It gets to you

A recent call I went on got under my skin.

Not because it was gory, or messy, or challenging or complex, but because of how it made me feel.

Certain runs get under our skin for different reasons.  The cancer patient means more when your father is suffering the same disease.  The motor vehicle collision that much more important soon after your car gets out of the shops.


This run involved kids.


It was the kind of call that makes you wonder just what some people are thinking.  The kind of situation you see in crazy FBI TV shows where the heroes barge in saving the day then scream “Get me a medic in here!” and the show ends.  But they never show the medics working and later dealing with the situation.

That is why EMS shows rarely succeed.  No one wants to watch a TV show about what I did on this call, what the ambulance and first responding crews saw and felt, nor what the police were describing.  It would not be safe for TV, I think even HBO might take a pass.

No one was hurt.  That’s the kicker here.  The usual trauma and scaring from seeing children in pain or suffering was absent, making justifying emotions both at the scene and later difficult.  I was mad, upset, yes UNhappy and I couldn’t really say why.

OK, I could, but describing it was not enough to capture everything that was going on there.  So much information had to be collected, organized and regurgitated in some kind of list of events and conditions so that someone in a tiny cubicle months from now could have some brief idea of the scope of the situation.

Searching for a release I considered firing up the blog here and letting it out, but even the simplest of details let free in a post I needed to write to start to deal with my feelings was dangerous.

So I wrote a blog post, of sorts, to myself.  A letter to myself.  By hand.

When was the last time you wrote anything by hand other than a PCR?  There is indeed something powerful about having to write out your thoughts and dwell on certain facts.  Many have reached the point where we type as fast or faster than we could write and sometimes we lose the impact of certain words and phrases.  My hand searched for the way to write certain words I had not in recent memory created using a pen.  I stumbled, more than one word crossed out and replaced either due to a spelling error or a better word coming to mind.  I was two or three sentences behind of my racing thoughts.

I finished it. I read it. Then I shredded it.

The emotion released, my feelings expressed, I was able to sit down and complete the reports necessary for this incident.  And even though some of my observations show my opinions regarding the incident, none of the anger, frustration or shock is in the report.

And that’s how it should be.



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14 thoughts on “It gets to you”

  1. Just a few days ago I had a call that tugged at my heart strings. After the call was complete and all was said and done and the the out come was not favourable. I did some retail therapy online, just browsed through the stores I normally go to, some venting to a quasi-co-workers who didn’t know the whole story or understand, and a Grande Skinny London Fog sugar free extra hot in my hand with in seconds of leaving work.

  2. I’ve got a bug in my head and he’s a scratchin. I started to write a pilot TV show revolving around Paramedics and firefighters. There is so much subtle emotion and humor in our daily lives, I figure it will be a great challenge to get that conveyed through a screenplay. Good writing should be able to overcome gore and shootouts and car chases. i think of The Office, and how they made a dumb little group of office workers into peopel we laugh with, and care about, and look forward to seeing next week. Imagine what I could do with the different EMS crews, and personalities, and how we interact with each other and the public and hospital staff.

    Like I said, the bugs a scratchin’, I think this is the longest comment I ever made.

    Hi Little Girl, I miss you at Rescuing Providence!

  3. biggest reason that fire/ems shows fail, is because they try to make them too dramatic.. we arent dramatic. We are nothing more than big kids.. I guess producers dont think that our normal selves would cut it.. after all… who wants to see people crammin food down their throats, while driving emergency down the road while staring at a distant smoke colum? or turning a once outstanding mercedes benz into scap metal to pry a kid out of the back seat?. or good god… who wants to watch a crew standing outside of a shower , waiting to throw 5 gallons of ice water onto theshower floor, and watch a open bag of flour hurled over the shower curtain onto the head of big ego’d rookie.. NAH… wouldnt make good TV at all.. ( flashback to LA RESCUE, as a medic does a handstand on a patient s chest with defib paddles) what a load of shit.

  4. i am mom of an emergency medical technician – she is a true life saver, and i love her so much! i had no idea that saving lives immediately after a threatening incident was a trade! i thought it was a calling, something holy and mysterious and not to be trivialized…but that’s what our politicians do, isn’t it? i know that once the initial trauma has passed, and the casualties (casualty) are assessed and transported to hospital or released, the emt is the first person to disappear from thought…but, i wonder where we might be without these unknown angels…? i applaud each and every one of you for your dedication and you service!

  5. Today, sitting, waiting for The Big One, I was startled by a loud WHOA! Looking up my parnter and I observed an unkept, greasy-looking youngish woman in the middle of the crosswalk, clutching the arms of 2 children aged about 5-6, with another, a little older, a few feet behind, walking directly against the red light and the DON’T WALK sign. I’ve rarely had dealings with Child Protective Services, but I was sorely tempted to light up, toot the siren, and read this ________ the riot act, call the cops and put a kink in her day. Collectively we deal with the results of stupidity and ignorance ever day, but when innocent kids are involved, it strikes a nerve. This scenario, gone worst case, would have victimized the driver who strikes the quartet, the mother, the kids and everyone who would have had to see the results of one fools actions

  6. I failed to mention, case the image wasn’t clear, that this woman was in the middle of a busy 2-lane street…oblivious. I wanted to be a Cop, really bad, for about an hour…

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