The chair is not nearly as comfortable as I once remembered, the room is filled with dim light creating shadows blending into darkness. There is no view to speak of, just the television with its changing pictures, for all intents and purposes its a cave. Not the awesome kind of cave like a caped crusader of justice would have, not even the kind with a hidden pirate ship much like the Goonies ended up in. Rather just a dark cave when the computer monitor’s time out. A dark and lonely cave void of life other than myself.
Its not often that I sit at the “helm” of the ship, frankly I am not the biggest fan of it. Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing against dispatching but right now in my life I love being where the rubber meets the asphalt. Sure I’m inside away from the cold and snow right now but I still have to deal with the same individuals that you meet on the streets except now they are on the phone. They are hard to understand, sniffling, moaning and other various bodily noises and usually have no more useful information than that provided by a 5year old. Or they tell me every amount of useless information including the color of the patients shirt and shoe size thinking that will make a difference in the speed the ambulance arrives. I would much rather be on the road where I can at least match up my minds image to the actual weirdo that gave the call info. That always brings a smile to my face.
Some may not appreciate the way that I have referred to my current obligation as “the Helm”, many may even think I have gone mad! How could a Dispatcher be referred to as controlling the direction of the ambulance? They just sit in their comfy location and spew out orders of where to go and what to do! They have no real power and they always pretend that they do. Or they tell me one thing and upon arrival its completely different, I was not prepared for the call in any way, Damn you Dispatch! I pity those who don’t have a good dispatcher, and I can relate to a bad one too. Once you find the good ones make sure you keep a hold of them.
The idea of sitting the helm invokes the job of directing the vessel into open waters on its voyage, a seat of assumed power. In terms of EMS its the road guys apparent rivals, who are only out to harass you and make your night a living hell. As if they have any real ability to control what comes in and needs to be dispatched. When actually they should be the crews best friend. The invisible force that is there to help us when we need a little bit extra. the one who manages behind the scenes and usually never get any credit for a job well done.
Instead of sitting the “helm” I like to think my post tonight as being the radio DJ during the request hour, sure not every song coming through the radio is your favorite but if its a requested it should be played. Though sometimes if you sit through the boring whiny songs you get to hear what you have been waiting for!