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Holiday Perspectives and Rememberances

I don’t really have many holiday EMS stories or calls that made the shift on a holiday. The holiday calls I can think of our pretty unremarkable. But a lack of something remarkable to say or write has never stopped me before …

As an EMT Basic I responded on the 4th of July for a boy with a leg wound from a piece of glass. It was a three person crew and I was sitting in the patient care compartment. The driver was rocketing down the curving northwoods highway at speeds I didn’t even know the ambulance could travel. When we arrived we found a jovial 12-year-old practicing his wrestling moves with a cousin. A paramedic in the boys party had already applied a pressure dressing and the bleeding had stopped probably before we had even left the station.

I am glad my 4th of July and the holiday of an unsuspecting northwoods driver towing a fishing boat did not end in a horrific ambulance crash.

As a paramedic student I was signing up for all available clinical hours because our first child was due three months before graduation. Since my wife was working on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I signed up for ride time both of those days. On Christmas Eve we stopped at KMart to buy Santa hats. Since the lead paramedic bought a hat so did I. Initially I felt a little silly in the hat walking through nursing homes and talking to patients and families but either no one noticed or they didn’t mind.

Christmas day I went back to the same station, but with a different crew, for another twelve hours of ride time. My only real memory is sitting down with the crew to eat a large Christmas dinner around noon. We were able to eat without interruption. I was proud to share a pumpkin pie my wife made the night before. I appreciated that I was able to share Christmas with the paramedics instead of sitting at home waiting for my wife to get off of work.

Everyday is some sort of holiday. Since most patients don’t pick when they have their emergency the day will always be special and memorable for them. Meanwhile I figure I might as well do my best o help make the day better by being kind, interested, and present. I guess I feel fortunate that I have been able to both minimize the shifts I work on holidays and that those shifts have been mostly mundane for me, my co-workers, and my patients. I rarely wish for a quiet shift when I am working, but I always wish for quiet holidays that are safe and uneventful for my colleagues that are working on any holiday.

Author note: this is my submission to the December edition of the Handover Blog carnival hosted by the Ambulance Driver Files. This month’s theme was the call that made the shift. He will be compiling all submissions into blog post. Thanks to the Ambulance Driver for hosting and I am looking forward to reading the other submissions.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.