I am a paramedic of 20 years and I have PTSD, depression and anxiety on a daily basis. I finally took a leave of absence from the job recently, the time off did me well. I have since come back to work and the memories begin to haunt me again. The faces of those that keep me up at night, the smell of gasoline and blood, the mangled vehicles and bodies strewn along the roadside. The sound of the wailing parents when they arrive on scene and see the destruction and the white sheets covering the bodies of their loved ones. The sight of the lone survivor lying in the ditch thrown from the vehicle.
She knew something terrible had happened and that everyone was not OK. She was so young, too young to have to be told about the loss of not only her sister but her twin. This angel was mangled and bloody and never cried a tear, while we worked ever so quickly to prepare her for the flight to the closest trauma center almost 2hrs away, she finally asked “where is my sister, is she OK?” What do you say? How do you tell a child so young that her twin is dead……..I said nothing. Tears welled in my eyes and I had to turn away. I could not look at her and say nothing. I felt so lost and confused. Hearing the parents gut wrenching screams as they learned the fate of those that they love and the very traumatic injuries that the only living survivor has. I pass the scene every shift and the skid marks ever so faint are still visible. The smell hits me like a Mack truck right in the face and I relive that horrifying night every time.
I have seen and dealt with so much over the years. Hell is have surpassed the burn out rate several times. I am the glue that holds it all together so to speak. I am in fact a robot. No feelings, no emotion……..nothing!!!! That is until I am alone and the rage and pain hit me. The anxiety and insomnia start and the cycle begins all over again.
This career has sucked the life out of me! The pain and sadness on a daily basis have made me cold and callous. Yet I still come to work dreading and waiting for my next call.
– Story written by an anonymous NREMT-P, CCEMTP, PHRN (Paramedic/RN), 20 years in EMS.