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The Upside to Tragedy

Updated on February 18, 2013

Everyone is subjected to events and experiences that are important and influential. An important event I recently experienced was working on an ambulance as an Emergency Medical Technician. As an EMT, I responded to life-threatening emergencies and provided care to patients who may not have lived without it. I have worked as an EMT for approximately two years and my experiences changed the way I live my life. I quickly learned to live my life responsibly, appreciate my friends and family, and take care of myself with proper diet and exercise. In those two years, I saw more horrific real-life happenings than most will in a lifetime.

I was never one to drive recklessly, use illegal drugs, or make life-threatening decisions; however, I believed to be impervious in potentially dangerous situations. Working as an EMT instantly influenced me to live my life more responsibly, and help keep my friends away from potentially harmful situations. On my first day, my partner and I responded to a call for a male who was found down on the ground outside an apartment building. When we arrived we found a twenty-something year old male laying in the mud bloodied, crippled, and incoherent. All he mumbled was “I see the light.” As a new EMT, I was terrified watching a young guy die without knowing what happened. Nobody could explain to us what happened until after about five minutes into the call his friend arrived to tell us the patient was on a bad acid trip and talked about jumping off his balcony on the fourth story. His friend didn’t take him seriously and inexplicably left him home alone, where under influences of the drug, he jumped off the balcony. Although I have had many calls since, that call stuck with me, remaining in the back of my mind all the time. That specific call influenced me to think twice about making potentially harmful choices when I’m out at a party, and to keep a close eye on my friends who may not make the same decisions I do, helping them avoid a similar situation.

As well as living life responsibly, working as an EMT taught me to truly appreciate the friends and family in my life; unfortunately, there’s no guarantee how long they will be around. My partner and I responded to a fall one Thursday that was anything but ordinary. Typically a call for someone who fell would be for an elderly person, not a forty-five-year-old lady without medical problems, which is what happened. When we found our patient, she was unresponsive on the floor at the bottom of a flight of twelve stairs and in a pool of dried blood. Her daughter told us she talked to her mother on the phone every day but had not heard from her since Monday. Our patient had been on the ground for three days suffering from blood loss, starvation, and dehydration. We did everything we could but sadly the patient didn’t make it to the hospital alive. What I remember most is how distraught her daughter was. Her life was never going to be the same without her mother. Before that call, I sometimes took for granted having my friends and family in my life and that call changed my outlook. Since then, I realized how permanent it is to lose a friend or family member and haven’t stopped appreciating mine.

Not only have I been influenced to live responsibly and appreciate those important to me, I also learned to be much more careful about my diet and exercise habits. Before seeing how a poor lifestyle can affect someone physically and emotionally, I didn’t exercise regularly or care about the types of food I put into my body. Shortly after starting as an EMT, I met Sean who became a good friend. Sean worked as a dispatcher at the same company and had a second job as a firefighter, which was his passion. He obviously didn’t care for a healthy lifestyle because he was obese and physically limited as a result. At thirty-one years old, he was diagnosed with type-two diabetes because of his unhealthy habits. Soon after being diagnosed with diabetes, Sean was let go from the fire department he served because of his poor physical condition. The combination of diabetes, being in poor shape, and not being able to do what he was passionate about caused Sean to become depressed and he eventually took his own life. His suicide was the moment I realized how much living unhealthy affects a person, even at such a young age.

Before becoming an EMT, I was a typical twenty-one year old. I believed myself to be impervious in dangerous situations, was unappreciative of the family and friends in my life, and I didn’t bother to pursue an active, healthy lifestyle. I’ve seen the aftermath of poor decision making, the impact of losing a family member, and the repercussion of an unhealthy lifestyle. After witnessing firsthand what tragedies life can bring, I began making more responsible choices, be grateful for my friends and family, and live an active and healthy way of life. Working as an EMT has been the most memorable, influential experience of my life.


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    • ESPeck1919 profile image

      Emilie S Peck 

      8 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Thank you for sharing these stories. The lessons you took away from them were deep and very touching.


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