I turned 64 recently. Happy Birthday to me. A couple weeks ago, on two occasions, people offered to help me carry my gear. I work in the fly car so I am often on scene first, and then I turn the call over to the responding crew if they are ALS or if they are BLS and the call doesn’t merit me riding in to the hospital with them. In both situations, which both involved refusals, I was putting my gear back together – on a front porch and one in a third floor apartment where one of the ambulance crew walked back to offer to carry my bag. I declined both offers. The second offer came from a young female paramedic. “Just because you hit the gym everyday, doesn’t mean I can’t carry my own gear,” I told her. “Look at this. CURLS! ONE ARMED ROWS!” as I demonstrated on my Lifepak 15.
“I was just offering help,” she said. Fortunately, she didn’t add “sir.”
I heard this week that a longtime medic and good friend of mine will be going out on medical leave soon for a hip replacement. He still plans on returning to work. Good for him. I wish him nothing but the best.
I read recently of a long-time paramedic, much older than me, who passed away on the job in his seventies. Wow! Amazing to work that long. I do know two other EMS people who worked the road into their seventies. One was a black belt karate guy as fit as any forty year old, the other was a tough old bastard, who walked crooked the last ten years he worked. Rest in peace. Neither of them would have let someone else carry their load.
I don’t want to pass on the job. There is something romantic about it. “He died doing what he loved…” I would rather die at home in my own bed. My youngest daughter graduates college when I turn 72 so I still have years to go, as long as my body holds out.
Last week I had another periodic gout attack (or at least I think it was gout). It happens to me every couple of years. Either my right toe or my right ankle stiffens up and swells and it is all hot and painful with no history of trauma. If I take ibuprofen early, it helps, but not this time. Last Wednesday, I had to work my desk job from home because I couldn’t walk on it or bear weight. But by Friday I was well enough to strap my boots on and get out on the road and do my whole shift. Fortunately I didn’t have too many stairs to climb on the 15 calls to which I responded.
I’ve been jumping rope lately and swimming as well as lifting weights, so I took a week off from each. Recovery is good when you are old, they say.
I jumped again. No sooner did I start, then I felt a pain in my back that dropped me to my knees.
Haaa! Old Man Rising!
My daughters are horrified by my interest in instagram reels. But making such a ridiculous video of this old man makes me laugh and brings me joy. And I am hopeful that joy will bring me long life.