For this month’s edition of the Handover, to be hosted over at ‘A Day in the Life of an Ambulance Driver’, and to be published on the 23rd December, AD asks the question what is “the call that made the shift.” What calls or patients have you had that made that holiday shift worth the time away from your family?
So this is where I own up…I have only worked one Christmas Day shift since I have been in the job (9 Years!). Part of this the luck of my shift pattern and some of it is down to the kindness of my colleagues who do not have children and realise that it is a big miss for those of us with kids to not be at home on Christmas morning.
Therefore, I have not really had any jobs that I can remember that make the time away from my family ‘worthwhile’.
The one year that I did work it was when my first child was only just one, and so the excitement was more for us than for him as he didn’t really understand what was going on.
My memories of that year are not any different than any other shift I work though. I have stated many times that I feel truly privileged to be able to do the job that I do and to be part of people’s lives that in all honestly would have hoped that our paths would have never crossed.
Each day I am at work, I know that I am doing something worthwhile which is not without its own risks to me and my family, but it is a choice that I continue to make. To be the best paramedic I can be, be as compassionate and understanding as possible, and strive to constantly learn from everything that I do to ensure that when a patient needs me, I can give them the best possible treatment and care available from the North East Ambulance Service.
What I am grateful for though, is that I have yet to witness grief and loss on the one day that is meant to be for celebration and family. I do not miss having to tell a family that “your father/mother/brother/sister/ son or daughter has died” and watch their world and every future Christmas day fall apart before my eyes. I do not want to be part of that memory.
Losing a loved one will always be one of, if not the most traumatic events of a person’s life. But to have it happen on a day that is so memorable and one that is normally looked forward to each and every year must be an absolute nightmare.
So, I guess I am glad that I have the opportunity again this year to be with my family on Christmas day, but I will not forget all of my colleagues, brothers and sister in EMS working around the world who aren’t as fortunate as I am this year.
I hope it is a quiet shift for you all, and I hope you can remember this Christmas for good reasons and not bad memories. What a Christmas present it would be to get a successful resus, a healthy delivery, a rapid and efficient assessment and transport of a patient for PPCI, or just bring comfort to a patient who really needs it on Christmas day.
Most of all I wish and hope that you all have a safe shift and enjoy getting home to your families once you have done your duty to the populations you serve.
I am more proud than ever to be part of the worlds EMS system after my experiences in the blogosphere and in San Francisco this year.
Happy Christmas to you all and all of your families!!