Saturday, September 27, 2008

Responsibility

Since I came out with this idea of mine to go to midwifery training, I have had two women (a friend and my sister) express to me that they would love that particular job, except for the responsibility involved.
I find this interesting, because the level of responsibility being an obstacle had not even occurred to me...in fact, the level of responsibility being a factor had not even occurred to me. This struck me as being strange--for both of these women the level of responsibility was enough to be a contributing factor in deterring them from actually considering midwifery as a career, but for me it didn't register. After some thinking (and a few minutes of worrying that I might, in fact, be a sociopath or something?), I realized that my job has taught me how to deal with the type of responsibility involved in dealing with peoples' lives and health. Of course, I have never had to resuscitate a baby, but I certainly have with adults. Not only that, but paramedics are generally the type of people who run TOWARDS disaster, chaos, mass casualty, fires, pain, death, and other shit that messes up the psyche. We get used to this level of responsibility. Now, I CAN remember being petrified every time my work pager went off, and I've certainly been scared to 'run' a call--as in, be the person in charge who triages, differentially diagnoses, and makes a treatment plan (fully responsible for the patient's immediate health, mode of extrication, treatment, transportation, and utilisation of freaky resources like Search and Rescue, Air Ambulances, Advanced Life Support paramedics, fire, police, bystanders, hospital staff, etc, with all the messy interpersonal politics that this entails), but this fear has been something I walk towards and not away from. I always assumed (1) I would do the best I could, (2) I would learn to move past the fear, and (3) what was on the other side of the fear would be a really cool experience.
Now, I'm not criticizing my friend or my sister; I'm noting the difference between us. And I'm noting not to criticize, but to note the fact that we are all made differently, and it's so good that this is so. People often comment that they could NEVER do my job, and my response to them is always that it's pretty cool how diverse people are in their desires, skill sets, and talents. There are many jobs I could never do also! (preschool teacher and basketball player topping the list) I also thought it interesting to note that my experience as a paramedic will help me to deal with the level of responsibility involved in being a midwife, if that is the path I choose to take.
It is also interesting that now that I am considering becoming a midwife, my current job seems LESS satisfactory than it used to. I keep mulling over the negative parts of being a paramedic in this province. The weird and nasty pay system. The transfers (shoot me, shoot me, $200 is NOT enough to work 10 hours of transfer car--it is SO BORING). The germs. The superbugs. Crabby people. The divergent expectations--for example, we are expected to show up AS FAST AS POSSIBLE but to drive AS SAFELY AS POSSIBLE: or to never make medical mistakes/misjudgements. You can't expect people to be both human (compassionate and empathetic) and superhuman (never make mistakes). The boys' club. The union. Hospital waits. Missing a cool call by half an hour. Pager tones half an hour before shift change--especially for boring calls. Hours and hours of driving. Boring. Boring. Boring.
So funny! I always knew these negative things about my job, but I'm feeling considerably less tolerant of them now that I'm contemplating a change; perhaps because we try to make the best of things when we don't have options? Plus the trade off was WICKED--adrenaline rushes, and really helping people, and fascinating medical mysteries/events, and weird shit, and never, ever having 'just another day at the office.' These are my favourite things about my job: Code 3 driving. The rush of saving a life. Impacting people in a positive way when they are in crisis. Blood, guts, gore, and really cool heavy equipment/machinery. Being in the community, people's homes, their cars, and their lives, and helping them. And, the really hilarious black humour that comes out of most of us after a few years on the job.
I'm not sure that black humour would be appreciated in a midwife, but I'd certainly get to impact people in a positive way, and be in their homes and lives, and see some blood and guts (hopefully no gore)! There are boring aspects of midwifery, I'm sure--but nothing beats an ambulance transfer. How boring is it to be a trained medical professional and then take a stable patient from one facility to another? Sometimes all day? SNORE. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....
I sure would miss the air ambulance calls, though. And the code 3 driving.

:-)

1 comment:

Asheya said...

Glad to hear that the responsibility doesn't scare you! I think it is pretty neat how we all have different skills and abilities. And I'm with you on not being able to be a basketball player (or a preschool teacher for that matter).

Here is what Eowyn has to say (she loves tthe keyboard) .kkoioooooooooo;p0