When I walk into the bland beige building of the Clearview Rescue Squad for the first time, I calmly hold out my hand and say "My name is Samantha Montgomery, and I'm here to interview for a position on the squad." The man to whom I am speaking peers down at me over his huge, square glasses and says, "so it's Sam, then?" I must look confused, because he straightens up and repeats, "It's Sam. You can't possibly think that you'll get any respect with a name like Samantha," he trails off and then looks down at my application, "Evelyn Montgomery." I am completely taken aback.
Who is he to choose which name would garner more respect? Who is he to decide to start calling me 'Sam,' when my whole life I have been 'Samantha?' As he tosses my application packet onto the table, he says, "I don't mean to be rude, but this is a man's profession. If you want to get anywhere in this field, drop the name. All it says is 'I'm a spoiled brat who knows nothing about hard work, since all I do is play croquet on my forty foot yacht.'"
I push out the voice in my head that is begging me to tell him that croquet would most certainly not be played on a yacht; I know I'd just prove his point.
"EMS is dirty work," he continues, "Patients will vomit and bleed on you; you will be called everything but a child of God; people will scream at you, begging you to save their child. You will take care of the smelliest, drunkest people in the middle of the night, and you will go home beat all to hell, wanting nothing more than a hot shower and a warm bed." I look down at my feet, take in a deep breath and meet his gaze once again; I am humbled.
After we finish the interview, I sign a contract and I am issued a pair of navy BDUs, a collared shirt and a T-Shirt. I try on my new uniform for size, and then take a tour of the building.
I have never seen a more plain building in all my life. There are two bunk rooms with several beds in each, two bathrooms, a training room, an array of offices and a sort of main common room, all in one building. Connected to the building is the bay area which holds all five ambulances, equipment with which we can restock, and a table outfitted with several ashtrays for the all-too-common smokers in the profession.
Despite how completely and hopelessly barren the station is, I feel a sense of fraternal pride about the place. I look at the annual portraits of Clearview's members dressed in their matching outfits, and I can sense the joy welling up inside me; I am finally one of them. I will have my picture on the wall, I will represent my station proudly with my uniform, and I have a group of strangers that I will eventually call my family.
I am taken to meet my lieutenant, a tall and skinny man in his thirties who appears to have had too much caffeine. He introduces himself to me as Alex Andrews; I calmly hold out my hand and say, "My name is Sam," plain and simple.


Brad said...


Ambulance Driver said...

Welcome to the blogosphere!

Mr. Fixit said...

Yes, he's right. You'll take care of the rudest, dirtiest people. People you would not want to meet off duty.

You will learn to eat fast, and pee every time the urge strikes-no waiting. You will change. You will wonder why you ever thought this was for you. You might consider quiting.

But then, every once and a while, you will make a difference. You will hold an elderly hand with care and understanding. You will calm a child's fear. You will be there with empathy when Mrs. Smith just needs someone to talk to. You will have that once-in-a-long-time call when you perform beyond your limits, beyond your training, and you will know......

this is what you do.


Anonymous said...

Welcome to the blogosphere. I look forward to reading your stories.:)

Alaina said...

I LOVE IT!!! Your writing style is fan-freaking-tastic. From now on, my name is Olivia =)

Medic Girl said...

A great big welcome to our twisted world! Always remember to find the humor in life everyday.
I am a "Sam" as well. He is right.. Me as Samantha, Well let's just say I got alot of the "She is too girly to do it with the big boys."
It took 3 years to prove myself and now after 10 years, I am proud to be Sam... One of the guys who just happens to still look like a girl. Good luck darlin'

AnniforsciA said...

Yay! This rocks! =)