Monday, July 12, 2010
Five years ago, I suffered a cumulative stress injury that effectively ended my career as a field paramedic. I had been a medic for more than a decade. After months of physical therapy, I was forced into a very early retirement. I packed up my uniforms and boots, packed up my books and field guides, hung up my stethoscope, and walked away from EMS. I tried not to look back.
Today I work in a very staid environment. I enjoy my job. I get to help people find solutions to problems, I interact with a wide range of peopl eon a daily basis, and I have some leeway to do my job as I see fit. What I don't have, however, is a patch on my arm and boots on my feet. I haven't saved a life in a very long time.
About a month ago, a friend began a persistent campaign for my return as a medic. I laughed at him. We'd been through this before. "I can't do that," I said. I reminded him that I hadn't just been injured, but that my injury had morphed into fibromyalgia. People with FM do not work as medics. Besides, I have gotten old and fat since the last time he saw me. Okay, I was fat even then, but sitting on my rear for the past five years has greatly exacerbated the problem. In the past, my friend had sympathized with my troubles and let the issue drop. This time, though, he wouldn't let it go so easily. He told me to get off my ass, rejoin the gym, start studying, and go for the gold. This time I listened. What if I could be a medic again? The idea began to take shape...