101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Saturday, May 9

You're not listening to me, are you?

We're together on this.


You're supposed to be my partner in this little task of ours today.
Since we started all you do is ignore me. Not a word of encouragement, as if you don't even want to be here today. Fine by me, I can get along alright on my own.

In Paramedic school I was told you would help me, be there when I had questions, and be ready to give your opinion when it mattered. You aren't even listening to me now, are you?

You were no help with the backboard, fumbled with the straps, as if you'd never seen one before. You dropped the NPA on the floor and made me get another one out. What kind of partner are you?

I've been where you are now, I understand how frustrating it can be when driving lights and sirens to the hospital. It's hard to communicate with all that noise and all the commotion in the back of the ambulance. But even when I raise my voice, you won't listen.

Our day started so well. Me in the passenger seat and you in the driver's seat. Coffee as usual for me, you had nothing. A few hours later, here we are.

We're supposed to be in this together. Partners of a sort. You talk I listen, I talk you listen, a two way road. But instead I feel like you're ignoring me. I ask you question after question and you're not even looking at me, you're looking past me.

The textbook said I could rely on you in an emergency and they were wrong.

Maybe you're not talking because I had to intubate you. 15 minutes ago the rescue squad pulled you from the driver's seat of that mangled sedan you were driving and now you won't answer any of my questions. We've been here for 10 minutes and I feel ignored. You haven't even acknowledged my existence.
"Can you hear me?" Nothing. It's like I'm talking to a fence.
"Squeeze my fingers if you can hear me!" Why do I even try, you're not listening.
"Come on! Get that blood pressure back up!" As if you would if you were even paying attention to me.

You're my partner in all this mess. You and me, me and you. No one else is here, no one else cares. It's just you and me. I'm doing all the talking and if you do make it out of this alive you won't even know my name. The surgeon will be your hero, the nurse your angel, our time together will be but a footnote in your file. "Arrived by ambulance" it will say in the back of that giant file you're about to start.

But we started this together. You and me in the middle of the intersection. You were in blue, I was in my best turnout coat. I'll never forget it.

You already have.

3 comments:

Little Girl said...

We are the silent every day heroes.

The 9-1-1 dispatcher is even more silent and forgotten then the police officers, fire fighters, or medics.

When you do receive a 'Thank You' from one of your patients, take it and cherish it like was your first kiss, because only The Dispatch Gods knows when you will receive another 'Thank You' from the heart.

Firecap5 said...

And such is our lot in life. We give, and give. It can be draining and exhusting. It is easy to let the grind numb you and drive you into the ground. It is easy to let it drive other thoughts, thoughts of home and hearth, away from the front of your mind. Even when we do push these thoughts aside, they are still there, lurking just beneath the surface.

But when the gong sounds, and the box rings in, we climb back to our feet and do it all over again. I feel ya brother! You are not alone. We are all here for you.

Anonymous said...

The day I read this the first time I met an old patient of mine just like this one. We extricated him from his car, he had a massive head injury. He just barely made it out alive. After months of hospitalization and physical therapy he was back at work. I had seen him around before the accident. Someone introduced us. He said, "thank you for saving my life. I don't remember it, but I know you did."