How Do You Process This?
I process first by giving thanks and evaluating things from higher ground. Poor me, why me, woe is me, has never served me well. Things happen for a reason. We live in a world of cause and effect and the curious mind constantly seeks the answers. I have a curious mind.
What am I thankful for? My God, where does a man start? I want to thank Ford Motor Co. for building a strong vehicle with crumple zones, rigid frames etc. Had I been in my personal vehicle, I might be trying to type while sedated on a vent in a surgical ICU somewhere. Had I been on my Harley? I'd be with Opie, Piney and Half Sack (gratuitous "Sons Of Anarchy" reference) trying to get my Facebook to post to you from Heaven.
I'm thankful for another day to be a father to my daughters, a paramedic to my patients, a co-worker and friend to others.
I'm thankful that this was at 10:30 at night and not day. A daytime incident at that particular intersection would certainly have claimed more lives, innocents and likely children.
I'm thankful for timing. A second faster and we'd be broadsided and likely turned over. I'd have a couple hundred pounds of oxidizing gas (oxygen) right behind my head in the form of an oxygen missile.
I'm thankful it was me and not one of my co-workers. I would do anything for these people and couldn't bear to see any of them suffer. And, in a strange way, I'm almost thankful that our unit was able to absorb this impact and stop these alleged criminals. This city suffers enough on a daily basis and needs not another innocent victim. I'm tired of seeing teddy bears, flowers and candles at make-shift memorials for children.
I'm thankful for Terry Hoben, my director who came from home to be at our side. I'm thankful to the communications staff in REMCS (Chief Acosta, Alex, Mary, Kristi and others) for trying to find where we were and to send the troops our way. I'm thankful for Chiefs O'Keefe and Visoskas who showed compassion and support (and paperwork!). I'm thankful for my fellow B-Teamers and all our staff here at UHEMS for continuing to show others that this is how it's done. This is how WE roll. It may not be the only way...but it certainly is a very good way.
Steven P. Velasquez, NREMT-P, MICP, is a paramedic and educator with University Hospital EMS, in Newark, NJ. In addition to his work in emergency services and education, Steve is a photographer and writer. His blog is Granting "Sirenity". He can be contacted on Facebook at http://facebook.com/medic1688.