As I sit in the hospital I now work for, I think about all the people I have come across while working on the ambulance. All the calls I have run. All the things I’ve seen. I still remember a call I ran about 4 years ago now, little 8 month old girl. She had red hair, green eyes, and the fairest skin. She was a small Irish baby. She would not track with her eyes, she would hardly grasp your finger, and moving, well there wasn’t much of that. The pager said, “Non-accidental trauma”, the nurse’s report was slightly more accurate; “Mom’s boyfriend beat the shit out of her!” I completely and totally fell in love with this child. I wanted to adopt her, take her home, and make sure she would be safe.
Instead I had to hand her over to her grandma. The next child was an adorable 5 year old boy. He was starved. Literally and totally starved, looking like a holocaust survivor. It was the worst thing I have ever seen. He looked up at me and you could see the fear, hurt, shock, and pain in his eyes. On his bottom lids sat tears that couldn’t form enough to leave his little eyes. While he was looking at me he said, “I’m just hungry. Just hungry.” How in the world do you not have a broken heart after that? How do you not want to get justice for these kids? I have been hit, kicked, spit on, puked on, bled on, and just plain hurt from the job.
I am 24 years old and I am pretty sure my back is worse than my 80+ year old patients. I also have had a long extensive share of my own battles at home. It takes me more than my fingers and toes to count the people I have lost in my family and close friends. I have been raped and sexually assaulted. I have been emotionally and physically abused. I have had eating disorders and suffered from self-mutilation. I have sat in my room counting the pills I had knowing I had to have enough to “do it right the first time”. I have wanted to cut open an artery. I have wanted to forget about all the things I think about and deal with. How I feel like a failure because I failed my paramedic national registry. How I feel like I don’t make much of a difference like I wanted to getting into this profession. The feeling of not being good enough just doesn’t seem to fade.
I’m tired of feeling that.
– Anonymous EMT-I, 5 years in EMS.