Editor’s note – Shorts are collections of stories that have been submitted that are shorter than 1 paragraph in length.
This is my second submission to Code Green. I loved my job – I still love it. But I currently have an unrelenting chronic disease called Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria with Angioedema. Recently I had to stop working because after a few codes (we call it the rule of threes… one code leads to usually three more within the next 4 weeks)- I made the connection that after working the code, up to 1 hr sometimes more depending on if we get ROSC or not in the field my hands would start swelling and hurting along with my knees. They would get hot, flushed, itchy and painful. If I can’t do my job that I love without getting sicker- what am I supposed to do?! My support group is my coworkers- I have taken the past four months off with a rare day here and there where my hives were not a problem. I have lost touch with my coworkers. I feel alone- scared and frustrated that with all the meds I’m on nothing has helped! My coworkers used to ask me how I was doing – check in on me…etc. and now I just feel like they are avoiding me. There are days where I feel so isolated and alone that my chronic depression comes back like a tsunami. I used to have things under control… now I struggle to find that control. So I recently applied for some dispatcher jobs – I figured if I couldn’t physically do my job – I could work as a dispatcher and be that first point of contact for those who need help.
– Story written by VF, 29 year old AEMT. 10 years in EMS.
I have been an EMTB for about 23 years now. A career choice I made with ease. I was serving as a volunteer with my local FD. I had a great paying job as a salesperson. I gave that up to make EMS a career. My first position was ER Tech in a very busy ER. Was there 2 years before moving to an EMS service as secretary/EMTB. I was there 2 days with no orientation to the ambulances nor knowledge of where the dang keys for ambulances were when our service (the whole service) was called to a school shooting. I was called to bring an ambulance to the scene and pick up a medic that was supposed to be going off duty when the call came in. The blood trails were overwhelming. Every time I hear school shooting I am right there again. I want to know what causes a child to pick up a gun and take someone’s life. What has happened to make these kids so angry and so full of hate? When will it ever stop? I can tell you this, the nightmares never seem to stop. I spend many nights laying in bed thinking about all the dead and injured children involved in this school shooting. I see them clearly just about every night.
– Story written by a 27 year old female EMT-B.
Hello, My name is Matt Doughty. At the age of five, I was burned and abused by my birth mom. She built a fire in the garage and stuck the backside of my right hand into the fire until it blistered. I was removed and placed with my bio dad where I lived till age 14. At that time I had dealt with rejection abandonment depression and a lot of other issues. I had ADHD. I could not sit still, I was always in trouble and nothing anyone did changed that. At age 14 I ran away and decided the streets, drugs, and friends were more important than family, sports, and education. I went on to spend seven more years in and out of foster homes, juvenile placements, county jail, and prison. Today I am a married father of three girls. I am a firefighter first responder. I wrote a book and do first aid and CPR presentations. I am a public speaker sharing my story with first responders and talking about PTSD the effects, and how to handle trauma and much more. I founded a nonprofit called “firefighterswithptsd.org”. I share my story in hopes that I will help those around me get a hold on their mental health. It’s ok to not be ok!
– Story written by Matt Doughty, 36 year old FF2 with Dassel Fire and Rescue. 5 years on the job.