I used to wonder why I spent years unable to get out of my own way, love my wife the way she deserved to be loved, laugh, cry or find joy in anything.
I used to wonder why I stayed distant, and never let anybody too close.
I used to be on the edge of giving up. Then I did give up.
I don’t wonder why anymore. I just read some of these old blog posts and wonder how anybody who does what I did for as long as I did manages to get through it.
Don’t let anybody lie to you, or lead you to believe that what we see on a daily basis isn’t damaging your ability to live your life like the rest of humanity.
Don’t bury your emotions. Don’t hide behind a wall of bravado. Don’t be afraid to be human. Because we are all human, and only human.
Talk to somebody, and don’t go back to work if you are not ready to face what you faced yesterday.
You can live with this job, lots of people do. It’s how you live with it that matters most.
From one of those days…
The baby was only days old, and a few weeks premature to boot. Her mother handed her to me, and let me carry her down the stairs and into the rescue. She had spit up, then choked a little. The mother panicked and called 911. I tried and failed to convince the mother that this is nothing new, and her daughter would be fine. She didn’t buy it, so off the the hospital we went. I must admit, though the trip to the ER was a bit unnecessary I didn’t mind a bit, newborns have a way of melting the most hardened heart.
The next infant was only a few months old. She had been fine all day, but suddenly started to seize, with no prior history. She was still seizing when we arrived. Chris from Engine 13 established an IV and got some Tylenol on board, Ryan manned the 02, Brian got the vital signs and I wrote it all down and called the ER while Mom watched, and cried. There is no mistaking a postictal infant, their color is all wrong, they don’t respond to anything and they just are entirely helpless. Job satisfaction comes in tiny packages, Little Johanna was pink, and crying by the time we arrived.
Another newborn didn’t fare so well. She was born at home, then stuffed into a plastic bag and tossed under the bed. Her mom went to the hospital because she was bleeding heavily. And the infant lived and died all in a matter of minutes under the bed in a tiny bedroom in a triple decker in Providence.