Well, I imagine many of you know, the brain works in the strangest ways. I wasn't to sure if I was going to continue on my medical rant, but I guess I am just not finished. I really wanted to go to sleep at a decent hour last night. Got a ton of stuff I must do, and, no excuses, short time line to do it in.
I crawled into my bed, closed my eyes, and suddenly that one organ, with it's own mind, as well as being my mind, kicked into gear. Apparently I have been a real negative Nelly, and somehow I managed to leave out some very positive medical folks, people who have been forgotten by many, people who have been maligned in the media, in public, by their own ...Those are the folks of the B.C. Ambulance Service.
O.K. Granted I have a pretty long history with some of these folks. My honey dedicated his time to this service for 15 years. Well, it wasn't just my honey, our whole family dedicated to the service. Our lives revolved around this, a pager was a part of our lives for the 15 years he belonged to it. I know what is behind this service in small town B.C. and when I hear complaints about the lack of Ambulance personal in tiny little town, I want to slap people, because, it is clear, they think they live somewhere the government actually cares about!!
Folks, B.C. Ambulance attendants in places that do not matter to the government are staffed with ordinary citizens who have made the choice to give up their free time, and, now, their money, to attempt to provide a lifesaving service in a location the Ambulance Service (therefore the government) feels is not financially beneficial to them. Those folks who show up when you make that 911 call, have likely crawled out of their beds, just like your local volunteer fire department, dressed, and jumped into their personal vehicles to rush to the station, start the ambulance, and make their way to your doorstep! They are not paid by our government to sit at the Station waiting for a call. Do you actually think that if they are placed on a schedule to cover ambulance for 4 nights of the week, they receive a pay check for those 4 nights? Nope, if they happen to get a call, they will get paid, but they will also simply get something called pager pay (this did not happen when we were involved) and perhaps speak to one of those you may know, and ask them exactly what that amounts to. Then decide if you would be willing to throw all your plans on the back burner, for the insulting fee they get to dedicate to your community.
Anyhow, times have changed a little since we were a part of this service, and I can't speak about much, as I could possibly be wrong in some matters, I do know that they paid out of their pockets what amounts to a whole whack of cash now, to cover in small town B.C. and , the system is set up that if they really want to make the service a career, they will not stay in a little town, they will go off to where the government and the service wants them, the big cities, where they will actually get a paycheck, and sit at the station. Their Unions will support them, and your little town will sit, hoping another citizen will dish out the cash, and step up to the plate to ensure you have a chance if something horrible happens to you.
But, onto the professionals. In the past few years, we have seen the other side of the B.C. Ambulance service, the side of the patient. It has been a pretty scary education, but, it has shown us, the compassion in the medical system is NOT dead. Each and every time we have had to get into the ambulance, we have been shown care and consideration. The attendants have answered all our questions, ensured we were comfortable, and attempted to relieve our stress. They have taken back roads that they knew where not filled with potholes to ensure my honey's back did not suffer the bumps, they informed us on what was to happen when we arrived at the hospital, they made us laugh, and continued to inquire about his comfort. They, in truth, managed to take what was a horrible situation, and make it bearable.
These folks, are at the bottom of the system. They do not make the big bucks, they do not get the recognition, and they are not allowed to speak to the public or the media, without their big wigs giving permission. They are doing this job, because they love it. Imagine that!!! It takes a very special person to be a part of small town ambulance, a person whose biggest fear is to get a call to an accident or death of family or friends (good chance in small town). A person who will give up their plans for days off, simply because they do not want to leave their community without ambulance coverage. Yet, somehow, they are still the ones who love what they are doing, are definitely not in it for the money, and are still able to actually care about the person in their charge.
So, maybe that is the answer, maybe the almighty dollar, and the need to push as many people as you can in and out the door, to try and get as big of a pay check as possible, is the problem? See, Ambulance attendants don't have that, they may hope they get a second call during their shifts, and then they will get a bigger cheque, but, if they have to dedicate the time needed to one patient, they are still getting paid.
Kudos to the small town B.C. Ambulance folks. I hope and pray that there will always be someone who feels the need to provide the community I live in with this service. I also hope (but it is doubtful) that our government makes needed changes to the lack of this service in communities that desperately need it, and stop putting all the money into the huge centers, leaving those who do not have hospitals close by, holding the bag. It has been over 20 years since we were involved in the service, and it appears they are simply making it more difficult for us to have this, so be very worried, the day you need an ambulance may be the day there is no one there. It is not because those dedicated folks are not out there, it is because our system apparently has a problem with places that do not make the big bucks at year end.