I was surfing around the other day and came across these poems and thought I would share. For all the other EMS/Fire/rescue people you should be able to relate, for everyone else, this is something that we deal with everyday and night. so next time you see a firefighter an EMT or a police officer tell them THANK YOU because we hardly ever hear it!!!!!
"AND YET STILL I VOLUNTEER"
by Eric Levdahl
I try to save this child but he's met his fate.
His innocent eyes are void of hate.
He and his father weren't walking far
When they were both struck down by a drunkard's car.
This night I know I will not sleep.
These terrible images my mind will keep.
I know these nightmares linger near.
And yet still I volunteer.
Her eyes well up - compress the chest
Say a silent prayer - then two quick breaths.
She's done this many times before,
This fight for life kneeling on the floor.
But this time it's her best friend's mom
Whose lifeless body she is working on.
This call like others will end in tears,
And yet still she volunteers.
>From slumber woke by a siren's wail
He rushes out in bitter gale.
While others sleep this stormy night,
A raging blaze this man will fight.
He bravely puts himself in danger
To save the home of a total stranger.
Body cold and tired, he feels his years,
And yet still he volunteers.
We train, we test, we do our best.
We give an awful lot of time
And don't get paid a single dime
Thanks is a word we seldom hear.
And yet still we volunteer.
"Do I Know You?"
No…no, I don’t believe we’ve met.
Maybe I’ve seen you around school or around town, but until this moment I’ve never paid much attention to you.
Yes it’s possible…likely even…that I’ve passed you in the hall – maybe I saw you and thought you might make a good friend, or that you were probably a jerk.
Maybe I thought the shirt you were wearing was nice – maybe it’s the same one you’re wearing now.
Maybe I passed you going down the road and admired this same car, or hollered at you through my windshield to slow down.
Maybe you hollered back, flipped me off, or wondered why I had so many antennas on my truck. Or perhaps I was in my other truck, with red lights flashing and siren blaring, watching you nervously and hoping you wouldn’t swerve off the road when you saw me coming up from behind.
It’s such a shame that we have to meet here, now, like this…when this car is just a twisted mass of steel that’s keeping me from reaching you.
I introduce myself and you respond with a deep, ragged breath.
Your passenger must be a close friend. I want to ask him about you, but he is dead.
I struggle to pull his body off of yours. As I help you take your last breaths I feel the warm blood running down your face and the pieces of windshield in your skin.
It will be heartbreaking in a few minutes, but now you’re just a manikin that I’ve practiced on a thousand times.
As I lift you out through the broken window I lay your head on my chest trying to keep it still.
Blood and vomit soak through my shirt and stain my skin.
I bet you’ve never let a stranger cut your clothes off before, but you don’t seem to mind now.
You gag on the laryngoscope blade as the tube goes in, and blood pours out.
I look into your eyes as I help load you into the chopper, wondering if I’ll ever see you again.
You coded before you made it to the hospital.
So now I’m sitting here staring at your picture in the newspaper, and I’m wondering what you were really like.
Those eyes…the same ones I looked into that day…only full of life and ambition.
Last time I wrote about your eyes I wrote, “fixed and dilated.”
What did you want to be?
Who were your idols?
What were you listening to on the radio?
What was the last thing you thought about?
What else could I have done for you?
Will I get sick from your blood that I washed out of my cuts?
These questions and a thousand others will haunt me for months, maybe even years.
I’m sorry…I’m sorry I couldn’t do more, that I didn’t get the chance to know you, sorry for your family, and that you’ll never walk across the stage to get your diploma, go to college, or start a family.
Even though it seemed like hours, I only knew you for a few minutes.
Yeah, it’s too bad we had to meet like this, and that we couldn’t spend more time getting to know one another…but I promise I’ll never forget you.
(He was 16 when he died, about 4 years younger than me. We went to the same high school, and he would’ve been an 8th grader or freshman my senior year.)
By Jody Marks, NREMT-Paramedic
So many stars shine in the sky at night. Gazing up into the endless expanse of space we bear our souls, picking a twinkle to cast our dreams toward, hoping that one day they’ll come back around. One night I picked a star – but my star is not just a wish, a dream, or a prayer. It stays with me all the time, and it shines all day and all night for everyone to see. It watches over us all, swooping down like a guardian angel to intervene when there’s trouble. It shone like a beacon over Oklahoma City, Columbine High School, and the World Trade Center. People all over the world recognize my star as a symbol of love and compassion, yet few truly understand what it means. For me and others like me it is a religion, a way of life. Like a child’s smile it’s glow gives us hope, renews our faith in everything that is true and good.
My star also has a dark side. I feel it over my shoulder at 3 a.m. as I race through the cold night to pull a drunk from the twisted wreckage of his vehicle while he cusses me and threatens my life. It’s unblinking, emotionless face dances mockingly over the body of each person I see die. It hangs around my neck, burning into my flesh as I tell my best friend that I have something else to do tonight – again. I could go with him, but what if the run I miss is my father, or a helpless child who might have a chance? My star is an unspoken message to friends, family, and a long string of ex’s; it says that I love what I do and strangers whom I have known for less than an hour more than I am capable of loving them, or myself.
Yet I display my star proudly on my chest, my clothing, and my vehicle, because to so many others it sends a very different message: that no matter who you are, where you live, or what you’ve done, I will help you. I will forsake food, sleep, social activities, free time, and my own family whenever you need me. When you’re with me you are safe – you can trust me with your darkest secrets, take your frustrations out on me, or cry on my shoulder, and I will take care of you regardless. And when you’re ready, I’ll leave and you’ll never have to see me again. You don’t owe me a thing either – you don’t have to pay me, tell your friends about me, or even thank me. All I ask is that when you see my star, you remember what it means to me. It’s not just a logo or a symbol; it’s my heart, and my soul, for I am an EMT.
WHAT I WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT EMS AND FIREFIGHTERS
What I wish people knew about EMS, Firefighters, Dispatchers, & Law Enforcement.I wish you could know what it is like to search a burning bedroom for trapped children at 3 AM, flames rolling above your head, your palms and knees burning as you crawl, the floor sagging under your weight as the kitchen below you burns.I wish you could comprehend a husband's horror at 6 in the morning as I check his wife of 40 years for a pulse and find none. I start CPR anyway, hoping to bring her back, knowing intuitively it is too late.But wanting her husband and family to know everything possible was done to try to save her life.I wish you knew the unique smell of burning insulation, the taste of soot-filled mucus, the feeling of intense heat through your turnout gear, the sound of flames crackling, the eeriness of being able to see absolutely nothing in dense smoke-sensations that I've become too familiar with. I wish you could read my mind as I respond to a building fire 'Is this a false alarm or a working fire? How is the building constructed? What hazards await me? Is anyone trapped?' Or to call, 'What is wrong with the patient? Is it minor or life-threatening? Is the caller really in distress or is he waiting for us with a 2x4 or a gun? I wish you could be in the emergency room as a doctor pronounces dead the beautiful five-year old girl that I have been trying to save during the past 25 minutes, who will never go on her first date or say the words, 'I love you Mommy' again.I wish you could know the frustration I feel in the cab of the engine or unit the driver with his foot pressing down hard on the pedal, my arm tugging again and again at the air horn chain, as you fail to yield the right-of-way at an intersection or in traffic. When you need us however, your first comment upon our arrival will be, 'It took you forever to get here!'I wish you could know my thoughts as I help extricate a girl of teenage years from the remains of her automobile. 'What if this was my daughter, sister, my girlfriend or a friend? What are her parents'reaction going to be when they open the door to find a police officer with hat in hand? I wish you could know how it feels to walk in the back door and greet my parents and family, not having the heart to tell them that I nearly did not come back from the last call. I wish you could know how it feels dispatching officers, firefighters and EMT's out and when we call for them and our heart drops because no one answers back or to here a bone chilling 911 call of a child or wife needing assistance. I wish you could feel the hurt as people verbally, and sometimes physically, abuse us or belittle what I do, or as they express their attitudes of 'It will never happen to me.'I wish you could realize the physical, emotional and mental drain or missed meals, lost sleep and forgone social activities, in addition to all the tragedy my eyes have seen.I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of helping save a life or preserving someone's property, or being able to be there in time of crisis, or creating order from total chaos.I wish you could understand what it feels like to have a little boy tugging at your arm and asking, 'Is Mommy okay?' Not even being able to look in his eyes without tears from your own and not knowing what to say.Or to have to hold back a long time friend who watches his buddy having CPR done on him as you take him away in the Medic Unit. You know all along he did not have his seat belt on. A sensation that I have become too familiar with.Unless you have lived with this kind of life, you will never truly understand or appreciate who I am, we are, or what our job really means to us...I wish you could though.