“Just” an EMT.


My husband is an EMT as well as beginning his firefighter training. As such, a lot of our friends are now EMTs simply because that’s the circle that he runs in.  I’ve seen a lot of facebook posts recently about how there is no such thing as “just” an EMT. I’ve also seen and heard nurses call them just ambulance drivers.

I would like to go on a more personal explanation of why EMTs are not a “just” anything. They have the capability to make a bad situation either bearable or a horrible event that will stick with you the rest of your life.  Because I took care of both my parents, I had a lot of interaction with EMS and sometimes it wasn’t a great interaction, but sometimes it was all that kept me from having a panic attack in the middle of a crisis. They’ve been both my lifeline and the person I wanted to slap.

Let me start with what was by far my worst experience, because I want to get it out of the way as I think the good interactions far outweigh the bad.

My mom had a stroke in 2008. My dad came to my room and woke me up saying simply that something was wrong. I get to their room and Mom is laying on her back staring at the ceiling, not quite able to focus on either of us. The side of her mouth had a noticeable droop as did her eyelid. She was unable to move the right side of her body, and all she could say was no. She literally could get no other word to come out. We immediately called 911. Mind you, we live in the middle of nowhere so we knew it would take time for EMS to respond. 

One of us started calling my brothers and sisters, though I honestly don’t know who. 

I will forever remember feeling desperately helpless, and then when the EMTs finally got there they sat outside and worked on paperwork before they came in, and then when they came in they looked at my mother and said, “Well, we don’t see any signs of a stroke, but we’ll transport if you want us to.” 

Looking back on this, I wish I had the understanding that I do now. I wish I had remembered names. My mother was laying there unable to move one entire side of her body, saying a very slurred no over and over with the side of her face drooping, and yet they saw no signs of a stroke. It terrifies me what could have happened had we listened to them and not pressed to have her taken to the hospital. We ended up having only about a year and a half with her after that, how much shorter could that have been? How much longer if she’d been able to get to a hospital quick enough to get the proper medicine?

This was the one and only time I ever can remember a truly horrid experience with the EMTs and first responders who seemed to become a part of our lives. There was a time before Mom’s stroke that Dad and I had went to town to get groceries. We came home to find mom passed out, laying half over the kitchen table with the phone off the hook by her feet and sick-up all over the floor. Mom never remembered this so she couldn’t tell us if she was trying to call for help. We called 911 and I think they must have grown wings because it’s the fastest I ever remember them getting to our house. The feeling of relief when they came in and took over the situation was indescribable. They administered oral glucose to bring Mom’s blood sugar back up and then we were off to the ER. (That one turned into an adventure which led to a stay in Roanoke.)

There was the time I had an allergic reaction to a medicine I was prescribed by accident and my face swelled up along with all the muscles randomly spasming and almost biting my tongue off. The EMTs spotted the rash on the side of my throat quicker that even my mom.

There have been many instances where EMS became involved in our lives, not just emergency situations either. After Mom’s stroke, it was the three times a week trips to the dialysis center. It was Mom calling and canceling her appointments and the EMTs who normally worked her calls calling back or showing up anyways and talking her into going. It was her usual team getting her a little surprise for Christmas that made her day. When she was hospitalized (because she often refused her treatments), they would call and check on her or if they saw me out they’d stop and ask how she was doing.

It’s because of this that we have never thought of the EMTs in our life as “just” anything. This continues even more now that my husband has made this his career. I’ve seen him jump from a moving vehicle to get over a bank to someone who wrecked. I’ve seen him go days without sleep while he runs calls. Going out anywhere with him is going out with the knowledge that he’s an EMT first and foremost and that if we run into any situation, he will pull over and do what he can to help. It’s being in church and knowing if his pager goes off, he will answer. It’s who an EMT is. Their first instinct is to do whatever they can to help anyone in their path. There is no such thing as “just” an EMT. It’s not “just” a job to them. It is so very much an integral part of who they are.


It’s a New Year…

So, I thought I’d take a minute and talk about my plans for 2017, try to get a little more positivity and planning in my blog. everyday

First, I want y’all to know that I plan to blog more often. 2016 was rough, and the depression kept me questioning whether or not I should post most of the things on my mind. Actually, I’m planning to do more writing in general. I miss writing. I’ve always loved it, even more than reading as I get to do with the characters as I want to.

Next, I plan to be more active physically. I say this every year and it fails, but I’m hopeful that I have a friend who will ride bikes with me this year and help keep me on track. If I could find someone who will walk with me around town that will be extremely helpful as well, although even I’m not gonna do it in the middle of winter. Way too accident prone for that idea.

(Although, as soon as we have enough snow I fully plan to ambush my cousins in a snowball fight.)

Third, I want to work on my relationships this year. With God, with family, with friends, with anyone that I love. This last year I’ve been distant with pretty much everyone, and a big part of that has been the depression and anxiety.

I would say fourth, but I think this ties in with my relationships too much – try to find a way to get the depression and anxiety under control. I’m tired of it keeping me from doing things that I want to do and things the hubby wants to do. We had so many things planned in 2016, and when it came down to it either I couldn’t do it because of my issues or hubby was also having to back out of arrangements because I needed him.

Last I think is trying to be more thankful. I’m always worried that those around me aren’t aware of just how much I appreciate and love them, especially my “inner circle”, but if it wasn’t for these people that God has put in my life I can’t help but to think that my world would shatter sometimes. So to all of you – thank you.

Let’s try to make 2017 a better year,  a happier year.

(PS – There will be a lot more looming as well!!!! I have plans y’all. )


Free clinic – the Good

(Two Part Blog)

Our area hosted a free clinic this past week and before I say anything else, I want to take a moment to express how beautiful this event was. This was for vision, dental, and medical care. There were people from all walks, all races, and all professions, all talking to each other just as normal human beings. I had the pleasure of sitting with a lady who had come to have her oldest son’s and her own health checked out. His name was Kevin, he was an adult, and he had down syndrome. Every person I noticed spent a significant amount of time talking to both this mother and her son, although he was too shy to answer back mostly.

I can’t say as I blame him. There were A LOT of people there. It is not an experience I plan to repeat by myself ever again. My phone was my life line to not having a severe panic attack.

Despite the amount of people there, the wait times weren’t absolutely horrible, and the staff did everything they could to make the experience pleasurable. They brought around lunch, bottled water, and at one point there was singing and music from some of the youth who were volunteering.

Now, let me explain why I chose to attend this event. I do not have health insurance. My husband and I fall between the brackets. He makes too much as an EMT to qualify for Medicaid, but we don’t make enough to be able to afford private insurance. The lady I was talking with actually had insurance, but was unable to afford the deductible. So, we came, in droves I might add, to this three day free clinic.

I have severe asthma and allergies. I’ve had them my life, but growing up I was on my parents’ insurance. Did you know an inhaler costs 70 bucks? That is the rescue inhaler. Once I spoke with the primary care doctor I was sent away with a Symbicort inhaler ($330) as well as a nebulizer ($200-$400) and the medications for the nebulizer. They even offered to pray with me. It was an amazing experience watching these doctors, nurses, surgeons, etc volunteering their time.

A large part of the doctors I spoke with weren’t even from West Virginia, and yet they had donated time, provisions, etc to come here.

It was truly a blessing.