You may have wondered why I haven't posted much lately about being a paramedic. It's because the last few months have been BORING not slow, not un-busy but boring. Modern EMS runs a lot of calls but the great majority of those calls are for colds, flus, cuts, scraps, falls, anxiety, minor car wrecks and the always popular - "the patient was choking but they coughed the item up and they're breathing on their own now but can the ambulance come and check them out anyway just to be sure." Because apparently 21 century adults are too stupid to figure out if someone is breathing and talking independently and don't require medical intervention. That and people themselves are too stupid to figure out if they personally require medical intervention to help to talk and breathe and want a paramedic to tell them that they're okay. Well, duh....you were choking now you're not- my medical opinion is- CURED!
But last shift I had a couple patients who were actually in danger of dying. That's right I got to really do the job I trained for and save lives! Woohoo! Course that means someone else had a really bad day but since I can't control that I can only be glad I was in the right place at the right time to be of assistance in the manner in which I trained to be. After weeks, months of being a medical taxi cab I need to run a real call to help remind myself why the hell I keep doing this job - and it's not the money.
Yeah, I get a decent paycheck so I'm not poor (though I was when I was a rookie medic- can anyone say 3 jobs) yeah, I get decent benefits (though like the rest of the county those are being scaled back ;o( ) and yeah when I get enough sleep I get 20 full days off a month rather then those poor schmooes that work 8-5 and only get 8 full days on the weekends (suckers!) but I also get a interactive, front row seat to the crap of the world. I get to see the worst of humanity and we're not even a third world country. Be grateful for small miracles cause I know that I could see a helluva lot worse.
Did I mention that I got racially discriminated against last week? You'll love this. So I'm transporting a young, black teenage male after suffered a sports injury. Nothing major, he'll live. Nice enough young man and we chit chatted on the way in and at one point he asks me-
HIM "You make a lot money as a medic."
ME "I do alright."
HIM "You probably make a lot of money."
ME "Not as much as you think."
HIM "Well, you're white, so you probably don't think it's as much as I do."
ME "Excuse me?"
HIM "You probably get paid more."
ME "No...it's a government position-we're all paid them same. Besides, I don't come from money. My parents nearly lost the house when I was 15 when my Dad was out of work and when I was born we lived in a trailer for the first year; although I don't remember that of course."
Him "Well, we don't have a house."
Me "Look, I had to earn my own way. The Army paid for my college education."
Him "You were in the Army? Did you have to do push ups?"
Me "Yes, I did, the real ones not the fake girly push ups."
Him "Well....you probably didn't have to go down very far because you're chest is so big."
Me "I did real push ups. However you want to rationalize it my family isn't rich, I've worked since I was 15 and I've had to earn every bit of my own way. And this conversation is over."
Seriously, I really had this conversation. I didn't get mad at him and everything was spoken calmly because really he's just an ignorant kid that's been raised in an environment that expects him to believe that all white people are on easy street and that we receive golden tickets at birth. Sheez, I wish! Being a paramedic has taught me that everyone, everywhere is exactly the same. Everyone can be wonderful or crappy. Everyone can be deep or shallow. Everyone can be generous or cruel. Everyone can be openminded or racist. Seriously - everyone is just as good or bad as they choose to be based on nothing but their personal choices.