Thursday, February 23, 2006

Mentally closing the ambulance doors

So everyone who is a paramedic or anybody else involved in public safety knows we bring our work home with us. It's impossible not too. We see the worst of humanity and we see the best. We see life, death, stupid and insane. We see blood, we see vomit. We get spit on and cussed at. And for the most part our friends are the same ones we work with. The same one who also spent coutless hours in the back of an ambulance, or driving a firetruck or screaming through intersections in a cop car. So it makes it impossible to leave our work at work. We vent, we need to vent other wise we would go compleatly crazy. We also make inapproriate jokes and laugh at inapproriate times. Things the normal sheep of humanity would not understand. They do not understand us. Even those who was love and care about who do not do this type of work do not understand. I don't care haw many episodes of ER, Grey's Anatomy, or Third Watch they say they have seen ( as a side note I am not allowed to watch any of said shows when my roomate it home becae I tend to yell at the TV when they do something wrong) I talk about wirk to my circle who don't understand, it can be frustratin actually, because you have to preface every story with the background, all theinformation about the acryonyms, the treatment. You can't just tell them you treated a MI with NTG, MSO4 and ASA, or the your CVA patient was unresponsive or that he was having psuedo-seizures. You have to tell the back story and that makes for a very LOOOONG story. Fuck. So when a group of paramedics get together for say poker and tequila we talk about work. The long hours, the fucked up trauma, the compleatly and udderly crazy bitch that was singing Ace of Base we had in the back of our truck.

Now, here comes the relief. We call it the time-out helmet. The time-out helmet is a blue, kevlar helmet that gets issued to the TEMS team. (TEMS is the super secret squirrl Tactical Medic Team that go out with the SWAT teams) The rules are if at said poker night that you talk about work for more than eight minutes you have to wear the helmet, for at least 45 mins OR until the next dumbass talks about work. Sometimes it works, sometime it doesn't especially if one of us has had a bad day. But for the most part it keeps us from talking too much, for the helmet is heavy and you look ridiculas with it on. So that helps.

Also you have to mentally close the ambulance doors. Slam them shut as you leave the station. Bang on the doors like they do on TV, and watch it drive away. And with it the death, the sickness, the crazy, the stupid. You have to let it go.


Anonymous said...

We all get together some mornings on our day off for coffee and/or breakfast. The person who talks about work has to buy for everyone that morning.
It's tough to get away. I live in a small town and my friends call me at night for medical advice. You meet former pts. in Walmart and they want to tell you about how they (or their loved one) is doing now. Because I was polite, attentive, and compassionate when you were sick or injured doesn't mean I want to hang out with you on my days off! After I'm done with the job I don't want to have to smell you or look at you! I reserve all my emotional "cash" for investing in my friends.


Anonymous said...

Incidentally...those slaps on the door before the rig drives away are known as "Ambuslaps". The FFs here love to give 'em (tongue firly in cheek). We all about pass out when someone does it for real.