Last Call

I knew the end was closing in, that I was running out of time. Just because I want the party to go on all night does not mean that it will. There are laws, laws that close the bar at a certain time, and laws of nature that shut a person's ability to perform off, even though that person refuses to acknowledge that it is time.

"Ignorance to the law is no excuse for breaking it."

I ignored the pain and apathy for far too long, and stayed working knowing that I shouldn't, aware  that I was a liability, my ruined back and resulting weakness a danger to my partners, and my attitude making me less than the medic that the 911 calling public deserved. I knew it, but ignored it, waiting for "the one" call that I could hang my hat on, and think about all through retirement.

The last call turned out to be for a kid on a baseball field who "might" have had a seizure. He and his mom and sister were at a party at the baseball field, and he had been running around and drinking orange sugar water, and he got hot, and sat in the grass and zoned out and the people at the party partied on while the kid's mom called 911, and we came, and assessed him, and found nothing wrong, but he did have a history of seizures you see, and he might be dehydrated you see, and he did feel woozy you see, so we carried him off the field as a crowd of fifty or so adults and a dozen or so kids kept the party going.

Enroute to the hospital I had the epiphany. I know I'm sounding like the person I despise –The Disgruntled Employee – but I truly can't help myself, and I won't have this forum or opportunity to vent forever, so here goes:

Mom: "This is the third time this week we've been in an am-bo-lance!"

DE (disgruntled employee) : Really.

Mom: "Yup, Sarsaparilla over there might have had a fever on Wednesday so we took her to Hasbro Children's Hospital, and Ronny threw up after eating three cans of Spaghetti O's last night!."

DE: "You took her?"

Mom: "Yup, we called 911 cuz she needed medicine."

DE: "Medicine. Don't you have any at home?"

Mom: "Nope. It's at the Hos-pi-tal!"


I looked at Sarsaparilla with contempt, and more so at her brother, who was now  playing with the equipment. Their mother I completely ignored. Contempt for children. Sick children. Yes, I had arrived.

Not quite the blaze of glory to finish my career I had planned, but I knew then and there it was over. I didn't want to be like Brett Farve, or Seinfeld, hanging on long after I should have left, and didn't realize that I had done just that until that very moment.

I suppose Brett and Jerry never knew either.


But don't cry for me, Argentina, theres lots more good in this story than bad, and during the time I've been away from all of it I've taken the opportunity to reflect on what was a fabulous career. I have done things I never imagined myself capable of doing, learned more about myself than I needed to know, and truly made a difference in countless lives.

I am truly blessed, and it's about time I recognized that. Too bad I had to leave to realize it. But life is a journey, not a destination, and I'm planning on enjoying the ride, wherever it may lead.

Thanks as always for taking the trip with me.

I'm sure I'll have more to say, so stay tuned…


  • Paul says:

    You see though, you're not "that guy" you despise.  You're a normal human being reacting to the state the system has devolved into.  You're reacting to the irresponsibility of the mother,  the lack of self-reliance, lack of accountability, lack of common sense and the fact that the system enables (nay, encourages)  abuse.  Not to mention that, more than likely, those kids will perpetuate the cycle over and over again until someone has the testicular fortitude and brains to make meaningful change happen.  Things like, tiered response, EMS initiated refusals, EMS referrals (versus transport), true billing (he we can do auto-pay deductions for gym memberships why not needless transports even from "sytem funds), etc.  Some places are already doing it, but we may not live to see it in our state.  This isn't YOUR fault, not be a long stretch.  The sad part is that I only expect it to get worst, especially in the cities and larger towns.  Unfortunately, the types of change we need isn't popular with certain sectors and if there is anything we have learned is that politicians and our "liders" tend to not look past the next election (or contract) cycle.

  • Michael Morse says:

    Thanks Paul, it certainly is frustrating.

  • There comes a time. As  much fun as the social aspects of "the job" were, I realized a couple of things. One, most calls were either routine or annoying. MAYBE one call a week had some interest, but mostly calls were an interruption to my socializing with my co workers.
    I just got tired of that and of the hours, sleeping while other people were living their lives, and being perpetually annoyed.
    Walking away was hard and for days afterwards I second guessed myself.
    It's been six months now and I realize that it was the best decision I ever made. Everyone that I worked with remarks about how relaxed and happy I look.
    The sad part is that I never realized I was tense and unhappy.
    As much as you may love the job, there comes a time.

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