Saturday, October 30, 2010


I did something yesterday that I've never done before.

I walked into my supervisor's office and told him I was having a hard time dealing with a recent call. That I've started having nightmares about Josh--that I walk out of the living room and come back and find he's crawled into the middle of the road. That he rolls out of bed again and gets hurt. That I put him in bed with me and accidentally suffocate him, or that I'm not watching and he chokes on a raisin.(Note: I do not allow my five-month-old to eat raisins. However, he puts everything he finds into his mouth.)

I think all moms have these fears.
I think paramedic moms have these fears with accompanying memories. Not only do we worry about our child running into the road, we see the face of a little child hit by a car. Not only do we worry about our child choking, we see the face of the little girl and how we tried to protect her airway, and couldn't. We still worry about the neighbor's pool, but we also close our eyes and remember the still, cold feel of a two year old underneath our hands as we tried, unsuccesfully, to force life back into her wet body.

So I followed my husband's request and went and talked to my supervisor. It helped. A lot.
Sometimes, especially as people who do things like run into burning buildings and deal with the messiest, grossest parts of humanity in the back of our ambulance, I think we start believing that we're different. That it doesn't affect us the way it does normal people. That all those calls just fade into the distance, all the hands we've held, all the things we've done to people's bodies in futile attempts to save their lives. But I don't think it does. I think we learn something from each patient, even(especially?) the ones we lose. I think that each time we have a call, it is just a culmination of all the calls I've had before. Everytime I walk away from a call, no matter how BS or serious, I take something of that patient with me--some small lesson I've learned.

And sometimes you hit upon that culmination and can't move past it. That's when it's okay to hold out your own hand and grasp someone else's. It's okay to ask for help to get up over that mountain so you can move on.


Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

I can't imagine having those kinds of memories. It is hard enough for me when my hubby tells me about them and my imagination goes wild and fear starts to creep in. I pray that God will continue to give you the resources you need to help you with those memories.

I'll pray for you.

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate your feedback on my latest post. It is so good for people to hear it. It can make children of large families feel very left out.

What a blessing that you thought ahead and are thinking about showing hospitality to such people in my position. It is such a great way to connect with people.

I am going to be doing a series on the benefits of hospitality next, so stayed tuned!

Blessings to you and your sweet little Joshua. I'm hoping you will post some pictures of the little guy soon!