Is It Just Me or Does Everyone Think it’s Good to Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes?
Is it just me or does everyone think it’s good to walk in someone else’s shoes?
Retired paramedic Ron Alexander is concerned about the lack of respect the public has for frontline health workers. Our daughter is a paramedic in the UK.
This week I was sent an anonymous letter written by a New Zealand paramedic. I thought it was worth sharing.
“I am missing from so many family photos. Not because I hate the camera but because I am a frontline Ambulance Officer. I have been rostered to work numerous Christmas’ and New Years’.
I have more weekends at work, than off. I do not get to choose my rostered days on or the length of my shifts. I do this willingly for a job I love, and with the support of my family who sacrifice the most.I have attended too many cardiac arrests to count. I have seen too many young people killed in their vehicles, drowned or died at the hands of those meant to protect them. I have identified your grandmother’s stroke in the dark, at 3am on the bathroom floor and ensured she received life-saving treatment within the short window available. I have taken away your pain. I have delivered your baby. I have shocked your husband’s heart so he arrives at hospital alive to receive treatment.
I have cleaned up your mess when you got drunk and never made it to the toilet. I have broken into your house in the dark because your family are worried for your safety. I have seen you attempt and be successful at suicide.
I have also attended you when you called for stubbing your toe or cutting your finger. When you called because you had no transport to get to the doctor. When you called because you had a mild fever, were lonely or just didn’t know what else to do. Sometimes these calls came after I had seen people die. I never told you. I put a smile on my face and did my job.
I have been covered in your blood, sweat, urine and faeces. I have been spat at, groped, verbally and physically abused. You have threatened to punch my lights out and told me to get f****d when I tried to help you after crashing your motorcycle. I have worked 14-hour stretches with only one 30-minute break. I have worked in the crushing heat and punishing cold. My crew-partner and I have carried you, twice my size, down numerous flights of stairs because you couldn’t walk.”
The letter goes on to talk about working conditions in New Zealand but the sentiment is true in any country. I am so proud of my daughter but scared for her too. She has rung me laughing about 82 year-old Joyce who held her hand and fed her biscuits and crying after she scraped a 16 year-old motor cycle rider off the bitumen.
Everyone deserves respect in the workplace.
Even more when they’re doing a job no one else wants.
– Caroline x