Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Chosen One

I look at so many of my friends and wonder what lead them to the career choice they made. Some are nurses, some are paramedics, firefighters, cops, military, business or law and I ask them all the same question what brought you to where you are? All the answers vary. Some followed the guidance of a counselor, reading brochure after brochure. Hell, I even know someone who has bounced in and out of the same major three times and still doesn't have her degree after 100 plus credits at the local university.

It is all to frequent that I hear someone say that they felt unhappy due to poor career choices. I took a good long look at myself at realized this was all I had ever known. I remember as far back as 4 years old watching my father come home in the mornings tired and weary from the long night before. He often wreaked of wood smoke and diesel fuel. My father and I spent so many weekends together him riding on the ambulance or the fire engine. As I got older I could finally grasp what it was my dad did. So many times in conversation with my dad, he would talk about calls he had ran from the previous shift and I would rapid fire off answers to questions with patient care. It truly felt as though something deeper within my subconscious answered before I had time to react or think.

I soon there after high school saw my cousin who truly was more like a brother than my own follow the same calling. He joined up first with the Little Town U.S.A Volunteer Fire Department. As you can tell some names and places are disguised for anonymity. Danny and I had always been more like brother and sister from a young age. We were only 3 or so years apart but had always taken the same interest just by mere chance.

I would see him almost every weekend and he would tell me so many similar heroic tales that I had heard from my father. I thought back to my junior year in high school at summer band camp. It was only about a billion degrees with 800% humidity in the balmy days of August. I played bass drum in my local high school band and made many friends throughout this time period of life. I had one dear friend in particular. We were what I refer to as band only friends. Meaning if it didn't have anything to due with band obligations we had nothing in common. A good friend none the less. Kristie was an alto saxophone player who had a hell of a knack for getting sick at the worse times. She was standing right in front of me during a water break, well needless to say Kristie who was a bit of a sickling most of her life dropped like a rock. She hit the ground with a sick thud and before I could blink I ran to her side. It felt as though something or someone had taken control of my hands but I couldn't explain how I knew what to do. I had someone grab her feet and place her in the trendelenburg position to try and raise her blood pressure which dropped suddenly to the obvious reason of dehydration. This occurrence kind of came and went with me at the time but became oh so important later. I had a brief stint in the military but due to and injury that got cut short. I kept on ignoring the very obvious sign to follow into the family business. I worked retail for way to many years and came out of that feeling like I pissed away to many years doing a high school kids job. I watched as Danny started blossoming in his new career as and EMT. I spent every waking moment when we would have family gathering s and such, asking questions about different MVA's and Cardiac Arrests and just awed at him but kept saying it wasn't for me. I was wrong.

I finished EMT class shortly after high school and went right to work. I have a whole separate blog for EMT class and Paramedic school both in the works. With all the professional and personal event during them both they had to have more in depth discussion. I went to work for JC Ambulance in Irontown U.S.A. They were are a large company spanning two states in the Northeast. We ran both emergency and non-emergency response in and around Irontown, you will hear me refer to this type of company as a "mixed service". I bonded to my fellow brothers and sisters of EMS as if we had known each other our whole lives. I realized soon that I had joined something bigger than myself. I saw many friends those first few years pay the ultimate price for the health and safety of a complete stranger without batting an eye. My heart raced in my chest, thundering in my ears until they rang. I saw myself blossom throughout my first year and quickly saw the pecking order.
You had those who were in it for all the wrong reasons. Either they wanted the adrenaline rush, which all of us do get a buzz from, but others do this job for there own selfish purpose. Some use it as a launching pad to higher training and education in medicine, to which i applaud. I can't think of any better way to start out in medicine than the front lines. Others stumble into it just by chance, unfortunately sometimes just for a pay raise or raise in rank. These are the people who scare me and often disgrace my beloved art. If your sole focus is on yourself, albeit money or status gain, the truth will quickly reveal your short comings. Those who are the most humble truly turn out to be the medics and emt's who deserve the most praise.
Then there are those of us who come from a different genre all together. We do not choose this life, often spending lots of time and energy running from it. We are chosen long before we are born by a higher power to do a greater good. Our strength and knowledge come from somewhere much deeper than the dark caverns of our noggins. Often times we depend on our gut instincts to lead us through difficult and dangerous times. You will know one of St. Michael's chosen few by this trait. We can't always at the moment explain why we think this procedure or this medication will work. Nor can we always explain why the mentally stable teenager sitting in front of us will soon betray our trust putting everyone in harms way.
So to explain St. Michael, he has been unofficially adopted as the patron saint of emergency medicine. St. Michael is also often associated with the fire service as well so in my personal adaptation I feel St. Michael watches after all public safety and Emergency Medical personnel in every rank. The purpose of this whole blog is to enlighten the general public as to why some people do what they do. I have tried to do other professions but no matter what kept getting lead back to where God meant me to be. I have seen countless other colleagues battle with the same struggle, so here i tip my hat to us all. Lets learn from each other, support each other, most importantly understand each other for we are St. Michael's chosen ones.