There is a moment in time when everything stops. The moment immediately preceding the radio dispatching you to a scene, time halts completely; the world falls under a silence like none other. I never noticed this in the beginning of my career in EMS, but as I work more often, I begin to notice it.
We're watching TV, when suddenly the picture flickers, and we're dispatched.
A fly buzzing about halts in midair for no more than instant, and we're grabbing our coats as we head towards the door.
One night, I decide to pull an over-night shift to help out one of the paid providers. As I lie awake in the room by myself, I hear various radios keyed up by mistake, providing the blank static I constantly mistake for a call. I am restless; it's only ten thirty, but all I want is sleep. I hear my partner snoring loudly from the other room, and I sigh. I place my watch against my ear, hoping that the rhythmic ticking will drown out his unbelievable snoring and lull me into a deep slumber.
Tick. Tock.
Tick. Tock.
I feel my eyes growing tired, and I am unable to bear the weight of my eyelids any longer.
Tick. Tock.
Tick. Tock.
My hand twitches slightly as I feel myself falling asleep.
There is a heavy silence as my watch falters; my eyes fly open.
The radio jars me back to reality as it screams out a violent tone. I sit bolt upright and rub my eyes as I hear the words coming from the black box in the corner.
"Station 1, seizure, Clearview Park."
"Station 1 received, we'll have a medic in route shortly," I answer in a sleep-laden voice. I throw on my shoes and poke my partner in the side.
"Unngh," he grunts as I jab him another time.
"Seizure. I'm warming up Medic 1."
We drive out to the scene and do our size up==middle-aged homeless man and the wide-eyed soccer mom who called for us, guarding her child behind her leg. I'm writing down patient information, and my partner is taking vitals. My ears are still ringing from the sound signaling our dispatch, and I want nothing more than to curl up under my fleece blanket and pick up where I left off. It seems like an hour has gone by, but we've only been on scene three minutes. We immediately get a refusal from our patient, but check him out just to be sure. He didn't call 911, he sure as hell doesn't want to go.
"Whatever, it's more sleep for us," my heavy-lidded partner yawns.
I groggily drive us back to the station and curse the good samaratin who decided this bum's hypnic jerk was a seizure.
I lie back down on my rock of a mattress, drag the green fleece over me, and put my hand under my head. I can hear the blood rushing through my ears, and I feel the steady beat of my pulse.
I barely notice the involuntary key-ups from careless radio-carriers.
I sleep so well, I don't even care how much pain my scoliosis-ridden back is in.
I'm wide awake in an instant, and then I hear the follow up.
It's six in the morning, and the heinous screech doesn't even phase me as I'm lacing my boots.
"Chest pain. Meet you at the medic."


AnniforsciA said...

You're kidding, right? Where's Jason (part 2)?!

Anonymous said...

I agree!!

Ben said...

I like this one!

Like when we are listening to our radio while doing something else. While having a chat, we know where everyone is, and what's happening.

I really enjoy your blog, keep going! (Don't remember from where I found you though..)

Fyremandoug said...

you do this job long enuf and all of a sudden you find yourself walking over to the turnout rack and putting on gear before the tones go off

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean by the radio- keeps me up all night too, except I dont run nights usually so its no big deal.

Whatever happened to Jason (part 2)?!?

Any big calls lately?


RevMedic said...

My tones are usually preceded only by the end of cooking chime on the microwave...

Kyle J. said...

I know this mysterious moment, that pause, it feels like static electricity builds up, your pupils dilate, the hair on the back of your neck stands up and then boom, like the impending lightning strike, the tones sound, and i thought i was the only one who felt these premonitions....

NYC EMS said...

I have the day off.Just reading (It's six in the morning, and the heinous screech) made me cringe!

Josh Dermer said...

Thank you for your service to our Commonwealth.

Anonymous said...

Its been a while since your last post.. You still running??


Medic 61 said...

I am definitely still running, Kate, I just don't have any inspiration as of right now. Jason Pt.2 is coming, I just have to figure out how to wrap up the story. Thanks for asking, though!

Anniforscia said...

Saaaaaaam, why must you keep us waiting?