Friday, January 9, 2009

Of Belts and Suspenders

Question: "Does what you wear define you?" Even for that day, or moment? I put my belt on this morning. Then I clipped my fire department pager to it, and then my iPhone right next to it. I put on my suit. Then I put my fire department heavy coat on over it on the way to work. I slung my computer case over my shoulder. And then I stuck in its outside pocket copies of the drug protocols I have to study for next week's medic class quiz. Funny thing is, not all of this 'stuff' weighs me down daily as much as my struggle to accept the fact that I HAVE to be satisfied with my career as an attorney while pursuing my passion to be a paramedic.

A call comes over the fire pager on my way out to the car- auto accident, northern state parkway, exit 42. And then some follow up transmissions from various jericho fire and rescue officers- but none from an ambulance. I'm on my way. Oh, wait.... I'm SUSPENDED. That's right. Suspended. For three whole weeks. All because I wasn't able to attend a two hour class on how to use the radio. Later in the year, the fire department decided to make SCBA training part of that class too (thats the breathing apparatus used when you go into fires and such). Regardless... what is the point here??? I am suspended from responding to an auto accident because I supposedly lack training in how to use a breathing apparatus on my fire gear? Or is it the fact that I lack training on how to use a radio? I get it.... my radio skills are good enough to respond to 5 active fires in 2008 amongst the hunddreds of other calls to which I responded; good enough to take part in department operations training at the fire service academy where I took part in extinguishing fires in hi-rises, commercial properties, and vehicles; good enough to handle other auto accidents that resulted in life-threatening injuries; and good enough to ride on Nassau County ambulances for my rotations; but hey there, Ms. auto accident victim at exit 42 this morning, please stop bleeding as soon as you can, I can't help you right now because IM SUSPENDED. Please have your accident at another time and day. Thank you for your courtesy and consideration. It's so macabre, that the first chief who responded isn't an EMT. He did go thru the classroom training though, so, I guess he can use his radio and breathing apparatus to help this lady. Jericho's tax dollars, hard at work. Protecting our citizens and saving lives, one policy at a time.

I'm at my law office now. I took off my warm overcoat decorated with fire rescue patches and the like and threw it on the leather chair, revealing my tie and button down to my employees. One of my paralegals comes in and tells me she is going home because she feels sick. I told her I couldn't help her either- IM SUSPENDED.

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