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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Paramedic's Wife.

My husband is a paramedic. He is not an "ambulance driver", he does not just do first aid or CPR. He doesn't just drive people to appointments or to the hospital. He is not a taxi service. He is not paid as a professional driver.
He wears a bullet proof vest to work because sometimes he needs to help people who have been in violent situations, and the person receiving the help may have their attacker near by, not wanting them to survive.
He can get attacked by dogs, wives and husbands who are angry and violent, by people so messed out of their minds that they don't know what they are doing.
He saves lives. He has saved many many lives. Sometimes I wonder if he should. (from an ethical and religious point of view...who is he to decide whether someone lives or dies?) He has saved the same people many times in a row because they want to die.
It frustrates me that he doesn't get the acknowledgement and respect that he deserves. It frustrates me that the unions can't band together like fire-fighters, cops, or nurses. It frustrates me that the wives and husbands of paramedics don't bond together and commiserate or build community.
It frustrates me that he has seen so many bad things done to people by other people so that he loses a little empathy for man kind. He has lost his feeling that people are inherently good.
It frustrates me that we spent 4 years to get his education, went over 20K in debt (just to survive while he got his education) and have burnout after 6 years to show for it. Also, that his education, while 4 years long does not count as a degree.
It frustrates me that paramedics are such a vital part of the health care system and never get a thank-you, a card or some flowers.
It frustrates me that he works long hours away from home dealing with people who abuse the system.
It frustrates me that people think that he is less than he is, or that he sits on his ass playing video games between calls and that is why he should have to try and raise a family on $14 -35 / hr....and not a penny more. EVER.
It frustrates me that this still bothers me after 6 years.

I hope that one day we can finally leave the field of EMS behind us forever.


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