Saturday, May 21, 2011

Everyday Heroes

Carol stops by the school on the way home from work to pick up the kids from after school recreation, she's been on her feet all day, and she really needs to sit with a glass of wine. She catches the end of Oprah on her 12-inch under the counter TV while she prepares supper.
She finally sits to eat, gets the first bite of mashed potatoes, and the tones go off!
Tonight she's "running" with her town ambulance crew. She is one of the countless men and women across our country who volunteers their time and energy to keep all of us safe. Their reward is only the knowledge that what they do is noble and right, that they truly make a difference.
Across this country and around the world Emergency Medical Services members are the front line of our safety. The EMRs, EMTs, Paramedics, Fire and Police, paid and volunteers, truly are everyday heroes.
She gets up from the table, grabbing a piece of chicken and heads out the door. It's Mrs. Jones from across town, her CHF acting up. (Probably that ham she's been eating). By the time Carol gets to the hospital, gives turnover, writes her report, returns the ambulance and gets home, it's 9:15. There's a plate of food in the refrigerator that her family prepared, ready to warm in the microwave. She's too tired to eat. She showers and crawls into bed, asleep before her head hits the pillow, it's 9:50.
10:30, the tones go off.
"Are you fricking kidding me?!"
It's an MVA, a car into a tree. 2 high school students, same school as her son. One of them will not survive.
These are the calls she hates.
She performs like the professional she is, she calls for a paramedic and lifestar, she packages them up. The paramedic arrives first, he makes the tough call, who flies to the level 1 trauma center, who goes by ground with him, to a level 3. Carol goes with the medic, after they hand off to the trauma team she retreats to the EMS office and does her report.
She is tired, she is hungry, she is emotionally spent, and she cries.
Her EMS brothers and sisters are there for her, they are a tight community, bonded together in a way that must be witnessed to understand, felt to be understood.

1am, Carol crawls back into bed and wraps herself around her husband.  She will fill him in tomorrow, she wants him to sleep. He rolls over, he knows it was a rough night from listing to the radio, he holds her tight. In 4 hours the alarm-clock will go off and another day will begin.

May 15-21 is set aside to honor these men and women, our everyday heroes. God bless them all, keep them safe, and keep them always in our hearts.
I consider myself blessed as an ER nurse to get to witness this heroism on a daily basis. It is an honor to know them and to call them friends.

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