Blogging · Me myself and I · Thoughts

For better and for worse…



For about eight years, I worked as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher.

In short, I took calls from 911, assisted callers, gave calls a priority, and dispatched ambulances…

The Bag LadyΒ dared me to look back on those years and remember my best and worst experience. I thought it would be quite a challenge, but surprisingly, both events came to mind pretty easily.

Working as an EMD was for sure the most difficult, yet also most rewarding job I have done so far. It takes nerve and empathy, in a perfect mix, which is hard to handle. But the feeling of making a difference in people’s lives was well worth the stress.

My favorite memory has to do with a 4 years old little boy who had choked on strawberries. When I got the call, both parents were obviously panicked. They had put me on speaker phone (which I still believe to this day, is a devilish invention… I hate to be put on speaker phone!) and both the mom and dad were screaming their hearts out (anyone would have gone nuts, I understood that).

I’m not known for being firm and cold… But as an EMD, I had an instinctive knowledge of how to talk to people to get their attention. And I just yelled back at the parents to get them to listen to my directions while the paramedics were on their way. After a few seconds, the dad calmed down, and performed the Heimlich maneuver while the mom sobbed in the background. I kept focused, giving step by step instructions. In no time, the ambulance was on site, and I hoped the little boy would make it.

Now, in eight years of working, I didn’t get news from many of my “patients”… But that day, one of the paramedics that had worked on the case called me from the hospital.

“Nice job!” he said. “Without your work with the father, this little boy would have been dead when we arrived.”

N.o.t.h.i.n.g matches that feeling. Nothing.


On the downside… I also lived every EMD’s nightmare.

On Christmas Eve one year, working, since I didn’t have enough experience to ask to be off, I missed the family reunion. Everybody else attended the party at my grand-parents’ house. Everybody, but me.

Around midight, I was checking the incoming calls… When I noticed a familiar adress. A co-worker was sending a team to my grand-parents’ home for an unconcious/non breathing, man.

It was a stormy night, and the paramedics had a hard time getting to the house. I was at the hospital before them. When they finally got to the emergency room, my grand father had suffered a brain aneurysm that quickly killed him in bed, after all the party guests had left.


I did all I could to help some people… And acccompanied people into death. I gave my best until it was too much to bear.

For better and for worse.


17 thoughts on “For better and for worse…

  1. oh my gosh, how horrible for you. I could not have done that job. My hubby George said he completely understood what you went through with your grandfather. George worked in the ED of a large hospital, and our son was brought into the ED by ambulance at age ten. He had been attacked by a large dog and had bites all over his legs and torso. George was the first nurse to see our son, and had to somehow stay calm all the while wondering if his son would make it through the night. It takes a truly special person to do what you did…and what george did. I thank heaven there are people like you in this world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh dear… I can’t imagine what George’s experience must have been like… I have an immense admiration for doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters and all other jobs that involve working directly with patients… I only talked to them. Having to deal with the wounded body of your own child must be the worst experience ever!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. *hugs* back… It was a hard, very hard time to go through. It did make me more aware of the importance of treating every caller the best I could though. Every patient was someone’s mom, or son, or cousin… I don’t like to throw myself flowers, but I think I was good at it. It just sucked too much life out of me in the long run…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have worked in pretty much every type of call centre you could care to name. But I have never worked in the emergency service contact centre, I had the opportunity to apply for it but I am not a strong enough person to do that job and I don’t have the temperament for it.
        You have no idea how much respect I have for you right now for being able to do that job

        Liked by 1 person

      2. πŸ™‚ Thanks πŸ™‚ I loved every minute of it… From belly ache to car accident, every bit of help was rewarding πŸ™‚ Fixing machines and balancing accounts is less stressing but it just doesn’t compare.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so proud of you, not just writing the experiences, but for the courage it took to do such a job. And it does! There are only a few people in the world that can handle it, and you are one! πŸ‘πŸ»βœŒπŸ»πŸ’ͺπŸ»πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss and especially that you heard about your grandfather that way. But I’m also so proud of you for saving that little boy. There is nothing in the world more devastating than losing a child!


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