I show up to my first day of work wearing a tank top, my BDUs and work boots. My hair is pulled back in a tight bun and I keep dropping my keys as I walk up to the door.
"Chill the hell out," I remind myself quietly.

As soon as I show up, I'm handed a shirt.
"Sorry it's a little big," the dispatcher says, "we haven't gotten new ones in yet."
"Oh, no worries, it's just a medium, I'm sure it'll fit."
I pull it over my head and it hits me somewhere at mid-thigh level.
"Oh," I say softly as I look down at myself. I look ridiculous.

I'm taken to meet my coworkers, and I feel the eyes on me. It's like the first day of school; I want to disappear into the cracks of the floor. The girls I'll be running with introduce themselves, and I recognize one of them from an EMT class that was taught at my station.

"It's me, Alyssa, from the EMT class! I took it with Olivia." I remember her very well, and I smile, feeling a little better.
"Guys," she announces to the room, "this is Sam, she basically taught my EMT class." She's not kidding; one of their two teachers was a little...interesting, and wasn't much of a teacher. I came in a lot to help out with practicals, but I didn't realize what an impact I had made. I blush and look down at my feet sheepishly.

They show me the medic and how they check it off and then it's off to our first run of the day. We walk into the dialysis center and I'm aware of how absolutely horrid I look. I stare at the ground the entire time and only look up when we're lifting our patient.

A nurse approaches and looks at me.
"Do you guys take Vinny?"
"Yeah, we take him, why?" I'm so glad to see Alyssa has stepped in and saved me from having to answer.
"During surgery yesterday he coded on the table. They brought him back, but he died last night." There's a palpable silence; it's stifling and the awkwardness I had been feeling is increased tenfold.
"Oh," she says.

We leave with our patient, and after dropping her off, the two girls sit on the back of the ambulance.
"I can't believe he died."
"Yeah, he was so young. Sam, this guy was 30, full of life. He didn't even go in for some life-changing surgery, he just had to get his shoulder worked on."
"Wow, that's really rough," I say strangely.
"He was just so funny," the other girl says.
"I remember last time I took him, he rode up front with me and made my partner sit in the back. He was such a riot."

The girls continue to reminisce, and they even cry a little bit. I panic slightly. I am an incredibly emotional girl, and knowing that most of my patients are terminal scares me, because the thought of losing them on a constant basis is something I can't deal with.

We make it back to the office, and there's a flier posted about Vinny's funeral. Anyone who wanted to go was going to be allowed to go and take an ambulance. There was a murmur amongst everyone, heads bent to the ground in mock prayer as they shared stories about him.

One of the more attractive guys walks my way and I check out the carpet once again.
"Hey Sam," he says, and I nod sheepishly. He puts his arm around me, shakes his head and says as he motions to our colleagues, "One word of advice--don't get attached."

I already know that's impossible.


Scott said...

I'm sorry. :(

Rogue Medic said...

A long ago partner of mine left EMS for that reason.

One of the best partners, ever.