Sunday, June 22, 2008

Farewell to John

To my favourite partner, teacher, mentor, friend and brother, I will truly miss you. I know you have to move, being hired on by a service several hours away is better than no job here. I just wish this city would wise up and hire you already.

You took me under your wing over a year ago, making it your job to teach me, mentor me and help me out with the rough stuff. You answered every question patiently, reiterated the stuff I always seemed to forget, and always pushed me to do better, pushing me beyond my comfort zone. You were my safety net for everything we did together. You made me run the call, but always with the knowledge that you were there to step in or help out if I needed it. I know I still have a lot to learn and a lot of experience to gain, but you gave me a solid skill foundation and the confidence I need to be on my own.

You were always the protector; a bodyguard and big brother. I felt so safe with you. Drunks were never a problem; you protected me from both amorous and aggressive ones. You called me out of the way of projectile vomit; you pulled me back from clingy and unpredictable patients when I got too close. You taught me to become more aware of my surroundings and the environment. Scene safety was made paramount, as you knew you would not be my bodyguard forever. When another member showed interest in me, you became the big brother, pointing out the fatal flaws I was trying to ignore and comforting me when I was upset.

I was completely intimidated by you at first; you towered above me in both size and knowledge. I have come to realize that you are a big teddy bear, unless someone you care for is in need of help. I will miss you oh-so-very much, my respected mentor, trusted friend and honourary big brother. I love you and wish you all the best in your new city. You’ll knock ‘em dead.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Night Shift

Combine three relatively new and extremely fun partners with a 12-hour outdoor, overnight event. Add in very accommodating event organizers, a beautiful (yet cool) first night of summer and the reappearance of a VERY entertaining firefighter. With a touch of coffee and a lot of hot chocolate, you get the perfect recipe for a fun night.

Night shifts can be quite fun, if all the pieces fall into place. I know I should try to sleep for a bit before my next shift (6-midnight), but I just can't seem to get into sleep mode with the beautiful sunshine outside my window.

Monday, June 2, 2008


The sweet little girl with the tummy ache looks at me with frightened eyes. I talk to her quietly, softly, drawing her out of her shell in the tiny little first aid room. She tells me of her puppies, then mentions how her Dad abused them. She tells me of her siblings, then tells me they are in foster homes. She tells me of school, and how she hasn’t been in weeks. I want to hug her, to make her life easier somehow, but I just sit and talk. Shane slowly pushes the door open and steps into the room. I smile and look up at my trusted friend, but the little sweetie in front of me freezes in her chair. She pushes back, trying to shrink away from my lovable partner. A veil drops in her eyes, she refuses to speak or even look up, still cowering. Without speaking a word, I quickly advise Shane to leave, and he slips from the room without a sound. I watch my frightened little charge sadly. What is she so afraid of?

An excited din in the hallway brings me to my feet quickly. An ever-smiling Spanish child is holding her screaming brother tightly by the arm. He shrieks and cries out, “No, no!” as one of the leaders runs over to me and tells me he has a popsicle stick stuck in his throat. The leaders are trying to convince the girl to let me look at him as she shakes her head and adamantly repeats, “No, no.” I can assess him to some extent without touching him, and by the way he is screaming his head off in sheer panic, I think it’s safe to assume that he is breathing. He just keeps shrieking and pulling away in abject terror, his ever-smiling sister showing the same fear through her eyes. What are they so afraid of?

The kids file out of the building as Shane and I watch, smiling and saying goodbye. We try so hard to be a comforting, safe presence for them. So many of them shy away, look at us with fear. A tiny black boy looks at me with distrust as he passes, holding his even littler brother tightly by the arm. He also looks at us with fear in his eyes. What is he so afraid of?

What is the sweet little girl afraid of? What are the brother and sister afraid of? What are the two little boys afraid of?

I’m afraid to know.