Life is hard, even harder for the people who are suffering. But imagine life with nobody who cared, nobody who answered the phone when you dialed 911, nobody to come to your home whenever you need them, and help you, and care about you, and give you, or get you to the help you need. I think we need to step back every now and then, and take a look at the big picture. The little picture can be full of the aches and pains, and heartbreaks and misery that so often is self-imposed, its the big picture that matters- the one that needs to be in focus, the one that is full of the things we take for granted.

A life without gratitude is a life of disappointment. Existing without taking notice of the things to be grateful for makes for a long, bitter unsatisfying life. One in a hundred people who call 911 for help appreciate what we do. Perhaps they are used to other people treating them like cattle and simply miss the care, consideration and skill that they receive whenever we show up, no matter the time or reason.

Funny how the sicker the person the more grateful they are. Even gang members full of holes tend to be kinder than the ones barely wounded. Those are the worst, there’s nobody on earth less grateful than a kid shot who isn’t going to die.

A guys wife has had four seizures since midnight. It’s four a.m. She’s sitting in a chair in their living room, unaware. We get the stair chair ready and carry her out of their home and into the rescue.

“She goes to Miriam,” says the guy.

She’s having seizures. The closest hospital is Rhode Island, we’ll take her there.”

“She goes to Miriam,” he repeats. not unlike a parrot.

“Not tonight.”

The ride is uncomfortable. He glares at me all the way. She begins to seize. He looks at me as though I caused this. For some unknown reason I feel the need to explain the situation to him while pharmaceutically stopping the seizure. Miriam is ten minutes away, Rhode Island three. I’m sure we would make it to Miriam without any harm to the patient, but sometimes you have to go on principle. Rhode Island and Miriam are one. The same doctors, the same record keeping system, the same company. There was no wait at either facility at this hour.

It’s odd, how a person can be angry at somebody who rushes to their house in the middle of the night, carries their wife out the door, onto a stretcher and into a rescue, gives her oxygen, starts an IV, assesses her vital signs, administers medication to help with the seizure and gets her to a world class hospital in less than thirty minutes from the time he made the call.

I have never expected thank you’s or atta boys, I am grateful to have the opportunity to do what I do. Just doing it it all the thanks I need. But I can’t help but wonder where the gratitude went, and will it come back.

1 Comment

  • Jess says:

    We all need to reflect on how lucky we are that we can get help if we are in an emergency. Never having needed to call EMS (fortunately), I am immensely grateful that you would be there if I needed you.

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