Editor’s note – Shorts are collections of stories that have been submitted that are shorter than 1 paragraph in length.
Normal to not feel anxiety, panic, fear, depression. To no have nightmares, wake drenched in sweat, or to be able to sleep when you intend to. To not have everyday things make your heart jump out of your body. To not see things out of the corner of your eye no matter where you are, shadows, vehicles, people. To know these battles are not normal. The struggle to get through the day sometimes is hard enough, let alone to take care of others. To attempt to bring their babies back. To hide their small premature, underdeveloped ones from them in fear of traumatizing them. To tell a wife her husband is dead. That struggle is not normal. But to feel the passion for helping them when you can make a difference in their most vulnerable moments. Helping the elderly man who has just lost his wife with some anxiety when modernized medicine won’t just let him get a night’s sleep. The feeling of helping the woman you would never have related to if it weren’t for the sexual assault she’s just experienced. To have the ability to know that compassion. That’s not normal, it’s exceptional.
– Story written by female paramedic, 7 years in EMS.
I am a private EMT contracted to a major city for rescue. A few months ago I transported a police officer with a gunshot wound to a hospital that was farther than the closest hospital but was the appropriate choice. The city, the Fire Commissioner, and the medical board cleared me but I was receiving death threats from the city medics, one of whom put a price on my head. I am now back in the city but have had several confrontations with city crews. I no longer feel like a member of a “family” and am seriously considering leaving EMS after nineteen years. I LOVE my job but I am wondering if this is worth it.
– Story written by an anonymous EMT.
I began as a volunteer in a rural area as a first responder. When I completed EMT-B national registry I worked in a very busy emergency room as a tech for a few years. Then I went with an extremely busy EMS service. During my 20+years, I have seen so much death and so much HATE. Now that I am retired I still live EMS each time I hear a siren, every time I go to sleep, it is, always there. The look on the face of a body in a truck vs. train crash. The baby that is blue and dead because the mother was to busy fighting with her boyfriend to check on the baby. The disabled child burned to death in a house fire. It just goes on and on. Now I am in the midst of a divorce because the husband does not understand my depression. I loved being in EMS and would go back if I could. Love the husband but if he feels like he must go then so be it.
– Story written by female EMT-B, 20+ years in EMS.