Saturday, January 27, 2007

An Island of Calm,,,,most of the time

I was reading over at "A Day in the Life of an Ambulance Driver" where he mentioned that EMS generally doesn't save lives, we package and transport mostly. 90% of the calls are BS, 5% are illness, 4% injury, 1%real emergency. The function of the EMT is data gathering and support, so the real life savers can keep them breathing for the healers. He did mention being an island of calm in the whirlwind of emotion surrounding the unfortunate. That takes concentration.

I have seen the result of an elderly woman dying in the presence of her friends in the nursing home. There wasn't an IQ point to be found in the room, until I closed her eyes and started giving orders. I'm sure that later I was thought to be a complete and perfect ass, but order was restored, and needful things were done.

I have had other departments comment on how calm and professional I sounded on the radio. Little did they know, the panic below the surface was fighting to get loose. On one notable occasion I was confronted with an MVA with three vehicles and four PI's, one unit and driver, me! That will make you reconsider a lot of things. Thank the good Lord that people with other departments just crawled out of the wood work and pitched in.

I have blundered into a cardiac arrest, in a gas station, and had to verbally throw cold water on everyone who arrived on the ambulance, to keep them from injuring all of us on the ground.

Sometimes you get to indulge in an emotional reaction. In a small town you tend to know everyone, so when you arrive at an accident you know some of the injured. I distinctly remember ripping the compartment door off of the crash truck to get the Hurst tool, when a friend was pinned in a crash. It was the old seventy pound titanium monster, not that I noticed until the next day, nope too busy turning a car inside out to release a friend. Sore as if I had been in the crash.

Most of the appearance of calm is a deliberate effort to not sound stupid in front of the world by pushing the button on a high powered radio and proceeding to go bat s**t on the air.

Nobody would believe how many times I have wanted to just scream for help and run for the hills, but you just can't do that, because you are there and you have it to do. The idea of me shrieking like a school girl and running for cover is hilarious anyway.

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