First responder training last night. Which leads me to say: So lucky and grateful to do what I do. Deep in a book and up against a deadline, trying to get this out (and a big thank you to Alissa and Blakeley, who keep the paddleboat on course), my family putting up with the grump who disappears into the little room over the garage…but man, I’m grateful for this writing life.
That said, I’m also never happier than when I’m hanging out with people from all walks of life – tow-truck operators, nurses, mechanics, truck drivers, electricians, farmers, retirees, office workers, pretty much whatever y’got – who are gathered to speak the language of Fire and EMS. At training last night we practiced inserting Combitubes and King airways, worked with the defribrillators, rehearsed epi pen protocols, and worked some spinal cord stabilization scenarios that included a close examination of the underside of a fire truck. In between, of course, there were the smoke-n-joke (without the smoking, not allowed) sessions, the wisecracks, the friendly needling…all part of the reason that I’ve stuck with some element of Fire and/or EMS for the past 23 years even as the rest of my life has gotten progressively busier. I stick with it because it’s “boots on the ground” in every sense. Emergency calls – even just a handful per year – keep me tethered directly to reality and provide a perpetual sense of scale. When it’s time to hang it up, I’ll hang it up. But for now that pager is either A) on my hip, B) under my pillow, or C) in the console of the car waiting to be switched on as soon as I return to within range of the county line.
So – from those earliest calls through the “Nobbern” days and right up to the present – a big thank you to my EMS/Fire brothers and sisters for allowing me to play in the sandbox.
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