Look through their eyes

This is a different type of post .. one that is about being a paramedic .

I want to bring awareness and insight of what we do go through and why we maybe ” different in your eyes ”

I started in EMS at the young age of 19 . It was job I had always wanted to since I knew what it was about. I grew up with a mom that was a nurse and a grandmother . So I had an understanding of the medical field at a young age .

I completed my EMT certification and started working for a rural ambulance service . I will never forget my first bad call . It was a terrible head on collison that had 1 fatal . I remember that feeling I wanted to cry but didn’t because I knew I had to separate myself from this pain I felt . I knew even at my young age I had to separate.

A few years went by and I was able to go to Paramedic school . Back then you had to work a few years as an EMT before you could apply for school . This was going to be huge change from what I was use too .

The paramedic responsibility was more than I realized . It was more intense and I understood if I made a wrong decision , it could cost someone their life .

I took my class very serious . I had to make the best grades and do the best I could in my skills . I tested for my state boards and passed the first time . My score was above average for the state. I was so proud and felt I could do it all now !

BUT Oh me , I was knocked down to size my first few months as a medic . I had bad calls after bad calls . I had babies that were deceased , I had wrecks that were so traumatic , that patients could not be recognized. Death was everywhere for me ..

This is when I realized what my job was about .. I took my knowledge of the job very serious , I knew people depended on me . Lives depended on me .

As years went by , I became guarded and kept a wall around myself . I felt I had to , just to keep sane at times. My personality changed , my way of thinking and coping changed .

I have been assaulted twice ( bad ones ) , many fights, many cussings , name callings , you name it , I’ve been called it . We took a lot of verbal abuse and physical . This brought on a new change in me and added trait For say.. I was now always watching people and listening to their tones .. watching body language.

I see outside of the box, I investigate what I’m being told , I know when I’m being lied too , it was just hard to pull one over on me . But that was my job … and it makes it difficult to separate from a normal life ..

I made a point to not learn names , that was too personal for me . I knew everything else and saw the body but names were too personal.

KIDS

I about hung up my career over 2 cases of severe child abuse . Things I never , never thought I would see done to a child , was done . I had those precious children hold my neck and cry . They begged me to help them . They would tell me how hard of a life they had .. then there were the ones that had no voice any longer .. They had no life .. it was taken from them .

The trauma from wrecks I’ve seen .. Children I have had to do CPR on , that had a little DORA sticker on their chest , the exact spot I had to place my hand .

The scene where I had to transfer a child out of my rig to a helicopter and getting back to the truck to see that bloody little shoe and the toy .. just like a movie … but it was real !

Adults

The drugs, the alcohol abuse , rapes, murders , violence, death, and suicide .. That thought in my head , of always why .. Did that person not have any other way to cope? Why did that have to happen to them ? Why could they not get the help ?

Then the trauma , terrible mangled vehicles that you could not see the type of car … but look in a see a hand reaching for yours .The words “help me ” .. knowing death was right there .

The bodies that looked like they have been in war .. one after another …

Numerous times I have had to stop CPR and tell someone their loved one has passed .. That look I have gotten when those words came out of my mouth.. You never forget that . I just broke someone’s heart ..

It doesn’t stop there… Then there’s court.. I have had to go to court so so many times to testify about a murder or DUI … So it doesn’t stop after the call …..

I have been blamed for the death of a loved one .. I have been yelled at and had windows broke over my head by a brother of a deceased person because I called them dead . I have had to lock myself and my partner in the rig because of a angry mother trying to get to her son that just shot someone and himself .

It doesn’t stop ….

The toll

After many , many years of seeing all the pain , hearing all the complaints , the tears . I became withdrawn . My heart would not open up . It was hard to make friends outside of ems .. people outside the job just didn’t understand .

I wanted that normal friendship , to see people different , to not be guarded . But it was hard and harder for people to accept me…I felt alone ..

I dream a lot .. sleep is not good for me . I have flashbacks of words or calls , or smell something different that’s a trigger. My life has taking the punishment of the job . At one point I was struggling because of others pain . That made me angry.. I would think why am I ruining my life for others …why?????!!!!! I’ll tell you below ..

My faith

This is were it does get bad . I fell from faith .. I was angry , and just had a hard time living my life. I drank, just like we all did and my heart was cold . I struggled hard with depression and severe at times . I was lost .. I hurt and my pain was great !.

After many years of hardship, I broke one night. I mean broke!!!

I cried out to Jesus to help me and he did .. praise his name .

My faith is stronger than ever and I live for him . He has helped me deal with the pain I carried from others .. I have not drank and I carry him with me everywhere .

I pray for patients and to help heal.

This is me , this is the mind of a medic .. I have been on the job for 28 years now , I have some regrets but I also have many blessed moments ..

Just a sum up..

It has changed me inside and out . I hurt all the time physically. I do have trouble getting close to people , I do analyze situations , it’s tough to get one over on me .

I do carry pain from others , my sense of humor is different , I overthink at times , I don’t fit in very well into the normal . My tolerance is low , and I am guarded.. but with all this God placed me here … to help others the way I do ..

What I just described is what most of the EMS people go through and how they are ..

If you know one , try to listen to my words and try to look through their eyes..

Its tough .. being in EMS as a career is a calling .. God placed it on the hearts of many . It does come with burdens from others and pain . We see and hear things that should never be ..  It will never leave us .. So when you  think we maybe ” odd ” … all his maybe why …

What we need is understanding and compassion . Not words as ” your difficult ” or ” your cold ” ..

But understanding…

I am loving and protective , I have Jesus in my heart and strong !!!

I have compassion and love for all . I see people as they are , and look into their pain .

Friends , I ask for prayers for first responders..Our Law , fire , EMS , dispatchers… We carry a lot that is not said .. I am an advocate and a medic .. They need your love and compassion. … understanding….

I still ride the rig ..and will until I can no longer get in the truck .. it’s my calling … God put me here ..

I am married to my best friend that is also a medic and a deputy. I am grateful for him . We understand each other and what we go through .

This is through the eyes of a medic

Rachel E Lane

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