Saturday, August 23, 2008

And You Thought Random Ramblings were for Thursdays.

(This picture is from Post Secret.
I have not become this guy.)

My friend Patresa is a writer and thinker of considerable talent. In one of her recent blogs she mentions the phrase "unconditional compassion". I'll get to that in a minute.

Another says this...

"Of these, I'm particularly interested in people who establish their worth by being the most of-service. They only feel worth something if they are needed. They will give and give and give of themselves until they are depleted. And this interests me, because according to my theory, it is actually a selfish act. It isn't as much about the people they are helping and more about fulfilling their own need to be needed." -Patresa in Biped.Sideways.

And it made me wonder if I have an 'of-service' or 'hero' complex or just an 'adrenaline' complex. 'Hero' implies that I'm in it for the glory. Which, to a certain extent, if I'm honest, I am. It all stems from my childhood, of course. Swim team was national champs. I held my own pretty well in theater and music. Then came the Marines. I guess I've been chasing some sort of glory my whole life. Goes back to that 'wanting to leave my mark on the world' thing. The worst part of all that is I'm always pretty anonomous in those endeavors. Swimming? I was on the team. Did my part. But wasn't one of the superstars. Theater? Music? Had some parts with lines. Sang some solos. But again, never the superstar. Marines? Please. One of a horde of hard chargers ready to see the world, experience strange cultures, meet new people and kill them. But hardly CMOH material. And I chose to be a paramedic.

When people remember their car crashes or heart attacks or illnesses or what have you, sometimes they write thank you notes. (one in a thousand chance) And they will thank Dr. Joe Schmoe, Nurse Betty and Nurse Pauline, but we are always "the paramedics". OK, OK. Sometimes we are "those nice paramedics" But anonomous. I have received a thank you with my name on it...when I picked up a fellow medic on our service. (differnet service, newer medic friends)

So if I was in it entirely for the glory, I think I'd be much more aggressive about it than I am. I've known medics/Marines/swimmers/actors like that, and for me...not so much. I do like my Ego. I like to let it out to play and preen every now and again. But I don't think I am being led by it entirely yet. Though I do like the feeling of being somewhat Important. Selfish? A little.

As for 'Adrenaline Addict' I'd test positive for that. The rush of a good race, a good performance, the boom of the cannon or the wail of the sirens and flashing lights. Yeah... that's fun.

I do like to be needed. But not to the extent that I am drained. I like, too much, to hole up in the shop and tinker to recharge. Or spend time with my family. I could live on the giggles of my children.

Do I feel worth from being needed? Dunno. If it were just me, I'm almost positive I'd be perfectly happy with just a dog and a million acres of woodland to meander through. (but then, would the dog need me?) One fact is this. I am needed, whether I feel worth from it or not. Not in my job. Anybody could be trained to do my job. And not by The Wife (who wants me around, loves having me around, and who loves me very much, but does not need in a needy way) But by my son and daughter. And I know I am not worthy to be their father, but incredibly lucky and blessed. They need me to be a good role model, a good father. And I strive for that.

As for the job? Patresa summed it up in two words. Unconditional Compassion. That's the goal. Unfortunately, while I can manifest that outwardly to my patients, I fall far short of that in my head. I can strive for that too, I suppose. God can sort out the rest.

So, I'll continue to write about hypothetical adventures in the ED (it's Emergency Department now, no longer confined to a simple Room) And the greatness that are my kids and wife, and some other silly and rather inconsequential things globally speaking.

And thank you, dear reader, for continuing to read.

More Later


Kathryn Magendie said...

"The Paramedics" - Well, then "Thank you, John" for what you do...for what would we do without you and those who do what you do? Oh, the things you must see, hear, feel, smell, touch...I can't imagine.

Patresa Hartman said...

cool! thanks for the shout-out. you don't seem too pathological to me. i bet you're safe. :)