Bleeding Hearts


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This week is National EMS Week (Emergency Medical Services). I’ve been an EMT/Paramedic for close to 20 years now. It’s been quite a ride, one where I may soon be stepping off of the proverbial bus as we like to call the ambulance.

We are called ‘ambulance drivers’, much to our displeasure–after all, we are much more than that really. Taking countless hours of classes to hopefully be able to perform some life saving procedure on anyone from  a neonate to  the elderly; waking up in the middle of the night during any kind of weather, even it’s just to comfort someone who is scared; dealing with every bodily fluid known to humankind; getting yelled at by your patient even when they were the one calling 911; and getting up again right after that tragic call you just went on and barely tucked away in the crevices of your bleeding heart.

Yes, we are ambulance drivers, but we are sometimes merely taxi drivers. We have been called heroes, we are furniture movers, we are psychologists, comedians, the grim reaper, teachers, advisors, friends, healers, weight lifters, engineers, actors, drug counselors and more. But what we are not is God.

We do what we can and it’s our job to help, but often people wait too long to call and expect miracles. These we can’t provide. And then we are only human, there to hold a hand, listen or cry right along.

For in the end, your emergency becomes our emergency, but we must remain calm. You must never know if we feel fear for you would lose hope. So we tuck our fear, our sadness and our insecurities away for another day, so when the call comes, we answer and give it all we’ve got.

So here’s to all the EMT’s out there! Thanks for all you do, your courage, devotion and hard work. It can be a thankless job, but we love it none-the-less. We love it for those tiny moments where someone looks you in the eye and says: thanks for helping me, or where you know you really made a difference in someone’s life. That’s the true payback.

Here is a poem I wrote today for my colleagues:

We may not all always get along

And we may not always see eye to eye

But when the tires hit the road

And our patients are in need

We put it all aside

Pool our knowledge

Use our skills

And do our best to heal

It can be a thankless job

Or it can be the greatest gift

We are never alone

Our partners have our backs

When we need it most

So when you’re tired and beat

Discouraged and sad

Just remember:

Tomorrow is another day

The day when you will help a crying baby

Sooth a son after the death of his Mom

Help someone breathe a little easier

Actually save a life

Because that’s what we do

Together

Day and night

Sister and brothers

In the back of our special bus

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