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EMS Poem: ‘Not Lost’

They say we are a different breed



Paramedic Chris Covey submitted the following poem he wrote to bridge the gap in communication and understanding between first responders and their loved ones. He is thankful for his very supportive family, but notes, “those who have never worked a 3:30 a.m. auto versus pedestrian, served a felony warrant or charged into a three-alarm fully involved high rise – they see and understand things a little differently.”

By Chris Covey

Not Lost

I’ll be the first to admit,

that I am totally jaded.

I’m a realist, not a pessimist.

But my trust and hope have faded.

I’ve taken the good and the bad,

and the world’s ugly truth on my shoulders.

I face these so you don’t have to,

and in doing so I’ve grown colder.

If it seems that I have no emotion,

or as if I just don’t care,

I want you to understand

what’s going on behind the blank stare.

I’ve seen the faces of death and evil,

as they stared right through me.

And then I pissed them off,

when I got that patient breathing.

And I see the faces of young lives lost

way before their time.

I fought like hell to get ’em back.

They are forever etched into my mind.

All of the things people refuse to acknowledge,

are still very much real.

I see them every shift I work.

They use to bother me, when I could still feel.

I know you think I sleep too much,

but if I seem peaceful please let me be.

Because most of the times I close my eyes,

it isn’t pleasant dreams that I see.

They say we are a different breed,

the “black sheep,” if you will.

We work our craft with passion,

and execute with precision skill.

Our humor may be dark.

You may think we’re twisted but nope,

we mean no disrespect,

this is just how we cope.

My relationships never last,

because their feelings always get hurt.

When I tell them I’ve been married since 18 …

Yes I’m married … To my work.

In an increasingly needed industry,

that is highly underpaid,

I still consider myself lucky,

when I get ready for work every day.

Even with all the bad in the world,

and the odds against us are stacked,

we still love what we do,

because we believe we still make an impact.

As long as I believe this,

I’ll continue what I do at any cost.

This is why I say I’m jaded ...

I’m jaded but I’m not lost.

About the author
Chris Covey, EMT-P, has been a paramedic in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for more than nine years. He was an EMT-B for eight years. He has worked urban and rural 911, private EMS transport, special events, disaster response and industrial medicine.