It’s much less dramatic than one might assume.
The alarm is one long tone, followed by three beeps. There’s calm, quiet, yet swift, movement through the base. The senior medic asks me to drive. I bet there is still some quick-shake piss beaded up on his Teflon coated, Ripstop, pants. As I close the truck door (We never call it an ambulance.) I spin the mounted laptop towards me and quickly scan the notes. (I really hate Windows.) I always tap the dated touchscreen twice because I’m impatient. The GPS “thinks” as the garage door trades places with a cloudy day.
I shift the automatic diesel into drive and check-in with dispatch.
“Medic 6 en route.”
My boots hit the ground and I think about Frogger. Pedestrian versus vehicle is a major mechanism of injury. The pedestrian always loses. The patient is a vagrant so there will be no story on the local news. It looks worse than it is. Blood spreads quickly on concrete and the road looks like a slaughterhouse floor. Fortunately, most of the wounds are superficial. This might be the worst mid-shaft fracture I’ve seen. (Ohai femur!) Jerome is not happy about the traction splint but he’s lucky to be alive. The morphine will ease the pain. His newly reconstructed leg will be worth more than your car. Homey D. Wolverine will probably be jumping I-40 guard rails again soon.
Meth teeth sure are sexy.
I’m not an adrenaline junkie. My heart rate never rose above 58.
(Yes, I’ve checked during emergency traffic.) I’ll think about the cars later and have a hard time recalling how many lanes were closed or if the traffic bunched up in the opposite direction. (Nosey people deserve a kick in the fucking neck.) I can breathe incredibly well. My lungs expand, my chest feels warm, and I smell things I’d rather not. Things slow down. I see so clearly that it feels like the world tilt-shifted around me.
I tried to burn it down and build a better me.
I’m getting there and I highly recommend taking a pay cut.
Consider this my status update.
I feel alive… and I’ll keep my eyes fixed on the sun.
Gauge Laville is a 33-year-old veteran and quite possibly the only person on the planet who doesn’t own a cell phone. (Jerome had one.) His son loves art, football, girls, and music. He will turn 14 in a month and is surprisingly well-adjusted. They are both completely smitten with an 8 pound Italian Greyhound who prances around the house like a princess on crack. He’s contemplating reopening his store, +blacklisted+ , because virtual fashionistas “need” good t-shirts. He might post again on ThisIsYourSecondLife. He will most certainly continue entertaining himself, and annoying the easily annoyed, on his plurk. ˚That Guy˚ has told everyone he works for, and with, he’s not sold on that Tactical Medic position. He’s hasn’t embraced carrying a weapon again. Deep down inside he knows he’ll eventually take the job and be damn good at it.