How to ruin a paramedic’s shift in 6 steps
Do any of these sound familiar?
By Sean Eddy
Step 1 — Switch our partner at the last minute.
This can be devastating (well, in most cases). It interrupts our flow, dampens our mood, and makes us question how we could possibly run calls with said person. Showing up to work our normal shifts with anyone BUT who we are accustomed to working with nearly renders us useless. Of course, this doesn’t apply to overtime shifts because, you know, it’s not our normal shift.
Step 2 — Give us a call before we can eat breakfast.
Allow me to quote #4 in the “EMS Ten Commandments”:
“Thou shalt not eat breakfast before showing up to work.”
Showing up to work completely rested, hydrated, caffeinated and adequately nourished has been proven over the years to be physically impossible. This means that assigning us to any type of response before we are able to eat is literally affecting our ability to sustain life. We need a solid two hour warm-up period before we are truly ready to head out and take on disease and natural selection.
Step 3 — Leave a cabinet or bag unsealed.
Breaking a seal during a call is a huge deal and we will avoid it all costs. In most cases, you better be on the absolute brink of imminent death before we even consider opening the front compartment of our jump bag. While this may seem harsh, those of us who have had to endure the horrific and grueling task of restocking and re-sealing can sympathize.
Want to REALLY piss us off? Break a seal during a call and leave it open for us to check during our morning checkout. This will undoubtedly result in calls, texts and e-mails to our supervisor along with hours of non-stop complaining about how lazy the off-going crew is.
Step 4 — Inform us that a pack of boy scouts are coming to our station.
We know this means that our daily ritual of time-traveling (AKA sleeping) will be interrupted, which will somehow affect the space-time continuum and ensure that our destiny now includes being up all night running calls.
Step 5 — Get the date wrong and the boy scouts don’t show up.
We will have spent the day cleaning, being in full uniform, and staying on our feet for no reason. This dooms us to spending the rest of shift pointing out how much more energy we would have, had we been able to rest during that time.
Step 6 — Give us a call out of rotation.
This is, hands down, the worst thing you can do to us.
Giving us a call when we aren’t “up,” is like sending a terminator back in time to kill our parents. The next time we run a miserable call, we will go back as far as several months and use the most complex of mathematical equations – rivaled by only the most intelligent of astronomers - to point out how it was another crew‘s destiny to run it. Taking calls out of rotation is like intentionally trying to alter the course of biblical prophecies.