Last night, I finished up an absolutely crazy 9 days of work. I spent almost 120 hours (that’s 3 standard work weeks for normal people) on the truck, running calls and in training. That’s a lot of hours, and a lot of time away from my wonderful and amazingly understanding husband.
Throughout the course of the week (and 2 days), I ran a lot of calls. Some of my patients were actually very sick (a highly unusual proportion to those not sick), some not so sick and some who didn’t need me at all. And then there were the support roles that I played: rehabbing fire fighters. That, to be quite honest, is one of my favorite things to do. I love my fire fighters (yes, Jon knows about it). A lot. I appreciate them and all of the wonderful help that they provide me. They don’t get upset when I call them in the middle of dinner or in the middle of the night for help. They graciously come, assist me with whatever it is that I need help with at the moment. From lifting and moving patients to assisting me on the ride into the hospital with a sick patient, they never complain but instead ask what they can do to help. They never leave the scene without ensuring that I have everything that I need and that I don’t need anything further from them. They stay with me, even as their passion (fires) is being dispatched out just down the road. They are, quite simply, the best. We are truly fortunate to have such a great working relationship with all of our public safety friends, especially these guys (and gals).
So, structure fires are one of the few ways that I am able to give back to these folks. Here, they take the lead role and we are there to support them. We have to make sure that we are adequately keeping the fire fighters hydrated and healthy. Of course, being the medical professionals that we are, sometimes, we tell one of them that they cannot go back and fight the fire. Their vital signs are too out of whack to safely go back and do what they love. However, they never get upset with us for doing what we can to protect them and, in the long run, keeping them in the game for what they love.
Over the past week, I have responded to a structure fire each day that I have been on shift. These have come in the middle of the night and in the heat of the day. As much as the heat was an issue for us (EMS), it took an even greater toll on the fire fighters closely battling the blaze. They did their job. The fires were extinguished. We did our job. They were rehabbed and allowed to return to their passion. In the end, everything turned out well. I’m hoping to break the cycle of structure fires when I get back on cycle on Saturday. We’ll see how that goes…