This was originally intended to be a personal journal entry about my end-of-the-year thoughts and reflections, but as I was writing it in my leather bound journal, I realized that it might just be worth sharing on the Internet.
It’s the end of December.
The New Year is among us.
It’s time for new beginnings and fresh starts.
It’s time to close some doors, open new ones, and to burn a few bridges that we should never ever cross again.
It’s time to label our wants and desires.
It’s time to let love fester and grow in the petri dish of life.
Reflecting back on 2014 has been a unique experience that resulted in me remembering an event, a 90-minute time span, from the moderately distant past, which has affected my life significantly. Actually, I can track most of my current life circumstances back to that night.
Oh yes, there’s a story.
In the EMS field, they say there are some runs that you just won’t ever forget. They’ll be lodged in forefront of your mind for the rest of your life.
This is one of those runs.
December 31, 2012. It was a cold and snowy New Year’s Eve. I was pulling another night shift on the ambulance with my good friend and paramedic partner for the night, Todd.
It had been a fairly quiet night for us; there wasn’t too much excitement going on since there was a “winter weather advisory” thing out and with it being New Year’s Eve and all.
Todd and I had just gotten back to our station from a run earlier that night. Actually, we finished the run early in the shift and we were out getting our mid-shift 44-oz fountain drinks, because Dr. Pepper always tastes better in a 44-oz Styrofoam container on a snowy winter night.
Anyway, we were hit up just after 11 pm to do a transfer from one hospital to a pediatric specialty hospital place somewhere else.
We weren’t told much about the run, other than that it was a 6-week-old girl who was having some flu-esk symptoms and needed pediatric care and whatnot.
So we donned our winter tundra gear, hopped in the truck (with 32 ounces of Dr. Pepper remaining in the Styrofoam cup), and made our way down the snowy road to the hospital.
The drive there was pretty unremarkable; snow and ice on the road, bright skies, snow reflecting off of the interstate lights, it was awesome to look at and a sight that still never gets old for me.
Eventually, we made it to the hospital and into the emergency department. We said the usual “Hello” and “Happy New Year” to the triage nurse and found out what room we were going to; it was a room in the pediatric wing of the ED, no surprise there.
After another short walk, we found baby Gwen lying in her car seat next to her parents all bundled up and ready to go. She was, pardon the cliché, sleeping like a baby. She was a very adorable and healthy-sized 6-week-old baby girl.
According to the nurse, little Gwen came in a few hours earlier and had a rhino flu something-or-other-minor-medical-illness-thing-blah-blah-blah wrong with her.
Toddleton asked me if I wanted to take the run or if I wanted him to do it, and I hesitantly said I would take it. [At this point in my EMS career I was still very new to pediatric patients in general, let alone ill ones, and naturally, I was timid about transporting them.]
So, we covered her with another blanket, strapped the car seat to the stretcher, and then we were off to the other hospital with Gwen’s mom and dad following behind us at a safe and appropriate distance.
I was in the back with Gwen; Toddleton was driving.
Gwen slept peacefully the entire way there.
Her color and perfusion was good, she was breathing like a champ, and her heart was just beating away like she’d been doing it for her whole life.
Really, the entire transport was pretty uneventful. And by “pretty uneventful,” I mean “completely and utterly uneventful.” As far as runs go, this one was a cakewalk.
We got to the other hospital, took Gwen up to her room, gave our report to the nurse, and then we left on our merry way.
As Todd and I were going down the elevator, he looked at me and said something. I don’t remember it verbatim, but it was along the lines of, “Good job, Adam. Pediatrics with illnesses are are always a little daunting in the beginning, but believe it or not, they only get easier from here. You’ll be more comfortable with the next one, and the next one, and the next one. Who knows, they might even be your favorite one of these days. But just remember, we all had to have that first one sometime.”
He also pointed out that it was 12:15 am, January 1, 2013.
We spent the first few minutes of the New Year with a 6-week-old baby girl named Gwen.
I didn’t fully know it then, and I don’t think Toddleton knew it either, but that was the start of something significant for me; that was the start of when Halfling-sized patients became my favorite to take care of.
And now, a few years later, they’re my favorite.
They say there are some ambulance runs that you won’t ever forget.
The New Year’s Eve run with Gwen is one of those runs.