As a paramedic firefighter for the last 12 years, I've had good days and bad days. I've had great days and horrible days. There have been a couple days that I could call the best days, but I don't remember those. I remember my worst days, and there are several of them.
We often say that our best day is someone else's worst day. Occasionally we are a part of making that worst day go away, but the moments that stick in our heads are when we aren't able to fix the problem. I was a part of one of those calls a couple days ago. I was on one of the two worst calls of my career. Both of my worst calls involved children, the same age as my children at home.
EMT's, paramedics, firefighters, we don't forget the sounds of those calls. We don't forget the screams, we don't forget the hopeful conversations, we don't forget the sound of crying. We don't forget the visions either. We don't forget what our patient looks like when we walk around the corner. We don't forget the first look on the faces of the family.
As we leave these calls, we are asked to place the sounds, feels and visions of these calls into a box, close it up and move on. I believe that is a character trait of a good firefighter, and a skill that we develop throughout the years. But as years go on, these boxes really start to take their toll.
Next time you see a firetruck drive by, give them a wave and a smile, you don't know where they are going or what they are coming from. If you've been treated well by a paramedic, and are a result of one of their positive outcomes, thank them and let them know that what they did helped.
Often times we leave the scene thinking we are failures. Regardless of the odds, or how well we perform on the call, sometimes it just doesn't matter. Often times we hold onto these boxes, a lot of them. We all give a lot for our communities. As PTSD, suicide, sleep disorders, and cancer data is showing how much our careers affect us, we continue to jump on our trucks and bounce down the road.
Jack of All Trades, Master of None