Sooo. I work as an EMT as stated at the side there —>
Today’s QRS call I ran for the fire station lead to a good time write about being shut off from the world.
[Semi graphic images at bottom, so beware]
I was bumming around the station with a couple probies for a little bit. A call came in as an E0 (the worst category). I couldn’t hear what the call was b/c the probies were overly excited about going on a call to realize it is crucial to hear what dispatch has to hear. I need to know what I should expect and if the scene is most likely safe or not, and all that kind of stuff. When I got in the QRS I asked county for the address again and type of call. Apparently we were on our way to our neighboring town for a man not breathing at all. GREAT! Well, half way there, dispatch told us this call is now a possible DOA. I thought, great, we were too slow, couldn’t give aid, and now the guy’s dead. Swell. Little did I know what I was about to encounter.
The town’s ambulance decides to show up (Mega surprise right there!), and we pull in right behind them with the cops. I walk in and see the AED and equipment of theirs just laying at the bottom of the steps. I thought, well that’s not a good sign, and it’s awfully quiet. I guess the dude’s dead. I peer into the bedroom, and there’s a guy on the floor slumped against his bed. I could’ve sworn I was looking at a very well-made Halloween decoration. He was extremely lifeless with full blown rigor mortis set in and zombie-colored; he was more than flushed with a greenish, jaundice-like color with a mixture of purplish/blue/ashen. He was also pretty saturated with blood with blood over his bed, and trailing to the bathroom and again to the next room over.
Now, just describing what I walked into probably sends shivers down peoples’ spines. To me, I looked in, went ya, he’s definitely gone, and walked in to get a closer look. I grossly must admit I was into it. I was amazed and wish I could’ve looked for more than than the 30sec that I was able to. It’s not often you see a dead body the way it was, and plus it’s great for experience. I’ve dealt with DOAs in the past, but not to that gross extent of many hours (days?) of rotting. YUM!
I always say that I’m in the right field and passion because I am overly shut off from stuff like this. Granted, I didn’t know the dude, but still. Any time we get deaths or people very sick, etc, I am not bothered. In fact, my very first call on the ambulance five minutes after signing up as a volunteer, I had my first cardiac arrest. The medic told me to start compressions and I went, hm, alright, and did compressions like a champ without thinking twice as if I was doing it on a mannequin as usual. I didn’t know the guy for this instance, either, but had helped him medically with the fire station a couple weeks prior. His lifeless body I was pumpin’ had no affect on me, but the nastiness leaking out from every orpheus of a smell you cannot even imagine did a little bit.
I have also dealt with an instance of having a very bad car crash. Our ambulance took the driver, and she was in much better condition than the passenger. We were doing a complete trauma assessment on her, and it wasn’t until after backboarding her, getting her into the stretcher, and after the first few minutes in the back of the truck when I realized I have known the girl for just about my entire life. I froze for a second from that surreal moment, but it didn’t affect me in the least.
I do sympathize some of my patients, but I am also so extremely shut off from everything around me. It’s good because it doesn’t eat away at me and make the job unbearable, and allows me to focus and work calmly with a clear head no matters what. It’s bad because a lot of people consider me to be heartless and cold. I can admit that for many of the instances I simply cannot relate, so that’s part of the reason why I’m shut off so much. Many people struggle with calls dealing with children because they have kids themselves. Other calls like terminal illnesses or loss of a baby, etc, are also something I can’t relate to. I can, on the otherhand, relate to many other things, and I think I have the mindset of, ‘so what, suck it up, I deal with that shit and more’.
To me, I think, well we are only cheating death for them. We are only prolonging their lives, and if it wasn’t for us initializing care, their time would’ve come and not been interrupted. Plus, everything happens for a reason in my eyes. If they die, they die. If they live, they live. Things turn out the way they should for the most part. We do everything we possibly can to ward off the grim reaper. I feel successful no matters what happens. As long as I know I did my best to help extend a person’s life, that all that really matters. If I wasn’t an EMT would a loss of a random person affect me? No. Why should it if I am one. What? Because I am there and seeing it? I don’t know, maybe I’m just disturbed. Maybe, I am just lucky? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t want to change it.
*Dead bodies, decapitation, amputations? No big deal. Blood, guts, gore? Okay. Vomit? Get me the hell away!!!
…Hmmmmm I think I would be juuust fine in a zombie apocalypse.