25 years ago, a young girl witnessed the following:
“As a teenager I witnessed a kid get hit by a car. There were a few bystanders and we just stood there, everyone wanting to help but no-one really sure what to do.”
“The kid was ok, the ambulance arrived and took him to hospital. At that moment I knew what I wanted to do with my life…I wanted to be a paramedic.
I don’t ever want to stand by and watch and not be able to help.”
That young girl is named Julia Cornah.
After 20 years as a paramedic, she thought back to her first day on the job.
Then she wrote the following inspirational essay titled,
“I’m a paramedic, but nobody taught me how”.
“I’m a paramedic, but nobody taught me how to,
sit an 86 year old gentleman down to tell him his wife of 65 years has died in her sleep.
“Nobody taught me how to watch as the desire for life leaves his eyes the moment I break the earth shattering news that would change his life forever.”
“Nobody taught me how to accept a torrent of abuse from a complete stranger, just because they have been drinking all day and want a lift home.”
“Nobody taught me how to reason with the aggressive patient (that) I’ve just met; overdosed, but needing my help to breathe.”
“Nobody taught me how to talk to someone so depressed that they have just slit their own wrists, panicked and called for help. Nobody taught me how to respond when they turned to me and said,
“I can’t even get suicide right”.
“Nobody taught me how to accept that I would miss out on things other people take for granted; birthdays, Christmas day, meals at normal times of the day, sleep.”
“Nobody taught me how to hold hands with a dying person as they take their last breath, how to hold back the tears because it’s not my grief.”
“Nobody taught be how to keep a straight face whilst a young man explains exactly what happened to the end of his hoover.”
“Nobody taught me how to act when a patient pulls a knife on me.”
“Being a paramedic is so much more than swooping in and saving lives;
it’s about dealing with the most unique, challenging experiences and just going home at the end of the shift, being asked ‘how was your day’ and replying ‘fine thanks’.”
“Being a paramedic is about constantly giving a bit of yourself to every patient, because although it’s our 5th patient of the day and we can’t remember their name…”
“…it’s their first ambulance, their loved one, their experience.”
“It’s about the bits that nobody taught me how.
It’s about providing pain relief and reassurance to a 90 year old lady who’s fallen and hurt her hip, and despite all the pain she turns and says,
“Thank you, how are you?”.
“It’s about a hug that you give someone on Christmas Day because they haven’t spoken to anyone for days, they have no relatives or companions but you’ve brightened up their day.”
“It’s about climbing in the car next to someone and saying,
‘Don’t worry, we’ll have you out of here in just a moment’.”
“It’s about everything that we do that the media doesn’t publicize,”
“It’s about knowing that we couldn’t attend to the dying man because we were dealing with a drunk…”
“…who then assaulted one of us.”
“I’m a Paramedic, But Nobody Taught Me How…”
“We felt bad that your husband didn’t get to finish the yard, so we did. We noticed the padlock to the garage was unlocked, so we locked it and placed your key in the mail box.
We are very sorry that your husband became ill, we hope he has a speed recovery.
Let us know if there is anything we can do to help you out.”
-Baytown Fire Dept., Station 4, A-shift
Dust in my eyes.
I hate using the word “h-e-r-o” but this collection of advice is worthy of the powerful title “hero”.
Julia Cornah went on to become the Founder of the Manone Medical Emergency Medical Service (EMS) School.
Julia Cornah linkedin
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