So I just got home this morning from a long 48 hour shift. I did a favor for a coworker who needed Friday off. That's the only time I pick up an extra shift anymore. To help someone out. I don't work extra shifts just because my employer is always short staffed and is always needing paramedics to stay over. I stopped working OT over a year ago because I was worn out and tired of enabling their lack of long term problem solving abilities (or unwillingness to solve those problems) But I'm home now and have to be back on shift tomorrow but I get next Saturday off! That means I'll have thur, fri, sat, sun and mon day next week! Woohoo!
Overall the 48 hours were busy but uneventful medically. These days we call it "ran a lot of calls, didn't use anything". Which means that lots of people wanted or needed to go to the hospital but nobody was sick or hurt enough for us to utilize large amounts of equipment or supplies. Basically just taxi rides to the ER. EMS is changing. Even just 10 years ago we might not run but 2 calls in a day but they were serious, life changing calls. We didn't always sleep all night but we did more often. And when we were up it was usually for a serious reason. Now people call all day and all night for fevers, one episode of vomiting, broken toe/finger, "my doctor said to call 911", anxiety attacks, drug/alcohol interventions, (and my personal fav - I want to go to a hospital an hour away because that's where my doctor is but I don't want my family to drive me because what if something happens even though I feel fine right now and I don't want to go to the hospital that I live next to because I my doctor won't come there) you name it we respond to it.
We still have serious calls that challenge us as medics but the great majority of our calls are not medically challenging and usually don't require an ER visit let alone an ambulance ride to get there. This is the future of EMS and it's only going to get worse. So think about this when you're having your heart attack and the ambulance that responds takes 20 mins longer to arrive because the closer ambulances are already transporting 30 years old with the flu because they think they'll be seen faster if they arrived by ambulance. (which isn't true!) Persons are ALWAYS seen in order of severity of illness/injury not how they arrived. It's called triage, google it.
Ask yourself: How can we all be more personally responsible for using all of our public services appropriately for the overall benefit to the community instead of selfish, unnecessary reasons that may very well contribute to the death of your neighbor.
Soapbox rant officially over! :o)