Sunday, March 23, 2014

     Yesterday morning, Saturday, instead of sleeping in, waking with the sun, taking my quiet time with coffee like I like to do on a weekend, I got up to the alarm and rushed around like I do on a weekday morning, and left the house earlier than I have to for work. I was feeling very out of sorts, to not be able to follow my normal, desired, slower, weekend rhythms.  Out of sorts is actually kind of an understatement. I was really grumpy to have to give up an entire day of my down time to go sit at an Emergency Medical Services conference all day long. I had already spent my Friday night there, and now, another whole day, a Saturday. I need the continuing medical education hours in order to keep my EMT certification, so I really had no choice. Not this weekend. Not unless I decide to give up being an EMT altogether.
     That thought has crossed my mind a lot of times, for many different reasons. Monday night at dinner a friend of ours, who is retired, mentioned how busy we are all the time. It seemed like a sort of revelation. I don't know why. I guess because we just live our daily lives without a lot of time for sitting around thinking about living; we all just follow our normal routines, busy or not, without much thought. So I started wondering this week about the things I do that might  make me seem busier that some people, wondering if there are things I do that I could drop so I wasn't so busy and stressed feeling as often as I am.
      Being an EMT is one of those things. It doesn't require HUGE amounts of times, and I can sometimes pick and choose when to respond and when not to. But then, there are other times when it does take up large amounts of time, and requires me to do stupid things I'd really rather not have to do at all, like instead of filling out paperwork on ambulance calls, we are going to have to learn to do it all on computers. My brain rebels against that: "No, I don't WANT to learn how to do that. It will take too much time and effort. No, no, no."  And then there's the amount of time we spend responding to stupid calls for a toothache, a bumped shin, a twinge of back pain. Don't get me wrong. There are many completely legitimate calls you don't mind making. But there is a mentality that is all too prevalent that took me by surprise after becoming an EMT,  that the ambulance is simply a transport service for people who don't really need emergency services, but call anyway. It was very... enlightening. And discouraging. There are way too many of those calls. Those ARE a complete waste of time. And then, there are these conferences that I have to sit at a few weekends a year. I felt frustrated yesterday morning, thinking about this use of my time, wondering if the "waste" of a Saturday was really worth it in the overall scheme of my apparently too- busy life.
     Last night, after returning home, I was getting ready to call it a day and head up to bed. Let the dogs out, took my medicine, fed and watered the baby chickens in my basement. I had started turning out the lights when our ambulance tones went off:  Incoming 72 year old patient to our fire hall, cardiac arrest.  With no thought to the time of night, the hours the call would take, or what else might have needed doing, or the sleep that would be lost, I flew out the door and down the street to the fire hall. From first call to my response was probably two minutes. My 21 year old son, who is also an EMT, was already there, doing CPR, and continued CPR all the way to the hospital, a 30 minute trip. The other responders, far more experienced and knowledgeable than I, worked together like an orchestrated team. It was a tough call for me, multiple and unimportant reasons, but one which reminded me that my day at the conference had not been wasted at all,  and that, no matter how busy I am, I need to look for other things to let go of, not that. Apparently, becoming an EMT is more of a calling than I realized, or gave myself credit for while I was so busy grumbling over losing a Saturday.While I get thoroughly annoyed that a "difficulty breathing" call really means sometimes "I have a chest cold and should just go to a doctor, but I don't have a car and didn't bother to make a doctor visit during business hours and don't want to give up my two-pack a day habit so I will drag three of you out of bed at 2 am to take me to the hospital where they can administer an inhaler that I could have used at home," SOMETIMES a call like last night's is a wake up call to me that I really DO have a purpose at times and can be of some good to others. That's important to me. And it would be silly to let go of something that's important to me so that I can say I am "less busy."  I would like to have more time, be less busy, but maybe having a very full life and being "too busy" right now, at my age, is not necessarily a bad thing.
(And, I did learn how to give mouth-to-snout rescue breathing to a dog yesterday. 2 breaths per 30 compressions, 1/3 to 1/2 inch deep, under it's left front leg while laying on its side, unless it is a boxer or bulldog type of dog with a massive chest, in which case you can turn the dog over on its back... but don't forget to open its mouth and pull its tongue out first. Who says the day was wasted?!  Not I!)

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