I’ll admit it. Lately it’s been getting harder to do EMS. I didn’t want to say anything about it but in my part of the country there are only a few specific ways that one can make a good living providing EMS and being the best medic that you can be isn’t always one of them. I love the job, but the working conditions are getting to me lately. It’s hard to feed my family on a rural paramedic’s pay. I work in a pretty busy area but you can’t really call where I am urban. The biggest district that I work for is approximately 30k population, the other is less.
So, more money to pay the medics isn’t always on our cities’ agendas. And it hurts a bit. And it wears on a guy. And after ten or so years of everything that EMS brings to a career, struggling to pay bills gets a guy down. So that guy works like 200 hours in a row, and he gets tired. So I’m tired, and today is a reverse 24 after a 12 hour break from my last 24, which followed a 24.
Cue the break in the pity party:
Tones go off for an uninjured fall victim at some address somewhere. We respond non-emergently and arrive about ten minutes after the call. Family directs us in to a sweet elderly lady who was on the floor next to her bed. She had, obviously, fallen there. She said that she wasn’t hurt and she was pretty wary about our wanting to assess her. She just wanted to be picked up and put back in bed.
So I turned on the ol’ charm, and was able to find out after a good trauma assessment that she was right: She wasn’t hurt.
It took the two of us to get her positioned and set right to pick her up in the small, cluttered room. She was petite (not frail) and wasn’t heavy, so in the course of picking her up I ended up cradling her in my arms and lifting her to sit on my knee as I knelt down to hold her. It was a real Spaghetti Western “My Hero” pose. You know the kind.
Then, this lady did something that has never happened to me before in my career. She leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
“poof!” is the sound that my built-up cynicism made when it went, well… “poof!”
A career, thus far I’d say, well spent.