Monday, February 5, 2007

Old Demons

When I contemplated starting this blog, I thought I would tell you folks some of the funny stories I have seen and been a part of in my time in the Fire Service. It seems we always remember the funny things. And brother, let me tell you there are some funny things that have happened. I have shared a few, and I will share more in the future.

But there is another side. A dark side. Things I had forgotten about, frankly because I wanted to. I needed to. Since I have been looking into my past to remember details for stories to tell, other memories have crept back in.

Please allow me to type out a few seemingly jumbled thoughts before I try to wrap this blog entry up into something that makes sense.

I'm cold hearted. I have been told that anyway. But I'm really not. My problem is that I do care. And caring hurts. So I am very careful what I allow myself to care about. I try to only care about things that I can do something about. But even that is a facade. Even the things I try to be uncaring about, hurt. Because deep down, I care too much.

I became a bad Paramedic. Well, to my EMS supervisors I was. They have this anal thing about paperwork, and computer reports. Get them right or else! After getting "talked to" several times, I got really fed up. The truth was that I could go out on a call, and really and truly save a life. I could do all the right things, and go just a bit beyond and save a person. But if the paperwork was not in order, or the computer report wasn't filled out exactly right, I was in trouble.
On the other hand, I could (although I didn't) go out on a call and do even less than the minimums in the protocol, not give the standard of care that people deserved, but if I got the paperwork filled in right, and the computer report looked good, everything was just fine.

That really bothered me.

I guess what really started this chain of thoughts is a recent CE (continuing education) I attended. It was a pediatric lesson, and we went over child abuse. I was one of the “older” guys in the class. As such, when the instructor asked if anybody here had ever seen _____? I was one of the few that often had. Since there were not a lot of folks to share their experiences, I told some of mine.

Oh man.

Folks, I’ve seen things that have been done to kids that you wouldn’t do to your enemy. I don’t know who said it, but it is true; if you want to get a good measure of a person, watch how they treat children and dogs.

Many years ago I was doing a paramedic school rotation in an emergency room when they brought in a child that had been burned. You see, the child had wet his pants, as children will do. To try to “teach” the child a lesson, the parent had lowered the child into scalding hot water up to his navel. Myself and one of the nurses left the ER to keep from physically hurting the parents. And I don’t mean slap them. If I had started, I would have killed them. And I still don’t think a jury would have convicted me. I can assure you that the prosecution would never want me on a jury where someone killed a child abuser.

I guess it hurts to be powerless to help. Maybe that’s what bothers me so much. I know what drugs to use to reverse a drug overdose. I can stop a sever allergic reaction. If you're not breathing I can do that for you. I have gear and training that I can use to crawl into a burning house to find and remove a victim. I can cut apart your car after a wreck in such a way that I can remove the entire car around you and leave you sitting undisturbed in your seat.

But I can't make a child stop crying from the burns. And I can't make you feel better after your husband has died in the night.
I can't force the drunk driver to take the place of the high school student.

There are days you just want to go home and hold your kids and your wife and tell them you love them.

I guess this is one of those days.


Ambulance Driver said...

>>There are days you just want to go home and hold your kids and your wife and tell them you love them.<<

Writing about it helps too, brother. They don't teach us in class how to heal the healer.

I wish they did.

DW said...

I feel you man, done it more than once, leave before you hit them, turn away before you puke from anger.
The victims are not all on the streachers.

Janean said...

All I can say is Amen.

Strings said...

I have those days too, Fixit: I don't work a glamorous job that allows me to ave lives, but I help abused kids. And some of the stuff I hear about... yeah, you want to grab your wife and try to forget the world's out there...