Lately we have been getting a lot of riders on the squads; some are students, others are members of the community who just want to see what EMS is all about.
I wonder about them sometime, what makes them tick? What do they think about our job? Do they respect us?
We have this kid Ben who has been riding with us for a couple weeks. He just finished up basic school and took his NR practicals. Having found out that he passed them he was on cloud nine. I felt happy for him, remembering how I felt years ago when I conquered that obstacle. I told him that the only thing standing in his way now was a few words on a computer screen. He then asked me if I thought he would make a good EMT. I told him the truth "Time will tell Ben, time will tell". I know it's not the answer he wanted but I thought it best not to sugar coat anything for him.
All of that got me thinking about acceptance and how people crave it. I have been overheard saying "I don't give a shit what anyone thinks as long as my patients are taken care of" I know now that is untrue. I do seek acceptance, as much as it displeases me.
At 35 years old I have done more and saw more than most men in their 70's. I have had jobs in every branch of emergency services and finally settled down to be a full time paramedic. I have owned 4 companies, sold 2 of them, lost 1 in a divorce and went belly up with the other. I worked in the family business for years and I even bar tended for awhile.
Through every job and everything I ever did I think I was seeking acceptance in some form or the other. In the beginning I was trying to redeem myself for being such an awful kid. My father would tell me he was proud of me, but I knew he couldn't care less what I did as long as I didn't embarrass him. I worked for his acceptance for 27 years, and he died without ever giving it to me. I'm not sure I will ever be able to come to terms with that.
When my children were born things seemed to switch for me. I'm not sure anymore if I ever wanted anything more than to make my boys proud of their father and what he does. I see children every day in the course of my job who have deadbeat fathers. Fathers who not only don't help support their kids, but are never around either. I never want to be that kind of father. I want my children to say "That is my Dad, he helps people, he's a paramedic"
We all have to have a driving force behind us and in the end I guess it is a matter of seeking acceptance. Whether you are a new EMT looking for acceptance from your peers or a son looking for acceptance from a father it hurts when you don't get that acceptance. It stings like a bitch and there is really nothing that fills that. If your a strong person you will work harder to get that acceptance if you are easily disheartened it will hurt you for quite awhile. Push on, push on and stay your course. In the end you have to accept yourself first.
So I vow today to be more accepting. I will accept people unconditionally and I will reassure them where I can, but make no mistake... I'll still tell them their an idiot when they deserve that too.
Did you expect any less?