Have you ever gotten the feeling that something was just perfect? Just right for you? You started to learn more about it, and then fell in love with it as time went on?
That’s exactly what EMS is for me. I took my EMT class because 6 years ago, I wanted to be a firefighter. I wasn’t even interested in the medical aspect, but seeing as 95% of calls in the firehouse are medical, it was a necessity… so I balled up and took the class.
My teacher was amazing, and I give him full credit for changing my attitude on the medical side of the firehouse. I walked into class totally uninterested, and graduated with higher grades than the people I studied with. Then I got on my department and started riding the ambo… a year later I wasn’t even interested in the fire side anymore. (Granted, that can always change)
EMS is the first thing I’ve found in my life that truly makes me happy. I love my job. How many people can say that, and mean it??? I love it enough, that so far I’ve done it for free for almost three years, and am willing to do it for free for another 2 years until someone is willing to hire me into a paid spot (legal issues). It took 7 months of running on the ambo before I got my first major trauma call. Up until that point, I had seen nothing but medical emergencies and those were easy to tolerate. I wouldn’t know if the job was for me until I finally saw something traumatic… gory… bloody. My first trauma call was a boat Vs. jetski.
That was the day I learned that human leg muscles look just like steak. That was also the day I knew that I had chosen the right job. Once I started getting into it, and using my skills and becoming comfortable with patients I knew I found my place. At least in the career world.
However… I’m not to sure that EMS
(or People in EMS) feel the same way.
Ever since my first EMS gig (at a Six Flags theme park) I’ve come across a lot resistance. I was fired from the theme park, and originally I couldn’t figure out why. It was explained to me that my “job history violated their Code of Conduct”. I was so shocked, I handed in my badge and left the property without asking questions. A year later, I got onto the Rescue Squad I’m on now. Three people I worked with at the park were on the squad, and one of them just seemed to have it out for me. I found out she told everyone the reason I got fired from the park was because I was “a stripper, had my own website, and did porn”. Suuuuuuure…
My 12 month probation period at the firehouse was extended to 16 months due to piercings. I had been given permission by my deputy chief that I didn’t have to take out my nose ring. I wore a small stud, and I figured if the nurses did and my chief told me it was okay, then it was okay. Apparently not. I responded for a mutual aid call to another town, and the chief went to my chief saying that I “showed up out of uniform, was wearing a bandana with skulls, and had a ring in my lip”. None of which was true. I was once again floored and wondering why I was getting so much shit from my coworkers.
Other things have arisen since then, the latest being my fight with my DUI. That one is different. The DUI is my fault, and something I have to own up to and deal with for a long time. I knew in my field, people were going to raise their eyebrows and judge me more so than if I worked in the mall. But I was unprepared for the backlash of how it would really affect me. Since I got my DUI, I’ve had the opportunity to interview with (almost) two of the closest private EMS companies near me. The first place I interviewed with went great. It was an hour and half long. To bad technology isn’t as great as they say, because parts of my application didn’t go through, and she didn’t see the DUI on my background. She called me 2 days later and told me they couldn’t hire me.
Yesterday, I got a call from the highest paying company near me. This time, the background section of my app went through. However, as soon as I answered her questions, she simply said “We have a three-year waiting period after a DUI” and hung up on me. Like, literally… hung up on me! No “Thanks for your interest” or telling me to apply again in a few years. All I heard was click and my phone go dead. Fucking. WOW. That, I just couldn’t believe. Talk about professionalism.
There are small things too… I don’t have any ‘strong’ bonds with the people I work with. My department being 100% volunteer and 2 lawsuits pending, no one wants to stick around, or apply. Ergo, we have a high turn-over rate, which sucks. I used to be close to a lot of my old crew members, but all of them have left for paying jobs. I go into shift each week and listen to everyone’s stories about going out, and who did something stupid while at the bar, etcetera… I like a lot of my crew, and have asked them to hang/go out. I always get a ‘no’. Makes me feel like the whole “brotherhood” or “family” I heard about that goes along with the job skips over me. Like, I’m just there to drive the damn ambulance.
I’ve definitely been depressed since my DUI, losing my job, and finding out that I wont have a real chance to get onto a paid EMS job for another 2 years. I know that it effects my mood, and people can tell when something is on my mind. But with the relationships I do have with my crew, and the times I have tried to open up to them, it just doesn’t feel right… So much so, that lately I’ve been rethinking my whole career….
I know I love my job. But at this point, I’m not sure if the job loves me. I’ve had so much resistance from people, as well as the issues I’ve caused for myself, that I’m not sure if its going to work out. I know that I plan on sticking it out for another few years. At first I told myself that I was going to so that I could go to medic class in 2013.
Now I’m wondering… am I just fooling myself? I’m I too afraid to move on? Am I just being stupid and my Bipolar is driving me crazy?
Just because someone is good at something, doesn’t always mean that they should stick to something, does it? I know a big part of my thinking is the damn Bipolar… but in almost 6 years, I’ve never had the thought of giving up EMS as I do now. I know that if I give it up, I’ll be crushed. But is there really a point to fighting a brick wall? In my experience, the answer is No. But then again, I could just be in the midst of a panic episode and majorly over thinking things and getting myself down for no damn good reason.
Like I said, I have a plan. I’m going back to school this Spring to take the prerequisite for Paramedic. Then I planned on going to the regular paced class in the Fall of 2013. By the time I’m half way through Medic class, it will be 2014. I’ll be able to apply as someone with 5 years of 911 experience, who is a EMT/Medic Student. That has to be worth something.
Just a mind vomit… Sorry, but I had to get it out… Thanks for listening, er, reading.