Big Changes at TRUE Central

We’ve been totally swamped lately. It wasn’t just the GOOHF water bottles, which were extremely popular and the huge quantity we were able to get sold out in about a month (but sorry: we really can’t get any more, since the manufacturer discontinued them — figures!).

But also, during that time, my team has been moving 39 web sites from our old server to a whizzy new one (if you’ve noticed that the web sites seem to load faster, that’s why).

Naturally some problems crept up, not the least of which was that my head tech, who was leading the new server task, not only had to go in for some unexpected surgery, but complications arose and he had to go back for more (bummer!). We also had a few site glitches after the move, most of which have been fixed.

If that wasn’t plenty enough, my wife’s web sites (which were included in that move) are making her more and more busy, so I needed to hire someone to replace her so she can spend time on her own stuff. Kit’s good enough that it took two people to replace her.

New hires Amy and Katie* are going to job-share, since it’s about a 60-hour-per-week position. That will help give us more even coverage, so if someone wants to take a vacation things won’t screech to a halt (and if we have another really popular product that sells out over a few weeks, we won’t get so behind in shipping).

That should help us not be swamped, right? Yes, it will — after Katie and Amy get up-to-speed on their new jobs. Meanwhile they’ve both just started this week, so they’re pounding away at the steep learning curve.

* (Confusingly enough, Katie is not the same Katie that’s featured in the new This is True video series.)

Your Support Makes it Possible

Meanwhile, I’ve also hired another techie nerd to help out, since my main tech is too busy with other clients for more projects from me — and I do have two big new projects in the works. Tom (the new tech) will be helping get those going. One is already online and in testing before we lay a new design on it; watch for an announcement of what that is in the next few weeks.

Tom has a full time Day Job, so can’t help out a lot, but he’s already making progress. Once that’s up and running, then we’ll start on the next one. It all will be fun, interesting, and/or thought-provoking high-quality online content. You know: the sort of good stuff you’ve come to expect from True. And I can bring these folks on because of your support: the more of you who contribute — usually in the form of a Premium subscription, the more resources I can offer in return.

Here’s something wild about working for me: when Amy came in for her interview yesterday, she didn’t find us in. Actually, she never made it to the house, since there was a huge wreck right out front; she saw us there and pulled over and asked if we needed a hand.

Kit and I live a quarter-mile from a fairly busy county road. It’s fairly busy despite being packed dirt and gravel, not pavement. The “street” I live on is loose gravel; it’s a half-mile long, but there are only four houses on it. A neighbor was turning onto our road to visit one of the other houses when a tow truck passed him going (a witness said) 65 mph; the speed limit is a generous 35 mph.

Uh oh: passing a car that’s turning? Yep: whack. The heavy tow truck smashed the little SUV, rolling it both laterally and end-over-end. Luckily it landed right-side up.

I was in my office and heard it, but didn’t realize what the “thump” sound was until my pager went off. Not surprisingly, Kit and I were the closest medics, and we got there very quickly. Kit jumped into the smashed car to stabilize the driver while I got on the radio to call in our extrication team — we’d need the “Jaws of Life” to get the guy out. And he was a neighbor — I know him.

Amy handled the disruption in stride. You can kinda see why we hired her.

Here’s a photo, taken by the neighbor he was coming to visit — she didn’t know who the victim was until I told her:

That’s me on the left. Kit, in the red pants, has just been relieved in the back seat by a passing EMT from the next county — who happens to be named …Katie! She’s “holding c-spine” (stabilizing the victim’s head). Note the car’s left rear wheel was completely torn away from the vehicle by the impact. We never did see it!

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15 Comments on “Big Changes at TRUE Central

  1. That is a horrid wreck — the SUV is not a big one at all. It must have been hit with tremendous force.

    The road is similar to where I lived in the Virginia countryside and a place I have down in SC. A 35 MPH speed limit seems generous for it. The SUV driver was indeed fortunate to not be injured much worse and also that qualified help was so readily at hand. He is clearly blessed or something — at least I consider him to be. [I’ve no comment whatsoever about the other vehicle’s operator.]

    You can sort-of see the tow truck beyond me, too. It’s one of those really big flatbed types. Yet, it wasn’t drivable afterward — something ruptured and it dumped all of its oil on the road. -rc

  2. Thank God it was not worse than it was. The pic looks really bad, but I’ve seen some horrid wrecks where folks walked away (used to do victim advocacy.) Thanks to you and your wife for the work you do… it’s a tough job, but it can definitely be rewarding when a precious life is saved.

    Thanks for that!

  3. This is one very lucky man. It could have been so much worse. The area looks like a beautiful area, I can see why you have set your roots there! 🙂

    You should see the view! -rc

  4. I know what you mean about the impatience. We’re experiencing incredible population growth in our area and the infrastructure can’t keep up with the traffic demand. So, often, someone needs to make a left turn on a busy two-lane road to get home, and people try to go around on the right, which is a direct drop-off at the road surface to a ditch 4 feet below. Much better to lose your whole car than wait for that long 60-second, or 90-second delay.

  5. I second the thanks to you and Kit for what you do.

    My guess is that the SUV driver was wearing his lap/shoulder belt, and that his air bag fired. Thus the damage to his left ear (from the shoulder portion of the belt when he was thrown forward) and the broken jaw (from the air bag). BUT he’s alive, due to belt and bag – I bet he would not want to trade outcomes.

    He indeed was wearing his lap/shoulder belt, but the airbag didn’t blow. (In fact, I put the tow truck driver to work by asking him to disconnect the battery to ensure it wouldn’t go off when the extrication team started work on cutting him out of the car. 🙂 -rc

  6. I believe most airbags will only go off on a frontal collision, not rear-enders.

    Correct — nor (as in this case) an angled t-bone. There are, however, now side airbags in many cars which will pop in such collisions.

    But that’s not the point of mentioning airbags in this entry. Rather, it’s that when you start cutting on cars with huge power tools, you can set off the airbags and not only scare the crap out of everyone, but perhaps injure the patient or the rescuers. So it’s proper procedure to disable the airbags before you start making radical changes to the car’s body with the jaws. That’s done by disconnecting the battery. -rc

  7. It’s great that someone is there in rural areas in case of accident or illness. It’s an awesome part of small town life that there are volunteers at the ready.

    But what I really want to comment on is the main part of your post: that you’re bringing in help, which I hope will reduce the number of hours you spend keeping us entertained (and most of us for free!). I’m proud to be a Premium subscriber, so I know that part of the measly $24 a year I give you for 52 fantastic newsletters is going toward paying your new people, and that next time I order some GOOHF cards or something, I’ll get them that much faster because you’ve got help in there. I really appreciate your attention to customer service, and letting us know what you’re doing to keep it up to the high standard I’ve enjoyed for years. Thank you.

    P.S.: Just how many hours do you work, anyway?

    Thanks for noticing, Travis. Even though I have had help with the order entry and fulfillment for several years now, it does take a lot of work to keep things running — both on the administrative side and the creative side. By getting admin help, I’m freed up to do more creative stuff.

    On average I work about 70 hours/week — 10 hours/day, 7 days/week. While some days it’s less, and I still enjoy long lunches out and such, other days make up for it!

    My short-term goal is to get that down to 50/week; I don’t know what my long-term goal is, since it will be pretty weird getting used to 50 after 13 years of this, but once I get used to that, I’ll make more plans. -rc

  8. Just a quick “thanks” for being the kind of caring people you are. Quiet heroes….you remind me of the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson who said…

    “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a good child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

    I’d say you have succeeded very well.

    Another Katie?! Sheesh! 😉

    I’d be hard pressed to call anything I’ve done “heroic”, but I’ve put a lot of time and sweat in. But yes, I agree that I have “success” — at least in the way I measure it, which in part means mostly living my life the way I want to. That includes living in a rural area where people tend to know their neighbors, and working at jobs that I love — both for my profession and for my volunteer work. You can’t do a whole lot better than that, so clearly “success” rings true for me, even if “hero” doesn’t. -rc

  9. Looks like you were all doing a great job Randy. I’m an EMT Specialist, one of about 32 EMT volunteers in our area. We cover most of our county and do intercepts with services that aren’t ALS. To have that happen practically in your yard was most beneficial for your patient. Happy to hear the outcome was good for your patient.

    Yeah, that was certainly the closest call I’ve ever been to! And indeed lucky for the patient, since the closest ambulance is about 25 minutes away…. -rc

  10. I wanted to say thanks also, for all the work and many hours you put in on this and your other online endeavors. I appreciate hearing about your life adventures and how fortunate that you are both emergency responders.

    I also thought it was a special considerate touch that you blotted out the victims license plate number in the photo. Just another one of the thoughtful and caring things about you.

    Yeah, the license plate was so front and center, someone probably would have had a way to look it up — and I wanted to keep the victim’s name private. Who he was isn’t important to the story. -rc

  11. Does this sort of thing count as bringing your work home with you?

    I didn’t bring it! It followed me! -rc

  12. Good to see you are wearing your PPE’s… Now where are Kits’? 🙂

    Also good for your neighbor you were there. How does it feel to be ‘back in the business’?

    For the uninitiated, “PPE” is “Personal Protective Equipment” — like gloves to protect you from the patient’s blood. Kit indeed had hers on, but dumped them when she was relieved by Katie, since she had a fair amount of blood on them. And yeah, it’s pretty wild to be “back in the biz” after a 22-year hiatus, but I like it! -rc

  13. What a scary wreck. You and Kit did a good job. And Amy — what a self-possessed young lady. Coming on this scene and asking if you needed a hand, instead of freaking out and being one more person to deal with. I would’ve hired her on the spot! Glad your neighbor is making a good recovery.

    We have friends who used to live on the curve of a narrow, twisting quarry road in Pennsylvania. They got tired of finding trucks and cars in their front yard, so they installed huge posts, 3 feet above and 3 feet counter-sunk below ground, with large reflectors. Amazing how not one car or truck ever ran into those posts. The posts might as well have screamed “Slow down or DIE!”

    They did. Just not in English. 🙂 -rc

  14. Randy I see you’ve covered the most important folks in this situation, but I’m also curious about the reaction and behavior of the tow truck driver to this whole thing. I’ve worked in and around several county ERs and the guilty or most guilty party if he/she’s conscious is either in shock or denial or remorse or a bit of all. I always wanted to ask “What the heck were you thinking?” Of course I couldn’t, but I wanted to many times. My first thought when saw this photo was to ask the truck driver what he thought he was doing. Get the story before he had time to edit himself.

    No one ever thinks they set out to cause an accident, but they do when they make the choice to speed or whatever risky behavior. They act out a version of Russian roulette where they’ve gambled and won so many times they think they’re immune. One day their luck runs out and something like this happens. No few of them deny they were at fault in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary or sometimes they go on and on about being sorry. Somewhere along the line they gave themselves permission to drive on the wild side and thus choose for this to happen.

    So I’m curious Randy, other than disconnecting the battery, what about the tow truck driver? What did he have to say for himself? What’s he up for in terms of consequences?

    My heart goes out to the SUV driver. That whole picture looks like a nightmare, except for the fact he had EMTs on the scene PDQ. As lucky as he is to be alive and relatively unharmed, he’s still banged up and will hurt for a while. No matter what happens to the tow truck driver, the SUV guy has it far worse.

    Most definitely — he’ll feel the repercussions for years to come, especially if the insurance company isn’t generous with the victim (as they should be, if they want to avoid a lawsuit). I’d be surprised if he didn’t lose his job, and with such an accident on his record it will be hard for him to get another in the same business.

    I was too busy tending to the injuries to talk to the tow truck driver, other than to ask him to disconnect the battery. After Kit was relieved in the back seat, though, she did go talk to him. He told her he felt sick and heartbroken — and he wasn’t talking medical conditions. So, at least he has a conscience. He knew he was driving like a jerk, and he knew he caused this — there was no getting around the facts. It’s something he’ll have to live with, it will affect his driving record, his work, and probably his personal insurance rates for years to come. Imagine how much worse if he had killed someone.

    Yes, some speed limits and other traffic laws are overly restrictive, but they’re generally there for a reason. There are repercussions when you ignore them. My guess is he has a wife and kids to feed. He just made things a lot harder for himself …and them. -rc

  15. I realise this is a couple of years down the line, but have only picked up on this thread now & thought I’d chip in my 2 cents’ worth.

    My first thought was I am surprised that more tow-trucks (don’t you call them “wreckers” in the U.S.?) aren’t involved in accidents. In South Africa, tow-truck drivers are probably the second most reckless drivers, as a group, close behind the notorious “mini-bus taxi” (16-25 seaters run as a sort of hybrid cab/bus service). These people – almost invariably self-employed or paid on commission only – all seem to feel most of the rules of the road don’t apply to them because they have to get there first. It’s not uncommon for eight tow-trucks to pitch at big accident scenes – one of the common nicknames for them is “vultures”, they are usually to be seen parked under a tree somewhere near high-accident areas, police scanner running, waiting for potential pickings.

    Two of the more spectacular recent incidents that spring to mind are one from Northern Johannesburg a few years ago where a taxi driver U-turned on a busy arterial road in front of a fully loaded concrete-mixer, killing all on board; and just a couple of months back in Cape Town another taxi-driver decided the closed boom gates at a level crossing were applicable to other people. Something like 12 *grade school children* died in that one (the 16-seater had about 25 kids on board) but the driver survived.

    One aspect I have noticed about reporting or story-telling on EMS incidents, is that the consequences are hardly ever part of the story. I’m thinking of the current drama series “Trauma” as well as a docu-drama re-enactment series from years ago wherein a somewhat portly William Shatner hosted “Rescue 911”, and not once was any kind of judgement pronounced on any of the jackass stoopid things that some people got up to in order to get themselves into life-threatening situations. I guess that’s not what they were trying to tell us about, although I certainly wished they had used the stories to emphasise just how a bit of common sense could have averted 90% of the incidents. Who was it who said he wondered why we label as “common” a sense that so few seem to have…?

    P.S.: I enjoy reading all your blogs / newsletters / rants / crusades although rarely have time for more than one newsletter a week, and find myself siding with you on virtually every topic. Would that there were more people with other people’s interests at heart rather than their own – we would have to talk people into standing for election, but that’s another topic for a different day 🙂 Power to your typing fingers, and strength to your arm!

    “Wrecker” is also used here, but not as much (at least, not in the western U.S. Perhaps it’s used more in the east). As far as public office, I’ve said it before: “If nominated I will not run, if elected I shall not serve.” -rc


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