What a weekend, I’m wiped yet at the same time I’m wide awake. Does that make sense to anyone? My weekend was spent between a 24 hour shift at the firehouse, and visits with an old friend. I’m not sure what was better… the crazy-ass calls I had on shift, or seeing my buddy Patch. Actually, that’s a lie. Seeing him was better than the calls… I get crazy calls all the time, but I haven’t seen Patch in over 6 years. The visiting was much better.
I love summer-time at the firehouse. My scheduled shift night is Sunday, so during the winter everyone is tired and cold and pretty much stays inside or calm because of the upcoming work week. In the summer, it’s the opposite. No one cares that they have to work the next day, and the warm weather makes it so much easier to go out one more night before work starts back up. We have a pretty big lake (7100 acres of water) and its active both summer and winter, with either boats or snowmobiles.
I don’t know what it is but people have been drowning left and right these last few weeks. Maybe its something in the water? (too soon?) I’ve sat on a bunch of water rescues-turned-recovery, but was never on shift when they finally found the body. This weekend, I was still on-shift and finally saw my first drowning victim. The patient was only under for around 12 hours, so the body still looked pretty normal. However, think Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum… kinda looked like that. Waxy and extremely pale. By the time they found the body and brought it to the surface, all we could do was put the leads on and print out a flat-line EKG strip to call it as deceased.
After that, it was the crazy-ass car accident. Best call I’ve had in a while, best as in traumatic. There was an armed robbery in my district that turned into a police chase. The pursued car reached speeds exceeding 100 MPH before losing control and veering across the road, flipping end-over-end and going airborne about 30 feet straight up before ending up in a ditch. There was 3 passengers, two of which were ejected about 25 feet and the third who was trapped in the car. I’m pretty sure the car landed on one of the ejected patients, for the looks of him anyways… he was declared dead at the scene. The two others had open fractures all over their bodies (including open skull fractures) and were medivaced (air lifted) to the closest level One Trauma center in my area. I probably changed my gloves at least 5+ times. One of the patients was so combative, we had to have 5 firefighters hold him down just so my medic could get an IV in his arm (head injuries have a tendency to cause people to become violent). I’ve seen some gory shit, but this was definitely the worst. This has got to be the EMT in me talking, but it was pretty cool to see all blood and gore.
From the update I received, from the two who survived, one is still in critical condition not being able to breathe on his own, and the other is expected to have a full recovery… in jail.
Now, some people might take that last sentence as morbid, disgusting, insensitive… WHATEVER… but its my job. I work on an ambulance (and love every minute of it). I see shit that most people will never see in their life… If I didn’t like it, or couldn’t handle the visuals the job gave me, then I wouldn’t be doing it. But after 3 years of being on a 911 ambulance, you see shit… you dream shit… you have to be able to deal with it. One of the best ways of dealing with the emotions from the job is to be able to make jokes, laugh, and get it out of your system. For me personally, the visuals don’t affect me like they can some. The things that get to me, is when I get off shift at 5am and pick up the news paper on the way home, and a call I have been on is already printed, and I have details in my mind that the press doesn’t get. Such as the patients name, face, and exact details of the incident and the injuries. But after 3 years, even that doesn’t get to me like it did in the beginning. Now, it’s just another call, just another shift, just another unfortunate experience for someone else.
Now? I have the whole week off and I go back at it again this Sunday night. Hopefully we can get another decent call like that…
It’s not that I want you to get hurt or stop breathing… I just want to be there when you do!