Emergency Medicine

I work as a paramedic responding to a variety of emergencies.  People always ask “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen?”  I usually reply blandly and tell a funny 9-1-1 story instead.  But sometimes on scene of a trauma or medical call, a writing prompt is thrust into my head and I begin to craft a poem, especially since we don’t usually get to see the aftermath of every injury.  Did the person survive?  How was the family notified if they did or didn’t?  How did they respond to the news?  I write it out as part of my own healing process to defuse some of the bad things I see, continuing their narrative arc with my own imaginings.

Paramedics see people at their worst and it could just be a moment from disease or addiction, but you always wonder what happens to them afterwards.  Sometimes on the ambulance we see these people again and again, their recovery, rehab and regression.  Sometimes they get better with therapy and medication, maybe they continue on to a better quality life. Sometimes the downward spiral is inexorable.  We are there for the moments when they fall apart and hopefully we pick up enough pieces to get them back on the right path in the short introduction we have with them.  I write to make believe the rest of their story.

Joe Amaral

Blog Posts

Pre-Surgical (prose/fresh start) 2-1-18

Comfort Care (prose/perseverance) 11-13-18

Transfer of Care (prose/paperwork) 1-2-18

Fray (prose/sleep) 2-3-18

Work/Life (Guns prose) 3-4-18

Assistance (prose/Animals) 9-14-18

Denial (prose/pretending) 10-12-18