Memory of the life that could have been

I am shutting down my blog “Tales of the Field” that was to chronicle my journey as a budding EMT and Firefighter since the last embers of that dream have burned out.

However, I wish to keep the memory of the experience close to my heart and possibly spread a little joy with it. I know I will live a new dream and as long as I keep living I will always be able to find passion within myself.

This is a re-post from January 19, 2012:

“Receiving my acceptance letter to the new member academy at the firehouse was a joyous moment that marked the beginning of my career in the emergency medicine services. My first day was a bit of a wake-up call. Imagine my surprise when I was the only female, at least a head shorter than everybody else, and overall lacking in girth.

You see, I had found one of the only firehouses in the area that accepted people that were medically certified that weren’t actual fire fighters. The only catch was, by the end of the academy you needed to have a fire skill.

So, it was me the little EMT-B amongst all these big ole wannabe fire fighters. I was quickly filed away as the little sister of the class. This included the occasional support in between all the teasing.

I was presented with the opportunity to make my first big impression on the night that the bunker gear was assigned.

My first challenge came in attempting to find anything small enough to fit my womanly 5’4” frame. Once I deduced that the smallest pants on the rack could still fit two of me: I just had to suck it up. I swam in my coat and my feet felt as if I had slipped on clown shoes instead of fire boots.

Then came the time to put it all together and be checked off. Slipping on my pants, I attempted to find suspenders short enough to work. After one of the lieutenants attempted four different suspenders in an attempt to find the smallest ones, he gave up and told me that I would just need to grow a few inches and sent me off with suspenders that slipped off my shoulders.

Next came the boots. Now I knew the boots were supposed to go inside the pants, however, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to get them underneath my pant legs.

Now, I want to take a moment to once again emphasize that I was the only one in the group who was not fire fighter minded.

After failing to slip the boots under the pants, I decided to take the pants off, put the boots on, and try going about it that way. It wasn’t until my boot was stuck halfway down the pant leg and I fell onto my behind that I realized that was not the way to go about it.

So, there I was on the floor struggling to pull my boot out of my pants. I couldn’t have been more embarrassed when one of my class mates had to help pull me free. He then proceeded to show me that you are supposed to slip the boots into the pants before you put either one on and then you slip into the boot through the pant leg and promptly pull the pants the rest of the way up.

Once I had overcome that mountain, I slipped on my coat and moved on to get my helmet; which of course fell down into my eyes. I continued to push it up and assumed I was just stuck with it, until once again one of my fellow classmates showed me that there was a screw in the back which tightened the helmet.

Having been utterly humiliated, I was glad to be done for the night. I was the only one who hadn’t played with fire equipment before and I was the only girl. In the back of my mind I was really hoping that they didn’t connect the two.

The rest of the new member academy went fairly well and I gained my fire skill of tender operations (basically the person that brings the water to the fire fighters). Of course there was the fact that I couldn’t lift let alone throw the hose larger than the one and one half inches. Or the fact that I was too short to simply climb into the fire trucks like the boys and needed to swing myself like a monkey into the cab. Or that I was the only one who needed to stand up on a tire to do the engine checks. Or…well you get the point.

All in all, I survived the new member academy and made it to probie status. For those of you who do not know what this is let me explain. A probie is basically the lowest of the low for six months at a minimum. A probie is the house maid, truck cleaner, food cooker, brunt of all jokes, is known as probie or the ever affectionate “red shirt”, and of course let us not forget the pranking: such as, banging on bedroom doors, shaking chairs, being asked to complete tasks that don’t exist, and well, the list goes on.

I am now three months into my probationary period. I have had the joys of falling down in the back of an ambulance, having my very first patient attempt to comfort me as I was a nervous mess, be snapped at by a doctor because I wasn’t giving my report fast enough, and driving training.

Oh the driving training.  Now for a girl that only ever really drove a compact car, an ambulance is more than just a little big. I was able to pass the driving course with only a slightly horrific carnage of cones. The real driver training began with my crew. This was where I learned the importance of smooth stopping and turns. My paramedic in an attempt to drill it into my head that every little movement you feel up front is amplified in the back, took the lid off of my soda and set it up on the dash.

For everyone who has not done this before I’ll just let you know that it is extraordinarily stressful. Add in the fact that you are surrounded by really expensive electrical equipment and I’m hoping you can feel my pain. The entire time I was just thinking over and over “please don’t spill, for the love of all things cute and fluffy just don’t spill.” I did fairly good and was attempting to appease my paramedic by “not taking my foot off the gas until told”, when tragedy struck- the cup began to slide across the dash. My only saving grace was that it was sliding toward the paramedic and he caught it not wanting to be drenched. He lovingly told me that had it been falling towards me he would have let it spill.

After the cup torture, came the timed test. Getting across town by a designated time limit and knowing that for every minute you are late you will have to do it again. It is funny how impending torture can make you drive faster. By the end of the day, the paramedic was impressed with my progress and said next time I will be driving lights and sirens…oh fun. Don’t get me wrong, I want to run code three eventually, but I am terrified at the thought of having to speed in a giant vehicle that definitely doesn’t stop on a dime. Oh well, guess I will cross that bridge as it comes.

So, here I am with three months left of probation and wondering what the next shift will have in store.”

It still brings a smile to my face thinking of the firehouse and my old crew no matter how much I was teased and prodded. Yet it no longer causes my heart to ache with longing and wallow in self pity. Yes, I lost this dream: it was stripped from me by a split second accident and a doctor that didn’t truly listen, but I will find a new dream-there will always be a new dream. In fact, the fabrics of passion are weaving a new path for my heart to follow.

No matter what happens, or how life tears away the only thing you can see, don’t be afraid; for there will always be a dream to follow and a call to light the passion in your soul. Dare to dream and dream again as many times as necessary. 

Dreams Lost

It is a strange sensation to realize you don’t really recognize yourself anymore. To wake up, look in a mirror, and wonder what happened to the person that you thought you were. I’m not sure whether it is a good or a bad thing that I have changed: perhaps time will tell.

The fires of passion are fickle little beasts that can consume you whole and then leave you dry. One day you are willing to stand in front of a speeding semi if it would help your cause and slowly, without noticing the change, you simply don’t care anymore. I don’t want to give the impression that hope is dying; the exact same thing happens in reverse. Simple little things that I never ever cared about before, I am now giving lectures on to anyone willing to listen.

So, is this shifting of dreams just the normal path of life, or am I missing something crucial? Has something happened without me noticing that now has me spinning out of control? Is there a force in action that I need to be battling to stop these changes, or can I simply ride it out and see where I end up? Perhaps I am just questioning myself because I question everything in life.

My birthday just passed and I am even further into needing to be an adult. Yet, try as I might, everything I thought I had figured out has crumbled away. Everything I thought I wanted to do with my life is gone- slowly stripped away by broken dreams and harsh reality.

On the other hand, I have met the love of my life. He completes me entirely. My love and trust in him has brought me further away from home than I have ever been; and although positive, has completely changed my life. Life in the city is simply different than living in the mountains: not saying better or worse, simply different. However, I wouldn’t trade living in the familiar for the love that I have now. A couple more weeks will mark one year with the man who proved that I do have a soul mate. And as happy as I am being with him I can’t help but feel like something is missing.

A purpose. That is what is missing from my life. I have no idea what I want to do with my life. Well, I know that I want to be a wife and a mom and have an amazing home, but until then is missing. I feel like I should be doing something meaningful and helping people. Perhaps that is the influence of growing up being told that you are special, but deep down inside of me I feel that it is true. That I can make a difference. That I can do something. That something somewhere is calling out to me and waiting for me to respond. I keep waiting for the synapses in my brain to connect the dots and provide me an answer, but for now I come up blank.

I know this longing is magnified by my rocky relationship with YHVH. I don’t even feel right calling Him Papa right now with how I have been treating our relationship. I know that needs to be fixed before anything else will make sense. I know that imbalance gravitates outwards and affects everything else. I just don’t know how to fix something when I can’t identify where it is broken. Or maybe that better description would be that it is broken in so many places I don’t know where to start building from again.

Hopefully the next time I write I will have found one of those cracks and filled it in causing the ripple to reverse and bring a little clarity.

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