I couldn't speak. I couldn't control my bodily functions. My princess cried, while my power ranger tried to calm her. Told my wife to call my brother and sister EMTs to take me to the hospital. Quick response. Had every EMT from my department, and about 20 firefighters in my house. My kids watched. My wife told everyone I was exaggerating. And the norovirus and I snuggled together in the gurney. How embarrassing. How humiliating. I was able to mutter that I wanted my own company within the department to transport. Caught hell for that the next day. Apparently, that request insulted everyone who wasn't in my company.... gimme a break and HTFU!!! There wasn't much left inside of me. I was spilling my guts out, but I'm not talking about the obvious. I'm talking about my dignity. I had nothing left of me by the time I reached the hospital.
I didn't much like being on the bus looking up at my company's EMTs. I much more prefer being an EMT looking down at my patient.
My princess and my power ranger, well, they love coming to my 'house', running around the apparatus floor wearing one of my tar-ridden fireproof turnout gear gloves, shining my flashlight, and even sleigh riding in my helmet when it snows enough. They love taking out a steth and listening to me whisper sweet nothings, and wrapping the BP cuff around each other's heads. But lately, they don't like firefighters and medics. They pan their faces when my pager goes off now, for they know there is someone calling for me and the other EMTs- someone with no guts- or worse, someone with a princess or power ranger of their own, watching it all, helplessly, and now memory-scarred.
My power ranger still says he wants to be a firefighter. My little girl still wants to be a 'princess doctor'. They both know now that walking each of those paths requires more than just fighting fires, or treating sick princesses. This all taught to them by my friend the norovirus. With friends like that, who needs enemies. It's all chillingly ironic.