One of my greatest skills comes from being a Mom whose kids didn't sleep as babies.
The oldest didn't sleep through the night until he was two.
I'm a sleep expert.
I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime. Instantly. No problem. Standing up, even.
I have the opposite end covered as well, also from having kids.
I can wake up instantly. From sleep to alert in zero seconds.
Both of these skills are good to have in EMS.
And most of the time, I'm right there, good to go.
But once in a while.... not so much.
Once in a while the pager goes off right as I'm reaching that deepest part of sleep, and although I "wake up" as far as "not sleeping anymore," I don't really wake up quite so fast. I can tell when this happens because my typical planned and staged getting-out-the-door routine changes somewhat.
Usually, it works like this:
Pager goes off.
Before the tones are finished, before the dispatcher even starts talking, I'm up, and getting ready.
I keep everything I need staged in very specific locations, so I don't have to look for anything in the dark.
Bra, shirt, pants. Socks and boots.
Grab my wallet, cell phone and put on my watch.
Call out to my kids to see if anyone else is coming with me, to make sure they are getting up and out, which they usually are.
Grab the keys, out the door, turn the lights on in the car remotely so I can see the damned thing in the dark, hop in, start it up, and by that time, the other two are piling in the other doors, and off we go.
We can go from first tone to arrival at the station in about 2 1/2 minutes.
Choreographed, we are.
Most times, I can even fit in a quick bathroom break before the dispatcher is done talking.
Then there are those "special" nights.
Tones go off.
I wonder what that sound is. Is it an alarm clock? No, I don't use one. Is the dog making some sort of strange noise? No. What the hell beeps like that?
Oh. The pager.
I wonder if the call is for us? Maybe it's not. Maybe I can go back to sleep.
Oh, right! It has to be, or it wouldn't go off!
Stumble out of bed... damn, it's dark in here.
Where the hell are my pants?
Does the bra go on first, or the shirt?
Is this inside out?
Is anyone else coming? Hello? Yes, there's a call, what do you mean, you didn't hear the pager?
The dog, the cats, everyone is awake now, can't help but be, what with all the stumbling and tripping and running into walls going on up here. The neighbors are probably up by now, thanks to all the noise.
Crap, it's cold out here.
Wouldn't you know it, it has to be NOW that there is ice on the freakin' windshield!
Scrape, scrape, scrape... damn. Only made a tiny hole. It will have to do.
Off we go, down the road, thankfully the short, straight distance to the station, with the windows open so we can see to the sides, peeking through that tiny clear spot, trying to stay on the road.
We get to the station, and I realize I didn't grab my watch.
Into the rescue, and THEN, I actually wake up.
Surely we are not the only ones to have this experience?
It can be a "Keystone EMTs" comedy here some nights.