Monday, December 28, 2009

Colder Times

I've been in a bit of a ditch here for a while now. I have come to a crossroads in my life, and I'm not liking the options laying before me.

One road, is my EMS career. The other is my family.

Work has been slow lately. I've not been able to pick up nearly as many days at the county EMS as I was at first. Orientation hours combined with just being Johnny-on-the-spot when they needed me has run out. They haven't scheduled me to work at all next month, which means my only days on a truck will be when somebody doesn't show up and they need a quick fix. Worse than that was the news I found out last night.

Big Red told me a while back that he was planning on leaving the county EMS and taking a job with the next county over. This meant more money for him, and a good shot at a job for me. I was a shoe-in for the position. I'm in town, I'm dedicated, and I work as hard as I can. But according to Boss Hoss, I'm not qualified for the position because my title ends in "B" and not "P." Only a paramedic will do to replace Big Red, even though they could spend well over a couple of months to find one. I tried reasoning with Boss Hoss, reminding him that I want to be a paramedic and planned to start classes as soon as I could find a full-time EMS job, as well as some other facts that I've already stated above, but he had his mind set.

The hospital job isn't faring much better. I'm working almost 20 hours a week there on average. But even that is declining. The work isn't bad, although I think it's too hectic for what they're paying me on the hour. Boss Bubbles, my supervisor up there, doesn't even have to lie to me about the possibility of full-time employment. I'm at the bottom of a very long totem pole. The people at the top have been there for years, and they have no plans of leaving.

Now the crossroads I mentioned earlier come into play. You see, the closest EMS jobs aside from county EMS are in the other counties. Two of those counties pay better than mine, but one has a college with a massive Fire/EMS school feeding it everything it wants, and the other requires you to be in peak physical condition with previous Fire and EMS training and work experience. Neither of which I am qualified for. The other surrounding counties don't pay nearly enough to merit the 45 min - 1 hour drive it takes to get there, and that goes for the big city with the private EMS jobs as well. Surrounding hospitals are the same way. Not only that, but the pay vs. hard work scale I mentioned for my current hospital would be worse in other places.

My crossroads are set before me. Do I choose to stay with EMS? It's the only career that I can say that I have truly loved. The work is selfless, the pay is dung, and the reward is only in the heart. But I LOVE it. I know that I could go for a few months or longer before I find the right place to work. In those few months, I could lose the only thing I love more: my family. They are the other choice. I couldn't ask my wife and son to stay with me while I go from poor to broke to worse. It's not fair to them. They've been through enough already while I pursued this adventure. My wife and I already know that the only way EMS could be financially rewarding is if I became a paramedic. Unfortunately, to get that money, you have to give that money. Almost $3,500+ that I don't have, and sitting without it for 2+ years while I take classes, stay up late, get up early, and never see home, all while going even further into debt because my regular work is suffering.

The choice I've made was a no-brainer, but it was so painful that it nearly brings me to tears every time I think about it. I looks like my time with EMS might be coming to a halt. Today, I plan to start the job search for something nearby that pays well and needs somebody full-time. My family needs me, and I need them.

I just don't see any other options...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Horse Needs Blanket

I decided to take a look back last night at the week I've had. It made me exhausted just thinking about it. 43 hours of the last 75 hours have been spent at work. With traveling and small incriments of downtime added in, I'm looking at nearly 60% of my time being spent at work since 0700 Wednesday! That's a staggering number.

It is true that a lot of people put in more hours than that in a shorter number of days on a regular basis, and it is also true that I have done it before myself. But when work has been thin as it has for me lately, that kind of running will make you click your heels and hang your head all at the same time. It also gets you when you were only figuring on working 14 hours that week...


I got snow on my boots this morning. Wasn't really expecting it either. I must say that a bit of the cold stuff is refreshing every now and then, but not when you're running a box through it at 0630 on a 20 minute trip to the county line. Especially when your patient decides they really don't want to go to the hospital.


An APB has been issued by Browncoat in the county: Be on the lookout for a 24 year old zombie female. She was last seen dead in the driver's seat of a 4-door sedan stratigically parked with the front end hugging a telephone pole and her head resting against a spider-web of cracked glass in the front windsheild. Of note, she is probably intoxicated and has a recently developed bald spot on the top of her head and has what appears to be bloody strawberry blond hair...

Funny story from last night. Right before midnight, my partner and I got a call for a single car MVA vs. telephone pole with a patient in the driver's seat who is unresponsive (our above-mentioned zombie). Halfway there, our dispatcher advises that upon return to the vehicle, the caller and first responders on scene are unable to locate the patient. How could this happen?

Apparently, when the patient came to, they realized that even though they were hurt that it might not look too good on them with the situation they were in. Apparently, two open beer bottles in the back seat, half a case of Natural Light in the trunk, false tags, and a stolen car don't look good on the person doing the driving. They decided to hoof it the rest of the way and save themselves some legal embarrassment. I'm betting wherever they are right now, if they're still alive (and it's questionable) they've got one hell of a headache and they've got a bit of a limp in their step...


A miniture vacation is in order for me. I believe I'll go visit a big city for the rest of the weekend. I think I'll hunt down a set of scrubs for the beginning of my adventures in the hospital and hope that they have brown ones pretty cheap. A good relaxing time is in the cards today.

Big Boss and Boss Hoss would be proud...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Life on the Edge of Space

Being at work for a laid back EMS service has it's advantages. One of the best ones being that I can write while at work...

All in all, life has been pretty slow for Ol' Browncoat lately. I logged in 48 hours of orientation with the company and had another 24 to go before I was due to be released to the streets on my own. All was going as planned until yesterday when a couple of employees already working here decided they weren't going to be able to make it in for the day. Big Boss found this out and started to fluster a bit. All he had in front of him was the guy assigned to show a new guy some of the ropes, and me.

"Browncoat, you've logged in 48 with us in orientation already haven't you?"

Yes sir, Boss.

"And you've worked for another company before, so you're no newbie to this work, are you?"

No sir, Boss.

"Congratulations! You've been cleared to work on a truck. Can you stay 'till at least 1900?"

I believe so, Boss.

And just like that, I'm all green lights for duty. In less than 24 hours, I've gained myself nearly 39 hours that I didn't plan to work but have no problems working, and I'm scheduled to pick up another 24 hours in the next week or so. Not only that, but Boss Hoss, the manager that trained me, has told me that he's looking to spend less time on the streets this month. This means I stand to collect a few more hours while he gets some office work done.

I've also found out through a friend, Big Red that works here, that he is looking into getting a full-time spot with a county just north of here. If he gets that and moves out of his full-time gig here, I stand to potentially gain a permanent place here in the county. This would be a nice slice of wonderful for the Browncoat EMT. When I find out more, I'll be sure to send a wave out to all those interested.