In fact, very very few people ever come to that realization.
And really, I didn’t just suddenly come to that either.
But everyone in my class has had to answer that question at least 100 times over the last few years. Starting at EMR (basic first responder) level, and through the interview and competitive selection process for EMT, and again each time we are meeting a new instructor; “Tell me your name, why are you here, and an interesting fact about yourself”. And we go through the whole class all over again.
I did my best to come up with a new and interesting answer every time; kind of a challenge to myself. If all I can come up with is one reason, what am I doing here?
So! We’re elbow deep in the course now. Reading week is upon us (hallelujah!), and today is all about doing nothing school related… nevermind I’ve already been up googling EMS news and that new gunshot tool.
What Am I Doing Here?
– I have for as long as I can remember wanted to be an “ambulance attendant”. No kidding. Even before I really understood what they did, I was fascinated by how confident and efficient they looked when they arrived at a scene. How they always seemed to know what to do, and had a handle on things. Hero Worship.
– Before I knew what it was they really did, I was good at it. In the midst of a crisis of any kind, I would feel a calm come over me and it would seem as though everything just slowed right down. Plenty of time to think and decide on an action. People would notice that I wasn’t the “Stand there and Scream” type and gravitate towards me and expect me to know what to do. And so I would do something.
– Show me the Bloody. Yes, there are some things that are just effing GROSS. They are usually the things that have special smells to go with them. To quote one of my instructors “Body Cheese is a Real Thing people- deal with it”. But in the moment, when someone is hurt or sick and they’re looking at me to Do Something, I’m rarely bothered by the Really Gross.
-Ultimately, I am already the go to in my family for the Really Gross and the Bloody. And generally in the workplace, and whenever we are camping… I have First Aided all sorts of things from smashed fingers to nasty gouges to punctured air mattresses. I’ve been lucky enough to help out in the ER when the nurses realize I’m calm and competent and can follow instructions.
And finally (this is the one I usually keep to myself)
– Firefighters. I get to hang out with Firefighters. COME ON! How cool is that?!
Approximately 2% of all calls for an ambulance are actually serious emergencies. The rest are slip-and-falls, fender benders, “my back is out”, and “I googled this pain I’m having…”.
I am under absolutely ZERO illusions that this career involves any kind of real glory, and quite often, no gratitude. The only time you get your picture in the paper is when you crash the ambulance or get caught doing something embarrassing in uniform. Most of the people you deal with are sick, dying, really old or homeless, and in the true emergent cases, there’s often nothing at all you can do for them. Nothing.
So, that’s what I’m doing here. Giving Oxygen, rides to the hospital, and dosing reassurance. Because it’s what I’m good at. It’s what I’ve always wanted to be, and really, what I already am. (and even better when I start getting paid for it).
“Fun” is not the “F” word we’re looking for. (it’s actually “Firefighter”)