I haven’t been at this job long. I haven’t experienced all the grime and grit that comes to wear down the seasoned paramedics with whom I share the road. I still have a “new car smell” attitude towards the job. Many tell me that this will fade, and I am sure in part it will. However, part of me cannot help but to see the beauty in the tragedies we are a part of day in and day out.
I look at the role models I have in life that have endured the field for decades now, and believe that there is a reason they are still at it. My Mom was a pediatric ER nurse for nearly 20 years, when she left; and after 5 years in the insurance side of medicine, she felt called back to the floor. And she loves it more today than ever before. So how? Why do we do it?
I can not definitively answer these questions with such limited experience, but I can narrate my initial impressions. The calls don’t stop. Even as I sit here writing this, the radio sounds with chatter and echos. Each tone is another person in trouble. Whether petty or traumatic, it is a life quite literally on the line.
To me, there are few things more beautiful to see than an elderly couple clenching hands with worry and anguish. Not because of the pain (physical or emotional) associated with the incident, but because of everything that came before it. Couples who spent 50, 60, 70 years together. The work that went in to making it through the hard times. The joy shared during the great times. The nights on the couch. The weekends away. The bills. The vacations. The heartache of loss. The beauty of love.
It is amazing to witness the culmination of all these events in the back of an ambulance… and this is my job. THIS is what I do. I feel honored. Honored to be invited, needed, in these moments. This life we live is a one way track. We are all only one step behind the next… but our ability to share life with one another enriches our lives in ways that amazes me… that’s what I’ve learned so far.