog post, we’re going to present another challenge from one of the decks of challenges we have created for the game “Bounce Back.” The challenges in the series that we have created on health deal with chronic illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. These decks are part of a serious game called “Bounce Back” that we have developed to teach the skills and the attitudes of resilience. The game presents the players with situations that they or someone close to them might encounter and asks them to choose the skills and the attitudes of resilience they would use or would recommend others to use to deal with the challenge.

Here is the challenge: Some days you’re angry. Some days you’re depressed. Some days you feel like you just don’t want to live with the pain anymore. You don’t really think about suicide seriously because it would solve no problem. But after a particularly sleepless and pain-filled night, you crawl out of bed at 4:15 a.m. to make some coffee. Your wife comes down the stairs with her usual, “What’s wrong, honey?” You’re tired of this persistently stupid question and you jam the pot into the coffeemaker a bit too hard. You’re shocked when it shatters and your knuckles begin to bleed.

Anger is a very normal reaction to all of the frustration and difficulties that a chronic healthcare problem presents. What do you believe you would do in this situation?  Think about it and talk with friends and family. Perhaps they have dealt with a similar problem. Many chronic illnesses, such as cancer and diabetes, involve chronic pain.

Here are some of the things that we would suggest. Connecting with others and communicating is important. Your wife was trying to do this. Perhaps she needs some direction from you. Maybe you need to talk with her more about how you’re feeling.

Managing all of the feelings that you have, especially the anger, is hard. But you’ll find better ways of dealing with it if you let some of it out in constructive ways. Find some ways to discharge it. Talking about it is one of those. Doing something physical, such as punching a pillow or a punching bag, exercising, etc., may help.  Even though you’re angry, and you may be angry with yourself, take care of yourself and take care of those around you.

Try to see the bigger picture. Things will change, perhaps for the better. Things will not remain the same. Get some help professionally in dealing with the anger. Medication is not always the answer. It can be part of a helpful program of treatment, but having someone to talk with and work on these issues may do even more to change things for the better.

Ron Breazeale  Ron Breazeale, Ph.D