For no really good reason, I left work a bit late the other morning. Sure, we caught a call 16 minutes before the end-of-shift, butÂ the great guys on “A” shift were already there and ready to go so we didn’t have to take it.Â I could have left right on time then, but for no really good reason I plopped back in bed after the A-shift guys left with the rig and caught about 20 more minutes of sleep.Â After I woke up,Â I stopped to talk to some of the fire guys coming on-duty after pouring a cup of coffee. Then I realized I had forgotten something inside the station after I started my car and had to run inside to get it, which only delayed me further. I wasn’t really in a hurry, but I wasn’t trying to be off late either. It was all just a bunch of things that happened for no really good reason which made me randomly delay getting on the road to go home from work that day.
And for no really good reason, any one of those random things may haveÂ saved my life. The person a few minutes ahead of me wasn’t so lucky. For no really good reason, something bad happened. The wreck he was involved in minutes before I would have been where he happened to be was unavoidable and quite fatal. I was close enough to try to intervene immediately after the motion of the vehicles stopped, but I’m very sure that even had I been on duty and driving the ambulance instead of my car the outcome wouldn’t have been any different. There just wasn’t anything anyone could have done.
This postÂ isn’t about me. I’m not going all Nihilistic about this, I know that stuff happens for no really good reason sometimes.Â I understand that random chance plays a role in everything and that our understanding of cause and effect is infantile at best. I’m okÂ with that. Honestly after so many years of doing this I’m pretty prepared emotionally for this kind of stuff. I’m as used to it as any other long-time medic I suppose. I show up, do my job wherever I need to do it, do the best I can, and am content with the knowledge that all I can do is my best work. In fact, other than some mud and gasoline smell on my uniform you wouldn’t have even known anything had happened on my way home at all. I’mÂ fine, really.Â I even got a chance to see some of the local fire guys from the jurisdiction that responded and catch up with them. I was cracking jokes just like always, lightening up the scene, like ya’ do when you’re fine with this kind of stuff.
And I am fine, really. Stuff happens. It sucks when it does. I feel for that stranger but I couldn’t have changed the outcome one bit. I tried, it wasn’t possible, and that’s that.
But at this late hour at night before bed I started thinking about this post: Welcome to the Club
For no really good reason, tonight I probably have a new member.