Today I had a new partner as my most recent one has left me for Medical School (Yes, Ed. I am still holding a grudge until you return)
While it was just for today, Art and I seemed to have an immediate understanding of each other. Our Medic numbers are only a few digits off and we both have experienced what life is outside of EMS. We enjoyed our day, we had great conversations, saw a few patients, had a lot of laughs and because of him, I actually enjoyed my first day back to work since July 24th. This was a relatively benign for a Medic Shift in this area (Lakewood, NJ). So it was an easy day to ease back into the Medic saddle.
For those who don't know me...I am a walking talking shit storm when it comes to bad EMS calls. The Nurses at Jersey Shore UMC in Neptune always give me a side smile when I walk through the doors and say "we should have known you had something to do with this" It makes me smile at times and others it makes me shake my head. There is a lot of pressure in my job. It's a job where you usually only see the worst things life has to throw at another human. Let's face it. If you have ever called 911, it wasn't because something good happened. It was simply a cry for help in desperation or something life altering had just happened.
After almost 20 years on the Medic truck, I still call my Mother, Joan every night on my way home. It has become our "thing". When she sees or hears my name being announced on her caller ID, she always answers the phone in her very upbeat voice and asks "How was your day, honey?" There is always some kind of snarky answer or a long drawn out silence, groan or grumble. (Anyone who has worked in public service knows those answers can vary greatly depending on what the universe has decided to throw at us in between punches of the time clock.) You see, I can talk to my Mom of the things I see, hear feel and experience "on the job". She understands pressures of the job. After some persuading by me in the early 90's, she went through EMT school and found her passion. She loved every minute of it. But she also got a good taste of how stressful the job can be.
Today, my answer to Joan was: "Relatively benign for a Sunday in Ocean County, NJ". Mom giggled. (She does, in fact have the best giggle ever next to Courtney's). While chatting with my Mom and her giving me the run down of her day, she states: "Well, now you can go home, peel off your uniform, climb into your comfy's and go to sleep". I unwittingly let out a sarcastic giggle. "Wait. What?! Why are you giggling??" "Mom, I decided to sleep in today 'cause it was my first day back to work so I have to do at least part of my circuit tonight". Mom: "You're Nuts!" Me: "Well, kinda. Yeah." (It takes a nut to know a nut, Joanie)
My Mom and Dad have always been my own personal cheering section. There were 7 of us growing up. With my Dad working so much to support us, she tried her best to get to every sporting event and cheer us on. Now, at 84, it's no different. When I post something about my Tri Training on social media, she always chirps up with a "That's MY GIRL!" comment. I think she lives her life vicariously through me and my adventures, I don't blame her. I have a pretty amazing life. My generation of female athletes is only possible because of hers. She has taught me to recognize and respect that, I do. I go on to explain to her the amount of pressure I have put myself under as I am 27 days away from my first Ironman 70.3 and I am in fear of not being able to finish it as my body hasn't been cooperating. She tells me she loves me, tells me I can do it, tells me to please be safe and call her tomorrow during my shift at Jersey Shore. "I love you too, Mom". Sleep well, beautiful.
I disconnect the call through the magic technological person called Siri in my phone and much to my surprise what is on the Radio? Under Pressure by David Bowie and Queen. It's Jake's favorite song. I have listened to the words for what could possibly be a million times. I know them. But I never really listened to them. Until tonight.
"Pressure pushing down on me, Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure that brings a building down, Splits a family in two, Puts people on streets. It's the terror of knowing, What the world is about, Watching some good friends
Screaming 'Let me out', Pray tomorrow gets me higher, Pressure on people people on streets, Chippin' around - kick my brains around the floor, These are the days it never rains but it pours."
All of a sudden, I got it. Pressure comes from all sources, both Internal and external, some in our control some completely out of our control (like my job). My fear of failure is my own personal pressure. It's pressure I don't need. None of us do. So yes, Mom. I'm Nuts. Im Nuts if I don't think I can do this. So even though today is one of those days where EVERYTHING HURTS, I'm swollen and exhausted, I put on my sneakers, my beats and my flasher (a gift from Michael for when I run at O'Dark-Thirty in the morning) and I ran. Only two miles. I did it for me. Most importantly, I did it for you, Mom. I love you.
Stay safe everyone and be good to each other. ~ T