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Events planned for National EMS Week

May 15-21 marks National EMS Week 2011.

Pagosa EMS crews will be out on Monday, May 16, Wednesday, May 18, and Friday, May 20, from 3-5 p.m. at the front of City Market, representing Child Safety and Injury Prevention Day. Crews will have handouts for the kids.

If crews are not at the store at the designated time, it is because they are out serving the community as duty calls. Please check back.

Pagosa EMS would like to recognize the community for its support throughout the year. On Saturday, May 21, Pagosa EMS invites everyone to enjoy an evening of celebration at Pagosa Pub Works, 165 N. Pagosa Blvd., from 8 p.m. to midnight in recognition of National EMS Week. DJ Bobby Hart will provide the music. Come out and meet your EMS crews.

The following makes the point as National EMS Week approaches.

“I’m just an ambulance driver!

Standing in chest deep water, freezing rain falling and stinging as it hits the exposed parts of my body. Holding her head above water to keep her from drowning until rescue could get there to cut her free — but I’m just an ambulance driver!

Comforting an 89-year-old woman who just watched me and my partner cover the face of her husband of 64 years as he lay dead on their bathroom floor — but I’m just an ambulance driver.

On scene at an MVA with mom trapped upside down in her car and her dead son’s body laying on top of her, without a second thought for my own safety, I crawl into the wreckage to take C-spine control and calm the frantic lady — but I’m just an ambulance driver.

Called away from my just-prepared meal to respond to the middle of nowhere to a house with no numbers, no porch light on, nobody waiting to signal us in and they gripe because we took too long only to find out the patient left P.O.V. ten minutes ago … so we smile and walk away from the verbal lashing only because we are just ambulance drivers.

Doing chest compressions on a 16-year-old girl who decided this life was more than she could take. Her family screaming at us to help as though we are the ones who did this to her. Her lifeless body flailing about as the tube goes in and IVs being started, my arms and back burning from the pain of 30 minutes of CPR never once giving up, hoping she would make it through and overcome whatever led her to this bad decision — but I’m just an ambulance driver.

Death is all around me and still I go home to live my life.

I get kicked, hit, spit on, bled on, puked on …

I look into the eyes of a lifeless child at 7 a.m. and by 8 a.m., I’m holding my child a little tighter and they know nothing about what happened.

I have hundreds of hours of classroom time, years of in-the-field experience.

I have challenged death and won.

I’ve helped the helpless.

I’ve neglected my family for yours.

I find comfort in complete chaos.

I eat cold meals if I eat at all.

I work with no sleep for days at a time.

I miss birthdays, holidays and school functions.

I put myself in harm’s way for a total stranger on a daily basis.

People don’t realize our job is this demanding.

All because I am just an ambulance driver.

We risk our lives to save yours. When you see emergency lights in your rearview mirror, pull to the right and stop. When we have our lights on, it’s to get to an emergency as quickly and safely as we can or to take a critical patient to the hospital, when seconds could mean life or death. Being a paramedic/EMT is dangerous enough; please don’t risk our lives by not paying attention or disregarding our lights.”

— Author unknown.

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