How You Know

This post is for Normal Sinus Rhythm, a collection of blog entries from EMS bloggers from all over. This week's theme was "You know you're a _____ if..." Everyone did an amazing job with their entries, go check them out!

I was going to write a list of things like my fellow NSR bloggers did. I had some in mind.
"You know you're in EMS when you can't decide between 'oh, shit' and 'hell yes' on the way to a call."
Whatever, no one said I was going to write a GOOD list.

In any event, I'm not going to write a list anymore. I'm going to be different, because it seems I can't ever be happy satisfying the norm. I'm sure you've come to know that trait in me. Oh, and also, my list sucked so I figured I'd do something else.

So, I present to you, "how you know."

She died. Right there on the floor, no warning, she just fell over, dead. That was her final act, really--falling. Maybe she clutched her chest, and maybe she made a noise, but her last act was falling.

Those around her panicked, calling 911 as they screamed for help, their sobs sticking in their throats desperately.

And then we showed up. And very calmly, we did our job.
"Hey Matt, could you pass me that epi over there?"
"Sure thing."
"Could someone take over compressions?"
"I've got you."
We smiled at one another with compassion, taking time to say "please," and "thank you." And I hummed "Sweetness" in my head as I pushed on her chest again and again, the sweat forming on my brow, the glasses slipping down my nose. I thought of the beat of the song matching the beating of her heart that my hands were creating as I watched the flat line on the monitor move with me.

"Well-oiled machine" is what I hear a lot, but that's not really it. We're just a few people who know what to do, and act. We're just a few people who don't let our emotions get in the way of our jobs.

And when we're done, away from patient and family, that's when I think. That's when the emotions hit me, the thoughts of my parents and my friends. That's when I sigh deeply and get a little misty eyed and I'm silent; that's when it hits me, fully sinking in.

And all of that? That's how I know. That's how I know I'm an EMS provider--and a good one at that. That's how I know I'm meant for this job. That's how I know that I'm still human, still normal, even though throngs of people would beg to disagree; any person who willingly signs up for a stressful, taxing, vomit and death-filled job must be certifiable, or cold and unfeeling, right?

So I go home from another call both questioning and confirming my desire to do this again. And that's how I know.


Anonymous said...

I think you hit the nail on the head there! (not that I work in the medical field, but I can certainly and vividly imagine what it must be like)

Bernice said...

Bravo! Above and beyond as usual.

Anonymous said...

Um. Yep, you are meant for the job...you know, I know...all of us here knows...just make sure that your glasses don't fall off your nose! Take care...by the way, I have never said this, but:

I am so proud of you and for what you do. To know that I know someone who gets a rush out of being an EMT, is just...is wonderful an ad-verb, an adjective or what? No, seriously, continue to save lives superhero...

Sam, a sensitive, dedicated young woman who constantly struggles to understand life even though, she does not realize that she is answering her own questions...

Sam, you are a superhero. And yes, superheroes are definitely human. Take care...Later.

Anonymous said...


I hope that you will get better soon. I always keep telling you to not work as hard as you do...but you never listen to me. You have to rest yourself. You have to take care of yourself...okay?! Anyway, continue to be yourself...all of us readers are very appreciative for that, and I will comment soon.

Nikki said...

I've been poked and prodded a dozen or so times to start reading the "Twilight" series... all this madness about a guy named Edward Cullen, or something like that? :)

I think I might give in soon, because you're not the first person to say that I somehow resemble Bella.

Oh, and thanks for the compliment on my embroidery - and it's nice to know that I'm not alone in my ownership of foofy heart-printed bedsheets!