I have a strange way of operating: rather than plan and prepare and fine tune something, I wait for it to happen, then figure out what to do, usually manage to get through whatever it is that I got myself into, then dwell on what just happened for a few hours, or days, depending on how things went.

Probably years of firefighting and EMS molded my present operating procedures, but then again, probably not. Mark Anthony, the world's greatest bass player who made Van Halen sound so great once said, "I'm not like this because I'm in a rock band, I'm in a rock band because I'm like this!"

Maybe that philosophy holds true for us as well. Imagine being a cook, and just expecting to come up with a plan when the dinner crowd arrives, or a financial planner who waits for the end of the year to try to put other people's money places where it grows. Or a carpenter who wings it, trusting his instincts to see him through. My guess is there would be a lot of hungry, broke people living in dilapidated houses if everybody reacted to situations as they arose rather than planned for them.

Don't misunderstand, a lot of pre-planning and practice, not to mention education and guitar lessons is needed to shoot from the hip, probably why you don't see too many six year olds in rock bands or on fire trucks. Probably the most important ingredient of spontaneity is knowledge.

So anyway, I'm driving home from Rescue Rounds last night, thinking about what I said and how I could have said it better, rather than relaxing now that it was over. It might have been a better idea to hash out how to make what I was about to say better, or better yet, planned on what to say BEFORE the event, but I guess I wouldn't be in a rock band (theoretically) if that's the way I thought. One thing stuck out in my mind-I have a tenancy to downplay my blog, and my writing when talking about it in public. I'm not very good at  getting praise, and it still amazes me that through my writing I've garnered the respect of a lot of colleagues, both in the rescues, and the emergency rooms. Doctor's Sullivan and Williams listened to me talk about things with rapt attention, and were genuinely interested in my take on things. A lot of people listened, then introduced themselves after the event, and it was great to put faces to names that I see of Facebook and comments on the blog. People like what I write, and for that I am genuinely grateful. I put a lot of effort into writing these stories, and books and to be recognised for that is not something I should take lightly, or attempt to shrug off as if it were nothing. It IS something; something I am proud of.

The theme that kept recurring as I made my way home was no matter where we are in the EMS pecking order, and make no mistake, there is a pecking order whether we like it or not, we are there by our own making, and our own capabilities. It doesn't matter to the doctors that I'm a Providence Rescue Lieutenant, or that guy is a first year basic, or she's a part time private ambulance employee, or he's a Paramedic, or she's in school to become one. It also doesn't matter to the first year basic, the Paramedic student, the volunteer or the Providence Rescue Lieutenant that that the initials D,R come before a person's name. What stands out, and keeps us together (and sets us apart) and on top  is our shared love of the job, and genuine desire to help our fellow human beings by being the best at what it is we do, and we are comfortable in our place, and know our part, and that the whole would not be possible without those parts. The people at the bottom of the pecking order are those that just show up for the paycheck.

When we give it our best, it shows, and everybody can respect that, and be proud of it.


  • Bob Lincoln says:

    Wish I could have made it, obligations prevented.  But my wife is anxious to buy the new book for me.

  • sarah archer says:

    Well said, thankyou.
    (still hoping santa will bring me your book/s)
    best wishes#lollipop

  • Brita says:

    So glad you came! The genuine care for people that you write about is what I enjoy most about your blog. Compassion has an incredible power to transcend the sacred medical hierarchy and bind together providers like the motley crew gathered at Hasbro on Wednesday. It's sometimes hard to find things to be proud of within EMS as a whole, but I'm grateful to be a part of the EMS community in Providence.

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