EVERYONE IS A TEACHER

BY DAVE GLASGOW

ONE OF THE MANY HATS I HAVE WORN IN MY ADULT LIFE IS THAT OF A PARAMEDIC/RN. FOR SEVENTEEN YEARS, I PLYED MY TRADE AND FED MY FAMILY AS AN EMERGENCY MEDICAL WORKER. DURING THIS TIME, I WORKED ‘ON THE STREET’ AS WELL AS IN THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT OF A LEVEL 1 TRAUMA CENTER IN A METROPOLITAIN SETTING.

IN THAT CULTURE, I HAVE RUN INTO ALL SORTS OF ‘CHARACTERS’, BOTH IN THE FORM OF PATIENTS AND IN THE MEDICAL PROFESSION, AS WELL. FROM THE OUT HOUSE TO THE PENTHOUSE, AS IT WERE. DURING THIS TIME, I HAVE HAD SOME EXCELLENT INSTRUCTORS AND SOME NOT SO , WELL…, GOOD. THE ONES I LEARNED THE MOST FROM WERE ‘OLD SCHOOL’ MEN AND WOMEN THAT HAD ‘BEEN DOWN THE OLE HARD ROAD’. USUALLY, THESE FOLKS WERE QUIET, CONFIDENT AND UNASSUMING PROS THAT MADE THEIR JOBS AND ACTIONS LOOK EFFORTLESS. THEN, AGAIN, THERE WAS THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM.

ONE OF THESE INDIVIDUALS IMMEDIATELY STANDS OUT, WHENEVER I THINK ABOUT THIS SUBJECT. ONE THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET.

TERRY (NOT HIS REAL NAME) WAS A GEM. I CAN STILL SEE HIM HOLDING ‘COURT’ OVER A ROOM OF EMT STUDENTS, IMPARTING HIS ‘WISDOM’ IN A MANNER THAT, TO THOSE NOT ‘IN THE KNOW’, WAS FULL OF GREAT TIPS AND KNOWLEDGE FROM A GRIZZLED VETERAN. TRUTH BE KNOWN, TERRY WAS A MARGINAL TECH, AT BEST; AND FAR FROM A VETERAN. DON’T GET ME WRONG, WHEN IT CAME TO THE DIDACTIC END OF THE JOB, HE WAS TOP DRAWER. WHEN HE TRIED TO WORK IT TO THE STREET, HOWEVER, THERE WAS AN ISSUE. HIS CALLS WERE A NIGHTMARE OF INDECISION AND CHAOS. SOMEHOW, HE JUST NEVER SEEMED TO BE ABLE TO PUT IT TOGETHER. HOWEVER, WHEN THE HEAT WAS OFF, HIS BATTLESHIP MOUTH WAS SURE TO OVER LOAD HIS ROW BOAT ASS. YOU COULD COUNT ON IT.

WELL, BEING AS I AM, THIS BRAVADO BEHAVIOR BOTHERED ME TO NO END. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THE TYPE TO LIVE IN A ‘PUT UP OR SHUT UP’ TYPE WORLD. I DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN THIS, I’M SURE.

I TOOK MY FRUSTRATION WITH TERRY TO MY PARTNER, THE GUY WHO TAUGHT ME EMERGENCY MEDICINE, WHEN I WAS A ‘PUP’ AND CONSIDERED, BY ALL, TO BE THE ‘REAL DEAL’. HE LET ME VENT FOR 10 MINUTES OR SO, CALMLY LIT HIS CIGARETTE AND QUIETLY SAID, ‘DON’T YOU SEE HOW MUCH YOU CAN LEARN FROM TERRY?’

HUH?? ARE YOU SHI**ING ME?? WHAT COULD I POSSIBLY LEARN FROM TERRY?? HOW TO TURN A ROUTINE CALL INTO A DISASTER?? MY VENUNCULAR PARTNER SAID, “SIMPLE. YOU CAN LEARN FROM TERRY BY SEEING WHAT HE DOES WRONG AND MAKING SURE YOU DON’T DO IT YOURSELF!’. SIMPLE AND BRILLIANT! I HAD NEVER THOUGHT OF IT IN THAT LIGHT. THAT CHANGED MY WHOLE THOUGH PROCESS, FROM THEN ON.

WHAT MADE ME THINK OF THIS IS DUE TO THE RECENT BOOM OF ‘SOCIAL MEDIA’, I HAVE NOTICED MORE AND MORE FROM ‘YOU TUBE’ VIDEOS THAT PEOPLE POST THEIRS LIFTS, EXERCISES OR WORKOUTS. AS WITH MY EXPERIENCES IN THE ER WORLD, THEY, TOO, RUN THE GAMET FROM GOOD, TO POOR, TO, DOWNRIGHT, DANGEROUS!

ONE NEEDS TO BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THESE ‘KEY BOARD’ EXPERTS. THEY MAY VERY WELL BE LEGITIMENT BUT SOME COMMON SENSE NEEDS TO BE APPLIED.

SO, THE NEXT TIME YOU SEE OR HEAR ABOUT AN INDIVIDUAL THAT DID SOMETHING YOU DEEM DANGEROUS OR SILLY, REMEMBER THIS…….

YOU CAN LEARN FROM ANYBODY. YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.

EPILLOGUE………………….SOME YEARS LATER, I FOUND OUT THAT I HAD ONE MORE THING TO LEARN FROM TERRY.

ONE RAINY NIGHT WHEN TERRY AND HIS PARTNER WERE WORKING A MOTOR VEHCLE ACCIDENT IN SOUTHERN TEXAS, AN ELDERLY MAN, DRIVING A PICK UP, WAS CONFUSED BY THE RAIN, THE DARK AND THE FLASHING LIGHTS. TERRY SAW THE CAR COMING DIRECTLY AT THEM AND COULD HAVE, EASILY, JUMPED CLEAR. INSTEAD, HE SCREAMED A WARNING AND WITH ONE DESPERATE, MIGHTY SHOOVE, HE PROPELLED THE CART, WITH THE PATIENT ON IT, INTO HIS PARTNER. THE MOTION KNOCKED BOTH THE PATIENT AND HIS PARTNER WELL CLEAR OF THE ONCOMING MISSLE, WITH NOT AN INSTANT TO SPARE. TERRY WAS CRUSHED BETWEEN THE CAR AND HIS UNIT. HE DIED INSTANTLY.

IN THE END, HE TAUGHT THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON OF ALL. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” JOHN 15:13

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