Sunday, July 23, 2006

Can I still call myself "Paramedic"?

Well it official...I am leaving the ambualnce full time and going into the controlled chaos of the Emergency Room. I wrote about this several posts ago, while I was still out in injury. This is not a choice I made because I wanted to, it was because I had to. I am a 26 year old paramedic that at my young age had back surgery. Back in March, I started having pain. Pain I had been familar with since I was 15, but at 15 I was not carting 80lbs of gear and lifting gurneys up flights of stairs. So I made the trip to my spine doc I had been dreading since the day I put on the uniform. Surgery, he said, could fix me, but if I wanted to keep walking like a normal person, EMS is not where I needed to be. So after four months, during the recovery period of my spine post surgery, thinking about what to do now, I came up with it. I would quit the job I have grown to love, go back into the ER, and start respiratory therapy school.

EMS is not what I wanted to do when I began college. I was a fine art major in college, learning all the finer points of photography. It was, however, photography that got me into EMS. When I was studying, my mother worked in the Trauma Center. For my final, our assignment was a photo essay. I did my essay in the ER. After having all the papers signed and the rules laid down (really only one...No patients). I spent the next 13 weeks shooting in the ER, getting to know the night shift and becoming like a little sister to all the staff. My mom moved to the Pediatric ER during the shoot, but I would still come around get a couple rolls of film off and go home. I was there every weekend shooting. I learned that they cut all the clothes off of trauma patients and was told by the staff if I ever came in as a drunk MVA they would cut my clothes off no matter how bad I was injured. I watched as the cracked chests, fixed broken limbs, and intubabted asthma patients. And I fell in love with it. The mess, the chaos, the blood. Yes, I was hooked. So that summer, I started in the ER as a EDT. After a few years, the medics pushed my into the streets. S here I am, a busted up and broken medic, having to go a few steps backwards to go forwards.

I will still be on the ambulance part time. I worked to hard to get through the hell that is paramedic school ( I lost 30lbs and never got more than 3-4 hours of sleep a night during the almost two years of school) to just give it up compleatly. I do love it. I love the patients, working with the other public servants (police fire my co-workers), driving the three ton truck compleate with lights and sirens, like I stole it. Where else can you drive on the wrong side of the road, and get away with it? I will continue to play paramedic as much as possible. And I will continue to blog about my experiences.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You will always be a Paramedic and carry the invisible scars for the rest of your life. Your community owes you a debt of gratitude but that debt will likely go unpaid.
Try to keep your perspective as you turn a new page in your life. Good luck inside. It'll be warm, dry, and well lit. There's a big net too. We have none of that in the field which is why you chose to come out here in the first place. You're good at it and it'll be your community's loss. We'll miss you out here.