Friday, March 30, 2007

Here's My Cape

After 20 years of service on an Ambulance I have finally decided that enough was enough. There was no fanfare when I made that decision; there were no tears, just unmitigated disgust. The sole basis for this disgust is that I should have done it sooner. I am only angry at myself. I truly love health care and the awesome people you meet along the way. It is just that EMS is an industry that has not evolved far enough to keep from loosing its people. Simply put, EMS eats it young.

I love to hear people say, “you are doing a wonderful job” in my opinion it equates out to the same as, “I wouldn’t do it if you paid me.” Let’s face it, EMS is the combination of three careers, Fire, Nursing and Funeral service. To this day we still perform all three duties by working 24 hours like Firefighters, giving medications like Nurses and recovering body parts like Morticians. But we all paid way less hourly than any of those three. However the demand for Paramedics today is so high in Alabama that street level Paramedics are making upwards of 60,000 dollars or more a year. (The reason being that there are more people leaving the field than there are graduating.) WAIT, before you quit your job and head to EMS school there are some things I should let you in on:

1. 24 hours without proper sleep can lead to Ambulance crashes.
2. 100 hours of overtime in two weeks means you have no life.
3. Divorce is mandatory.
4. What holidays?
5. People who wreck their cars sometimes have HIV.
6. Apathy is your sidekick.
7. Nightmares are free of charge.
8. Bad knees and lower back strains are also free
9. Other Allied medical personnel couldn’t do your job but they
make more than you.
10. There are no bag pipes when you die and there is no benevolent
fund either.

My career has not been all that bad I have met a lot of people, saintly as well as demonic. I have seen what the power of community can do, as well as what happens when no one cares. I have held the hand of the dying and joked with the depressed. I have felt the pain of loss by losing fellow Medics to heart attacks and strokes. (As well as overdoses and gunshot wounds to the head.) Believe me this is not the ranting of a clinically burned out medic… because there is no such diagnosis. I will leave the lights and sirens to the few Paramedics exiting school as I study to be a nurse. Why a nurse you ask? Because hospitals don’t flip on wet roads, blow tires or force you to go to blows with a homicidal patient.



Sheila said...

Wow this is a big change for you. I don't blame you though. I don't know how people do jobs like EMS. Heck, I worked in a county human services department helping homeless, hungry, depressed, poor people for nearly 9 months before I went back to school to study design. I brought the stories home every night and realized I couldn't save the world--only myself.

I wish you the best as you start on this journey. Hope you can continue to write. We certainly need nurses and you will be great with your experience.

Anonymous said...

Good luck on all of your endeavors. You deserve a change and now is that time. I know where you have been and I know where you are going. Onward and upward. Big and better things ahead. Ladyday334