The Good Lord saw fit to grant me but one sibling, a brother. His name is Brian. He’s a good brother. He calls, he Skypes, he visits me half way across the country for road trips and family outings.
He’s in nursing school right now so I get to listen to him yammer on about how nurses are the greatest thing in all of medicine. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, he’s not even out of school yet and he’s learning how to be patronizing to us EMS folk.
He’s going to make a really good nurse.
Sometimes I wonder if my brother wouldn’t be irked if he knew how many people I refer to as brother. Honestly, he’s the only one with clear rights to the title. He was the one defending me at the school lockers in junior high. He was the one that had to sacrifice the video game paddle so I could have my turn for all those years.
I do drop the term fairly frequently in the course of my work day. I can’t help it. I use the term sister occasionally as well but I don’t have a real sister who might take issue with my use of the title so I’ll thank you to excuse my gender bias if I stick to the conflict with the term brother.
For this month’s Handover Blog Carnival submission I was supposed to write a portrait of EMS. To be true to the assignment I needed to pick a single person and write about them. An homage if you will. (Forgive me for using the word homage.)
So I stared at the wall here next to my computer, and then out the window for a while, recalling all the crazy characters who have influenced me on my journey through EMS. There are so many that I could easily spend hours and at least one full pot of coffee just lost in my head.
And I am at a complete loss to think of just one person to tell you about.
You see, my experience in EMS doesn’t look like a portrait in my head. It looks like a collage, one image blending in to the next. For certain there are individuals who claim their rightful places of prominence. After two decades there are people who influenced me so profoundly and undeniably that they stand out boldly.
A few observations strike me as I drift across the collage of my EMS experience. One is that I’ve been blessed to be a part of the EMS family for so many years. There is such an amazing, strange, wonderful bunch of people who are drawn to this type of work and I’ve been so privileged to share my life with all of them.
Another thing that occurred to me was that the individuals who I’ve conflicted with the most have also had the greatest influence on me. Those people who were most unlike me, who were willing to challenge me and fight with me and come back and do it all over again are the ones to whom I owe the greatest debt of gratitude. Often the people who we struggle against each day ultimately change us for the better. Conflict isn’t always such a bad thing.
It also seems to me that family is a fitting name for who all of these people are to me. Or what they represent. A work family, but a family none-the-less. They are no more or less real to me than my family right here at home. And I don’t think my use of the term takes anything away from my traditional family.
So my portrait of EMS will have to remain collage. And if we meet some day, and you are also a part of this big, extended EMS family, don’t be surprised if I call you brother. It’s just my way. I think my brother would approve. Now pass me the video game paddle. You’ve had at least two turns while I’ve been talking.
Now it’s your turn: (Just not with the video game.) Are there certain individuals who stand out and help you define your EMS experience? Do you consider the people you work with an extended family. I’d like to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment before you go.