I recently responded to call where we were dispatched to a medical aid. “Great” I thought, “Another medical…”
“Engine two from fire alarm, that’ll be for injuries from a fall.”
“Message received” my captain answer back over the radio. Earlier we responded to another medical where we learned the entire town’s roads were covered in black ice, much like the rest of the region due to some flash freezing just before rush hour and DPW crew’s being caught completely off guard. Our patient, who fell, was an unsuscpecting victim of the black ice.
When we got on scene we were met by, (we’ll call her) Jane. Jane was alert but had a great deal of pain in her back from her fall. She was sitting on the steps upright, and began to tell us what was bothering her. I quickly learned Jane had a stutter, and other cognitive learning disabilities. We immediately began our assessment of her and got her into a position of comfort and began to pile on the blankets since we was sitting on cold wet concrete from her fall.
We’re spoiled where we typically have two ambulances in town, but due to the flash freezing, multiple accidents on 1A, and two other calls before this one, the ambulance had twenty minute ETA. That is a long time when you’re in pain.
We began to ask Jane what she was off to go do. She was headed into work at a local grocery store where she is a bagger. Her face lit up as she proudly told us her occupation. When asked, “Do you like it?” she responded with the biggest smile I have ever seen.
“Oh I love it!!” said Jane. That made me crack a huge smile myself. I love my job with the same amount Jane loves hers. Shes thirty three working hard, being somewhat independent loving her job as a bagger. I think that is just awesome. It wasn’t long after that the ambulance arrived on scene.
We got Jane packaged up, and off to the hospital. Every call I usually have a take away. It usually is, getting old looks like it really sucks, and I hope I never have the aliments that these people have. Or I’ll reflect on something I learned, like when we responded to a car accident and the things I was taught to look out for. But this call made me stop for a minute and reflect on the sheer joy Jane was brought by her job.
I’ll say it, it doesn’t strike me as a job that would instill a large amount of pride or joy in myself, and I think friends would agree with me. But it wasn’t about what she did for work that hit me. It was about the how Jane felt empowered by her occupation, to be a citizen and seeing people, greeting them and enjoying the opportunity to work and make some money for herself. She called her boss and was apologizing for being out and said, “I’ll make it up to you.” That right there is a huge lesson I can learn from Jane. It put life into perspective for me.
I’ve been worrying so much about where I am supposed to be at 25 years old, thinking about moving, retirement, job growth etc. And here Jane was, someone who was not dealt the best hand in life, was happier than me. Here Jane was, upset that she was missing work and felt at fault for slipping. There is just so much we all take for granted, that I take for granted. I’ll forever remember Jane and the lesson she taught me on that call. You have it just fine when you take a step back and meet someone like Miss Jane.