Dec 3, 2010

Dusty room

AD writes about stains - the ones we can shout out, and the ones that mark the very fibers of our being. Shouting, screaming, laughing - some stains won't come out.

So yeah, that’s why I was in your Emergency Department at 0645 this morning with a big mascara stain on my shirt. I’m sorry I didn’t smile at your joke, and I promise the next time you see me, I’ll be wearing a clean uniform.

Read the whole thing.

I've worked the field as a volunteer for just shy of a decade now, and worked the console for a check for six years. I've picked up my own share of stains along the way.

There are days that I (and I think most of us in emergency services) ask myself, "Why the hell am I doing this?" Why take the abuse, the hours, the lost sleep, missed meals, fast food, caffeine, and why pay the emotional toll? If someone who has worked one of these jobs for any significant length of time tells you that the job never gets to them, they are lying. Either to you or to themselves, but they're lying.

So why do we do it?

The only answer I can come up with - the one I keep coming back to - is simple.

Someone has to.

"Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy how's yer soul?
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints:
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;"

Rudyard Kipling, "Tommy"

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