The Mentor (or What They Remember)

I am working with a young man who I have mentored since his first day as a volunteer at my old suburban post. I have tried to teach him the right way to do the job – to be thorough, to be considerate, to be empathetic, to be professional. We have done many calls together over the years, and he has made great strides from his first tentative days. I work with him now occasionally in the city.

I come in to work this morning and am glad to see he is my partner. They post us in a location straddling two towns. We stop at a doughnut shop for breakfast. And then we are dispatched to a cardiac arrest at a nursing home in one of the towns. My partner fires up the lights and sirens. Depending on who your partner is a cardiac arrest call can cause a little bit of anxiety. I have no anxiety this morning. I can depend on my partner. He is the EMT is in the old saying. Paramedics Save Lives, EMTs save paramedics. I am very proud of him. I flatter myself that he will carry on in my fine tradition long after I have left the streets.

We are not three minutes into our response when we get shut down as a closer unit is now available. My partner shuts off the lights, and then turns suddenly into the Dunkin’ Doughnuts just ahead.

“What you didn’t get enough to eat?” I ask.

“No,” he says. “Isn’t that what you taught me?”

“What?”

“Whenever you get canceled from a lights and sirens response, pull into the next doughnut shop you see so people will think you were using lights and sirens just to get doughnuts.”

“I said that?”

“Yeah, you said it makes you laugh so hard you nearly pee yourself every time you do it.”

“You sure that was me?”

“Yes, you said the thought that someone thought you were using lights and sirens to get doughnuts cracked you up. You would innocently say to the person if they followed you into the doughnut shop, “Oh, no sir, we were on our way to a cardiac arrest and we just got canceled. I’m just trying to grab a quick bite to eat before the next call. We would never use lights and sirens to get doughnuts.”

I have to admit it does sound vaguely familiar. I suppose I might have taught him that.

“You said you need humor in this job to keep you sane. You’ve got to have your laughs, you said.”

“Okay, well,” I say. “Well done then.”

What the young remember.

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Peter Canning

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Recent Posts
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  • Comments
    RJ in florida
    Thoughts on Ebola
    this appears to becomming political. The lack of an african quarantine is because if the government orders it, the airlines can go back to the government for lost revinue when its over. If they do it on their own its a business descision and have to eat the loss. The appomtment of a non doctor…
    2014-10-24 19:36:32
    tom combs
    Thoughts on Ebola
    Best effort is to quarantine/contain in W. Africa. Flight restrict all wanting to leave until 21 day safe or otherwise proven to be zero risk. It's in everyone's best interest. Here is a radio interview I gave 10/13. Unfortunately the situation is essentially unchanged. Thanks and be safe! I appreciate what you do. http://www.rmapublicity.com/images/stories/Audio/Nerve%20Damage%20-%20Wall%20Street%20Journal%20Tji%20Morning%20-%20October%2013,%202014.mp3
    2014-10-24 14:26:16
    Vince D
    Connecticut Limits Long Boards
    Beautiful! Congrats!!! I think this is the perfect level of aggressiveness and I can't imagine any regions advocating less intervention for a really long time. In fact, I don't think I'd want anyone being more aggressive than this with SSI for a long time. The only line that had me stroking my chin was: "Elevated…
    2014-10-23 08:43:16
    ParamedicTC
    Ebola
    Check out this site with an informative graph.
    2014-10-22 23:39:21
    Don
    STEMI Call
    Thank you for a good honest post. I think those classic or "typical" presentations we learn in school are the exceptions really.
    2014-10-18 17:34:21

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