Everyone who works in EMS knows the reality of death and dying. We make a living on the simple fact that people get sick, hurt, and die. Peoples stupidity, misfortune, and bad luck are my job security.
What makes that knowledge hard to swallow is not other people’s emergencies. The sick and dying do not greatly effect me. Obviously some cases are more gut wrenching than others, but most of the time the dying do not have faces, stories or names. They are just another body on the bed. You have to think this way to survive in this field. You can’t take them all home with you.
But I do take home a very unnatural fear. That doing my job–the job I love to do despite crappy ours, management and pay–will take my life. Every single EMS and Fire Line of Duty Death scares the crap out of me. EMS is a dangerous line of work. Driving fast and hard through red lights, stop signs, traffic and weather is bound to end badly.
But I think I am too worried. I often think about my son growing up fatherless, my wife widowed… and I am not sure how long I can keep doing it. I LOVE my job. I love the occasional day where I can help someone and actually do more than be a glorified taxi driver…
But at what point am I worrying too much? At what point will that get in the way of doing my job? It is just hard to be another “warm body in the seat” when I know that the risks are so real.