When I got my first paid job as an EMT, my mom told me more about my beloved grandmother. I knew my grandmother worked at a local hospital as an ED RN, but she hadn’t given me all of her legacy. My grandmother was one of the first in the area to talk about changing the Emergency Room to an Emergency Department. She was also one of the first dual certified RN/Paramedics in the state. She used to ride at least once or twice a month to report her findings in the field. Her work bridged a lot of disconnect between RN’s and EMS. In the region where I live, a decent amount of the protocols used today are based on what she found in the field so long ago, even with updates and revisions.
The first time I walked into the ED where she used to work, I ran into a couple of people who had been there for years. I asked one of the old timers at the ED how long he had been there. He gave me an odd look, and I stated, I just wanted to know if he knew my grandmother. He gave me another odd look and then cautiously asked who she was. When I gave him her name, his eyes lit up and he smiled. We dropped our patient and on our way out he pulled me aside and gave me a great big hug. He said that he loved my grandmother and she was the most amazing person he had ever met. He told me to find another person in the ED and ask him about my grandmother. I later on found out he was one of the last people to see her alive.
A few weeks later, I returned to the same hospital and found the other person I was instructed to. I again asked how long he had been at the hospital. His response to me was somewhat dismissive and flippant, “A while.” I feigned ignorance at his annoyance and pushed on asking for a time frame. Again, he was a little cool, “Why?” as he continued typing his report onto the computer. I replied, “I talked with your coworker and he said you might know my grandmother.” His eyebrow raised and he looked up from the computer, “Oh? Just how long do you think I’ve been here?” I shrugged and passed the name of my grandmother to him. He froze and my smile grew. He looked over to me, for the first time making that connection. He again asked for her name trying to see if I was playing with him. I told him again, and he dropped everything he was doing and just stared at me. He told me that he was 18 when he started working at the hospital and that he and my grandmother would get in so much trouble. He said that she was the biggest influence on his life and that she loved him for who he was. He said that there’s not a day that goes by where he doesn’t miss her… and that he thought he would never hear her name again.
I knew my grandmother was an amazing woman, but to know that 26 years after her death, people not only remember her, but only have amazing things to say about her. Since I didn’t have a lot of time with her while she was alive, I want to continue her legacy. Twenty-six years after I pass, I want to be that EMT/Paramedic that people still recall with such love and kindness. I just want to make my Grandmother proud.
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I want to personally thank Cassandra for her wonderful story, I hope that all of you have enjoyed it so well, and encourage all of you to leave comments, so that she might write for the site again, and also help inspire others to write as well. Have a great day everyone, Tom from A Medic’s World.