Monday, March 04, 2013


It occurred to me just the other day that "I'm the man" and not in the sense that I think I'm special or above anyone else; quite the opposite really.  Many years ago I started my EMS career and I never gave my advancement a second thought.  I loved what I was doing and if that came with more responsibility I welcomed the challenge.  As I sit and drink my coffee today and reflect on 16 plus years of service and some of the difficult decisions I've made it just popped into my head that I'm now the person everyone bitches about when shit doesn't go the way they want it to.

I'm "The Man".

We are losing hours:  Blame the man.
We are losing stations: Blame the man.

We are working too much overtime: Blame the man.
We are expanding too rapidly: Blame the man.

We aren't doing enough special events: Blame the man.
Damn these special event!: Blame the man.

I'm a decent sized guy, not too tall and not too round but kinda like a fireplug.  Just tall enough to be considered average and just broad enough to lay the weight of the world on my shoulders.  In all of my years on the road I never once needed the assistance of drugs or alcohol to cope with my situation.  I left work at work and tried to give more to my family every day.  Everything I did was to better myself and my family.  They were my rock; my guiding light.

Today, not even a full year into my new job as "The Man" my doctor tells me that my stress levels are unhealthy, my blood pressure is too high and I need to start taking meds for anxiety.  I said: "Doc I'm not barking mad or anything" "I don't yell and scream at my people or come home and kick the cat."  The doctor said: "You don't yet." So I took the prescription and rolled on over to Walmart to grab my nerves in a bottle. 0.5 Xanax appears to be the cure the Doc believes in.

You see, I don't have a problem with death and destruction.  I don't have a problem with the twisted and broken form of the human body.  I don't have a problem with mass casualties or disasters.  These things I can work through without a second thought.  I've managed hundreds of ambulances on a national level through more than 10 of the nations worst disasters including 911, and so many hurricanes I can't remember all the names.  I'm a paramedic and those things don't rattle my type, not even a little.

Now, with the above said if you ask me to call an employee and cut their hours or if you ask me to shut a truck down early or if you ask me to make a "business" decision to close a station I'm a nervous wreck. None of my training covers this shit.  I feel hopeless, lost and completely alone.  I carry that burden heavily and I share it with no one.   I feel the pain of every employee.  I feel the sadness and despair for their families.  I share their uncertainness of the future.  I wonder how they will take care of themselves and their families and it completely wrecks me inside.

When something like this happens the first question is always "Why?" followed by lots of more questions.  I generally don't have the answer they want to hear but I tell them the truth never the less. This is private EMS.  It's a company like any other company in the world.  They either make money or lose money.  When the losses exceed the gains for any length of time "adjustments" are made to keep the company profitable.

Then they tell "The Man" to give everyone the bad news.

CHUCK UFARLY IS ZER0... one and the same.  Nothing to see here, move along.

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