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…