So last night I went out with friends for drinks (no broken bones this time). Some EMSers and a couple not. One of the ones who wasn't in public service is acually trying to get on with a local Police department. It will be a good change for him, I think. But he is coming from a 9-5 desk job into a whole new world. So we (the EMSers) were telling him of stories. Some of the more strange things we run into. Now when I say what I'm about to say, It's not in a bad way, but I don't think he has any ideawhat it's like to do a job like EMS or Police work. Being a cop is more than running after people and shooting things. It, like EMS, has mnay diffrent layers for lack of a better word. As they were telling stories and telling him "you think that's twisted listen to this..." I was brought back to my first day as an EMT-B. Small things bothered me Like it really bothered me to just walk into someone's house without knocking. I was rasied in a very southern household where it was just polite to knock. That seemed very strange to me. I got over it very quickly, but I still feel kinda weird opening a door without first knocking. I have learned that it's okay to open the door slightly and yell "EMS! Someone call for us?" And then very quicklt get over what are you gonna see on the other side of the door. Are you gonna see a 80 year old with shortness...or are you gonna find a 400 lbs woman sitting on her sofa buck naked smoking a cigarrette yelling about the Queen of England living in her closet. You just never know.
And as always when one speaks of strange EMS calls the conversation always goes to one place. Things in Orfaces. Eggplants, tabasco sauce bottles, lightbulbs, straight pins, cotton balls, bic pens, you name it, somebody has shoved it up in a deep dark place for various reasons. And you never get a straight story. "I slipped and fell on it". But like any other job, you have to maintain some sort of composure and professionalism. I alway have the same running thought during calls like that ...It embarassing for them....Its embarrassing for them. And I think of something like naming all the Beatles albums in order or mundane things like the recipe for my bean salsa, as to keep me from losing it.
Then there are the heinous scenes, the MVAs with deaths or missing body parts, the homocides, the suicides, the dead baby calls. Too many of those, and one could lose thier mind if they don't know how to approach them. You just go to that happy place in your mind and do your job. You just have to think of it that way. It's my job. It's not easy, but this is what I have choosen to do with my life. You take the good and the funny with the awful and the twisted.
We all have way of dealing with the things that we see. Some go to the shooting range, some run or bike. Some turn to the bottle, whether it be alcohol or pills. I, myslef, shoot photographs or I paint. I go behind the camera and with every click of the shutter I let a little bit of all those fucked up emotions go away. But one thing should be the same for everyone. You need an escape from it. This job can kill a person if you let it. You have to grow a thick skin and an even thicker psyche.