I have been dispatching calls for nearly 17 years. All types of calls, fires, medical aids, Traffic collisions…you name it, I’ve taken the call. Most are uneventful and quickly forgotten. Most days I can leave work smiling and simply move on with my life.
But tonight is different.
Tonight tears have come. Today was not such a good day.
I’ve dealt with many kinds of death, the vast majority of which have been adults. I have always accepted that part of the job as just “the way it is”. This afternoon I took a call about an infant not breathing. I walked mom through CPR and she did great. Everything that could be done was, and yet the outcome was not favorable. I wanted so very badly to be able to reach through the phone and do what I’ve been trained to do so she wouldn’t have to, and I couldn’t. I’m sorry I couldn’t do more. I wanted to, honest to God I did, but it was just a physical impossibility.
Many years ago I was alone in dispatch one evening when a lady called and said her house was on fire. She said she was in a wheelchair and couldn’t walk and everything around her was on fire. I got things rolling to her location and then tried everything I could to get her to get out of that house. She couldn’t walk, she couldn’t crawl, she could hardly move. She was a long way from the responders and we both knew that her chances were slim. I stayed on the phone with her until she left this earth. Her voice haunts me to this day. I’m never going to get over that, but today was worse. Much worse.
I really hate days like this.