One of the things I like best about my job is that there is no typical day. Sure, the downtime can get boring, but the calls themselves are always interesting. There are some days where being an EMT is the greatest job in the world. The days when you get to rush an expectant mother to the hospital and she has her baby on the way there, or when you give someone the right medicine at the right time to stabilize them so they’ll live to see another day – those days are the best days. We all want shifts like that every time; people go home at the end of the day having made a difference, and if we’re lucky nobody died.
I don’t do well with boredom, which is probably why I chose this line of work in the first place. We work out of a fairly rural area, so some shifts can be painfully slow. But we are close enough to Knoxville that we’ll sometimes pitch in if something big happens.
The start of my shift is probably a lot like your day. We inspect the rig and do a stock check to make sure that we are good to go. Then we wait for calls. On the one hand, it is great when we don’t get any calls, because that means people aren’t getting hurt or requiring emergency help. However, it can be boring. Once that first call comes in, though, my job is probably different than yours. There are always some nerves because you never really know what you will be walking into. Once you’re there and assessing the scene, though, training takes over and things are just second nature.
If there’s bad weather around here, we know we’ll be heading out on at least one vehicle accident call. It’s just always going to happen. The same thing goes for certain holidays – people are always maiming themselves while cutting Thanksgiving turkeys, falling while putting up Christmas decorations, blowing themselves up on the 4th of July, drinking and driving on New Years (or Saint Patrick’s Day. Or Memorial Day. Or the 4th of July. Or Labor Day. Or pretty much most other days around here). Once you’ve done a few holiday shifts, you kind of know what to expect.
It doesn’t matter what I think about the person we’re helping, or even the situation that prompted the emergency call. It doesn’t matter if you are a junkie who OD’s while driving a car or the pedestrian that the junkie ran over, I (and my EMT brothers and sisters) treat both of them. It is not my place to judge anybody. Many of the people I meet on the job are at their most vulnerable, and judgment is the last thing they need. I’m just there to help in whatever way my training has taught me. It is my job to help stabilize a patient and transport them to a hospital close by. That’s it, and that’s plenty.