I owe some of you an apology…

Throughout my EMS career, I’ve often wondered why a certain subset of people call 911 so often. Seemingly minor concerns are blown way out of proportion, and, throwing logic and reason to the wind, they demand that the patient be taken to a specialty ER for examination by a specially trained physician.

Who are these people? What subset of the patient population could I be referring to?

New parents.

Yes, I owe you all an apology. I never said it out loud, but some of you may have read it in my facial expressions, that I was unsure why you called me in the middle of the night for your baby’s cough, or why you thought your infant needed to go to a pediatric ER just because they bumped their head.

I’m sorry. For serious.

Maker:L,Date:2017-8-25,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-YThis little guy has turned my world upside down, in some pretty amazing, heart-warming, emotional ways. Our son, Trevor, was born January 3rd, 2018. He is a happy, sweet, loving bundle of amazing energy and learning and curiosity. He just turned three months old. Oh, and we have not had a full night of sleep since 2017. See, Trevor is also confusing, and frustrating, and sometimes, he’s scary. I thought I would have this whole calm, cool, collected parent thing down, because, fuck it, I’m a paramedic, right? I’ve seen some shit. I know what’s a real emergency and what isn’t. There isn’t anything my son could do that would scare me enough to panic and…. wait…. did he just wheeze? Was that a wheeze? Or was he just making a happy noise? I can’t tell. Now he won’t do it again. Is he still breathing? Has his respiratory rate slowed? Now I’ve got my hand on his chest, trying to count breaths, only I’m starting to panic a little and I’ve lost count. Ok, he’s still breathing, and I don’t hear any wheezing. Where was I?

Oh yeah. I didn’t think I would panic. Like those other parents. Those other, fear-stricken, worry-wart, know-nothing parents who were so ill-prepared to have a child that they seemingly are depending on me as a paramedic to assure them that little Johnny’s sneeze isn’t a death-knell, foretelling his future passing from some obscure case of ebola or something like that.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

So, I’ve never been so scared of anything in my life as I am that I will screw up my kid. I want him to be the happiest, healthiest little bugger this world has ever seen. I once heard on TV that there is no end to the amount of money that a new parent will spend to make their child happy. At the time, I snorked to myself and thought “those sheeple and their disposable income…. look at them wasting all that money on a kid who literally doesn’t know the difference between their farts and the wind.” Fast forward a bit, and I’ve spent probably $50 or so on finding just the right kind of pacifier for Trevor so that we can try and soothe him 3.2 seconds faster than we could with the old kind. Turns out, he really doesn’t give two shits what kind of pacifier we use, or what color his sleep sack is, or what kind of music we put on to help him fall asleep (we use the super awesome grammy-award-winning children’s lulaby CD I got on Amazon because it had the highest ratings from other satisfied parents like me, by the way), but I still do it. I still obsess over how to make him happier, more comfortable, healthier, sleepier, fuller, smilier, everything-er I can think of – I want it for him.

I owe y’all an apology. I’m one of you, now. I’ve got this kid, who I’m responsible for raising, molding, teaching, loving, growing, protecting, shaping into a grownup. Not sure who thought that was the right idea, trusting this tiny human who laughs at fart noises in the care of a much bigger human who also laughs at fart noises, but here we are.

I will admit, my medical training has come in handy. (Don’t dump water on your kid’s head in the bath, he might try to breathe it in and then you have to get him to cough it back up before he drowns in your tiny infant bathtub in the sink in your kitchen. Just FYI.) But it’s also been a hindrance for me. All of that “shit” I’ve seen? Yeah, now I’m worried every possible thing that can go wrong, that I’ve SEEN go wrong, will now be going wrong for Trevor, or my wife, or for me. I am CONSTANTLY checking to make sure that every possible fire and safety hazard in our house is mitigated, locked up, shut down, protected from danger. I didn’t think it was possible for me to be such a worry-wart with all of my professional fire and EMS training and my years of experience in the field, mitigating other people’s disasters, but here I am. Just last night, I found myself worrying that his humidifier could run out of water, run dry, short out, and start a fire in his room. Who thinks about that? Me, I guess.

So, he’s here. He’s growing. He’s amazing. I love him so much. I’m so proud of every tiny little accomplishment of his. I can’t stop looking at him, even when I’m on shift, we video chat, or I scroll though our thousands (no joke) of pictures of him. And I am scared shitless that I will fuck this up somehow and wish that I could just call somebody to come over and give me some peace of mind that I’m doing the right thing and that I haven’t somehow injured him or set him up to be disabled or dead or something, some kind of medical professional on call who could provide that reassurance for me and……. crap. I’m describing calling paramedics to my house to reassure me that I haven’t screwed up my kid.

Like I said….. I’m one of y’all now. Sorry about that.

4 thoughts on “I owe some of you an apology…

  1. Welcome to the club. You’ll never sleep well again. All those jobs that I can’t “un-see” sometimes take the image of those most dear. But there is hope! Teach your family swimming and first aid (as a game at first). How to call 911. Stop drop and roll. How to be situationally aware. All the stuff we had to learn as adults will come very naturally to little kids with a bit of fun thrown in. They LOVE being responsible and tend to be nurturing. 2 y/o is not too soon. Parenthood is a wonderful gift (the sleep thing aside). Teaching our kids good stuff gives them the skills to protect themselves, their friends, and their family. Sorry for being wordy. When my daughter was 3, I had to stop her from calling 911 on my behalf. I had a coughing fit and she grabbed the phone and started dialing. I was one very proud former ‘medic. I slept better.

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  2. Welcome to the club. Word of advice: Follow the frontspage in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Don’t Panic. And then, trust yourself. Parents have been doing this for thousands of years. And no operating manual comes with being a parent Dr. Spock to the contrary. Relax. Enjoy the time you have with Trevor. The time will go fast. One day you will turn around and he will be 10, then you will turn around again and he will be13 and you will turn around again and he will be 18 and off to college. Then the next time you will be the father of the groom and a brand new father-in-law. All of a sudden you will find yourself a grandparent and giving your kid the same advice you got. The best advice: set the best example possible, try your best, don’t over obsess, and try and relax. Misteps will be made but don’t worry. Somebody else probably did the same thing and their kids turned out okay. Best adivce I ever received but didn’t always follow. Mazel Tov.

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  3. Awesome post Dave! You guys will be top notch parents… Why you might ask.. because I’ve had the honor of meeting both of your guy’s parents and I can see the parenting skills they instilled in both of you… Not to mention y’all are pretty kick ass people! Keep up the strong work, keep on pushing forward! Congrats on the promotion again! Next time you are in town you’ll have to stop by for an ARFF tour! Love ya brother!

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  4. there is nothing that can prepare,you for the love of a child and the sheer madness to,keep them safe and secure. and don’t think that this madness goes away- having 2 grown daughters I still want to protect and provide for them.

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