"True experiences which almost made one Paramedic lose faith in mankind"
The White Paper
I used to care what other people thought. I was once self-conscious and nervous about the attention brought upon me. That really only made me appear more awkward, attempting to hide in plain sight surrounded by others. I hated being the center of attention. I talked less, mainly because the less I spoke the less I was noticed. At least I thought. I was nervous at the thought of having to speak in front of others. During high school, I remained inside a shell counting down the days until graduation. That would be my day of freedom. Free from judgment and free from ridicule.
I held all my thoughts within. On the outside I looked hopeless and destine to live a life playing video games alone in my parent’s basement. On the inside, I had a vision and a plan for something different. I wanted my life to be better than it was. After the terrorist attacks on US soil, I finally understood where I wanted to take my life.
On September 11, 2001, I sat in a classroom with twenty-some other students, all with our eyes glued to the television set. We were trying to comprehend what had just happened. We were wondering if the world we were used to was going to change forever. I watched as the men and women of FDNY raced towards the burning towers in a courageous attempt to save countless victims. I was infatuated with the heroism demonstrated when suddenly my teacher turned off the TV.
“That’s enough of that. We still have to have school today,” she told the class.
I didn’t learn a thing that day from my educators. I was pissed at them for shutting off what was surely history in the making. A desire to help began fueling me. I finally knew what I wanted to do with my life.
My father was a Lieutenant with the fire department in our rural town. For years, he had been trying to convince my brother and me to volunteer, but so far had been unsuccessful. The year after the attacks, I enrolled in a cadet program offered through my high school for fire suppression and emergency medical aid. My brother, who must have felt the same desire I had, joined the department that year.
As soon as I was eligible, I began volunteering for the same department my dad and brother were involved with. After passing the regional training academy, I was placed on their shift.
The events written within ‘A Perspective on Life’ encompassed my first two years in emergency services. As part of a college writing course, I was assigned to discuss the topic of ugliness. With my recent exposure to this side of life, I found the subject quite fitting.
I have no recollection of my first response. I can only recall the excitement that circulated my body as the alarms in our station rang. Someone needed me and I was equipped to handle their emergency.
I prepared mentally and physically for the title and knew I would not let stress get in the way of my passion. I was not going to end up a statistic of those who could not handle the pressure of an emergency. I looked up to my station Captain who could scrape body parts off the highway and return to the station to eat lunch like it was nothing.
In reality, nothing had prepared me for the horrific scenes I was destined to face. The thrill overpowered the emotion of the events and in an eerie way I desired more. I became obsessed. It was a high I continued to chase, but would never get back. Once the thrill was gone, all that was left was the emotion. I held it deep inside.
I used to be easy-going. I used to not get frustrated or angry. I used to maintain a level head and think my way through problems. I used to not have anxiety over small situations. I used to be able to cope with life. I used to have compassion and concern for others. I used to be a good person. That all changed once I became a paramedic.
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Copyright © 2016, David C. Stone