When I quit the ambulance, I felt like I had returned to civilian life.
I felt like I had been at war.
Everyone thinks warfare is something that doesn’t happen here…in the United States…despite the watered down tales of terror shared by the news.
I always found the news so trivial. For the most part I stopped watching it-I would spend my nights in a warzone and News was more traffic, weather, and falls latest fashion trends, when there were actual, legitmate, important narrartives playing out and nobody was being warned. I stopped watching TV but for background noise several years into EMS. The majority of television was fire, police and emergency rooms would frustrate me more than entertain me – the real thing was more exciting.
But when my husband became violent, I started losing my resilience. The calls were starting to collect on my shoulders in a way I couldn’t shake off. I saw violence at work, from drownings and fully burned bodies to blown off heads and violent rapes. I saw things behind thousands of closed. I don’t know how many people’s hands I held as they died…And violence had infiltrated everything, even my home, there was no reprieve. Suddenly I was more aware of how I couldn’t keep anything safe. I couldn’t even keep my dog safe.
The call that broke me happened October 30th 2012, six months before I finally walked into the office in tears. “I can’t do it anymore.” I said.
I couldn’t. I was done.