We all have our frequent fliers. Some are pleasant, many are arrogant, most are annoying. But in some way, shape, or form, there is a problem. Be it medical, mental/psychological, or they’re just plain lonely.
Many of the ones I have had over the years eventually tend to weed themselves out. Some get help and stop calling. Some finally get put in a nursing home. Others wind up having some sort of spectacular final medical crisis that ultimately kills them. Some just fade away.
This morning, I got paged to a familiar address, with the not all that unexpected “cardiac arrest”.
I had been to this house many times, as had other crews. She had a history of ALS and asthma, among a multitude of other problems. Most of the time she would have an asthma attack and wait too long. She didn’t want to bother us. Only once did I have an actual conversation with her. Other times she could barely get one or two words out. Once she was unconscious.
This morning, she was dead. She had passed sometime overnight.
Most of the time, I grieve a bit for the dead, and move on.
This one is different. This one bothers me.
For, you see, she was one of us.
She was a paramedic in a major city for many years. We were never able to talk about experiences, because, well, she usually could not talk at all.
When I spoke to her sister, who found her, she told me she had loved being a medic. That since her medical problems had forced her to retire, she had missed it very much.
I pray that, because of her multiple medical problems, that she did not wait too long on purpose. I hope I was encouraging to her.
The last time, when we were able to speak, she did voice a concern over being a “frequent flier” herself. I told her she had legitimate problems, and that, aside from her waiting too long to call, there was no problem. “You’re one of us.” I told her. “We’ll take care of you.”
Some days I struggle with the stresses of this job, and my other jobs, and wife, kids, money, etc.
I hope she was not overcome by her stresses.
Godspeed, sister, we’ll take it from here.
Thanks for reading. Be safe!
– Anonymous Paramedic, 23 years in EMS.