Cocktail Parties

An earnest young student asks me a serious question:

"What's the hardest part about being a paramedic?"

I look her right in the eye.

"Cocktail parties."

I say this with all seriousness.

She leans back in her chair, blinking her disbelief.

It's the social that's the most difficult.

Here I am, out with a bunch of people who have no idea what they'd do if someone died right in front of them.

I, on the other hand, know exacttly what I'd do!!!.......Pump and blow, Load and go!!!

(If the preceding phrase has no meaning for you, then you're definitely not an EMT. )

We, who do what I do, live with the persistent knowledge of how easily and how frequently people die.

We also live with the constant assurance of our role in that process. We know what we are to do and when we are to do it.

I find that I alternate between the responsibility of being guardian of all life around me and the honor of being the shepherd of the passing of life around me.

At times, it makes me dizzy.

At cocktail parties, it's awkward.


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