I’ve been in EMS 21 years.
I’ve paced, cardioverted, defibrillated, needled chests, intubated, birthed babies, given countless drugs, plugged bullet and knife wounds, pulled scores of people from the wreckage of cars, and stood over a score of dead bodies nobody could have saved.
And a handful of times, I’ve even been privileged to actually accomplish the big recruiting pitch of our profession: I’ve actually saved lives.
Yet those instances come few and far between, and are mainly due to luck and good timing anyway.
But one of the most rewarding aspects of my job is the one I experienced just a few minutes ago, and one that, had I been told this before I signed up for that EMT class 21 years ago, probably would have made me choose another career path.
Tonight, at oh-my-god-thirty in the morning, I had a pleasant conversation reassuring a lonely and fearful little old lady.
There wasn’t a damned thing wrong with her. She didn’t need anything more than a reassuring smile and the assurance that someone would come when called, no matter what.
And that conversation was neither a waste of my time nor my talents.
If you don’t understand that, you probably haven’t been in EMS for many years.
And if you don’t learn to understand that, you never will be.