Letdown – Daily Thoughts 4.30.13

One of the biggest problems that I have been dealing with lately is a feeling like I am letting people down and feeling like I am letting myself down.

I feel guilty that I cant work in the trucks anymore. I feel ashamed, like my old co-workers look at me and think I’m a failure. I feel bad that I can’t be as involved in my classes as I would like because some days I simply cannot walk.

I know it’s silly, I know that all that kind of thinking does is ruin me, ruin my attitude.

Sometimes I feel like there was something I could have done to prevent my disk from herniating. I feel like maybe I did something to deserve it, or maybe it happened to prevent me from something worse.

I lay in bed at night and think about ways I could have prevented my back injury. The longer I think, the more abstract and ridiculous the ideas become.

“Well, if I would have just stuck with one of the millions of times I tried to lose weight, then this wouldn’t have happened … Maybe if I was just stronger, when I was lifting the cot, my back wouldn’t have spazzed out … If I never became a paramedic or got interested in EMS … If I would have applied myself more in high school and found something else I liked to do … Maybe if I hadn’t jumped off of the swings at the playground so many times … If I was born in May instead of June …

The longer I think, the crazier it gets.

Now just to be clear, I know that this is all absurd, nonsensical and even comical. But as my Mom would say, I inherited my Dad’s penchant of worrying about things that don’t matter. Mix that with my unhinged, creative imagination and scary things start to happen.

What I am really trying to say is this; If, over the next two weeks, I am acting strange, extremely quiet,  anxious or just seem down, it’s probably because I am worrying about letting you down, or something else equally silly.

Also, thank you to all those who have sent me happy thoughts, messages and emails. I appreciate them!

Modern medicine can’t fix my broken heart

It has been two years, two months, eighteen days, and  twenty three hours since I have worked in an ambulance (At the time I am writing this).

The counter in my head never stops. I can’t forget the day in February that I was injured, because it was also the day that my heart broke.

I think it is rare for anyone nowadays to be able to say that they love their job. It is even more rare for a 20-year-old to have their first serious career be a career they can truly say they loved.

Some would say that I am being over-dramatic, and I guess I am, but it hurts. There is a piece missing from my heart. Everyday since the day my back was injured has been a horrible reminder of a lost love. Every pain shooting down my leg, the constant muscle spasms in my back, the feeling like my left foot is constantly being stabbed with  knives and needles keeps the emotions and realization that I will never again get to do the job that I love fresh in my mind.

It has made me angry.

I have tried to move on. I found another profession, journalism, much in the same way I found my love for emergency medicine, by chance. I just happened to be good at it.

But I am still angry. Angry that I am having all this pain. The things you love should not cause you pain, but they do.

Angry that after all the hard work I put into school so that I could work as a paramedic means nothing anymore. The overnight clinicals in a town two hours away, working days on the ambulance as an EMT and nights at the hospital as a nursing assistant so I could pay off my tuition bill because I couldn’t get enough loan money to cover it. The constant struggle to stay awake during classes after having been up for 32 straight hours because a patient needed to go to Rochester at 1:00 a.m. — a 12-13-hour round trip.

I’m angry at myself because I probably could have worked harder to take care of myself and avoided injury in the first place.

Well, Maybe.

Actually, Probably not. (I won’t get into the staggering statistics of injuries in the field)

Now I’m angry because I have an answer. It took long enough, too. Almost ten months of being batted around like a cat toy to different providers, different specialists, getting injections and having them go wrong, walking around for three months with my leg numb, feeling like I’m going to fall over. When the one test I requested could have told us everything.

But now I have an answer, so I should be relieved, right?

I am, in a way. I am happy that the surgery that I have to have has a high success rate and will probably relieve the searing pain that rips down the back of my leg every time I move it. It will probably help relieve the muscle spasms and stop the feeling of pins and needles being poked into the bottom of my foot.

But when all the pain is gone, I will still be left with a broken heart. Knowing that especially now that I have had back surgery, there is no way any smart person would hire me to work for an ambulance service again. Knowing that I will never get to feel the insane adrenaline rush and pure terror of responding to a car accident, an unconscious person or a cardiac arrest, but also never again feel the warmest feeling your heart could ever know after trying everything you – and modern medicine – have in your bag of tricks to save a life.

But modern medicine,with all the tricks in her bag, can’t fix a broken heart. And even though I will be very happy to be able to walk without limping soon, to go about my day without pain, get back to feeling like me again, my heart still aches to be out saving lives, to help people on their darkest day.

I don’t think anything can fix this broken heart of mine.