Unless you’ve been there, you wouldn’t understand: A Paramedics farewell to the job.


“I just don’t want to do it anymore…..I can’t do it anymore” I said as I stood across the kitchen bench from my father as he sat there confused with a look on his face like many that I have seen before, when I explain that I simply cannot be a Paramedic anymore.

“Why?” he asks. – “Unless you’ve been there, you just wouldn’t understand.” I say. That’s about as far as the conversation goes. I know the look. It’s the look that a lot have given. The look that says something in their heads like “But it’s a good paying Government job! It’s secure, you studied for years to get the qualifications, and you play an important role in society! Why the hell would you just throw it all in?!!!”

Well for over 14yrs now, I have proudly donned the uniform, but I have to say that in the last few years it’s been a bit of a battle with my mind to do it.

“You’ll be ok.” I’d say to myself. “Life won’t throw you anything that you’re not capable of handling.” “You know your stuff……what are you worried about? Suck it up, and stop being such a wimp.”

That’s just it…..I think deep down what has kept me going for the last few years has been the fact that I still had a little bit of belief that I if it came to the crunch – my inbuilt training and paramedic instinct would kick in, and I would do absolutely everything in my power to try and save the life that fate has plonked me in front of. Because that’s just what we do. It’s in our blood.

But that belief was slowly dwindling, and being swallowed up by an overwhelming feeling of ‘needing to protect myself’ from playing out anymore of this real life script – called “You must see some terrible things”.

Because unless you’ve been there….you just wouldn’t know.

You wouldn’t know what it’s like to still vividly remember the jobs you’ve gone to.

You wouldn’t know what it’s like to still see the look of helplessness upon a husbands face watching you do CPR on his wife who has just suicided by drowning. Who you just know that he’s going to blame himself for ‘ducking down the road to get milk’ and not being there in time to get her out quick enough.

Unless you’ve been there.

You wouldn’t know what it’s like to hear the chilling screams of the woman who was entrapped in her car after a speeding drunk motorbike rider hit her car, killing himself and his passenger….and knowing that she will never walk the same again, let alone her life being the same again.

Unless you’ve been there.

You wouldn’t know what it feels like having an 18yr old ‘birthday girl’ mutter her last words and die in your arms as you try to free her from a car wreckage on the night that she’s supposed to be ‘just going out to celebrate her birthday’.

Unless you’ve been there.

You wouldn’t know what it’s like to watch someone burning in a car – and not being able to do a thing to help her.

Unless you’ve been there.

You wouldn’t know what it’s like to have to tell a patient’s loved ones “I’m so sorry, we tried everything that would could – but we were unable to save him. He’s passed away. Now that’s something that you never get taught, nor do you get used to it.

Unless you’ve been there.

You wouldn’t know what it’s like to see a young man hanging from your local playground, and remember the ringtone coming from the phone in his pocket… which happens to be his worried girlfriend because they’ve just had a fight. – Then to have no explanation to your daughter as to why you won’t let her play at that playground anymore because you know you will just continue to see the image of his face as his body hangs lifelessly.

Unless you’ve been there.

You wouldn’t know what it’s like to hold that limp premature baby in your hands, and then have to resuscitate it – and having it spontaneously breathe by itself. Bringing ‘life’ back into the baby….but what sort of ‘life’ will it be, growing up in a household of poverty and neglect?

Unless you’ve been there.

You wouldn’t know what it’s like to still drive around your local area even 14yrs after being in the job, and know that you’re mind will ‘vividly’ remind you about THOSE jobs- as you drive past where they occurred…(good, or bad outcome). Or that you would have an overwhelming sense of having to quickly change the channel when you see some sort of ‘trauma’ related drama series on tv, because it just all seems to lifelike.

Unless you’ve been there.

The highs are highs, and the lows are lows. So, yes – I may appear to be ‘overcautious’ or ‘over the top’ with safety, with my own loved ones or even yours.

Yes – I’m the mother who puts strict rules on riding on the pushbikes / motorbikes / climbing trees / being in a car-seat / the age kids have to be to travel in the front seat / being around bonfires, and many other activities, and gets annoyed with comments like “Oh don’t be so over the top – she’ll be right!”. Because you wouldn’t know what it’s like to see how it doesn’t take much for a child to die or their life (and their family’s lives) to be dramatically changed forever.

Unless you’ve been there.

Yes, I may appear a little over the top when it comes to drink drivers or text driving, but believe me…if you’ve seen the devastation that it causes….you’d be hard pressed to even hold back YOUR own disgust at the lack of disregard for how precious ‘life’ is.

You wouldn’t know what it’s like to hear a teenage driver boast about how he’s been “Slamming Bourbons all afternoon for his best mates 18th birthday”….and hasn’t yet been told that his drink driving has just killed his best mate who is laying in the passenger’s seat of the car that is still wrapped around a power pole.

Unless you’ve been there.

You’d never know what it’s like to witness many lives sadly taken from this world too soon, at the hand of their own decision – and the overwhelming sense of helplessness and sadness that they felt like they had no other choice to heal their pain.

Unless you’ve been there.

I think the straw that broke the camel’s back is when tragedy happens to people you care about.

Like the suicides of people you know, the deaths of people that have just left this world too soon, cancer, car accidents, the realisation that has been building over the years because you’ve seen it time and time again; that ‘Life can be too short – and it can all be gone or dramatically changed in an instant.’

This realisation left me thinking that “I don’t want to turn up to a job, and it be someone that I know.” It’s bad enough with all the dreams of turning up to people I know.

Then my best friend – my mother, was diagnosed with a Grade 4 GBM – the most rapid and aggressive type of brain cancer there is. Watching her pass away 16days after her diagnosis, confirmed to me that she was to be the last person that I would witness leave this world. It’s the hardest thing to say goodbye to someone that you’ve looked up to your whole life. Although it’s been close to 2yrs since her passing, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her – I think I have dodged a bullet by having still done the odd shift (not many…but enough to pay the bills), and not been to any deaths since, and for that – I thank the universe!

I’ve had this conflict in my head with one part saying “You’ve got a good paying job…stick at it, to pay your bills” and another part saying “What is this really costing you?” The later part has now won, but it has taken some self-evaluation to come to that decision.

So my years of personal development has paid off to help me make these decisions in my life, and now I’m just trusting that everything will work out the way it’s meant to!

I look at it as if I’ve just written an awesome chapter in my book of life, and now I’ve turned the page and bring on the next!

Look, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom, and I have actually loved my career!

The feeling of gratitude and accomplishment when you save a life – is one that you just can’t describe.

Or being the first person to catch a baby as it comes into the world is amazing.

Or seeing the relief and joy on a family member’s face – when you get their loved ones heart beating again, or when they hear the cry of their child that was once not breathing, and lifeless….is something that no other job could begin to match up to.

That’s the positive side of the statement unless you’ve been there – you just wouldn’t understand’.

The long-term friendships that are more like being ‘my other family’ would have to be one of the best things that I’ve gotten from choosing to become an ambo though.

There’s a real understanding between ambos about what each other may be going through; knowing what jobs would give you the ‘highs’…and what jobs would give you the ‘lows’ ….. because they’ve been there.

So I have no regrets about being an ambo or anything in my life for that matter! Everything that I’ve done, and everything that happens – has happened for a reason and a purpose, I truly believe that. There’s a quote that I love that says

‘You can’t change what happened, but you can change how you react to it.’

-Unknown –

So, would I choose it as a career again if I was to live my life over? Absolutely! However, if I can pass on any advice to the up and coming ambos of the future – it would be to:

  1. Take care of yourself – Mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Being ‘brave’ is talking to people who are there to support you. It’s not a sign of weakness. You can’t look after others (patients, your family/loved ones) if you don’t look after yourself first.
  2. Treat every patient as if you were in their situation, with their problems, with their backgrounds, with their lack of understanding and support in some cases. It’s called empathy. Never lose it. Feel it, show it – and BE that rainbow in their clouds, and you will not only fulfil their needs, but keep your own heart filled. Don’t ever lose heart. We are all important as each other.
  3. Never stop having fun, enjoying and loving what you do. If you do…..it’s time to close that chapter, and find that inner spark again – in something else.
  4. Always be kind. To ALL those around you. Even if they aren’t showing kindness – keep your standards high. You are worth it.

Xox. Di.

Various pics off Camera downloaded 2013 009

Di McMath is now a Resilience Coach & NLP Coach Practitioner, Author, and owner of Platinum Potential.  

*FOLLOW UP BLOG (POSTED 6TH MARCH 2015) = https://dimcmath.wordpress.com/caring-for-the-invisible-wounds-a-former-paramedics-mission-to-help-build-resilience-in-the-lives-of-emergency-workers/

* The response to this blog – highlighted the NEED for MORE help for our Emergency Service workers, and so…..after just over 12mths of creating….A program specifically designed for those in the industry – has been created.

(video credit: Gerald Pauschmann – The Point TV)

Please watch this short (2minute) & powerful video – for an overall summary of the problem, and a solution to helping officers. (Whilst it’s based on Australian statistics….I’m very aware of the global issue – and the program is also available to countries outside of Australia).


‘Triple Zero Resilience Program’ (Triple One / Triple Nine / Nine One One – depending on your country)

Sponsoring of an officer to do the program – is very welcomed!


167 thoughts on “Unless you’ve been there, you wouldn’t understand: A Paramedics farewell to the job.

  1. Been there. My back gave out after ten years or I would have remained in my paramedic career with the City of Toronto. Never, not once, did I flirt with PTSD, but I get it that many of my mates did. Unbeknownst to most, especially my partners who were atheist or agnostic, on the way to the worst of the worst dispatched calls, I would silently pray to myself, “Dear God, please give me the strength to bear what I am about to witness, the skill to medically help this person, the words that will bring comfort and dignity to the grieving, and to bring calm to chaos.”
    I was never let down, yet I often wondered why so many cops, firefighters and medics relied on their own power instead of the Lord’s to get through the tough calls.


  2. l finally left after ten years, but it was after a spate of very bad jobs, and the one where l child of four had her arm broken by her father, and we were told she had fallen!! not saying a word to anyone she had frozen awareness, and l have never forgotten her face, or the fact she didnt, shed a single tear, and it was a bad fracture, same age as my granddaughter, and l had to leave in the end. It was just too much.


  3. I think there is simply a spectrum of tolerance that every person has for a given experience – paramedic, police officer, soldier, ski rescue, ER nurse, whatever. Some people the tolerance is zero. Some people they could do it till they died. Most people are somewhere in between. The hard part, I expect, is someone being able to be objective enough to recognize that they have reached their tolerance, and that the experience is now making them worse rather than better. Whether it’s physical, psychological, emotional, etc. or a blend doesn’t matter. We do what we do while it feels right for us. When it starts feeling wrong, it’s time to move on. If we don’t move on, eventually, subconscious sabotage, cognitive dissonance, passive aggression, will all start gradually polluting our lives. Trust that your experience will benefit you in things you do in the future. Thank you for the work that you did for your community for so long. I hope you move on to other interesting and challenging things.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for your service…..without you and others like you; we’d all be in trouble. Recently having my partner faint and hit her head on the bathroom floor….being knocked up and bleeding……It was a huge comfort to have the 911 operator and the paramedics all there supporting her and I and well…..thank you thank you thank you……all of you!!!


  5. It is very true that the toll of being a medic is more taxing then most realize. I am one of the “diehards” that made it my life and felt I was handling it well. After 31 years in the profession and on the road, I can tell you it is an enormous toll of your life. Your partners and co-workers do become your family and sometimes they are the only ones you can talk to. I handled the nightmares, exhaustion, joys and tears, but in the end it became personal and that was my “straw.” I lost my son to a car accident while on duty. It was an overnight shift (tour 1) when I received the call that my son was in the hospital. I was put out of service and allowed to go directly to the hospital. Upon arrival, I witnessed my son on a ventilator. The emotional impact was like getting hit in the chest with a bat. The worst was seeing his dilated and non reactive pupils. I professionally knew he was beyond help because of the numerous times I had seen the same condition and the enviable prognosis. I fought to stay on the road, emotionally, and just tried to put it behind me. The next incident put it over the top and now I knew I could not go further. While carrying a 250 pound patient on a “stair chair,” who was possibly having an MI…we exited the building into pouring rain, IV’s hanging from my uniform, patient complaining of pain and no banister to help balance the load, my left leg gave out as we tried to walk down the stairs. In an attempt to cushion the patient, I slide under the off balanced chair and caught the weight into my arms on on my legs. Though the patient didn’t get hurt and we were able to stabilize his condition, I had an overwhelming sense of failure. I had suffered cuts and bruises from the fall, but felt embarrassed to accept help from the ED nurses.

    So, It was over! I was an emotional wreck and apparently my skill set had weakened. I retired 1 mouth after the fall and 2 years after my son’s death. I had a deep sense of failure for not being able to continue. My faith helped a lot, but I had to relocate. I could no longer look at the city the same anymore. I found out 2 years after retiring that the fall was probably due to my slowly progressing Multiple Sclerosis. The strange thing is I actually had a sense of relief that I just didn’t fail, but there was a reason behind it.

    God bless all First Responders and a very special blessing to all my brother Paramedics for the sacrifices they make everyday (seen and unseen).


    • Oh Terry – my heart goes out to you….I couldn’t bare to imagine how hard that must have been for you. You are definitely not a failure in my eyes – quite the contrary. 31yrs….you’re an absolute hero. Thank you for sharing your story.


      • Thank you, Di…BTW I truly meant Brother and Sister Paramedics. This is definitely a gender blind profession..As the saying goes, “If you can physically do the job, your personal attributes makes no difference”


  6. Perfectly said. What did it for me after 15 years as a Paramedic was a call for a double drowning of two 5 year old twin boys. I was the first ALS provider on scene. Worked them both up until additional units arrived. We were able to resuscitate one but not the other. Walked into the ER room where they resuscitated both kids to leave paperwork and locked eyes with the mom. Worst thing I have ever dealt with.


  7. Had AMI on my ambulance during n returning from Hosp.Got D fibbed n survived, been out over 2 years, after working 20years.Some busy n dangerous places. Grateful to be out, loved it but so stressful. Saw a lot of stuff good n horrific. Thank God everyday I survived n do not hafta go back.I too had enough…n didn’t really know it


  8. I was with the Mililtary in early seventies with U.N service afterwards , I joined the Fire Service in -90 I can say that those that have not walked our paths will never understand, my brothers and sisters in uniform serving the fellow man just hang in there and remember that you are not alone.


  9. I have been there, I have seen what it does to people. But it wasn’t the horrors or the abuse.
    It wasn’t the blood, the vomit or the excrement.
    It wasn’t the risks, the anxiety or the deep, deep, sadness.
    It wasn’t the shifts where you didn’t get a proper break or a tidy meal.
    It wasn’t the holidays you had to work when everyone else was enjoying quality time with their families.

    It all about lousey management.
    That’s what burns paramedics out.


  10. 24 yrs on the ambo’s. It took the best of me. Thanks for putting this out there. Looks like international Borders have no meaning in the ambo business. Look after yourselves brothers and sisters cos management won’t.


  11. PTSD

    This is a conversation needs to happen ! Many first responders have pushed PTSD aside thinking they would be OK if they ignored it. Or for fear of being looked down on, being weak or just plain crazy. You are not crazy, you are injured!

    This needs to happen for all people that are put on the front line and subjected to seeing, smelling and hearing things people are just not meant to see. And all to often with zero support from the people that put them there, British Columbia Ambulance Service. Everyone has seen a picture on TV of a soldier staring off into space, or a nurse crying around the corner trying to hide their grief.

    This condition has and will continue to destroy many of us and our families. Believe me when I say that it profoundly affects the people you love the most. It must be brought to the for front and recognized. We need not be ashamed as we are just normal human beings that have reacted normally to abnormal circumstances.

    Many years ago I heard of a thing called AIDS, Ambulance Induced Divorce Syndrome, I suspect in many cases it was PTSD.

    Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of this insidious predator that sneaks into our lives for many first responders and amazingly enough you may not even know it’s happening. Nightmares, isolating yourself from family and friends, substance abuse, explosive anger, deep depression and so many more crippling effects.

    Many have taken their lives for fear of the stigma surrounding this condition. Wake up and be proud you served, comforted, and helped people in times of crisis, with compassion and always in a professional manner. So, so many people will never forget what you have done for them. Hold your head up with pride and give yourself a pat on the back.

    Keep talking and educating yourselves people, it may just save your life as you know it !

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I took my certification at 18 and signed up for NYC EMS (Now the FDNY) back in 1986 when homicide rate for Crack in NYC was at its highest and AID’s was the frontline nightmare for any First Responder. I remember as if it was yesterday the Adrenaline rush of going to a shooting or stabbing and saying, “That Was a Good Job”. Good job in meaning you were able to apply the skills you have learned to try and give that person who is knocking on Heavens door that second chance.
    I remember one day back in 1988 on my birthday I had two SIDS Jobs and one two year old who had aspirated on a frankfurter and was in Cardiac arrest. We did the best we could do but by the end of that last Pediatric Job I was spent. I could not concentrate, and I could remember right down to my friend Gary R. who worked 35X opening the back doors to the bus at Wychoff’s ER and grabbing the toddler and running him inside. To this day it make me cry, Me and my partner left the hospital and went back to the station. I told my Lieutenant what happened today and that I could not finish, I was drained. I remember him saying, “Son Its a War Out There You Have To Toughen Up. I looked him in the face and went home, I was brought up on Charges for going AWOL and had to see the Chief. I Explained how I had felt and needed to put my head together, and how I have never been had three babies die on me in one day ( Never before or again)! He wrote it off and agreed with my melt down and it was back to work.
    Back then there was “No Help”, for you but a stop at the bar after work to speak with coworkers about your day. You never went home and heard, “Hi Honey, How Was your Day”, “Well Not To Bad Just Two Dead Babies Today”. It Just did not happen. There is two different mind sets and worlds to the First Responder and the average, “Desk Jockey”, what we saw were the Nightmares that people live through in life all wrapped into everyday of work.
    After experiencing 9/11 I knew I had been to the final dance, separating what were body parts, the rotten flesh, the hords of people walking the streets aimlessly along with the posters of those missing plastered all over. Probably I did not know how bad it had affected me till 2003 when I was a Lieutenant and I walked in on a crew who were on a Cardiac arrest, I just looked at them doing CPR and got instant Nausea and turned and walked out. Later that day the crew asked me what had happened, one of them described it as I turned very pale and stoned faced. I told them I was fighting a cold. I started drinking to get through the stress of going and after work, I knew I had two years left to retire and I felt I could stick it out this way. I had never been a drinker and my Best of friends would always laugh in saying I was a cheap date so it was not really working for me. I decided to start seeing someone outside of the department, I did not want the stigma that goes with it. Most of the workers at FDNY would put up a wall and make pretend it did not bother them, but I tried and knew I could not hold it for long. In September of 2003 I was assigned a Job to go set up staging at LaGuardia Airport for a Plane landing with No landing gear and 300 Souls aboard. I started to head North up 108th street in Northern Queens and past Citi Field. When all of a sudden my arms and legs started shaking and everything felt as it was in fast motion, My entire field of vision began to narrow and I pulled over and started vomiting to the point of dry heaving, a police car pulled over to help me and I told them I must have the Flu, (Too embarrassed to say what really was going on). I got onto the radio and told the Dispatcher I was 10-62 (Broken down) and that I could make it back to the battalion and Roadside (The Mechanic) would meet me. I remember my Friend Ron from Astoria jumping on and taking the Job, (Boy was I Thankful). When the Mechanic came I told him the truth and he told me he would just check the vehicle.
    The next day I reported to Health Services at the FDNY and told the department Psychiatrist what was going on, I also told him how stressed I was and that my Doctor had me on 4mg of Xanax XR and 1 mg pills as needed. He suggested a Light Duty assignment but I was denied it by the Captain in Charge of Light Duty. It got to the Point where I would go to work and refuse to work, then they would send over a Superior officer to Order me to work. I would ask him to sign off Liability since I was on a controlled substance, “Of Course No Way”, and the wheels goes around.
    I was issued a disability retirement for PTSD along with some other 9/11 related issues. It was a hard Fight, but i have heard that the FDNY has come a long way with helping and not letting a Responder put there life on a tragic course. I am coping well now, but still to this day can not get involved with emergency care. I helped one man in 2006 in Cardiac Arrest on the Beach and as soon as the crew got there I went into a bad Panic attack and just was mush. The instinct to help will always remain, and if I saw a helpless person I would. I would also know that I would be laid up for a few hours after.
    I am proud of my years and the many great saves I had, and great partners. But its makes me sad to think about all of them that I know of that had Taken their Lives, Became Drug addicts or Alcoholics all in their own selfish honor and not being labeled as, “Crazy”. It’s Ok we are all part of the Human race, none of us are made not to feel emotion. When its time to hit the bell, Hit it and be proud of what you have done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can relate to so many of your comments and feelings in your reply. I too had a bad run that totally changed my entire self. It has taken the love I had for my career as a paramedic out of me. My employer refused to acknowledge what was happening to me. I too dreaded going to work. Dreaded the tones going off. I was simply going through the motions on a run. I was extremely irritable and angry. I couldn’t wait to finish a run and go back to FH and crawl into my bed and sleep until the next run came. I couldn’t finish run sheets, and the list goes on and on.

      I only hope that more EMS providers (management) take head in the warning signs and acknowledge that this career is a stressful one and help their employees. I was told by my union rep during an appeal hearing that “bad runs happen, it’s part of the job and you just have to deal with it”. I was so angry at him! You heard of the saying “if looks could kill”. That was not the response I needed to hear from my peers.


  13. I have been a field paramedic for 28 years. I’m still treating patients and have 2 part time jobs, as most EMS personnel do. EMS has been my life since I was 19. I love my job but it has definitely come at a cost. I did not marry until I was 39. I have no children. The job always “got in the way”. I am a paramedic training officer and my coworkers look to me for guidance because of the amount of time I have in. I sometimes feel like a fraud because the longer I do this, the more I pray for calls where no one is maimed or severely ill. I remember loving to get those “challenging calls” and would hit the ground running. I find myself more and more anxious that I’m going to run into something I can’t handle and this is not like me at all. I don’t remember when the change occurred fro confidence to anxiety. I think it was a 10 y/o boy that hit barbed wire on an ATV, severing his trachea and part of his esophagus. We were in a rural area and he was alert but struggling to breathe. He needed an airway. The call was one I will never forget. I had never felt such an inability to control a situation. His outcome was favorable after a VERY rese several minutes, and only by the grace of God did we secure his airway, as he was becoming bradycardic. I have never cried due to stress from a call but I did that day, only for a minute. I had 20 years experience at the time. These calls take little pieces of my soul. I wouldn’t change my career but there are many things I’d like to forget….


  14. I was an army medic for 25 years and have been a civilian medic now for 15. I have 7shifts to do before going part-time on a 24hour contract and I can’t wait. To the people I have worked with over the last 40years you will always have my love and respect and I wish you all the best for the future, but remember! When you feel the time has come WALK AWAY. You’ll have done your duty to everyone else and it’s time to think of your self and your family. As the motto of my old Corps says “In Arduis Fidellis” Jock


  15. Hi, I just read this just now and can I just say THANK YOU!! Finally someone within the service opening up!! Telling it like it is.
    I,myself, am not a paramedic but in fact a daughter of one. My dad is my hero and always will be!
    However a few years ago he decided enough was enough and tried to commit suicide( not only due to work but family issues also). He left a letter and went up the hills. Thankfully he came to his senses but by this point he had pneumonia and was confused, therefore couldn’t find his way home. We are lucky as he was found and brought to hospital but his temperature was so low he had to be put in an induced coma. Days passed but thankfully he was ok.
    This was not the end though as a few of his so called peers left him ‘high and dry’ didn’t go near him for the fear – he may do something stupid’ and the depression came back to the point he couldn’t speak and still has a huge effect on his mental well being (Eventually after long term sick he was dismissed from the service). He will go days where he can’t physically get out of bed and the ambulance service didn’t help him in the slightest. I didn’t realise how bad it was until recently as he has begun to open up to me a bit more. He was in a really bad place and like I said people who had known him for years, who knew him well, began to act differently around him as if depression could be caught.

    The main point I’m trying to get across is that even within the ambulance service mental illness has a stigmatism attached to it. Thank you so much for opening up and hopefully a few of the people who knew my dad will realise what he was going through alone- with no help, and begin to recognise the signs so this does not happen again. I just wish there was other ways to make what you all have to go through wider knowledge as I wish I had known before my dad became Ill.

    Thanks again it means a lot! X

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I have long since reconciled that I was the best chance they had to survive. I did not cause it, but I sure darn well was going to do everything I could to give them the best chance of survival. I was good, no better than good. I gave my mind, my body and my emotions to that invisible task master to make me that good. They wanted 30 hours a year CE, I did 200 a year for years. But that does not stop me from remembering and revisiting. I cannot drive through town without looking at a spot, any spot, and remembering a broken body or tortured spirit. After 10 years, I got to a point where I knew that I did not know and became afraid that I would make a mistake. I became terrified that I might hurt someone because I missed something or did not say something. Add to that the psychological trauma of watching 2 patients die because the ER doctors were not ER specialists. I did CPR over 300 times, I still have half of their names (over 30 years later). I did my best but God had other plans. That doesn’t stop me from hurting. This helps, writing and sharing my experience. Who says medics don’t get PTSD? Been out for over 30 years. Still carry a jump kit in the car, stop at accidents and keep my certs up, just less CE than before. God bless every medic, society does not realize how bad it would be without you all.


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