Saturday, June 19, 2010

I am so not in Kansas anymore

I've landed somewhere so bizzare and strange, I just had to write about it. For those that don't know, they call me Medic Trommashere. Yes, I turned a piece of medical equipment into a pseudonym because Lord knows, in a few months, I'll have some crazy Tromma Junkie pounding on my bedroom window for a few minutes of my time (or a pissed off former supervisor/co-worker who could read through me trying to hide who I am and what happened until the statute of limitations is up)

A bit about me. I am a 20-something Paramedic who moved from the land of quick ground transports and a hospital on every blessed corner to...well...not. When I was told that my trauma patients would have to be flown in to the nearest hospital, I about cried. Back home, I never thought about calling for "a bird" because, well, I had a total transport time of less than 2o minutes running red lights and woo-woos.

My next favorite question that I get to answer is this: Why did you get into this job?

Honestly, many things happened in my life to put me here. I watched way too much Rescue 911 for my own well being. I couldn'tve been any older than eight when I first started watching. Secondly, at 14, my father collapsed in our kitchen after a new medication he was on caused a bad reaction. My mother was in a sheer panic, babbling incoherantly, and I got to get on the phone with 911.

After explaining to the 911 Dispatcher what was going on, she promptly hung up. No pre-arrival instructions, no, "everything is going to be okay", nothing. Just, "Turn your porch light on and the ambulance driver will be there shortly." The first person who showed was a police officer. His idea of helping was...drum roll move the kitchen table and then go back out the front door. Once again, I am left alone with my incoherant mother, my father who is currently breathing slower than a snail's pace, and me.

When the medics did show up, it was as if God Himself had come down and saved the day. The Medics and EMT's acted with such professionalism that I wanted to do the same. One consoled my mother while the others set about helping my father. My mom made me ride in the ambulance because I had seen my father fall and knew how he was acting just prior to the fall.

At 14, I thought the EMT's and Medics were just sooo cool! I even told my mom that, because the Medics said that everything was going to be okay, it was going to be. Fortunately, they were right. After that, I had been officially bitten by the EMS Bug. I signed up for the first class I could, and lets just say that the goings on in that class can span several posts, and it will when I do them.

Now at 24, the Medics are still as cool as they were back then, even though I have ascended to their rank. I still hold those who taught me through my younger years in high esteem; my friends and colleauges who get a chance to run with me outside of my steady partner ask me where I learned some of my tricks, and I don't have many that I can't attribute to a former Paramedic partner.

As for why I'm not in Kansas any more, long story. Mostly, I was itching to move laterally in my chosen profession. Where I came from, that just didn't happen. Politics played a heavy hand in EMS back home. Boards of Directors were filled with Husbands, Wives, Fathers, Mothers, Children (both legitimate and not) and signifigant others (Whether the wives/husbands knew anything about them was a different story to be told.)

Mutual Aid contracts were fueled by who was drinking buddies with whom, who had slept with who, and just who liked who. I listened to Priority 1 calls be fielded out to services over 10 minutes away (if traffic/road construction wasn't going on which never happened on my side of paradise), while my truck sat in stone throwing distance from the call, just because that week, the owners of company A and B had a great time at the bar that weekend.

Moving up in the company was also something that just couldn't happen. I am one of those people who will always be a "blue shirt" (or minion, take your pick), not because I don't want to be in a leadership position, but because I enjoy working on the trucks. It seems as if when someone ascends to the role of supervisor (or "white shirt"), they, for some reason, decide that they've had enough with truck time, and are happy to sit around the station and annoy the hell out of their

That is not to say that I haven't gained the qualifications to do some of the lower ranking supervisory positions like Con-Ed coordinator, or ALS Coordinator, hell, even BLS Coordinator, I just wasn't in the "in crowd" (see also: drinking/sleeping buddies with the boss).

The straw that broke the camels' back was when I and 2 other co-workers who had been with the company for years, had been unceremoniously put in charge after the death of the station cheif. For the next three weeks, we worked hard to keep the station together, keeping employees from killing each other and the trucks on the road. At the end of that time, we were told that other employees, who had started with the company AFTER the Cheif's untimely demise, were the ones in charge. Three weeks of hard work were undone in a matter of minutes.

The ones in charge did not like the former cheif, and they did their best to get rid of those who did. I got screwed in ways I didn't know was physically possible. For a while, I contemplated getting completely out of the field. Why did I want to be a part of something that could turn people on each other like rabid animals? I felt like I was in a profession that condoned eating its own young. Fair play and cohesiveness were outlawed, it was all about back stabbing and trying to get dirt on whomever you could so that you could take it up the chain and maybe get a promotion. Good works didn't reward you, but playing dirty could make you a star.

After an especially horrific incident, I up and left. I'll admit, I went off like a firecracker when I found out what happened, and I up and left, but I felt like I had all the explination I needed. Loyalty to the company was no longer in style. I needed to play dirty to keep playing the game, and I wasn't about to do that.

I had decided about 6-8 months prior that it was time to move. I had a sit down with those closest to me and within a matter of a few days, it was decided. We needed, for the sake of keeping our sanity, to leave the state and start anew. Then came, as a sign from God that this was supposed to happen, the job opportunity of a life time. I couldn'tve designed a better job, so I jumped on that bandwagon, and rode it south, to where I reside now. I left a lot of good friends and better partners back home in search of EMS Nirvana, and well, lets just say that...this is close enough for government work.

In closing, I'd just like to say, thanks for sticking with me. I know I can get long winded, but hey, this is my blog and I'll do whatever the hell I want to with it. I plan on throwing in some field stories, some old, some new, some in between, and just general life stories. I'm sure the layout of the page is going to change more often than a frat boy changes girlfriends, so hold in there with me while I try to make up my mind...then again, it's the female peroggative to change it at a moments' notice.

Have a good one, and Be Safe!

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