Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Inspiration

Every so often I get asked where I get the ideas for my blog. And every so often I get asked why I ever became a paramedic.
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Late Saturday night on a dark, twisty, road. The family car is returning its cargo of parents and their three children from a family gathering in a small village, way off the beaten track. The road twists its way back and forth through the undulating countryside. If it wasn't pitch black, the breathtaking scenery all around would show its true desert colours. The road cuts through the sand and rocks on either side with a high-sided cliff one side, and a sheer drop the other. The blind bends hide unseen hazards. The family continues its journey home, totally oblivious to the imminent danger hiding round the very next corner.
The kids in the back are asking the all-time favourite question of "Are we nearly there yet". Ben, the eldest, all of seven years old, is half asleep. Moments before his eyelids give in to the lead weights that are hanging off them, he looks up out the front windscreen, just in time to see the truck coming towards the car, on the wrong side of the road. There's no time for any avoidance manoeuvre, and even if there was, the choice is either hit the rock face, or fall off the edge of the cliff.
The impact was instantaneous, the noise deafening, the damage to the car catastrophic. And then silence. The loudest silence ever. The dust settles, the debris is scattered all over the road, the family is in total shock. Ben is disorientated, confused, dazed. A dull cry comes from his left hand side, and he looks across to see that his brother and sister both seem OK. One of them is on the floor between the seats, the other is lying on the seat itself. He looks at his mum for answers, and finds only more questions. He looks at his dad for an explanation, but finds that just like dad's front teeth, the explanation is missing.
Blood and tears flow freely. A few minutes later an ambulance arrives. It's a military ambulance, and the sight of soldiers confuses Ben even further. They're there because the nearest point of civilisation is an army base, and their medical centre was the first to get the call about the crash. They explain that they're doctors, nurses, paramedics, it's a blur of flashing lights, of people and equipment. They do their best to calm everyone down, to gain the trust of adults and children alike. Ben's initial terror starts to subside once he realises that these soldiers are here on a peaceful mission. They're here to help. Other ambulances arrive, more paramedics, civilian ones this time. The family is divided amongst them to be treated and transported.
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I don't remember any more. I was only seven, after all.
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Every so often the scene gets replayed in a recurrent dream, when the insomnia finally gives in to exhaustion and a fitful sleep takes over. I guess, in the recesses of my mind, this is why I became a paramedic. I guess, despite the fact that it took me a long time to realise it, that these amazing people were, and still are, my true inspiration.

14 comments:

medicblog999 said...

Wow Ben,
What a chilling story! You dont say what happened to the rest of your family?

You obviously recovered Ok. I hope the rest of the family did too.

Im not suprised you have recurring dreams about that.

The Happy Medic said...

Ben, Thank you so much for sharing. You have truly been inspired.

Michael Morse said...

Thanks, Ben, horrible story greatly told. How often we forget how unforgetable we have the potential to be.

Mike Ward said...

What a compelling memory! Thanks for posting

MotorCop said...

Amazing! It's truly motivating to hear something so tragic turn into a life of giving and helping others. God bless you, sir.

Anonymous said...

all the things you dont know about people you thought you knew fairly well... really moving...

The Grumpy Dispatcher said...

Thank you... reading this was a needed and timely lift.

Anonymous said...

Things you don't even know about yourself....

The Bus Driver said...

wow! just incredible.

AD-HDTV said...

i thought you were bitten by a paramedic under a full moon!

Eddie said...

Ben, you are a dear friend of mine and not even I knew this about you. I always knew you were a loving and caring person - a real blessing to the world. It's enlightening to know where some of your inspiration came from. As someone else here as already mentioned, it's amazing that you took a tragic moment in your life and focused on the good that was in it -- the recognition of thanks to the amazing paramdics, military and civilian alike... for their dedication to helping others in dire need of help. You now rank among their numbers and the whole world is more blessed because of it. I know you are awesome at what you do. The natural caring, skill, and quick mind that you possess must have helped countless people already... and I'm sure there are countless more you will help. Thank you for being you. Thank you for sharing your story... and thank you for making your life's work the task of helping others in distress.

By the way, your story was excellently told :-)

Eddie

P.S. One last thank you. Thank you for being an awesome friend.

Anonymous said...

It must have been tough to write such a piece, bringing back awful memories and turning such a negative into a positive.

Those that know you and those that you care for should feel very priveleged.

I have followed your blog for sometime now. Please continue to do the good you do. It is appreciated.

It is you that is truly inspiring.

RapidResponseDoc said...

Great story, Ben.

Elisabeth said...

Wow. It's inspiring to hear how that tragic event has brought you into a life of helping others and giving of yourself.

Thank you for pointing me to this post and sharing!