In all the EMS debates over BLS vs ALS, evidence based vs anecdotal, public vs private is the real reason we do what we do. I like to say that we make bad days better. More often than not we ride the bench. Sometimes we get the grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.
I got a facebook message from a reader who was looking for a spark to get out of a rut and gave the best advice I could. My response included examples where we find joy in this work: The smile from the woman who’s hand we hold when nothing is wrong, the man who half smiles at his wife when he sees her as we unload him at hospital having a massive stroke. There are so many small victories in this world sometimes we miss them. If you are looking for medals or public recognition in EMS I have bad news for you: It will be a long, lonely wait.
But sometimes that wait pays off. I had no idea that the best motivation to be a good Paramedic or EMT would come in my email inbox early this morning.
8 months ago today a man died. Dead. Asystole.
Then some of my co-workers showed up.
This morning we got an email with a photo. The photo showed our patient dressed up for Halloween with his young daughter. He was Obi Wan Kenobi and she was Princess Leia.
His smile made me smile.
Her smile made me forget all the bullshit.
Although I keep a running tally of cardiac arrest saves on a white board in my office, this is my first photo of a smiling child. And hopefully not the last.