Early this morning I was rattled out of my bed by someone pounding at my door. The first knock I ignored not knowing there was an emergency, and blaming the commotion on an overly exuberant Fed Ex guy delivering my dog’s meds. When the second round of knocking came I jumped out of bed and headed for the door. “My daughter, Kerry needs help, can you come help?” I bolted across the shared terrace and found my new neighbor in distress. I called 911.
Within a few minutes it was like several stretch limousines full of paramedics arrived. I counted six coming up the stairs and filing into the apartment. As I showed them to the bedroom they split off to do different jobs. One came with me and Kerry’s Mom to ask medical questions that their patient couldn’t answer for herself, and the others checked vitals and summarized the situation.
Paramedics deal with life and death situations as a routine part of their work. Like any health care practitioner, a paramedic can only do so much – no matter how skilled. There’s no rhyme or explanation, despite best efforts put forth, why one patient lives and another dies.
A typical day on the job may not present itself with much more than transporting patients who are not desperately ill to and from hospitals for their appointments. Sometimes a paramedic might have to use specialized equipment such as an electric hoist or hydraulic jack to save a life. Other days a paramedic might be called in to assist with a situation that he or she never dreamed to be involved with, or only learned about in theory class. The day to day experiences are all over the map, and one day may not guarantee that the next will be anything similar.
Being in the medical field calls for a unique type of individual. Not everyone is cut out to deal with life and death situations on a daily basis. Thank God for the men and women who have the calling to be there for those of us who can’t even stand the site of blood.
There is undying admiration for all of these folks, but quite a few go over and beyond what is asked or expected of them. Some work in programs that cater to the needs of individuals that require a little extra.