Just another day in EMS...

           I delivered a baby on the ambulance gurney;
              I baptized a newborn whose life ended before it began.

I hugged a frightened child;
I was kissed by an intoxicated old man.

I held the hand of a teenage girl as she delivered a 3-pound baby;
I listened to the mournful squeak of a stretcher being wheeled to the morgue.

I gently stroked the fragile hand of a 102 year old woman;
I hesitated at the outreached hand of a 300 pound prisoner in handcuffs.

I trudged for 10 hours in my boots;
I had a teenager vomit on those same boots.

I rubbed the feverish body of a 14 year old cancer patient;
I cradled the ice-cold hand of a child hit by a car.

I was referred to as "an angel of mercy;"
I was called every four-letter word in the book.

I always see fear in people's eyes;
I never see joy or relief.

I listened to a tormented voice pleading for the preservation of life;
I heard the threatening words of one bent on self-destruction.

I spoke with the girl who was hoping she had the flu, not a pregnancy;
I see innocent people hurt or killed by a drunk driver, and the drunk driver is never hurt.

I marveled at the genius of a cardiologist;
I saw a 12 year old boy who shot himself in the head, and the gun was still loaded at his feet.

I talked in circles with a schizophrenic person;
I was horrified at the battered body of a child whose parents were incapable of love.

I gazed at a horribly burned body;
I shuddered at a cold water drowning.

I see women beaten up by their spouses, but they never press charges;
I walk into houses and do CPR with family watching over my shoulder in tears.

I arrive at serious auto accidents, and the first words I hear are, "Am I going to die?;"
I find out hours later they did die.

I listen to the repeated question, "Why?" from a family devastated by death;
I search my soul for the answers to their question.

This is just another day in EMS.

---Derek Perry, EMT-I, Foothill Ambulance Co., Sacramento, CA


An EMS Prayer


As I perform my duty Lord
Whatever be the call,
Help to guide and keep me safe
From dangers big and small.

I want to serve and do my best
No matter what the scene,
I pledge to keep my skills refined,
My judgement quick and keen.

This calling to give of my self
Most do not understand,
But I stand ready all the time
To help my fellow man.

To have the chance to help a child
Restore his laugh with glee,
A word of thanks I might not hear,
But knowing is enough for me.

The praise of men is fine for some,
But I feel truly blessed,
That you oh Lord have chosen me
To serve in EMS!

L. Lipps