Today it will have been an entire year since I’ve posted. A year. 365 days.
It’s mind boggling to me. This used to be my safe place. I’ve shared so much of my life on here. I have to wonder what happened to shut me down. There’s been so much I’ve wanted to share, and yet… I feel that nothing that I’m going to write is going to be worth reading. When I think about this blog, this creation of mine, and how I felt when I first started to write… I wasn’t writing for anyone other than myself.
I’ve come so far, but as far as I’ve come, it seems as if I’ve taken just as many steps back. I think I need to break that. Right now.
It’s been almost three years since you wrote these words:
And I can’t sleep.
The one goal I’ve had in the last five plus years is to be a Paramedic.
Yeah, for some of you out there, I know that doesn’t sound like much. Some of you have been working as Medics for longer than I’ve been in EMS. In some cases it’s five times as long as I’ve been a Basic. Some of you have forgotten what this feels like. Some of you have never felt this way. This is just me being very real.
This is not just some job to me. It’s the only thing (other than my little ones) that means anything to me. And I’m *THIS CLOSE*….
And I’m terrified.
I’m no longer worried that I’ll finish. I’m worried about being set loose with a P card.
I don’t want to be half assed at this.
I don’t want to be merely adequate.
I’m not cool with just meeting the minimum standards. I believe the standards should be set HIGHER. And at the same time, I want to exceed those standards.
I know I’m rambling… This is what happens when I have enough time to step back from my situation and take everything in.
I have three weeks left before my final.
First of all, congratulations, girly… You did it. You’re going to come close to losing your mind the day before you sit for the National Registry exam, but you’ll show up bright and early, and you’ll knock it out of the park. You’ll instantly believe that there is no mountain you can’t climb. You’ll believe that there is nothing that you can’t accomplish. And that is something you need to hold on to, particularly as a new Paramedic, because the journey ahead of you is not going to be sunshine and roses.
The day after you receive your state card, you will be set loose with a 10-year-old ambulance that leaks every imaginable fluid, half of a drug box and a monitor older than your partner. Oh, and your partner is a brand new EMT-B.
Okay, to be fair, it wont be older than your partner, but you’ll joke that it is. And despite the shocking condition of your drug box you’ll still do your job and do it well. You will begin to calm down. You’ll notice over time that your hands don’t shake nearly as much. I promise. It just takes time. You really need to learn to go easier on yourself.
You will eventually leave the service that believed that ALS wasn’t needed to go work for “That Service that shall not be named”. And you will again start to question yourself. That sparkly superhero cape that you started to believe would accompany you on every shift will slowly disappear. This will be your first experience on a primary truck doing true 911 runs. I wish I could just hug you and tell you to believe in yourself, because you will have some truly amazing moments while you work there. You will see things that you can’t wrap your head around. You will watch as someone you were doing compressions on just a month before walks into the ambulance bay to thank you. You will deliver a healthy baby girl. Two weeks later you’ll do an umbilical line on a dying neonate. You’ll do your first intubation in the field.
And then you’ll start wondering about what was drilled into your head while in school. That sentence that was written on the wall in your classroom for months. “Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD.” You’ll miss several IV’s in a row and start to torture yourself over why you missed them. You’ll trudge through a series of runs that were hopeless causes. A psych patient will come close to breaking your nose. You’ll make more phone calls to your people, the ones who dragged you through school than you can imagine.
Did I do the right thing? What if I would have… Should I have… Why didn’t I…
Those people, the ones you’re closest to, the ones who have forgotten more than you know at that point… They’ll tell you that you did everything right. You won’t believe them. I wish I could get you to just exhale and believe your people… You start to think that this isn’t something you can handle, and that you are failing your patients. You’ll start to think that you don’t want all of this responsibility. You will constantly dream about that young father and that little boy. You’ll wake up in a cold sweat still hearing the echoes of their family member’s sobs.
What I wish I could drill into your head, particularly at this point, is that YOU ARE NOT GOD. You didn’t funnel alcohol down anyone’s throat that night that that father ran his charger into that ditch, and you didn’t start the fire that killed that little angel. I wish I could convince you of that. Nothing that I could say to you will ever convince you, because you are who you are. You have to go through it. You will survive it, and it will make you stronger.
And then you’ll find something that lights you on fire. You’ll get the opportunity to work with students.
And you will fall in love with the education side of this job. Because you’ve been where they were. You can spot a nervous student from a mile away, and you can calm them down. You can also recognize when someone is bored and needs to be challenged. You will sit in a room and watch while students you worked with receive their certificates stating that they did it. They passed. You’ll start to tell them that the real journey is ahead of them. Because you know that it’s true.
You will stop questioning yourself so much. The little ones, the babies, they will still shake you up a little bit, but the stuff that scared the hell out of you… It’s not so scary anymore. Your confidence will start to build again. There will some setbacks along the way, but they will not be related to the care that you provided on the job. You’ll truly start to get it. You’ll find that you don’t have to call a friend after every tough run.
A year ago you were grading Basic students sitting for their National Registry practicals. Today you did the same thing. And you’ll be just as proud of them then as you are now.
You will realize what a gift this career is, and how lucky you are to be able to do it. Despite the horrible pay. Despite the BS that you will ALWAYS get from dispatch, and despite the workplace drama that will always be there. And despite how tired you always seem to be.
You made it. You’re doing what you set out to do. And you’re doing it well.
And now you have a new partner. A firefighter who had sworn off EMS and then forced himself into it. And he’ll decide almost immediately that this was what he needed to do. Someone who believes that what we do is a privilege. A partner who is exactly where you were when you started your journey. Someone who will look up to you, someone who will pick your brain almost constantly. And your love for the job will grow even more because of him. You’ll watch him form relationships with our patients effortlessly.
And then he’ll mention that he’s interested in becoming a paramedic.
And you won’t be able to contain your smile.