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Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's at times like this I really ask "Why did I go to college?"

Here I sit with the partner I'm training at Ben Taub General Hospital Emergency Room. We've been sitting here for almost five hours waiting for a doctor to say "He's on PCP but he's stable, I'll sign the release form" so we can book him.

We met J at a fast food restaurant where he drove up to the order machine of the drive through and then just stopped. After a few minutes the clerk had enough and said "Please order or move to let the others pass through..." In simple language, he told the lady "F^&* em!...." So we get called after he gets out of the car threatening the security officer of the place. And he's got a suspended license for previous DWIs so by law we need to draw blood at the hospital. After actually get the vampire to take his blood the MD said he needs to get blood work on him. And we sit while he starts to spit out and try and pull away from his handcuffs.

As we're dealing with J another patient in the ER (also on something synthetic) gets off his bed, screaming "Let me out of here!...." and pulling his IVs our. After some initial work to get his to calm down he goes nuts and it takes 8 of us to get him secured to the bed. As I'm trying to get a handcuff on him the end of one cuff pries against my finger and I have a nice little red spot where the blood is. Get him outside the ER and the nurse gives him the cocktail and he slowly starts to calm down. Good stuff. I asked the nice nurse "Can I get some of that stuff....sleeping after a 14 hours shift is sometimes strangely difficult." And another nice nurse gives me an ice pack for the bobo. And we get him back in the emergency room for another few hours of rest before he's sent on to the psych ward. And my finger hurts! WAAAAAAAA!

This is the only call we've had all shift. Dropped as we got on duty and I figured this sounded like an excellent field training call and in spite of my complainants, it is. Welcome to the job, this is it.

So my partner and I spent the following hours waiting for blood work to come by so some resident spending his time in hell can sign a few papers and the question comes up again. Why did I go to college for this?

I joke about this knowing most new cops have at least some college (60 hours is pretty much the minimum) while many have more than that. I'm working on a master's as I type. Again I ask, why did I go to college?

Because for me, like most people, their college degree is not related to what they really do. I won't trade the experience of college for anything, the people I met, friends I've kept since then. And more to the point the question is why do I do this? Because, like many other endeavors, this is more than a job. It's a calling. Like the nurses around me working at warp speed on Saturday night while their friends are at home or out on the town. Or the firemen out there who I think are certifiable. Great philosophical discussion with cops and firemen, who is more insane? I've always pointed out "Hey pal, if I got a bad guy inside I can always wait for backup...you got to go inside the burning building!" (which they do and bring em out alive!). But again, this is my calling and the calling of many (I won't say all....I've worn a badge too long to believe that) and this is what a society requires. Cops, firemen, medics, nurses, soldiers. Men and women who do the dirty work that's needed.

So again, I look over the masses of people in the emergency room (J is still acting a fool...then again he ain't acting) and the guy on synthetic is enjoying his cocktail and my partner and I wonder when we get off.

It's a bit more than a job. Thanks to all who wear to the badge and run to rescue those trapped.

To everyone else, sleep tight. We got the watch!

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