As I lay here in bed at 3 am I find myself having an intense internal debate on whether I should write this letter or not. Knowing my personality all too well, if I don’t write down my thought processes they are not going away in a hurry so I may as well get started. This weekend for me marks the end of an era, an era that has shaped my life and influenced whom I have become. This weekend will be my last as a Paramedic and the last working for the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS).
For those that have not worked in this industry, you may be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal? I mean all your doing is leaving an average paid government job”. On paper you are right, but being a paramedic has been for me, and so many others more than a job, it becomes who you are. Being a paramedic is a 24/7 job, it becomes part of your subconscious, it becomes part of your everyday decision-making, and it becomes a part of you. The skill set and frame of mind required for this amazing job for me became impossible to leave at work, it follows you everywhere. Now I’m not talking negative thoughts or jobs haunting me (however we all have those few) I’m talking everyday things like not being able to take your eyes off little old nanna crossing the road as you know when she gets hit by a car your going to have to go over and help. Or attempting to watch over all 50 children swimming in the local pool whilst simultaneously working out their airway sizes, tidal volumes and adrenaline dosages. For me, these thought processes have become tiring and I don’t want to think like this anymore. I want to enjoy sitting at the coffee shop and not have to worry about nanna crossing the road, I want to swim at the pool with my kids and not think the worst will happen to the other 48 children swimming in the same pool. This job becomes so second nature and so instinctive it’s impossible to switch off, well for me anyway.
I have loved the last 9 years, I have been passionate, committed and completely dedicated to the profession (maybe too my own detriment). I do not regret 1 single day of work and have all in all loved getting out of bed and putting on my uniform every day. The people I work with are truly inspiring, robust, intelligent, practical, articulate humans who have the ability to process so much information and yet perform at the highest level against all odds that are the pre-hospital environment. Working with those people day in day out is what makes this job so special and is what I will miss most about not putting on the uniform every day. There is something to be said about the bonds you build as a group when continually faced with adversity and seemly impossible challenges.
I will miss things about being a paramedic there is no doubt about it. I will miss things like seeing the relief on a mothers face when you walk through the front door at 3 am to her child fighting for every breath. I will miss having the ability to take poor nannas pain away when she has fallen and fractured her hip. I will miss the unspoken excitement and power that comes with the job, like walking into a supreme court for a patient in cardiac arrest and owning that room which is full of high powered lawyers, judges and barristers, it is a sense of pride in what you do and confidence that can not be replicated in any other setting.
On the other hand, there are things I won’t miss like that late job at 6:50 at the end of your night shift. Or my most hated feeling of all, those who have worked with me will know, you finally lay your head on that pillow at 4:30 Sunday morning after a horrific Saturday night shift, you’ve been out cold for 45 minutes and a code 1 comes through. You wake up and literally feel as if you are going to have a seizure yourself and simply cannot fathom that idea that you are going to have to drive an ambulance let alone provide any decent level of pre-hospital care, yuk the thought of it right now makes me sick.
In all seriousness, it is my time to move on. It is time for me to let go, it is time for me to put my mental and physical health first, but most of all it is time for me to give my family some stability and support. QAS I thank you for an amazing, challenging, exciting, frustrating, confronting yet inspiring 9 years. The last thing I have to say QAS, is remember this - “If as a company you look after your staff, they will look after your clients”.
Marek logging off for the last time…..out.