Thank You, EMS, 25 Years Later
Life has a funny way of changing direction on us without or consent or input. It was about 25 years ago. I was at dinner with my family at an amazing BBQ restaurant in Austin. Specifically, I was at dinner with my Mom and Dad, brother and two sisters. It was a bittersweet dinner in many ways. While on the one hand it was great to spend time and catch up with family members I hadn’t seen in some time, the reason for our collective bread breaking wasn’t so wonderful.
You see, my Dad brought us all together from all over the country to share the news – he’d been diagnosed with lung cancer. Not surprisingly, the wave of emotions ranged from shock to disbelief to sadness to anger. Frankly, it sucked.
My Dad, being my Dad, wanted to show strength and character in light of his diagnosis and illness. It’s who he was. But he had underestimated the devastating effects of chemotherapy (he had already been through a couple of treatments) and how it weakens and ravages the body.
The result? My Dad became viciously ill at the restaurant and ultimately passed out. As you can imagine, panic ensued. It was scary as hell. None of us knew what to do or exactly what was happening. Within moments (at least it felt that way to me), however, a team of paramedics was on the scene. They were focused but calm. They stabilized my Dad. They transported him to a nearby hospital to receive necessary fluids and other care to ensure he was fit enough to go home. It was both frightening and reassuring at the same time.
At this stage in my life, my exposure to EMS was admittedly limited. However, over the next few months, my Dad was in and out of the hospital on a far more frequent basis than I care to think about – until he ultimately couldn’t bear the pain of the cancer that had decimated his entire body. The one constant during this time? EMS.
They were there at the beginning when my family was experiencing sheer terror and panic at a restaurant, and they were there at the end when the pain and cancer had consumed my Dad to the point he needed to take one final trip to the hospital simply to be made more comfortable until he passed.
The professionalism, no-nonsense approach, tenderness, compassion and sense of urgency provided my Dad with a level of care and comfort (and a sense of tranquility for the family) during a time when moments of comfort and tranquility were few and far between. I still remember vividly the scenes of my Dad falling ill 25 years ago. I also remember vividly the role EMS played in helping my Dad and my family during moments of trauma 25 years ago.
From my vantage point EMS not only saves the lives of individuals, EMS helps change the lives of families by saving individuals. It’s incredibly powerful. Thank you for all that you do.
Andy Prince lives in Austin, TX and works with the ESO team. We appreciate Andy sharing his personal story that so well demonstrates the value of EMS to individuals and their families. From all of us at ESO, thank you for your service and happy EMS Week!