• Patty Slocumb

    I completely understand where you are coming from and I have to admit that I have given the same response in the past for new people in this field. I’ve been in the field 31 years but I can tell you that some of the very first traumatic calls I experienced are still very much with me…like it was yesterday. My first call as a brand new medic in a 911 area was delivering a baby that a woman had herself dilated to abort her pregnancy. He was born alive in the back of my ride but too small for me to help, especially back then. He died in my hands. I totally get what you are saying. I questioned whether I could go on too. But here I am, still going strong. It’s healthy and perfectly normal to question whether this is for you. And even more normal and OK to decide it’s not, if that is what you feel.

    It honestly only takes one bad call to devastate one of us. While I don’t feel there is any “intention” to diminish a person’s or your response to a situation, we are often so overloaded with our own emotional loads that we forget to be compassionate with, “our own” people in the field. Now, I make it a point to listen, but more importantly, I offer advice to seek help. We so often find ourselves hurting and shoving it down inside where unfortunately, it will come back to haunt us. But because we are so good at compartmentalizing everything, we don’t realize that the things like constantly complaining about how much our companies, departments or supervisors don’t care about us, or going to the bar to party (get drunk) every weekend or every day off for some, or fighting with loved ones, or self medicating and isolating are all a large part of the problem and not just isolated personality issues. When we say something along the lines of, “8 months? Come talk to me in 5 years”, it is our cryptic and emotionless way of expressing our own pain, albeit an incorrect way. It clearly doesn’t show compassion for the new person nor for ourselves. I think it’s also kind of a warning that it gets worse and to be prepared. Those of us who have been doing this for a long time have grown up in an era of having no outlets and no help. And you didn’t admit you had a problem because you would get ridiculed. Another symptom by the way…is of being the ridiculer. On behalf of us old salty dogs, I apologize. I hope you decide to stay in the field because we need people that truly care which you clearly do. I would suggest that if things continue to bother you, seek help now so you can see the warning signs early and learn from the get go, how to handle those emotions in a healthy way. I wish you luck in the field. Hang in there and always be safe, physically and emotionally.