What do you tell your kids?

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Anyone who has worked in some form of emergency service, particularly overnight, or on the night shift, knows that when the sun goes down, the world becomes a different place.

“Normal”, “civilian”, “9-5ers” whatever you want to call them or they call themselves. “Day-walker” is my favorite term for them.

Their lives are very mundane. Even “secure.” wandering through their routine like mindless drones. Oblivious.

Bad neighborhoods, violence, prostitution, drugs, people so poor you would think you were in the 3rd world somewhere. Things they cannot imagine.

I am writing about this because currently I am stuck in a bureaucratic mess,  with people who are so worthless, I cannot tell if they are being malicious or are a bunch of window-licking retards who were forced into their job by an unemployment agency. I want to believe the former. At least it would restore my faith in humanity and that we are not about to witness another dark age. I once read “Hope is the denial of reality.” Smart phones and TV. If you wanted to take over the world, you couldn’t hope for better tools.

Anyway, as I was attempting to get the paperwork these cretins endlessly demand. (A very good pulmonologist I know would say “the poor creatures, they don’t know any better.)I asked one of my bosses how these people look in the mirror or what they tell their kids?

I won’t post what she said…but I mentioned that I tell my daughter the same thing my dad told me. “smart people only have 2 choices in life. They can help people or take advantage of them. I will love you no matter what you choose, but I hope you choose to help.”

I then reminisced a bit, mentioned that I tell my daughter and show her the pictures of me working as a firefighter. I show her pictures of me working on ambulances (she doesn’t understand what a paramedic is so we leave that title out). I show her the pictures of me in Afghanistan (she understands “when tata went far away to help people”). My daughter then recalls the time she came to visit me at work in the hospital, with “you are pan doktor” (she sometimes mixes Polish and English when she speaks)

I could not imagine having to tell my daughter that I just mindlessly fill out forms all day and in no way make any difference to anyone in the world. That my only purpose in life is to annoy people and check boxes without thought or capacity to make a decision or deviation even as the obviousness of the truth was staring me in the face. I couldn’t even look myself in the mirror. Which is why I am so frustrated as of late. To quote a Stanley Kubrick movie. “I need to get back into the shit.”

But I will entertain you with one of my experiences with day- walkers…

It was a weekend night like any other working at an inner-city charity hospital. Nearly 0200, “last call” or as we would say “the 2 o’clock rush.”

An EMS crew brought in a young white male.   Recognizing the crew as from the local station, and knowing the neighborhood well, it was safe to assume he didn’t get lost taking his library books back. This is the type of place your GPS phone app purposefully steers you away from.

The boy (about 16 years old) was beaten, not too bad, or as Darth Vader would say “He will not be permanently damaged.”

We coaxed out of him that he was from a upper class suburb, and he was in the neighborhood looking for street-walking prostitutes and drugs. There was a disagreement about the price and some pimp beat him up. As he was a minor, we were obligated to call his parents, day-walkers.

When they showed up, he had crafted a completely unbelievable story about getting lost, stopping to ask for directions, getting mugged and carjacked. There are only 3 reasons to be in our neighborhood after dark. Buying sex, buying drugs, or as a guest of the hospital.

I can’t decide if his parents were completely oblivious day-walkers or just didn’t want to admit to why their son was beaten, robbed, and lost his car in this no-mans-land. But they first demanded to know why the ambulance drivers brought him to this hospital and not a hospital in a more respected part of the region. The father especially was completely oblivious to the fact it is highly insulting to call paramedics “ambulance drivers.” He probably didn’t know his injured son was in one of the finest trauma centers in the world. The mother then demanded we call the police at once!  Which we did and they arrived in record time, about an hour and 1/2 later. Apparently the family did not think that was fast enough. They registered their displeasure with the officer. The look on his face was priceless. They then went on to demand the attackers be caught, the car recovered, and their son’s pocket money as well.  They finished with the phrase: “we intend to press charges…”

At which point they turned to the hospital secretary and told her to call their bank and have their son’s credit cards cancelled. I think they were under the impression that the secretary first knew what bank they used and second, had a secret number to call at 4am on a weekend and actually reach somebody.

The father then demanded to file a complaint against the hospital when politely told this was not possible. He was also not happy to hear that he might as well call his insurance company because there was no chance the police would find the car or the money. The father was also very upset the police were not going to make this their top priority; taking the officer’s badge number to file a complaint against him as well.

When his son was finally discharged they all left most indignantly; loudly muttering there was a reason we all worked in such a place and it was surrounded by the type of people living there.

The father was right about one thing. There was a reason we all worked there. I doubt it was the same reason he thought. Whether you are wealthy or poor, black, white, yellow, or whatever color. A day-walker or a vampire; we are there to make a difference in the lives of real people, in their time of desperate need.

That is what we tell our kids. They will never know the feeling of being able to do any of that.

They are poor creatures. I don’t know whether to pity them or be angry at them. But they really frustrate me.

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One thought on “What do you tell your kids?

  1. Corky

    Just found your blog. Read through quite a few. Don’t always completely agree with your statements but love it anyways.

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