Monday, August 10

My last day

Being one of the low guys on the totem pole, I do not have a permanent assignment in my Department, but am assigned to a Vacation Relief status. This means what it sounds, that I float around covering open spots. That is how I get such a wide variety of odd 911 calls to tell you about.

I got word this afternoon that my assignment will be on the medic unit tomorrow.

One of the last 2 medic units. Based on the way they do the rotations this will be my last ambulance shift. Possibly ever.

In the past I was conflicted on how to feel, always assuming there would be one more day and deal with it then. Time to deal, I guess.

When I graduated from college I began testing in places that were building strong fire based EMS systems that I could become a part of and learn the ins and outs, the practical applications of all my schooling. I chose my current position carefully, choosing only systems who transported within the fire model.
This job was considered my brass ring. I really wanted it. The night before the physical exam I crashed on the floor in my sister in law's flat because we couldn't afford the plane and a hotel. I was proud to accept the offer and did my best in the academy.
We hit the streets and things went well for about a year.

Then the changes didn't happen. The ALS engine program began to stagnate and morale began to drop. What we had been told was not true. Those who told us quit and moved on to other Departments. Having come from a small Department by anyone's standards, I was just happy to have more than 2 people in a station and a nice steady pay check.

I began to doubt if I had made the right decision. The Department I worked for no longer had the system I was told it had and had researched prior to testing.

Skip ahead a few years and the transport element that was so important to me is gone. Tomorrow will possibly be my last day to ensure that what I saw when I first arrived on scene is relayed to the ER staff. Tomorrow I will be sad.

A dispatcher I met at a recent community event, upon finding out I was a Paramedic, asked me "Aren't you glad to finally get off that stupid ambulance?" She meant it well enough. Those rigs got pounded because the system forgot to adjust to their existence and adapt. I smiled at her and said, "That was part of the job when I took this job. I like it."
Just then a man and his toddler walked up to see the ALS engine I was assigned to for the day. The father saw my Paramedic patch and said to his son, "This man is a Paramedic, he rides in the ambulance." When I tried to explain the ALS/BLS tiers to him in the simplest way I could he asked if there was a "just firefighter" that could show them the engine.

This job is no longer what it was. If they were hiring today I'm not sure I would apply. But I'm not leaving now, that's just what they want. No, I'm staying because this is now my home and I want to make sure it can provide the best level of service, regardless of the administrative difficulties, budget cuts, or public perception issues.

I am a Firefighter/Paramedic and worked damn hard to get here and I'm going to keep working hard.

I just won't be working on that little red box with the big white stripe.

But hey, me being Happy and all, at least I'll still get to jump on to take in major traumas and cardiac arrests.


Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for you Happy, something I wish we could always have what we wanted, and that the High Ups wouldn't lie or change their plans on us.

Is there an option for you to be a casual or part time medic for another agency or is that out in left field. It seems common around here that our medics work for multiple agencies (city ems, rural ems, industrial ems, and fire in varies locations too).

911 and the Randomness.. said...

I'm glad that you're staying though! Who knows what the future will bring.

Mike "FossilMedic" Ward said...

Enjoy your ambulance day!

When I got sprung from a teaching assignment at our academy, spent a year as a fire officer floater.

Because I was a medic and a hazmatter, enjoyed a wide variety of assignments ... including driving a BLS ambulance for one day.

Weirdest was covering officer assignments on the first 12 and then driving my battalion chief on the second 12 ... he would fall asleep seconds after climbing in the buggy. So much for looking up the address while responding (way before GPS).


Michael Morse said...

Come to Providence. Please!

Ckemtp said...

Happy, I feel for you. Could you do a comparison between the outgoing system and the new system? I think that it would be educational.

You can always come work the ambulance in my neck of the woods. We'll pay you peanuts. You like peanuts, don't you?

The Happy Medic said...

And it starts with a critical cardiac allergic to nitro and in a non profusing bigeminal at 40. Man I'm gonna miss this!

Capt. Schmoe said...

Well Happy, I can tell that you're bummed so I hope that you can come to terms with this.

Not knowing exactly how your system works, will you still be a medic, but on an engine? Will you be more of an assessment medic than a treatment medic?

Just curious and hoping things woel out for you.

PS We used to have a few vacation relief positions. I worked them in all three ranks and I loved it. Never again though. Thanks for the post

brendan said...

It seems common around here that our medics work for multiple agencies (city ems, rural ems, industrial ems, and fire in varies locations too).

One of the most obscene things about our industry is that working 2-3 jobs is done not for jollies, but to make ends meet.

Mike, I think our system would crush Happy's soul inside of a month. Not necessarily Providence per se, but the whole disaster.

Anonymous said...


I feel for you mate. Everything I have learned about you from the blog and from our conversations, tells me that you are a dedicated and committed paramedic. I am still not sure if you are more a paramedic than a fire fighter, but I definitely know you are not a firefighter who only became a paramedic so that he could join the fire service.
Im sure you will be a big miss to your patients in the future, but I bet you are going to be a force to be reckoned with if the ambulance crew that come to take over from you are not performing to the same high standard that you do.

I think that would be the most frustrating thing for me, having to hand over care when I am really involved in a case. Although I already do that when I work on the rapid response car, but I have the option if I really want to, to say that I will travel with the patient and the crew member you was going to attend would drive my car to the hospital.

Im waiting for the first post to say ... "this numpty who took over my patient!!"

Im sure you will still have a huge positive impact on your patients, and once EMS 2.0 gets up and running, Im sure you will find your way back to your patients