Tomorrow morning at 9 am, we're leaving for NYC on a trip to see family, but for me, it is a long awaited event that I'm looking forward to.
Ten years ago this month, we made our move up here to Rochester, leaving friends, family, and a way of life behind. It was also the end of my career in emergency medical services. It was one of the hardest, if not the hardest decision I ever had to make, leaving a life and a career that I loved so very much. The problem was that the job was simply no longer any fun, and it was obvious to me that I needed to get away from it. I spent 22 years in that field, with a lot of amazing memories, many good ones, many bad ones, and a few that were flat out horrific. All-in-all, I would never have traded it for anything in the world. The greatest title I will ever have will have been that of New York City Paramedic. The subtitle of this blog, "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe," is not only a line from Blade Runner, but it perfectly sums up the job. There is also another quote from the movie "Bringing Out The Dead," that also summarizes that job. the original novel was written by NYC paramedic Joe Connelly, who I remember, though I suspect he may not remember me.
I have never seen the movie, or read the book, and I'm I'm not sure I ever will. I lived too close to it, and don't need certain memories revisited. I did however, find this quote from the movie that made me shiver, as it was so frighteningly accurate:
"I realized that my training was useful in less than ten percent of the calls, and saving lives was rarer than that. After a while, I grew to understand that my role was less about saving lives than about bearing witness. I was a grief mop. It was enough that I simply turned up."
Now, that said, what made the job so worthwhile were the people I worked with, and none more so than at the place I spent 11 years at, St. Mary's Hospital in Brooklyn. The people that I worked with there became my extended family, were there for me at all times, especially when I was sick and waiting for my transplant. While we have all gone our separate ways, especially since they closed the hospital 3 years ago, many of us still keep in contact through Facebook. We called ourselves "Mary's Mercenaries," as we were paid to work in what was ostensibly a combat zone. Such was Brooklyn, and indeed NYC as a whole back in the mid-80's t0 mid-90's. I wore a level III-A Kevlar vest under my uniform shirt, and was shot at on occasion. We were proud of being the busiest ambulance garage in all the 9-1-1 system in NYC at that time, so much so that we had these off-duty shirts made:
(Front - I don't know why Blogger is rotating this pic this way.)
Now for the best part: In addition to seeing family, I am going to a St. Mary's Mercenary reunion out on Long Island at Robert Moses State Park and beach. There are many people I have not seen in almost 10 years, some a little longer, so this is going to be a lot of fun. I also have not seen the ocean in a long, long time as well. It will be great to be together again with people that mean the world to me, and a little sad remembering some of them that are no longer with us. We lost a few people over the years from my dept., either to accidents or disease.
Time for a lot of laughs, a lot of memories, and reconnecting with old friends.
spring flowers - I am quite fond of this series of Wildflowers of Canada that came out in 1977 and try to collect as many as I can from my stamp dealer to use for Postcross...
6 days ago