Ambulance Driver

This morning, as I was stopped at the intersection of Augusta St. and Church on my way to work, an ambulance approached with sirens and lights from the direction opposite me.  In general I don’t take to much notice of an ambulance besides making sure that I pull out of the way so it can get by, but this morning as the emergency vehicle rushed past I happened to look over and for a minute catch the face of the driver.  The ambulance was driving too fast for me to really be able to see what the driver looked like but it gave me enough time to catch the intense and determined expression upon her face.  I found the expression both profound and beautiful; the urgency and purposefulness of it really hit me in the gut.  I suppose this is the way the ambulance driver has to be; intense and determined; urgent and purposeful.  The vehicle they drive moves with the goal of potentially saving some other persons life.  Time is finite.  My friend Josh, from high school, who is now finishing up Nursing School, was an EMT and an ambulance driver for quite awhile.  He told me once that while he had only been on the scene of a few serious life threatening situations as a driver every call is regarded as a possible moment of mortality.  That is why there are the lights and sirens and that is why other drivers need to get out of the way.  Intense and determined; urgent and purposeful.  And it has to be dangerous, moving so much metal at high speeds on a mission to save life, while swerving through traffic never knowing for certain whether this car or that will get out of the way.  I do not know the statistics but I am sure that every year there are a good number of ambulance accidents.  This is not ironic it is just the reality of the game.  We are a culture of speed and single-mindedness, sometimes we cannot be bothered to be aware of what is around us; sometimes this costs lives.  Yet the EMT behind the wheel of a speeding ambulance knows that in taking the risk another person may have a chance to live.  For this I have a deep respect and gratitude.  I do not know where the ambulance was off to this morning or whether it was an emergency of life and death degree.  I do know the look I saw on the drivers face and should I ever be in a situation of emergency myself I can only hope whoever comes to my aid will be driving with that same expression; intense and determined; urgent and purposeful. 

~ by Nathaniel on February 15, 2008.

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