I worked everywhere for a while. In the city, in the suburbs, days, nights, afternoons, wherever I could get a shift. I didn’t have a set schedule because I was new, and I was kind of a slave to the system. Then a new spot opened up in the southtowns where I was from. It was an odd shift, from like 10am to 10pm. But It was in an area I knew well. But my partner, I didn’t know. Never met the guy before in my life. I’d heard he was nice. I met him at Kenmore Mercy when he was getting off shift and I was coming on. I told him I thought I was going to be his new partner. He looked at me like he was as excited about that as getting a root canal. Maybe he was having a bad day too…
Mike was actually a hoot of a partner. There are two Mikes I worked with, He is the OG. We had more fun than should be allowed by law. I know more one liners, more fart jokes, and more silly songs because of him. He was present for a lot of my firsts as an EMT. My first childbirth. My first pediatric traumatic cardiac arrest. My first, and only, ambulance wreck. Not necessarily in that order. First heart attack, bad respiratory, overdose. He was shit magnet. He still is.
Our first traumatic cardiac arrest together was a pediatric cardiac arrest. His name was Cody. He was hit by a car. I’ll never forget his face. We arrived, the Fire Department already had him packaged, so we picked him up, put him in the truck, and took off for the hospital. Mike did everything en route. IVs, intubation, drugs. Nothing worked. I remember pushing blood into him at the hospital. I remember when the doctor called time of death. I remember looking my supervisors in the eye, and saying, “I can’t talk to you right now.” Because I didn’t want to cry in front of them. I walked out to the truck, and found that one of my coworkers had cleaned it. I restocked and put the stretcher away, and collapsed onto the sidewalk.
Mike sat down beside me. We sat with our head together for a long time. We didn’t cry, but just sat there, trying to make sense of why a seven year old died like that. But there are no answers to those questions. A supervisor sat with us. I’ll never forget what he told us that day. “Calls like these, are like a feather in your cap. You’ll always keep them with you. But you’ll move forward.” Thank you for that wisdom, Steve. We continued working that day. And the next. But I never forgot.
Mike and I *almost* delivered a healthy baby girl. Mom had several other children, and called after her water broke, we rushed her to the hospital, as she was not yet ready to deliver at home, and once we were in the elevator to labor and delivery, she made the announcement, “It’s coming!!” Y’all, when Mom says it’s coming, it’s coming. Sure enough, I do a quick check, and there’s head starting to emerge. We roll quickly and safely into L&D, and inform them Mom is ready to deliver, and she is quickly moved to a bed. They push Mike out of the room, and shove me and the stretcher out of the way, and into a corner, nowhere near an exit. So I get to unwittingly get to witness this miracle of life. Childbirth is messy. Babies look like little old people covered in white grease. Welcome to the world, Baby Lily. She’s probably a teenager now…
Mike and I took a routine transport from a skilled nursing facility to the hospital. Sun was shining, birds were singing. Lovely day. He was in thre back with the patient, and I was driving. We stopped at a light, and were a few cars back from the signal, waiting for the light to change.
“Hey!!” Mike yells from the back. “That lady hit us!” I put on my four ways, notify dispatch, and sigh. “Thank you, Captain Obvious. Are you hurt?” I ask. “No.” He replies. “Is the patient ok?” I ask. “She hasn’t said anything.” He replies. The patient was non verbal in a vegetative state. She was strapped in like a kid in a carseat. She was evaluated at the hospital for injuries, and was ultimately unharmed. I step out of the truck, and walk to the car behind us that has squarely struck us from behind. An elderly lady is sitting in it, looking perplexed. “Ma’am are you ok?” I ask. She looks at me like I have a third eye. “I don’t know what happened. I didn’t see you.” She replied. “Ma’am are you injured?” I ask. “No, I’m not hurt. But I don’t know where you came from. I never saw you.” She stated flatly. It was my turn to stare at her. “Ma’am, I don’t know how you could miss a big green and white ambulance, but here we are.” Police show up a few minutes later, and ask us to pull into a parking lot and get out of the roadway. Shortly after, my supervisor arrived.
“What the hell happened” He asked, his tone indicating I was at fault. My back is sore, my head hurts, and I’ve answered this question no less than six times at this point. “Well, you see it was like this.” I started. “I was sitting at the light, and I got bored, so I threw it in reverse, and backed into her.” Mike was handing patient care over to another unit, as was standard policy, and overheard my statement and started chuckling, as did the crew. I garnered an eyeroll from my supervisor and a heavy sigh. “So she backed into you?” He said. “Yes.” I replied, and walked away. We finished the police report and Mike had to drive us back to the station until it was determined whether or not I had to go downtown to be drug tested, as was policy back then. He started cracking jokes until I was laughing so hard I was crying. We filled out incident reports, and it was determined I was not at fault, the bumper was not damaged enough to take the truck out of service, so we just went back to work.
Mike and I worked together for the better part of three years. He watched me grow as an EMT. He taught me to be a better one. We became good friends. He preceptored me through Paramedic school. His new partner drove in such a way that I could legitimately sleep on the bench seat while he drove lights and sirens to a call. Mike would wake me up when we got there and let me know what we had. I dozed off on his shoulder standing in the hallway at Buffalo General waiting for a bed with a patient. Medic school was not for the faint of heart. I’m told it still isn’t. I moved to the Carolinas in 2015 and took a paramedic gig there. He followed suit in 2016. We live counties apart and hardly see each other. The last time we saw each other we went shooting. I shot up his target from my lane next to his. But if he needed me, I’d be there in a second. And I’d guarantee he’d do the same. He’s my OG.